Your Next Upgrade?

How would you describe the Zenith vs. the G 2.1 sonically?

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Yes we can agree to disagree. However the streaming engines in the G1, G2 and G2.1 are identical the differences are in case work, the proprietary I2S system and the upgraded isolation scheme for the outputs. It will be several years yet before they upgrade the Tesla engine again as they only do that about every five years. Their software is updated about a half dozen times a year and as recently as a fairly major upgrade last week. The new Innuos software is supposed to be very good and has resulted In a number of people dropping Roon as the Innuos software just sounds better. But the facts are that it was finally released almost three years after it was promised to customers who bought based on that promise. The US distributor is a friend and I intended to buy a Zenith Mk III but he couldn’t give me any idea how long the wait was for one at the time. At that point I just stuck with Auralic. Have also owned Lumin but prefer Auralic.

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Good question. I did not compare them head on. Comparisons tend to be system specific so that said I’d say the Zenith was slightly warmer sounding and more musical. At the time I was looking at a G1 and the ZENith and preferred the ZENith. Overall, it was Aurender, Lumin, Auralic and ZENith with ZENith winning out as the most natural sounding to my ear. It also offered an upcoming upgraded OS, which took longer than expected to be implemented. I was truly more interested in an all in one package, streaming and server, with a focus on keeping things simple. Blew that as I went on adding a Phoenix. If I had to choose today I’m not sure where I’d land. I do think the Auralic is a very fine product and reasonably priced. I found the Aurender to be available at a premium price compared to the ZENith with the N10 sounding similar to the ZENith.

I probably did not answer your question directly, but it has been two years since I compared them. Right now I’m back on my vinyl horse and happy as a clam. Every once and awhile I reconsider my Rega P8 versus the AMG Giro I really wanted at the time. But I stumbled onto a NIB P8 at an incredible price, and no it did not fall off a truck.


Yes when I heard the Lumin at two different dealers I was not convinced. It was good, but not for me.
INNuos has struggled and IMO was struggling when I purchased the ZENith. Basically a small manufacturer getting good press and struggling to meet commitments. More than a few dealers walked away because of it. I agree the wait for the OS was a bit protracted. Glad I waited it out though. Never did drink the Roon Kool-Aide, probably never will. Glad you like your Auralic and Tesla. I’ll stick with my SQ5 thank-you, meaning our values and how we satisfy them differ. Today, if I had to do it over again I’d dig deeper into Auralic and just may land there. Most likely the G2.1. I will say those that have heard my INNuos went with the ZENith Mk III as well and are happy campers to this day.

This summer I got the go ahead to upgrade the server at our summer home. It is a headless MAC MINI dedicated server. I have not pursued it, as I am truly enjoying my vinyl and getting by with the Apple product. Should I replace it I have no idea where I’d land, but Auralic would be a first consideration based on my previous experience.

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Now that the new OS is out and their production problems are seemingly fixed I may still see if Mark has a “show” unit he will let me try just to satisfy my curiosity.

That would be most generous of him, especially when he includes a Phoenix re-clocker. The Auralic is no slouch, BTW. From what I recall , Mr. Beef swears by it, where as there have been instances when I have sworn at my ZENith. INNuos OS 2.07 fixed that.

Would be an interesting comparison for sure even without the Phoenix. The Innuos units are supposed to be completely different animals with the new software. There are several things I would like to try out after the first of the year as maybe the world gets back to normal and we go from two houses in two different states to one. These speakers have attracted my attention as of late especially after the rave review from Dave McNair at PTA. I have a “friend” on another forum that is a dealer for the brand and has been raving about them for months. Another one of Mark Sosa’s imports brands like Innuos.

Nothng like placing your Rega on the Pass Labs amp. Should be an interesting speaker. Just picked these up and they are an interesting speaker. Btw, the software opened up the ZENith sound more than I had anticipated.

I need to add that is not my system, but I do have those speakers. Purist Audio Project Trio15 Classic. I drive them quite nicely with 2.3WPC. A Pass XA25 would easily do the trick, and then some.


Yeah I think Dave’s got so much gear going in and out of his house and adjacent studio that he temporarily just puts it where he can. A couple of those pictures are from Ember Audio in Winston Salem. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the PAP speakers and these certainly look better than the other models you assembled yourself. My only experience with OB speakers is with Spatial Audio and I still have a pair that get part time use at the Florida house. Need to box them up and put them up for sale along with another three or four pairs.

Thanks anyway! Seems the Zenith isn’t bad, as I wondered, Darren bought it even short before the PSA streamer hits the market. I got some insight from Innuos recently and they seem to care for a lot of things. Unfortunately I wouldn’t use its biggest advantage (the SQ measures integrated in the internal server/storage functions), as the storage amount I’d need is not available on the market (only up to 8TB) and as internal storage it’s not very affordable. The other thing is, for the DS I’d look for a solution that makes it as much open sounding on top end as possible. Not sure which does that.

The other general topic with all of this for me is, that digital (if really optimized) seems to get nearly as expensive as a great vinyl rig, but is still quite a bit away from its overall performance. But I’ll also approach it at least a bit further.

You summed it up rather well, as the Innuos product storage is pricey. I find it to be well implemented and had considered upgrading my storage, but reconsidered based on cost and inconvenience. It must be returned to Innuos for the upgrade. Regarding the top end I would describe it as natural and not etched or hyper detailed. There was more there with the Auralic as recall, a bit more than I desired or found natural. Of course many other variables come into play. Personally I don’t believe you would be unhappy with either. I will say the Phoenix re-clocker really opened things up. If you need more than 8Tb of storage then Innuos may not be the best choice. Good luck on your search.

While I don´t have SSD but HDD drive in my cheap Zen mk3 it does not sound as good as streaming Qobuz here. With Zenith´s SSD it may be better but I can´t tell. Tried so many times ripped cd´s and hi-res downloads but I have to give the nodge to Qobuz streaming. But it needed many linear power supplies,Etherregen,AfterDark OCXO clock,dc cables,Matrix etc…to do that. That´s why I don´t buy other than DSD downloads anymore. They sound better than Qobuz,but we can´t stream DSD and most of my music is not available in original DSD.

If I had huge amount of ripped cd´s or downloads I would go for NAS instead of integral drive with Innuos in Jazznut´s case.

Also Weedeewop you really may want to add Matrix after your Phoenix to get the best out of your Zenith and DSD256 capability too via i2s :slight_smile:

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Also Weedeewop you really may want to add Matrix after your Phoenix to get the best out of your Zenith and DSD256 capability too via i2s :slight_smile:

Thought about the Matrix momentarily and discounted it as I really wanted to keep the number of boxes, extra power supplies and cables to a minimum. So much for that as I pulled the trigger on the Phoenix. To this day I still feel I have too many boxes associated with digital playback. So no Matrix in the works.

Yes I read somewhere that the Auralic is very open sounding.

Do you have an opinion about the SW Innuos vs. Auralic?

Having not owned an Auralic my opinion wouldn’t be credible. To identify software strengths and weaknesses would require a fair amount of time with the unit. Not much else to be said.

For a moment I thought you pulled the plug on the Pass amps.

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It has been on my mind lately, the XA25 that is. It will depend on how much of an extended wait there is for my Decware amp. It was due in November. I can wait until March 2022. Based on their backlog of 800 items, and current production rate I am concerned that they won’t meet it. Since it is going in my summer home timing is everything. Receiving it in early spring is good. Receiving it in mid-fall means it sits unused for 6 months.

BTW have you received any emails from PS Audio recently? Seems all my email subscriptions went silent recently, Paul’s Posts, Ask Paul, Product Announcements, and potentially discounted products such as the PST. I hit James up on it and followed up with an email to Scott McGowan, but no response. They must either have been very busy or are vacationing.

I am still getting daily emails from their server so maybe your address got into the wrong slot?

Checked that, but thanks for the suggestion.

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That’s about the limit of my IT knowledge. :thinking:

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