DAVE and Innuos

So! As a dedicated analogue fan, I am planning to dip my toes into the streaming world, currently going only so far as to stream from Spotify from my phone to an old Arcam Bluetooth receiver and into a 552 / 300 / PMC FACT 8 Signatures. This actually sounds pretty good, but I would love to see how much better things can get…

My excellent local dealer in Hull has very kindly agreed to let me try their Chord DAVE DAC partnered with a basic Innuos streamer. I plan to simply hook this straight into the BT router that serves the whole house, and then a bog-standard USB connection between the Innuos and the DAVE and then RCA’s to the 552. I am aware of all the other digital hook-up gadgets that are available, but my question is, will I get to hear what streaming at this level has to offer with the connections as described, or am I going to comprehensively fail to hear the quality on offer without bespoke switches / optical links and all the high-end cabling associated?

Any thoughts much appreciated!

If the Innous is the Zen mini then connect with optical rather than USB. Goes against all logic but works better than USB for Chord dacs as they reject almost all jitter and the optical connection is electrically isolated.

Thank you! That’s good to know, I think it will be one of the Pulse products or a version with an internal drive for storage. Ultimately, the streamer just needs to handle internet media as I am wedded to CD and Vinyl and have no plans for a NAS or to rip my physical media…

Also setup a Qobuz or Tidal trial account and If you don’t hear an unbelievable improvement something is wrong.

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OK perfect, I was looking at Qobuz, this seems to offer the best quality and has a good catalogue of music to choose from. Thank you!

If it is one of the current Pulse series then it will hav e optical out.


You will be fine with the set up you propose, better cables can be added for improvement at later date if you like what the Innuos/Dave does. I would go with USB and standard ethernet feeding Innuos, should sound great.
In one system I have Innuos Zenith, with Innuos PhoenixUSB and PhoenixNet, into Chord MScaler/Dave feeding ATC40A. I like what it does. I only added better USB, ethernet and BNC cables further down the line.
If it has an internal drive for storage it’s not the Pulse series, in fact these are just being released, very few are currently available. If a Zen Mini you can connect to Dave via USB.

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Thank you Glasnaim, that’s very interesting and helpful, I’ll try as you suggest and yes, the dealer was thinking of Pulse products if I go ahead with the general principle.

I’ll come back with the outcome!


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had them both. i love qobuz. good choice.

You’ll get a good enough idea of the Chord sound, but I’d also a give a listen to Chord alternatives, including from Naim.


New loves and divorces happen sometimes in life!

While you’re trialling it, try ripping a decent CD and comparing (with both online streaming and with playing on your CDplayer). And if the CD player has a digital output, why not also try that through Dave?

I wish it was a CDX2.2, but alas, no digital output to try, but that was very much my thinking - get a really good DAC for life, and then when the CDX2 finally fails and heads to Naim heaven in the sky, I can hook up another transport and keep the little plastic discs spinning…

I did actually rip most of my CD’s to a Synology NAS about 10 years ago, but haven’t really ever used the NAS again; hopefully it will still work if I can only remember the administrator passwords…

You sure will, the DAVE into a 552DR is a stunning combo you’re in for a treat.

PS Fanthorpes are also my local dealer :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you HiFiman! Dave has been a legend over the years; such a great and historic store!

I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience now and will hopefully get some great results with the collective wisdom of these kind responses and Fanthorpes advice combined​:+1::+1::+1:

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Gosh, the Dave is rather good isn’t it!

I could only find a super crappy 20 m long telephone flex extension cable to hook the Innuos into the back of the BT router and then on to Dave through the Chord Epic USB cable Fanthorpes provided. Their Innuos had some HD content on the in built drive and a drum demonstration piece made me instantly stop in my tracks… Next level, truly next level. Coming from a very much loved CDX2 555PS combination, this level of quality is staggering.

More streamed content from Qobuz and I’m having to start to think which kidney I’m prepared to part with to buy one… The sound is clear and very musical, but overall, it comes across to me as POWERFUL, coupled with tremendous energy and drive that makes the Naim sound so addictive in the first place. Some material drifts a little too forwards (I use PMC FACT 8’s anyway so it’s a warts and all delivery) but great recordings are spectacular. As is one of the best maxims said in Hi-Fi, if you’re just listening and not track skipping, things must be sounding good… To be fair, whenever I have demoed equipment with other terrific retailers (take a bow Criterion Audio) the ND555 has never had that excitement / on the edge go-for-it sound I’m used to with the CDX2 or AVID vinyl set up, but the Dave fits very well indeed with my taste…

So if it sounds this good literally thrown into the system with a telephone wire to the wall router, how do things change if you add an M-scaler and what effect do better cables make? Once again, many thanks for all your collective experience and advice :+1::+1::+1:


I would sell both kidneys and try the MScaler :grin: I echo your findings with the DAVE, I haven’t heard a digital source that come close to what the DAVE delivers.

Wave Storm cables connect my DAVE-MScaler also available from our friendly dealership.


To me Dave sounds so good, fed via USB from a Mac Mini running Audirvana using a short (0.5m) standard cable, and balanced output direct to power amp, that I have no inclination to try anything else. Maybe I should try m-Scaler, but part of me thinks “Why? What’s the point of spending more when it sounds this good?”…

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Hi mij29, I can’t give you any specific thoughts but can explain what I did which might be of relevance since we have similar systems. I was looking for an improvement from my then Mac Mini and demo’d a Zen MK3 but felt that although it was an improvement there was still a slight digital edge that I didn’t like. I then tried the Zenith MK3 and found this to be absolute bliss. I tried a couple of different USB cables but settled on a Wireworld Platinum Starlight 8 into my Chord Hugo TT2.

Curiosity then got the better of me and I later decided to try the Phoenix USB Re-clocker which was another worthwhile improvement (I was advised by my dealer that the Zenith MK3 / Phoenix Re-clocker would get you quite close to the Statement however I’m sure that the gap may now have widened with the new power supply available on the Statement). As I now needed another USB cable I tried different ones but had to settle on getting another Wireworld Platinum Starlight 8.

Strangely I found that when I removed the standard ethernet cable connected to my router from the Zenith and replaced it with a Chord Company C-stream this improved the sound considerably when playing local files on the Zenith direct into the Hugo TT2. I found this puzzling so I messaged Chord Company who advised that it’s likely that an unshielded ethernet cable could have been acting as an antenna and bringing unwanted noise into the Zenith. Whatever the case I’m delighted with the results overall but it could well be worth you trying the other Innuous streamers to see if you’re results could be even better :slightly_smiling_face:


I also went mac mini with Audirvana to Zenith3 with pheonix USB although into an mscaler and then Hugo TT 2 in my case and it really is a stunning combination. With the pheonix net, or the anzus in my case, it’s even better

Thanks dayjay. I hadn’t even considered the MScaler but will have a look into this. Which cables do you use into your TT2?