Ethernet Cable and USB type


I’ve just bought a Innuos Zen Mini MK2 and want to buy an Ethernet cable to connect it to my router, what version do I need Cat 5, 6 etc and also a USB cable to connect it to my Nova, is it a 2.0 or 3.0?
Are there any advantages from buying a more expensive cable?



You can’t use a USB connection to the Nova, Ethernet is what you need. Any Cat5e or higher will be fine. You can experiment with different types, but I wouldn’t necessarily assume that more expensive = better.


The only option to connect the Zen to the Nova is via USB?



The Zen mini mk3 is better specified with spdif and optical, as well as usb. The Nova can accept the optical and spdif coax, but the usb is limited to fat32 usb sticks as far as I know. Can you exchange your unit?


No, you can’t connect it via USB. Just use a network connection. You need this anyway for both the Nova and the Zen to access various web based services.
The new Mk 3 version does have a coaxial SPDIF output as well, but you would still need the Ethernet connection, and with a streamer, you don’t need both.


So it’s using it as a UPNP on the same network rather than being connected with a hard cable, now I understand? Sorry for my stupidity, thanks for explaining it.



yep just connect it to your router or switch if you have one


Yes, it would be using UPnP with a Naim streamer. That gives you full control of your music store via the Naim app.
The USB output might be a good option if you use a DAC and not a streamer, but as you have a Nova…
If, for some reason, you really wanted to use the USB output, you should be able to do this with a USB to SPDIF converter, but personally I wouldn’t bother.


2 options: nova to zen by spdif cable or nova to switch and zen to switch, with 2 ethernet cables ( normally the best sound quality).


yes, the best solution.


What switch do you recommend?



Any cheap, basic unmanaged switch will be just fine. Netgear GS105 is a popular choice here.
The much discussed Cisco Catalyst switches are, on paper, overkill, but might give you a nice little uplift in sound quality. Used models on ebay are cheap at about £50.


Is this preferred to just plugging into my router?



yes, a dedicated switch improves the sound vs directly to the router. At least for the majority of us…


If your router is in a suitable location, and has enough Ethernet ports, give it a try, it may be all you need. They have a bad reputation based mainly, I think, on some cheap ISP supplied routers in which they were very poorly implemented, but I think many have now improved.
My approach would be to keep it as simple as possible, and work with what you’ve got, plus some regular Cat5e cables. Once you are up and running, decide then if you hink it’s worth tweaking your network, either for better stability and performance, or for possible sound quality improvements.


Absolutely. First just get it working then get it working well.

(Knuth’s aphorism: “Premature optimisation is the root of all evil.”)


Has there been an assessment of the Zen’s renderer via SPDIF vs that of Nova fed bt ethernet?




Stick with cheap Cat 5(e) cables with all plastic connectors. People like @Darkebear suggest with top notch systems that it is best. I have heard worse sound using AQ Forest cables with metal in the connector for screening (?). I think @NigelB suggested metal in the connector could cause sibilance. The length makes a difference also I am told. It could be Horses for Courses though, but I’m more than happy with cheap and the sound is amazing.


i use metal connectors on the audioquest diamond ethernet cables, the sound is wonderful!