Innuos Zen Mini - a Journey into Streaming Audio

Do share some photos when you get there.

Innuos rippers are excellent.


Haven’t had much chance for listening recently. As this lovely weather has kept us outdoors

Anyway, made a trip into town today Saturday and came back with this…

This weekends listening - Warpaint : Radiate Like This.

Latest album :cd: just recently released.
Gonna add to the Innous too :+1:

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Just adding some thoughts to the last post above…

Image above : Warpaint - Collection of vinyl and CD’s, now on the Innous.

Been following these ladies for ever. Like what they do.

But think their latest is brilliant. Simply because it’s now got super sophisticated.

Previously it been a bit raw and energetic at times. With just the odd bright spot in their albums.

Plus their latest, today, on CD :cd: which is currently playing on the CD5XS. It will get ripped onto the Innous next.

There you go. Sorted.

Warpaint : Radiate Like This.
Album added to the others on the Zen Mini.

Finally committed to a new Chord Shawline - RCA to DIN - to go between the Innous Zen Mini mk3 and my Naim NAC72 Pre-amp. (Timing wise, also made possible with some birthday monies).

Came home from the dealer this week.
Now installed and just settling in.

[ Note : For full story, see notes above ]


Ooh, I just discovered Stella Mozgawa via a collaboration with Boom Bip - Belief LP. Warpaint are worth a listen I assume!?

Definitely, yes…
Love what she and the other girls do
Give them a go.

Maybe start with Champion.
Let me know what you think :thinking:

Been listening to “Belief” …
Yeah, liked it. It will be interesting to see where this (collaboration) project goes.

“Boya” is an interesting track. Reminded me of some of the jazz funk material that was around in the 70’s. A style that seems popular at the moment.

Also liked “Jung”. If you like Belief, then try Maribou State…

Stella’s contribution is very apparent on some tracks. Like “Luther”. Like what she does :+1:

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I started with Radiate Like This, and understand your comment about sophistication! Going to work backwards through their catalogue, ta for endorsing them :slight_smile:

One thing to consider for the ALAC files you have is using something like DBPoweramp Converter. I did that with my ALAC files when I moved to FLAC and, to my ears at least, there wasn’t a sonic penalty. The time saving was significant though!!

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Agreed… :+1:
Early on, I tried play back for (same) discs (copied) in both ALAC and FLAC format.
To my ears, I couldn’t detect any discernible difference.

My current focus is tidying up all the #tags on 800+ albums, copied to date.

It’s an OCD thing, to classify each album, according to your own thinking on musical genres.
First, I look at the tag already added automatically. Maybe change this, if I disagree. Then maybe add additional tags too.

Also, ensuring that all the tags are 100% character perfect throughout. I’ve had a small number of instances where the difference between “Electronic” and “electronic” can make the difference in ensuring an album is listed in a search for electronic !!!

I think you’d cry if you saw my tags! At some stage, I really should clean them up…
When I used DBPoweramp Converter on my 500+ albums in ALAC, the conversion to FLAC was done in a couple of hours or so. Given how much time it took to rip them originally, as I was very grateful that software like that exists!!

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Innuos Zen Mini mk3 + LPSU
Doing it’s thing

Something old. Something new.


Things learned…

In just over 6 months, we’ve learned many things about the diminutive Innous Zen Mini mk3 + LPSU.

Arranging things (Tagging)
(1) Know your CD music collection
(2) Tagging can be fun, also laborious.

Tagging or organising your CD collection is lots of fun. If nothing else, it prompts you to classify each record into at least one genre. For me, I try to use at least three.

I actually think this bit of using a server to archive your CD collection to be pretty fundamental. Imagine - how do you organise your CD’s ? For example, do you keep your jazz albums separate from the rest?

Why do this? Well, Sense UI allows users to create search lists for “pop” or “jazz” or “prog rock” or whatever. Which I find very useful. For example, when your mood is for listening to “jazz”.

I’ll openly admit it takes time. I’m not sure it’s the sort of thing that can be done in one short, sharp, productive session.

Lots of forum member has made insightful suggestions for how they do this, using alternative means and other PC based applications. See thread above for more.

My own experience - to date - is just making manual adjustments to the tags using the excellent Sense UI, whilst I’m sitting, listening, enjoying the music and just thinking about the music playing. Considering the genre, musical styles, possible tags, and other ways to organise your music collection. In other words, it’s an organic thing. It evolves.

Several times I’ve thought about new tags and gone back and then added to several other albums retrospectively.

OCD helps! (With music databases)
(1) They often get it wrong.
(2) Be prepared to add your own data.

Most of the time, when the Zen Mini is ready to rip, it gets the album data correct. (Actually, it’s really the music databases it calls on). But you have to watch out for obvious errors.

The most common error is album release date (year). Which then plays havoc with the order (chronological order) that albums are presented.

As a side note, we have many albums twice. An original, then, maybe a later remastered version. So, I developed the habit of using different release dates for each.

Cover artwork is another. With differing versions being substituted. I think this is down to different covers being used in international markets or over time. It’s an easy fix as it’s mostly possible to find your preference online somewhere and insert this instead. Worse case is take a photo and upload this.

For more obscure or just new and upcoming artists, you have to add your own album cover photo and input all the track names and other information.

For example, a great young band we follow “Do Nothing”, started as “Field Studies”, later changing name. But their earlier CD released material (which I think is amongst their best work) doesn’t appear on the music databases. Maybe, probably never will.

So, adding your own data is inevitable for some ripping.

It’s not Roon
My only complaint is that connections between artists, bands and albums aren’t more obvious.

For example, I see an obvious connection between Japan, David Sylvian, Rain Tree Crow. But the server archive doesn’t present these three separate things as connected.

The way listening habits flow, when I’m listening to one, I’ll often move on to the others. Same with Genesis to Steve Hackett solo, or Elbow to Guy Garvey solo, or The National to Taylor Swift (evermore + folklore), or William Orbit to Madonna (Ray of Light), etc

I think this is maybe where Roon comes in. That’s another topic, maybe another thread, for a future time.

Ideal for everyday use
(1) Convenience is key
(2) Sense UI is superb.

We mostly use the Zen Mini for everyday listening. Call it the “heavy lifting” of our musical needs. It’s always on, it’s easy to access, select an album or a track and just play.

It’s convenience is the key to its joy.

The Innous “Sense” app is brilliant to use. So intuitive. One of the best UI’s I have encountered.

Reference points : DAC’s & CDP’s
(1) DAC’s do make a difference.
(2) Compared to CD players, the Zen Mini gives a good account of itself.

Relative to our experiences of CD players, we think the Zen Mini is pretty good.

Our own reference point is the excellent Naim CD5XS. We run ours as a transport, with the superb Naim DAC.

I would say we prefer the CD5XS. Just. It has the slight edge. However, the gap closes considerably when digital out is routed from the Zen Mini into the DAC.

We also tried the Chord Qutest, which was a mini marvel. This offered lots of musical merit and we might have been tempted. The Qutest is superb. (Our observation is it “sounds” different to the Naim DAC. Not better or worse). However: (1) the Zen Mini internal DAC is actually pretty good. Also, for a modest £500 extra, adding the LPSU makes the whole thing better ; (2) Plus, we already have the Naim DAC, if we ever wish to take the Zen Mini to the next level.

I envisage a situation, (if no DAC was present in a house), that a Qutest might be added to good effect. As it is so small, being tucked discreetly out of sight in the system somewhere. You wouldn’t even know it was there.

Finally, when the Zen Mini is used with both LPSU and a decent DAC, it comes closer to its bigger sibling Zen. And very close to the CD5XS + nDAC.

(1) Select system interconnects with care
(2) Upgrading cables is not “snake oil”.

We had the fascinating opportunity to explore using several different interconnects. Amongst several other things, learned cables can not only improve sound quality, but also introduce different tonal qualities. Not always for the better.

Rather than repeat what’s been said - if this topic is of interest - go back and read the notes above.

Original purpose
Our original purpose was to access and play our 1000+ CD collection from small boxes. To compliment Olive shoe boxes too. (Without having to keep all the CD’s in the room. Which we thought would distract from the vinyl based system we have in this room).

We didn’t wish to spend more than a modest sum for reasonable results. So, not “best of class” money! Although, actual results are impressive.

The Zen Mini mk3 + LPSU does all this impeccably.

It’s a journey.
Mostly, it’s about the music.

p.s. still very much enjoy playing CD’s, on a Naim CD player.


This has been an excellent thread thank you
I have a mini mk2 used with a dac v1 but it’s been an excellent choice and relatively good value.
The addition of the sense app have been great improvements
It plays spotify too which I found useful …tho the set up is rather fiddly!
details here

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Thanks for the encouragement :+1:

I think the Zen Mini + DAC V1 looks like a great combo. So, completely understand how you’re happy with that.

Sure. You may know mk3 also has streaming, for Tidal, Qobuz, etc. We haven’t got that far with ours yet. We are still using as a server only, for CD collection archive.

The mk3 has the internal DAC added, which is pretty good, (for the price point). Otherwise, we might have added a Chord Qutest DAC or even the lovely little Naim DAC V1, if still available.

The dacv1 was in the past used with a sonos connect (brilliant software) then a Mac mini with audivarna. Didn’t like having to pay for the software updates with the audivarna and either that or the Mac seemed to need updating more than I could be bothered with…
Adding the zen mini was a great option. No screen to fade or die …
When I got the zen mini support was subcontracted to a couple of guys in leamington spa who were excellent. Less good I think now but seldom needed after set up

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Having fun…

Using our Naim CD5XS and nDAC (from another room) to compare CD’s with ripped copies on the Innous Zen Mini mk3 + LPSU.


And ratrat?

Any conclusion either way ?


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