Glad you’ve made that connection. Because the wonderful ZENmini can be set up in so many different ways, depending on system and user scenarios.
It’s a server (c/w built in ripper)
It’s a streamer
It has an internal DAC. So, it is a complete “stand alone” audio source.
It has a digital o/p. So, it can be improved with any better external DAC’s
It can be improved with the better Innous seperate external LPSU.
For Olive Naim
In our Olive system - room one - it works as a stand alone audio source. The ZENmini is connected from analogue audio out, (using its internal DAC) to the NAC72 pre-amp controller. The internal DAC works okay for our modest needs in this system setting.
Further notes on original thoughts for ZM…
Our original requirement - for the ZENmini - was a means of accessing our 1000+ CD collection, from shoe boxes, to match - form factor - our lovely Olive shoe box system. To do this without breaking the bank. It’s possible to do this with just one box. We added the separate LPSU, because this makes a modest difference and we felt it was worthwhile. We also considered the bigger sibling ZEN, but settled on the ZENmini, (for this room). We also considered the Chord Qutest, as another option for external DAC. It’s small enough to tuck away out of sight and not be seen. Might still this do this, at some point. Because using the ZM with our nDAC has convinced us that any decent external DAC elevates the ZM even further. IMO, with external LPSU and a decent DAC, performance approaches its larger sibling ZEN. So, offers a means of going that route, in stages and over time, as budget allows.
For Classic Naim
In our Classic system - room two - we could have the ZENmini set up via our nDAC external DAC and then onwards to SN3, etc. This option provides the best sound quality playback, from the ZM.
Longer term, we will use just the ND5 XS2 + nDAC in this system (separate room). So, in this scenario, the ND5 XS2 does the streaming, including local streaming, over LAN, from CD archive within the Innous SSD server, elsewhere in the house.
Within the context of a two room or multi-room audio solution, the ZM provides access to SSD archive of CD collection, anywhere on the LAN. Also, provides for Roon Core duties too, for now. So, running Roon as user interface, for all home (a) control and (b) music devices…
Around the house
Another interesting distinction, with Roon, I understand you can stream from the Core to any iPad or IPhone too. So, that satisfyies the adult children in the house, who prefer access and play back on mobile devices
Both rooms have ability to stream from internet music platforms. In our case, we are set up for Qobuz. Additionally, ND5 XS2 can also access the CD archive, via LAN, on ZM SSD server, (in another location). ZM also operating as Roon Core, to provide UI. So, ZM also provides access for both Roon UI and archive music, to users anywhere in the house.
Apple Music (when needed) is available from any iPad or iPhone, which is introduced into our HiFi via Apple cable and to front USB on the nDAC. Works okay.
Quick word about user interface again…
IMO, Naim App is okay. Works perfectly well. Innous Sense App is better. Roon is best, (for me).
Roon allows you to see all sources (Qobuz, own CD collection) and flip between both. To be fair, so do other UI’s too. It also allows control of rooms (devices in each room) and flip between both. Also allows control of all devices, to stream any music to all device simultaneously (e.g. for a party).
Hope all this is helping ?