Innuos Zen Mini - a Journey into Streaming Audio

Completely agree

(Over the years, I’ve used Imerge, Linn and Meridian Sooloos servers, as well as several flavours of PC software solutions with NAS’s. So, got that T-shirt :+1: )

Having used servers before, for me, the ripping and the UI is such a critical aspect of a server product features. Almost as much as the sound quality itself.

When we had the Zen Mini on home loan, I ripped maybe 40-50 discs. I made a point of trying some of the albums I knew might be tricky. For example, ones that don’t rip well, classical albums, multi disc 2 or 3 disc albums, rare albums, from low key or even unknown artists, to see what the music databases do with these, etc.

I was genuinely impressed, with both the Innuos server and also the database(s) it goes to for metadata, etc. In most cases, it got everything right first time.

A few exceptions. One disc, it would not rip. Turned out, it was produced with copyright protection software. (Which was a big thing in the music industry back in the 00’s). Another one, it produced two separate album listings for a two disc album. But this can be corrected. Also, on several occasions, it picked cover art which wasn’t exactly right by my mind. This can also be easily changed. Several albums were not recognised, from new bands, which I expected. It’s easy to import both cover art, as a photo. Also, type your track listings, in the Sense UI. Although I used an iPad to do this, I think a desk top might be better if I was doing a lot of this. (As you say, get ready and gear up to do all this all, as a production style project). The only odd thing I found was that it got album release dates wrong, (incorrect) or didn’t add any release dates. But, again, this can be corrected. I think the music database sometimes have dates of later releases stored, maybe not the original. It’s an issue for me, because the Zen Mini presents all the albums for an artist, in release date order. For me, it’s a bit odd, when they are out of order and this is just down to the album release date being incorrect or not present.

On the whole, the Zen works pretty well. It “fetches” all the data, (about 30 secs), then asks the user to confirm, before continuing to rip. So you are prompted to accept what’s it doing at the outset. Offering the opportunity to change any of the details, at that point.

Why duplicate the music server?

I at present have the Nucleus+ on the network and the Innuos Statement as well, both with an internal SSD with identical content. The Statement sounds better both as a Roon Core and using Innuos Sense (even better SQ with the latter because it uses a cache isolated from the SSD to stream).

The Innuos can’t at present do multiroom. That is to say it can’t play to different streamers simultaneously, though it can play to them at the same time (not synchronised). Apart from simultaneous multiroom replay, which you can do using the Naim app, using the Innuos as server, you do still get some features in Roon which Innuos doesn’t currently provide, like Roon Radio (though something similar is on the list for the future) and the Daily Mix.

I never thought I’d stop using Roon, but with the SQ difference on the Innuos Statement, I invariably opt for the latter.

Roon provides a very nice interface, but Innuos Sense isn’t too far behind. However, you can use Roon on any of the Innuos products fine as long as you don’t do multiroom with lots of digital signal processing etc. It’s responsive enough and sounds better than on the Nucleus in my experience, so I’d say get demos and choose one or the other.

Having both is workable but extravagant and the only benefit it really offers is the peace of mind of knowing you have an instant backup system if the other gets the kiss of death.


It took me much longer with DBPoweramp. I spent 3 months ripping my collection, but it took years off my life! :crazy_face:

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I can never make out if this means you are younger again or have less time left! Hope it was the former.


That’s such a useful insight. Thanks again.

To answer why two (duplicate) servers?
I have it in my mind that when I get as far as using Roon and also multi-room, a Zen Mini (processor and HDD)** might not be ideal. Better to be on a better spec’ NUC, incl SSD, like the Nucleus, as Core.

At that point, our CD archive could be moved over and sit on the Core. So not duplicated.

The Zen Mini is not redundant. It also streams too. So would revert to just a local steamer in that room.


** Note : evidence is an experience shared that Zen Mini is okay, but not ideal used as a Roon Core. Better to go to Zen mk3 or Zenith mk3, with SSD, or maybe Nucleus. I guess, in your case Statement.

Now that we’ve opened the door, and started to look at a possible future solution, here is a quick sketch - to illustrate how this looks - systems diagram

New boxes required (to make this work) are indicated.

Horses for courses.
No doubt, every solution is different dependant on user requirements, existing legacy system components, budgets, etc, etc.

In this case, working with existing items, to get to multi room access of CD archive, also streaming (e.g. Qobuz), using Roon as UI throughout. As always, constraints on budget.

The solution is incremental. There is an interim step, adding Naim streamer (tbc) first, enabling streaming of CD archive over network for the second room, from Zen Mini, as well as access to music streaming services, in that room too.

Then, later, adding Roon Nucleus to introduce multi-room access to a Roon Core, with Roon as UI throughout.


To circle back to your way of thinking. Another solution is to put an Innuos server - say Innous Zen mk3 - into the second room. Also, using this as Roon Core too. (Instead of a Roon Nucleus)

Although, I’m not sure this is as elegant.

And it would also cost a little more (at current pricing around GBP £700)

The point about all this, is the Zen Mini, in the other room, does others things too. It’s not just a HDD server, can also be used as just a local streamer too, also with an internal DAC. But maybe just okay, not the best, to use as a Roon Core.

Ah, I’d forgotten the wanting to use the DAC…

The presence of a DAC kind of guides your thinking in a certain direction, whether that be a nDAC or maybe any other USB DAC.

Can you see any other solutions - for the user requirements - regardless of DAC or not.

Frankly, I’d go for the best Innuos product you can afford and keep it on the network for both systems, whether using Sense or Roon.

And get a good backup solution in place.

But the big advice, as always, is to try for yourself with a dealer offering good support.


Ok, thanks, it sounds like you’re getting some SQ benefits from getting your streamer off your linksys and router so it’s hard to say how much of the improvement can be attributed to the Zen Mini. Thanks for sharing your experience.

There is a John Darko piece that discusses this and other interesting points. That might be useful for you.

Go to the Innous website
Find Zen mk3 product page
Scroll down to bottom of page, look for reviews
Find review no.5 : A short film about the Innuos Zen mk3

In the film, he makes reference to : (1) other Innuos server products, up and down their range ; (2) other non Innuos server products ; (3) use of Roon Nucleus. (4) also touches on the argument for using a dedicated audio server, (instead of NAS or PC based solutions).

Hope that’s helpful


Thanks that was informative though I’m still not sure how I would use this thing and if I would still need my NAS. My library is just under 4TB with 6K albums so I think the 4TB version would work.

I see the Zen has its own app but would I still be able to use the Naim app (upnp)?
I see it handles subscription services but I’m on a legacy streamer so would I still have to run bubble soft for Qobuz lossless and minimserver for RP lossless? Having a dedicated ripper would be nice but my library is ripped and I’m mostly buying hi res digital files from Qobuz now so that’s not something I really need. It’s priced less than the PhoenixNet which is interesting as I’ve been giving it some consideration as well. I did a lot of experimenting with switches and have landed on a catalyst(poe for streamer side) set up that I find to have a nice noise floor. I assume the QNAP is contributing some noise degradation but I wonder how much and how much I can improve it by moving to a Zen.

Glad that helped add something, even if just a little.

I think I could guess some answers, but only based on some product knowledge, (and logic), rather than actual experience.

I’m sure someone with actual experience will come along soon and offer an informed opinion.

Good luck with your HiFi journey :+1:


Great thread, thanks for the heads up on it @ratrat

You’re very welcome :wink:

It always nice to get different input and opinions on these things. We’re all in it together.

Good luck with your own journey.

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Good morning,

I bought a used Innuos Zen Mini MKIII,
I turned it on and connected it with Innuos instructions,
I entered “” browser and immediately saw me Zen,
it was at version 1.4.1, it asked me to update it to 1.4.9,
during the updates he asked me several times to explain it,
it got to 1.4.7 and it seemed stuck and then I didn’t see Zen in my network anymore,
shows error: No Innuos Servers found
I have tried all the alternatives suggest by Innuos but nothing, my net does not see zen.

I ask for help please,

Mauro (Italy)

You can easily contact Nuno on Innuos site. He responds quickly and always solves the problems.

Try power cycling the zen and your router… to reassign IP address

I’ve done it many times but nothing happens,
i read that if you stop the update everything crashes and only innuos can solve it,
now I wrote to them … let’s hope
thank you