Innuos Zen Mini - a Journey into Streaming Audio


FWIW, lived for years with the nDAC partnering our Naim CDP. Which is the very good CD5 XS, used as transport. That’s how the nDAC originally came into our house. Actually, the nDAC offers a more significant uplift for the CD 5XS as transport, than with more recent design ND5 XS2.

That said, I would suggest ND5 XS2 → nDAC is enough for anybody. It’s a brilliant streaming solution by itself.
For me, It’s only now, getting into streaming, I’m alive to other new and better options, with the nDAC.

We all come from different places, different experiences.

Ultimately, just trying to get everything in the house up to a certain reference point. (Our experiences, our ears, etc)
Over the years, the best sources in our house have always been vinyl.
Currently, would probably say the LP12 is best from the two we have.

Having followed (and worked with) the technology over say 20 odd years. Finally felt streaming has matured to the point it becomes a reasonable alternative. The various streaming platforms and wider ecosystem, being part of that. Hence only recently jumping in and spending decent money on streaming.

Just to share one idea with you…
Think we are nearly there. Just maybe one more step, to get to parity.
Taking my time. Enjoying the journey. After all, its a hobby.
Yes. It is addictive too.

If I might offer thoughts on any process of change and ongoing improvements…
Take your time. Enjoy lots of music. Take it all in along the way. Let time go by and just allow the more sophisticated understandings to naturally develop.

Sincerely hope this last philosophical idea is useful, to the process.

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I demoed the nd5 vs pulse into TT2 and preferred the pulse. It is more airy and seems more detailed. Very much personal preference though, I would put them on the same level. Could be that the Naim streamer pairs better with the ndac, I would need to demo to be sure.

Edit: I see you already demos the 2 into ndac and came to the same conclusion


Thank you for that @ratrat on this rainy Sunday afternoon.

Actually I find the LP12 upgrades the easy part, there are a few different ways to get there. Got the wall shelf right first try. Then it’s just a matter of spending more money with your dealer until you feel you’ve reached your end point, not much guess work but some experimenting helps.

Indeed, the nDAC on the ND5 XS2 was necessary to bring digital close(r) to the LP12 level here, and that’s not even a very exotic spec. Thank you for pointing me there, now happy.

So true, time to now enjoy things into the new year and having great music over Christmas!


Sure. We chatted about that some time back.
Realised you had moved from ZENmini to Pulse.
I’ve only recently had opportunity to see and hear a Pulse. Actually, I was impressed.

So, I’m thinking about that.

You’ve obviously made another step to Pulsar. Which might be a step too far, in this house. I’m really trying hard to resist faff and fiddle with USB connections not working with our nDAC. The alternative is to bite the bullet and start again with another DAC, likely from the Chord collection. Start point for exploring what Chord do, probably being the Hugo TT2.

What persuaded you to move from Pulse to Pulsar?


p.s. as I type this, listening to Go Go Penguins “Everything Is Going to Be Ok” (2023), on vinyl, playing on our LP12 and thinking does all this streaming stuff really matter when vinyl sounds this good :blush:

Mainly the recent price increase. I was looking at the phoenix net and my dealer mentioned the price increases so I tacked on the pulsar as well. At the time I was leaning toward using the nyquist with it. Curiosity got the better of me so I am working on getting the ndac hooked up. Bought a topping D10 which works with the usb 3 boards but not the phoenix lite output.

If I were you and you are happy with the ndac I would stick with the pulse.

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