Innuos Zenith MK3 or alternatives?

Things have changed since then with the realisation of the impact their products have on SQ even when used simply as a NAS, mainly with the advent of Sense, but also with the consequent research that led (yes CG!) to the development of the PhoenixNet.

So maybe I’ll get a Zen Mini/LPSU with a PhoenixNET.

Or would a Zen or Zenith plus NET still be the way to go after all? Bearing in mind, that for the time being at least, I’ll be using a Nova as amp/DAC.

I understand your wish to not go for a lot of boxes, or to maximise your existing Nova.
What bothers me is that with a PhoenixNet and Innuos Zenith, you have a server and switch costing more than the Nova dac and pre. Normally the pre and source should be the best components in a system.
It’s the reason that personally, I would go more for SN3, Ndx2, and Zen mini as server/ripper / Nas ( connected by Ethernet). It should really be a nice step above Nova.
But I will not insist anymore Charles. Good luck in your search.

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With the zenith, especially with with either or both of the phoenix devices I really don’t see what a streamer brings to the party other than acting as a dac. I tried half a dozen streamers between my zenith and chord Hugo tt 2 and none of them added anything in terms of sq or usability and I stuck with what I had

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I was more speaking about a better pre and dac, the two most important components in the chain.

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That’s a good point FR regarding prioritising quality of the source, and also I would like to reduce costs if at all possible.

The costs of NDX2 & SN new or s/h are still probably beyond my budget of a Zenith Mk3 alone, but yes with a PhoenixNET, that’s another £2K plus, so we’re talking significant sums.

A Zen Mini/LPSU into my Nova is sounding more or more appealing.

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If you stick with the Nova you will be using it as DAC/Streamer/Pre/Amp, the Zen Mini will add complimentary value as a ripper/server. The PhoenixNET would add value to the Nova/Zen Mini as a switch/ethernet reclocker.
It depends where you see your system going but if you stick with the Nova, or even upgrade to SN3/NDX2, the Zen Mini will work in both set ups, as would the PhoenixNET.

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As others have pointed you could also use Innuos connected by Ethernet, the Nova remaining the player/ streamer but using the Innuos Sense app.
I will not try to convince you anymore however on what would be my first choice. I understand now that Ndx2 / SN3 is definitely forgotten.

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A Mini with LPS and PN could well offer the best bang for the buck. But I honestly couldn’t tell you for sure. I only have experience of the impact of Innuos Zenith, Statement and PN in my system, which is different from yours. And FR makes a valid point about where to put the money.

Is there no local dealer who could demo the impact of the different products either in store or - better still - in your own system? Some are even willing to loan products and Innuos UK is generally able to support them in this, though not always at short notice (there’s often a bit of a waiting list for their demo models).

The only thing I can say is that at least in my experience the Innuos music players bring more to the party (with a Naim streamer connected by Ethernet) than just convenient storage and ripping. The PN net also brings a significant uplift in SQ in my system, but though the impacts of the two are complementary and have common areas (soundstage, bass detail and extension, decreased granularity and detail integration), they are different (with streamers having greater impact on texture, tonal purity, lack of digital hash and dynamism).

In other words, any of the permutations you are considering could potentially sound best for you, giving better bang for the buck. But without a demo, I really don’t think there’s any way for you to know which.

Where are you based?

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Pretty much mirrors my experience with the NDX2 with my Zenith and TT2.

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Yes, this or at least the ZM/LPSU for now, seems to be where I’m heading. As a previous Zenith owner, I know how good it could sound, but for now with other components to think about selling/buying - speakers, the Nova - I’m thinking the Mini et al is the route to go down.

I live in between Wakefield and Sheffield. I have a dealer who has loaned me equipment before but he’s not got an Innuos kit at the moment.

Thanks for your helpful comments and thoughts.

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What about the Ansuz switch? Significant or marginal update? What kind of power cable and ethernet cable do You use with it?

You aren’t kidding! I really ought to make some effort to get my Mac set up to be able to add album art and extra bits. But life’s too short

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I have an n10 as well but I don’t desperately want to look at an album cover for 3/4 of an hour while it’s playing. As you say life is too short.

It’s more when scrolling to choose something to listen to that I use the art to help spot things - and the artist name is to pot in some places - eg, a yazoo album is shown as yaz. But the other yazoo albums I have are correctly listed

The anzus switch gave a surprising upgrade to the degree that my friend who gas a Naim system was convinced I’d also changed something else. I’m using an anzus power cable, don’t recall which ethernet cable but it was moderately priced. I had a bluejeans cable on before that but I don’t hear huge differences with ethernet cables to be honest

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Maybe Aurender N200 or N100SC would meet your needs, they come with S/PDIF output to directly connect to your Nova.

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