I want to sideline my WD NAS (which is already showing signs of unreliability at just over one year!) as my store/ source for my ripped CDs and was set on a Melco N100. However a dealer discussion saw Innuos enter the frame which they pushed strongly whilst being very reticent about Melco. Both brands feature strongly on their website so I was confused.
Innuos options would be Zen or Zen Mini Mk3 S. As Innuos seem to use WD drives I lean towards the S for its SSD. However I do not really need ripping capability as that has been taken care of by Bluesound which I still have available in the office.
The server will feed an NDX 2 into a Supernait 3 and Dynaudio Evokes with Naim l/s cables. The direct ethernet connection from the Melco is a plus point as is the company’s links to a major hardware provider. Why do I say that? Because if you saw my post last year requesting advice you will know that an age ago I invested very, very heavily in an Olive rip/hard drive/player set up and most of you will be aware of how that ended. Finding takers on eBay took for ever…
I would have to be convinced Innuos would not suffer the same fate.
Advice welcomed from anyone with experience of the functionality and sound quality of either or both. I am definitely not looking to bang up the budget.
Seems like you’ve already decided against Innuos? I don’t think anyone needs to make a strong case for one.
Personally, I had a Melco and upgraded it to an Innuos (Zenith), which was and is a dream to use in comparison to the Melco.
Innuos’ customer service is exceptional as is Sense, which if you haven’t tried, you should before making a decision. Don’t get hung up on the fact that they have a CD ripper - I still occasionally pick up a CD and the Innuos rips and catalogues them whilst all I do is stick the CD in the slot. Oh, and back ups are easy, replacing artwork, metadata etc can be done on your phone or iPad and they sound great.
I love my Melco N1zh2, which costed around 5 k new. However I would not recommend the very first entry level from Melco. It will be not really an upgrade from a conventional Nas. The second on the range, the 2k one, I had before, was at the level of the Uniticore, maybe a bit better.
I agree. I am also a N1ZH/2 user and when I change system later this year that server is the only box I keep. The reason is the sound quality - you start with a better foundation when you later do the selection of streamer and dac. Source first.
The Melcos can be expensive, especially the SSD-models, but this depends on using their own SSD:s which are handpicked and customized to be very low electrical noise.
I bought a Zen during lockdown, so had no option to demo the Melco or the Innuos. At that time, the drive on my Vortexbox failed after six or seven years and the software on the Vortexbox had bit rot, so a decent replacement was needed. Support from Innuos is very good, the Sense app keeps being improved and the noise filtered ethernet output to the streamer is beneficial to sound quality (compared to the Vortexbox). The Zen has ethernet connection to streamer or USB connection to a DAC. I don’t see a DAC or streamer in your profile, so you will need a DAC to use the Zen. @ratrat has written a lovely thread on the Innuos Zen Mini and its upgrade to a Mini S. The Zen Mini has an analogue output and from a perpetual tweaker’s viewpoint, it looks the most fun. I can’t comment on the Melco, since I have not heard it. Either choice is going to be good to great.
I just you noticed you are planning to use an NDX2, so a Zen Mini would stream to that or you could use a digital SPDIF connection from a Zen Mini to NDX2. The Zen would accept a streamer/ethernet connection to the NDX2, but the Zen doesn’t have an SPDIF digital out, only ethernet.