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Innuous Zenith Mk3 plus Roon is a game changer for me

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  • Innuous Zenith Mk3 plus Roon is a game changer for me

    On the digital side, I play a fair amount of silver discs with the Meitner TX2/DA2 combo but also access a good deal of hi-res material on my NAS server and play some Tidal as well using MacBook Pro/Audirvana /DA2 via a Stealth Select-T USB cable. This combo has served me well for a few years but I knew the time would come to update the Tidal/NAS side of things. I had no great desire to opt for SOA here with its accompanying expense since it seems that nothing is going to change as fast as servers and streaming in the next coming years.

    I therefore bought a new Innuous Zenith Mk3 as it had the main ingredients I was hoping for to improve upon the performance I was getting from the MacBook set-up. These were mainly 1) a low noise, regulated linear power supply 2) a 1TB SSD drive so music isn’t be played from a spinning dive and 3) direct LAN connection to the ethernet for streaming as opposed to going with wireless. There were also some bonus features that were trickled-down from the highly rated Innuous Statement such as the use of Mundorf caps. Perhaps best of all, the Zenith Mk3 was Roon ready. As much as I love Audirvana, I have anticipated using Roon for quite some time. All told, the Zenith Mk3 hit a sweet spot of price and performance that made it pretty easy to pull the trigger.

    The first comment that comes to mind is that it has increased my enjoyment of listening to digital immensely. The sentiment I recall to describe the listening impressions one might hear with a good server such as the SGM (from Mike L) was it was that it was now less critical whether he was listening to a digital or analog source as the SGM elevated his digital playback to an enjoyment level that made him simply care less. Not that there wasn’t a difference between digital and analog. Not that his digital was better than analog. But the enjoyment factor was now a more level playing field. With the Zen MK3, I now understand what he meant in a very tangible way. In fact, the Innuous plus Roon has changed my listening habits significantly.

    The phenomenal functionality of the Roon player is a sheer delight. Want to know more about the artist or the album? Push a button. Want album credits? Push a button. Want lyrics? Another button. More of the same artist or genre? Another button. Want more music like the music you just played? Roon Radio is calling and has your name on it. Want to tailor a new playlist to include only 2X DSD? Done. 2XDSD and Classical? Done. 2XDSD, Classical and only left-handed composers? An exaggeration, buy you get the idea.

    Before I head off to Axpona later this week, I thought I’d to give a brief update on my Innuous Zenith Mk3now that it has fully broken in. I know for sure that streamer will not be on my radar at AXPONA as the Zenith Mk3/Roon has really taken me by surprise. The difference in sound compared to my MacBook/Audirvana set-up is very significant. Far more analog in every way. I was content with streaming as a music source, but not as a listening pleasure. It was, to be polite, adequate. But who knew that depth and soundstage could be extracted from 1’s and 0’s like this? I’m naturally curious to learn what the Innuous Statement can add to the Zenith Mk3, but at more than twice the price, it’s not in the cards. I have other places in the system I can earn my wife’s chagrin.

    Once the unit settled in (about 2 weeks, just as Alex predicted), I played around with a bunch of ethernet cables since no one should be surprised they make a difference. There was no was in hell I was going to drop $$$$ on cable, so I explored some more affordable options. I wasted some money on some shielded Swedish Cat8 Supra cables, and some more money on the cheapest cables one can find on Amazon (ever wonder what kind of cable you can buy for 6 bucks?) . No need to name names, but I finally found a brand that sounds terrific and doesn’t cost a fortune. I’m currently using a loom of Triode Wire “Freedom” cables.

    https://www.triodewirelabs.com/produ...thernet-cable/

    The descriptor that first comes to mind is “natural” sounding. (DDK’s favorite word!). And natural they are. One can listen for hours and not think about the sound characteristics of the cable, but instead focus on the music. My “loom” consists of a 2m run from the wall jack to the Apple Extreme Router (house is wired with Belden Cat6); a 3m run from the Western Digital NAS drive to the Router, and an 8m run from the Router to the Innuos. Honestly, I know nothing about ethernet cable and don’t really want to know. But the TW Freedom cables are keepers for now. And reasonably priced to boot. All 3 cables were about 1K. They were delivered promptly and appear to be beautifully made.

    I can’t help but wonder if, just like signal and power cables, the sound of ethernet cables is in part due to the wire, and in part due to the terminations. I’ve noticed that like many other high quality ethernet cables, the TriWire cables use German RJ45 connectors from Telegaertner.

    https://www.telegaertner.com/en/info...aight-version/

    My guess is that they contribute to the cable’s excellent sound, but as to how much, I really have no idea. Nor do I care. (Finally, something not to perseverate over, but rather, just enjoy!)

  • #2
    Congratulations Marty. Nice unit. Welcome to the club. It's really an ear opener what digital is today. I haven't spun vinyl in months. I'm too busy enjoying the huge variety of music and in my mind, missing nothing in sonics.

    You do want to know about Ethernet. I am going to do a write up, but go to Audioshark and look up the Gigafoil threads. There are 2. Read both. Ed (Ultrafast) has posted about his results with the entire chain optimized. Others use one device or another. I talk on the phone with Ed all the time. His last suggestion to me was put the linear PS (Keces P8) on the Router and Modem. Get separates. Router and modem that is. Be prepared for a welcome surprise in performance gains. Also think about a Linear Solution or Aqvox SE switch. Probably more important than the linear PS on the Modem and Router. All 3 vault the sonics to a level of ease and pleasure that would be challenging for other sources to surpass in enjoyment. Probably wont overall be as big a jump as the Mac to Innuous, that's a huge improvement, but it really brings it all together.

    Congratulations again.
    PAP Trio 10/Voxativ & PAP Trio 15 Horn speakers, Ampsandsound Casablanca monoblocks, First Sound Audio Mark 3SI preamp,
    Mojo Audio Deja Vu server, Mojo Audio Mystique V3 DAC, The Linear Solution Ethernet Switch, Blue Jeans Ethernet cablling,
    Akiko Corelli, Custom power strip direct wired to panel with OFC copper wire. Inakustik Ref Air 2404 Speaker cable. Genesis and Inakustik NF2404 Air Interconnects.

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    • #3
      Congratulations! I plan to look at this line at Axpona - I believe they are scheduled to be in a few rooms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Very exciting Marty. I have been a vinyl 98%-of-the-time guy. Recently, I purchased a Sonos connect and Netgear router. Initially, I was bit surprised that the sound was more than passable, expecting it to play conveniently in the background. But, I quickly began researching the streaming world, only to find myself more confused. Please let me know what is necessary to change/add to get the most out of a streaming set-up. I am aware of the upgrade to Roon or Tidal from Spotify.
        Thanks, Steve
        Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.

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        • #5
          Steve, Spotify is pretty good. I use it quite a bit. It's more the equipment and entire network topology that makes the A grade. Not wanting to insult, but Marty's Innuos will take streaming/digital to a whole other level compared to Sonos. But you can get the most from your Sonos with further investment. Just how far do you want to go.

          Friends and I are really moving the bar now with building out the network behind the basic server DAC equipment. I just got this modem tonight. My download speed is 10 gbps. Most people are 60 mbps. Maybe 120 mbps. I'm overkill. 400 mbps is fine. But thats not what really makes it great.

          I am ordering a linear PS and 12 volt cables this week to power my network equipment. Im building out racks in my mechanical room to stabilize and isolate routers, modems, switches, PS. Nothing in my network is stock. Even the cables in my walls are a good step beyond what any electrician is installing.

          You or anyone can PM me to talk in person.
          PAP Trio 10/Voxativ & PAP Trio 15 Horn speakers, Ampsandsound Casablanca monoblocks, First Sound Audio Mark 3SI preamp,
          Mojo Audio Deja Vu server, Mojo Audio Mystique V3 DAC, The Linear Solution Ethernet Switch, Blue Jeans Ethernet cablling,
          Akiko Corelli, Custom power strip direct wired to panel with OFC copper wire. Inakustik Ref Air 2404 Speaker cable. Genesis and Inakustik NF2404 Air Interconnects.

          Comment


          • #6
            This is one of the few on my list to go with my Auralic Vega G2 DAC. The Auralic Aires G1, and Zen Mini MK3 w/upgraded power supply are the other two.
            Really wanted to go with the NAD M50.2, but not having USB output killed the NAD for me. Not to mention the cost is alot more than the Auralic or Innuos.
            Thanks for posting.
            SOURCE: VINYL - EAT C-Sharp, Soundsmith Paua mkII, Benz LPS-mr, Benz Ebony H
            DIGITAL - Marantz SA-11S3 sacd/cd/transport, Auralic Vega G2 DAC. Bluesound Node 2i
            PHONOSTAGE: AudioNet PAM G2 with AudioNet EPS G2 power supply.
            PREAMP: Audionet PRE G2.
            AMPLIFIER: Audionet MAX monoblocks.
            SPEAKERS: YG Acoustics Anat III Signatures (upgraded to Sonja 1.2) SVS SB-4000 subwoofers (x2)
            CABLES: Kubala-Sosna.....Audio Desk Systeme RCM, Adona Rack, GIK room treatment

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            • #7
              Originally posted by marty View Post
              The first comment that comes to mind is that it has increased my enjoyment of listening to digital immensely. The sentiment I recall to describe the listening impressions one might hear with a good server such as the SGM (from Mike L) was it was that it was now less critical whether he was listening to a digital or analog source as the SGM elevated his digital playback to an enjoyment level that made him simply care less. Not that there wasn’t a difference between digital and analog. Not that his digital was better than analog. But the enjoyment factor was now a more level playing field. With the Zen MK3, I now understand what he meant in a very tangible way. In fact, the Innuous plus Roon has changed my listening habits significantly.
              Too bad more people don't understand it Marty. My first digital epiphany occurred when I reviewed the Mojo top of the line server last year. I never imagined how important a server was in the grand scheme of digital playback until I heard what it brings to the digital table. It knocked down a bunch of barriers for me with regards to be able to enjoy listening to digital and hearing how much better it truly sounded compared to my past memories of digital playback. I also learned that my Mytek Stereo 192 (black mastering version) had much more potential than my previous laptop server was able to extract from it.

              As for Roon, I've been smitten with it from the first time I used it. JRiver faded from my rear view mirror quickly once I switched to Roon. Adding Tidal to the mix opens up another whole world. I have already discovered more music from some of the jazz greats I was unaware of. I purchased the Roon Nucleus+ server and the PS Audio DSJ DAC which is a Roon endpoint. Both the Nucleus+ and the DSJ are plugged into my Netgear router with CAT 8 cables. The Netgear router is plugged into the Ethernet wall port with CAT 8 cable. My wall port is wired with CAT 8 cable from the router downstairs to my stereo room upstairs thanks to some good electricians that fished the cable into the wall downstairs and ran it to my room upstairs. I run the Roon interface from my iPad. Roon instantly recognized the DSJ and after I enabled it and gave the zone a name, an exact outline of the DSJ showed up on the bottom of the screen.
              SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Marty!

                Just saw that you posted this up here too... Enjoy
                Great to see you at AXPONA!

                cheers,
                Alex
                Disclosure:
                Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
                Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
                [ http://almaaudio.com ]

                Comment


                • #9
                  mep,

                  Wow, seems like you made some inroads there since we last talked Glad this digital thing is finally working out for ya :P


                  cheers,
                  Alex
                  Disclosure:
                  Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
                  Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
                  [ http://almaaudio.com ]

                  Comment

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