Innuos ZENmini Mk3 Streamer/Dac

Ron Resnick

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How does the sound of this streamer/DAC combination device compare to the sound of other streamer.DAC competitors in its price range (MSRP US$1,250)?

The next model up -- the ZEN Mk3 -- appears not to have a built-in DAC.

If I get talked into a separate streamer and separate DAC -- which of course makes sense because then I can upgrade each component iteratively -- is the high sound quality value per dollar proposition the Zen Mk3 because it has a built-in linear power supply?

And what about the sound quality improvement going up to the Zenith Mk3 at US$4,250?

What other streamers (or servers -- I say now that I am never going to download anything so I do not need a hard drive, but who knows what I may want to do in the future?) should I consider in the US$3,000 to $4,000 price range?

For example, how does the sound of the Innuos Zenith Mk3 compare to the sound of the Aurender N10?

Thank you!
 
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spiritofmusic

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Ron, I believe Shakti prefers the Zen to Zenith.
 

asiufy

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If you're going to use the built-in DAC on the ZEN mini, I recommend the optional linear power supply.

The only Innuos product with a DAC is the ZEN mini, so the ZEN and ZENith will require a separate DAC.
 

Ron Resnick

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If you're going to use the built-in DAC on the ZEN mini, I recommend the optional linear power supply.

The only Innuos product with a DAC is the ZEN mini, so the ZEN and ZENith will require a separate DAC.

Thank you, Alex. It turns out that I will have an empty shelf on my audio stands that I was not expecting to have, so I have the rack space for a (basic) streamer and a separate (basic) DAC.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Ron, Ra says you should just put a nice plant there. Spaces are made to be filled with flowers, not dull grey boxes.
 

Ron Resnick

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Ron, Ra says you should just put a nice plant there. Spaces are made to be filled with flowers, not dull grey boxes.

NO LIVING THINGS ARE ALLOWED IN THE LISTENING ROOM!





(except, possibly, audiophiles)
 
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spiritofmusic

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No Lola?
 

Ron Resnick

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spiritofmusic

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Not so much Lola, as Nola Lol
I thought your listening room doubled up as general entertaining space?
 

Ron Resnick

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No; the listening room has the kitchen on one side and the equipment area/home theater room on the other side. And the back of the listening room contains a breakfast eating area which extends onto the rear deck. The listening room is not a general entertaining space.

The listening room is, however, a dual use space:

Use #1: Listening to music

Use #2: Drinking alcoholic beverages
 
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PeterA

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NO LIVING THINGS ARE ALLOWED IN THE LISTENING ROOM!





(except, possibly, audiophiles)

How will Lola get from one end of the house to Tinka’s home theater room without going through the listening room?
 

Ron Resnick

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How will Lola get from one end of the house to Tinka’s home theater room without going through the listening room?

Lola cannot. Lola is a messy pig.

Tinka will have to bring her in under formal escort.
 
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Hydrology

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A lot of people dismiss the onboard DAC as competent on the Mini, but is pretty impressive when paired with the power supply. It was this combo that convinced me to upgrade from my Roon Nucleus.

I went to the ZEN MK3 4TB model which gives me the dual linear internal power supply

ZEN4.jpg.37a1c4626af6baf13af42c65e668771d.jpg
 

spiritofmusic

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Zen Mini has an internal dac? Its all all-in-one box solution? Is that right?
 

shakti

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The Zen Mini MkIII is a great bargain to start with.

- it has an integrated CD Drive to copy the CD collection
- it has an integrated HD (optional from 1TB to 8TB) for all the CD copies and future downloads
- it has a powerful CPU, so it can be used as ROON CORE!
- it has an integrated DAC, so analog outputs (RCA)
- it has an USB output
- it has an SPDIF digital out (older DACs can be connected)
- it can be upgraded with : external PSU, external USB clock, external DAC
- Innuos has a good and fast support (using the HDMI service connector)

If you start to like "streaming" , it is easy to move from Zen mini to a better streamer plus DAC in the range.
All your files can be left on the Zen mini, as you can use the Zen mini still as NAS in your network.
Just Roon Core needs to be moved to the new Music Server.
 

spiritofmusic

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So many one-box solutions don't run Roon Core/EndPoint, thus needing a computer running Roon somewhere else in the home.
Is this ZenMini Mk3 one of the few one-box solutions that's truly that for use with Roon?
Has anyone heard it, and can vouch for its dac section/SQ?
I would quite like to dip my toe into a simple solution that sounds pretty decent, just to see how I take to streaming as a way of discovering music, but not be left with SQ that is jarring on Day One.
£900/£1500 with LPS is as sweet spot as one can get.
 

Ron Resnick

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So many one-box solutions don't run Roon Core/EndPoint, thus needing a computer running Roon somewhere else in the home.
Is this ZenMini Mk3 one of the few one-box solutions that's truly that for use with Roon?
Has anyone heard it, and can vouch for its dac section/SQ?
I would quite like to dip my toe into a simple solution that sounds pretty decent, just to see how I take to streaming as a way of discovering music, but not be left with SQ that is jarring on Day One.
£900/£1500 with LPS is as sweet spot as one can get.

I just don't know this stuff.

I know this is a distinctly minority view, but for the narrow purpose I have for streaming music, I don't want to get involved with Roon.

The ZENmini Mk3 + LPS does seem like a lot of capability for a very reasonable price. And if you like what it does, then you just outboard a DAC as an upgrade.

But you are serious about your digital. If I were more serious about digital I probably would get the Innuos Zenith Mk3 streamer + MSB Discrete DAC.
 
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Hydrology

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So many one-box solutions don't run Roon Core/EndPoint, thus needing a computer running Roon somewhere else in the home.
Is this ZenMini Mk3 one of the few one-box solutions that's truly that for use with Roon?
Has anyone heard it, and can vouch for its dac section/SQ?
I would quite like to dip my toe into a simple solution that sounds pretty decent, just to see how I take to streaming as a way of discovering music, but not be left with SQ that is jarring on Day One.
£900/£1500 with LPS is as sweet spot as one can get.
Didn’t you read my comments above? The Mini is the reason I scrapped my Nucleus and jumped up to a AUD$4000 ZEN MK3.
 

spiritofmusic

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I did Lol...it just passed me by that the Mini runs a dac, whereas the Zen and Zenith don't. Oversight from me.
 
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audiobomber

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What other streamers (or servers -- I say now that I am never going to download anything so I do not need a hard drive, but who knows what I may want to do in the future?) should I consider in the US$3,000 to $4,000 price range?
Have a look at the exaSound e32 Mk II and Sigma Streamer with Teddy Pardo LPS for $3399. Comes with a 30-day trial period.
https://exasound.com/Store/e32MarkIIDACandBundles.aspx

I don't know how it compares to the other options you mention, but the e32 sure blew away the Benchmark DAC3 that I had in-house previously; bigger soundstage, tighter bass, warmer yet more detailed treble, and that is before I added the Teddy Pardo LPS.
 
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