Innuos Zen MK3
Streaming Music Server
With its built-in dual-linear PSU, separated dual-ethernet connections, and asymmetrical anti-vibration feet, the ZEN Mk3 offers an improvement in sound quality over the ZENmini.
Warmth, vivid tonal colors, and musicality are characteristics strongly associated with Innuos. The Zen MK3 is no different. John Darko of Darko Audio had a difficult time distinguishing the Zen MK3 from the Zenith SE. That is quite an accomplishment considering the SE sold for $7000. In our opinion, the Innuos Zen MK3 is the sweet spot in their product lineup. Offering class leading performance and unique features. But most importantly, it sounds incredible.
Innuos designs a range of streaming products for both audio and video in the UK an builds them in Portugal, a range that contains three Zen models of audio server with a built in disc drive. The Zen Mk3 is the middle model in the line between the Zen Mini below, and the ZENith MK3 and Zenith Statement higher up. The ZEN is an enthusiast level audio component with a number of improvements over the ZENmini.
Linear Power Supply
The ZEN MK3 uses a linear power supply design with ultra-low noise regulators (40 uV), specialized Nichicon MUSE audio capacitors and a medical-grade power filter to ensure sonic transparency.
Ultra-low Noise Ethernet Input & Streamer Output
The Zen MK3 has Dual-ethernet ports with isolation transformers to filter noise significantly improve sound quality. One for the incoming data on ethernet, and the other for connected streamers. You can bypass your router and connect an additional streamer directly to the Zen via the second ethernet port, which offers up a much quieter signal when compared to a direct router connection.
Vibration kills good sound quality so Innuos has added significant anti-vibration treatment to the chassis and internal electronic components.
With 2GB dedicated memory, the ZEN MK3 loads music directly to memory for playback so that it doesn’t need to engage the hard drive, improving sound quality.
- Full-width Design
- Linear Power Supply with ultra-low noise
regulators and Nichicon MUSE Capacitors
- Anti-Vibration treatment on chassis
and electronic components
- Independent floating optical drive
and hard drive platform
- Medical-grade Mains Filter
- Dual Ethernet Ports for LAN and Streamer
- with isolation transformers
- In-Memory playback with 2GB Cache
- Ultra-low Noise USB Audio Output
- Quad-core Intel CPU, 4GB RAM
"All in all the Innuos Zen Mk3 makes a very good case for using a dedicated audio server rather than a NAS drive and network switch, it sounds considerably better for one, making even a high end NAS seem distinctly crude by comparison. It also gives excellent results with both USB and Ethernet connections thanks to the efforts that the company has put into creating a quiet power supply and well isolated outputs."
- Type: Music server with HDD storage and CD ripper
- Storage: 2TB WD Red hard drive. 4 and 8TB available
- Network connection: RJ45 Ethernet
- Digital Outputs: RJ45 Ethernet direct, USB 2.0
- Back up connection: USB
- Formats supported: WAV, AIFF, FLAC, DSD, ALAC, OGG Vorbis, AAC, MP3
- Sample rates: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4KHz. 192kHz, 352.8KHz, 384KHz , DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
- Bit depths: 1bit, 16bit, 24bit, 32bit
- 8GB DDR3 Low-Voltage RAM (4GB Dedicated for RAM Playback)
- CD rip format: FLAC (zero compression)
- Streaming services supported: Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify Premium
- User Interface: Web browser, third party control applications
- Other Features: UPnP server, DLNA device compatible
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 70 x 420 x 320mm
- Weight: 9kg
5 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
Bought this unit from Mike and his help and responsiveness to my 'help' inquiries were excellent. The Zen easily lives up to the excellent reviews it has received. The sound is massive, clarity almost painful, and the dynamic of replay excellent, at least once you get it going. It took me a little bit of hacking around to achieve the latter. Unfortunately, the unit does not have built in WiFi and thus needs to be either close to your modem for a cable connection (which didn't work for my set up) or, after inquiring with Mike's, hooked up to a separate WiFi extender. This worked with no issues, once I had it configured, which was a little cludge. Needs to be pointed out here that I am not a super computer savvy guy, but I managed in the end and with not too much delay. I love the interface of the app, the ease of calling up songs, albums, etc., and the loading of the latter via auto import is super easy. I personally would like to see a separate USB port for a computer hook up, so one can load music directly via a laptop onto the Zen. The detour through a shared folder and auto import is a little slow and cumbersome in my book. Aside from the above, I love the Zen so far and it has met, if not exceeded my expectations. The lack of built WiFi connectivity is why I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars. Was kind of expecting that at this price point, frankly. Once that was done
After a little burn-in, the sound is fantastic, using my Hegel DAC.
Fabulous sound. Owners manual could be a lot better, but the CD’s I ripped into the hard disk sound MUCH better than when I played them through my older reference grade transport with outboard power supply.
Very much enjoying the Zen MkIII! Easy to setup. No operational issues. Sounds great. Believable soundstage!
The Zen allows for a complete Roon solution as both a server and a streamer, while showcasing serious engineering thinking about reducing electrical noise and vibration. It is a solid, beautiful piece that fits into a $40,000 system with no excuses. Once I got it setup, it has not hiccuped once, an unusual aspect for computer audio. Sounds noticeably better than an iMac and PS Audio Bridge in terms of transparency, soundstage, delicacy, and bass response. Very satisfied, and it looks to be a long term keeper.