RMAF 2018: Innous Zenith Statement Server/Streamer

Listening to streamers/servers I’ve heard over the last couple of years has been interesting, because at hi-fi shows it’s pretty much impossible to tell what one is bringing on its own to the mix, but in the context of one’s own system it can be a startling lesson in the importance of how those bits are being delivered to your DAC.

Bit-perfect bits? What? Why?

Because there’s two camps: the bits-are-bits people, those who want measurable, verifiable “proof” that there’s a difference in that delivery (“No way a USB cable can make a difference!”) and those that believe that how the bits being brought into your system from the cloud or off local drives or even a CD are read, cached, stored and reassembled before playback can have a big sonic impact on what reaches one’s ears. It’s a “proof-is-in-the-pudding” argument to me, either you hear the difference and are able to accept that what you hear is actually happening, or you don’t believe anything without data sheets and charts to back it up.

Choose your corner, I have my own beliefs and you will have yours, as with all things in high fidelity YMMV but usually not without a bunch of negative comments on any online post involving it. Such is the dumpster fire that is the Internet.

So I kept that in mind when I hit the Well Pleased A/V room at The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and saw that they were using the new Innous Zenith Statement Music Server ($13,750 USD) feeding an Aqua Formula xHD DAC ($16,500 USD) which was curated into a beautifully-sounding system consisting of a LinneberG Telemann preamplifier ($5,600 USD), LinneberG WIDOR power amplifier ($19,000 USD) juicing a pair of QLN Prestige Three loudspeakers ($9,999 USD). Power was being massaged via the Gigawatt PC-4 EVO+ Conditioner ($10,300 USD), cabling was Swiss cables ($TBD).

The Statement is an upgrade on what the Zenith MKII SE was bringing to the computer-streaming platform for the Portuguese manufacturer and features a two-box design. Unit A contains special isolation and shielding for the delicate digital circuit path, custom Innous-designed USB board, 3ppb OCXO clock, drives and a 5V output. The other umbilically-linked Unit B contains the power-supply transformer which feeds eight separate power rails to feed all of Unit A’s sensitive components independently. What does this mean? Lower noise floor for starters, increased shielding from RF interference and cleaner, isolated power that translates into superior sound according to Innous. From what I heard, I couldn’t argue.

The sound from this system was bold, with plenty of tonal and timbral color from instruments, exceedingly well-honed drive and PRaT and the ability to unravel the most dense aural passages with ease with a very high degree of resolution. Whatever I threw at this setup it handled with grace and aplomb, but with a muscularity to the midrange and lowest notes that left one feeling that in no uncertain terms that this was a hi-fi curated to deliver a weighty punch down low to go hand-in-hand with it’s nuanced, delicacy of the higher registers that oozed spatial decay cues off each recording which left no doubt that every track I heard was mastered in a very different manner.

Ed. CACE, Lote 15, Esc. 4 e Pav. 2 e 3 Loteamento Industrial de Loulé 8100-272 Loulé | Portugal
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MrMoons's picture

sentence in this article is well crafted. Excellent description there. Look forward to more of your reviews coming up.