The music server category is a highly contested one with some excellent options from Aurender, Cambridge Audio, Roon, Naim, Bluesound, and Innuos. The Portuguese manufacturer has proven that it can deliver reference quality digital playback which was evident in the Boenicke/Innuos/Nagara room at T.H.E. Show 2022, but also really impressive digital sources below $2,000 USD.
The ZENmini MK3 has occupied a spot on our “Best Network Player” list for almost two years and we are pleased to see that Innuos are not dropping it with the new ZENmini S which was announced today.
The new Innuos ZENmini S is based on the popular ZENmini Mk3 music server and streamer. The option of an SSD for the ZENmini has not been an option for the past 3 years but Innuos has been inundated with requests from customers and dealers for the option.
The Innuos ZENmini S replaces the hard drive with an audiophile-grade solid-state drive (SSD) and increases the system RAM from 4GB to 8GB.
The new features are designed to improve performance and lower the noise that can be heard with the existing model. The SSD should also be more reliable long term which is vital for those who are storing between 1TB and 4TB of downloads and CD rips on the internal storage.
ZENmini mk2 and mk3 owners will be able to upgrade to the new model in the coming year — a very wise move by the company because it will maintain customer loyalty and allow customers (like myself) to keep their existing ZENmini MK3 for many years to come.
The standard ZENmini will continue to be available with a hard drive. The ZENmini S will be available for order immediately.
Pricing for the ZENmini S is:
- 1TB: $2,049 USD / €1,699 / £1,549 / $2,699 CAD
- 2TB: $2,299 USD / €1,899 / £1,749 / $2,999 CAD
- 4TB: $2,649 USD / €2,199 / £1,999 / $3,449 CAD
The option of an SSD makes the ZENmini S the quietest and fastest ZENmini available. The ZENmini S is fully compatible with the optional Linear Power Supply Upgrade (LPSU) that remains a very popular option for the existing unit.
Having listened to both the stock ZENmini MK3 and with the LPSU — the upgrade is actually worth the money.
It was my experience that the streamer combined with the LPSU was more responsive from an operational perspective, faster when it came to searches (which still doesn’t make sense to me), and a better sounding player.
The tonal balance didn’t change, but the resolution, detail, and dynamics all improved and the streamer is also a rather organic sounding digital source which might be too much in some systems. The addition of the LPSU seemed to make everything more transparent sounding and the bottom end had greater solidity.
The ZENmini SSD also includes a feature that protects your music library on the SSD in case of an unexpected power loss.
Head of Sales Steven Gomes stated, “We genuinely appreciate feedback from our customers and we love it when we can deliver something they’ve asked for like the ZENmini S. By giving music lovers the choice of the ever-popular ZENmini with a hard drive, or the new ZENmini S with an SSD and more RAM, there’s never been a better time to pick up our gateway Music Server and Streamer. We also made sure people who own the standard ZENmini Mk2 and Mk3 will soon have an upgrade path to the ZENmini S.”
The ZEN Mk3 series of music servers/streamers include ZENmini, ZEN, and ZENith, all of which were designed around minimizing power noise, reducing vibration, and optimizing firmware.
In addition to the ZENmini S, Innuos has released the latest version of their custom Operating System, InnuOS 2.2.0. This update works with the Innuos Sense App for searching, organizing, and managing your music library, playlists, and more.
Sense also allows users to integrate streaming services like Qobuz and TIDAL; the Innuos music servers and streamers are also Roon Ready devices.
InnuOS 2.2.0 includes these new features:
- Editing of Artist Information to improve library accuracy when online information is scarce – Search New Album Data directly from providers, which helps focus searches for better results – Get album images automatically when importing music containing no covers
- When changing an album cover, images present in the same folder as the album can be chosen – Play a single track from an album or playlist without auto-playing the next track
- Show alternative covers for an Album to view all available covers
- Display PDF Booklets if they are available, for a more in-depth library
- New System Modes for Standalone and Endpoint that allow usage of Innuos, Roon, or HQPlayer setups for flexibility to integrate into your preferred configuration
- Faster performance when editing long playlists More details about Innuos products are available on the Innuos website