Innuos Network Isolation Switch and Reclocker (Phoenix)

A few weeks ago I added an Innuos PhoenixUSB reclocker to go along with my Innuos Zenith MKIII streamer which I am running Roon/Tidal on. On it’s own, I have to admit the Zenith didn’t offer the performance boost I was hoping for over my prior Mac Mini. This was even though I was using the “Squeezebox experimental mode” for better performance that pro users know about - it made a tiny bit of an improvement. For convenience I’ve been using the Zenith for years.

When I added the PhoenixUSB reclocker, after break in the performance boost was very clear. Everything became more focused, with better clarity. But I had the slightest feeling that my system was now a tad more “HiFi” sounding, which is not a quality I strive for in my system. Nevertheless I much preferred the sound with the PhoenixUSB reclocker. I perhaps wasn’t quite as over the moon as all other reviewers/owners seem to be with it though.

My Innuos PhoenixNET network isolation switch arrived yesterday. Without even any break in, the results are sublime. It took all the benefits of the PhoenixUSB and added to them in a way that took the sound in a far more natural direction. I’m amazed at the “calm” presentation I have now as one pro reviewer put it. The music is more straightforward now, and easygoing, with a highly detailed, tight, utterly controlled but also warm and inviting sound. There is an overwhelming sense of stability and solidity to the sound now, and it is very natural. Pro reviewers describe the sound as “analog” to use that cliche. Another said more specifically, it is like a highest quality tape recording. I’d agree, but there is of course zero noise. My system just sounds like music now without any hint of nasty “HiFi” qualities…

Highly recommend this combo, even if it’s pricey considering upgraded power cords, Ethernet cables and USB cables (a must - don’t bother without these upgrades)….

I wasn’t particularly a fan of Innuos when I just had my Zenith MKIII, but I am now.  It’s always stunning for me when I hear a slightly warm sound that is at the same time highly detailed, fast, punchy, and with tons of grip, and that’s what I’m hearing now.




@antigrunge2 , I see what you are saying.  But Innuos claims the PhoenixNet reduces noise by isolating noise and improving the power supply to the switch which also reduces noise, in addition to offering a precision clock.  I don’t think the precision clock is the main reason to buy the isolation switch, but rather something they added in. I see your point though.

Regarding Innuos Sense, thanks for the recommendation.  I’ve been going back back and forth between Roon with Squeezebox mode and Sense, both with Tidal.

There are certainly differences, but on my system I prefer Roon with Squeezebox.

At first I thought I liked Sense better.  Definitely a “fuller” sound with bolder mid bass and bass.  But then I realized that Sense came at a very slight cost of less upper mid and high end detail.  On my system this manifested as less “impact” for things like snare drums, and slightly less “bite” to the sound. In short I don’t see one as better than the other, but rather I see the tonal balance is ever so slightly shifted, and I prefer the mildly leaner and higher bite sound of Roon with Squeezebox.

Maybe Roon with the Zenith has recently improved in recent software updates?  My Zenith is running the latest firmware, as of 3 weeks ago when I updated it.

I suspect something may be amiss with your system. Hard to tell obviously but my move from Roon to Sense and back occasionally always produces a significant uplift in impact as you call it when I used Sense. There is an overwhelming consensus at this point that Sense outperforms Roon on Innuos kit across the board so if you’re not hearing that you’re in a very very small minority. Some Sense users have reverted to Roon but only because they prefer the software.

@mahughes , I know what you are saying is true, about the general consensus, etc. I generally tend to agree with the consensus so now I’m wondering if something IS wrong with my setup. Zenith setup to use PCM, not DCD, right?

Just because I updated my Zenith 3 weeks ago, is it possible that the Zenith with Roon “caught up” with latest updates? Finally, I’m assuming that the Roon comparisons are Roon running in “experimental” Squeezebox mode, which absolutely sounds superior to Roon running without Squeezebox?

Thinking I will contact Innuos to get a complete list of settings for optimal SQ….




Without telling my 15yo daughter anything about the apps, I asked her how a particular song (King Only, The Twilight Singers) differed when playing via Roon (Squeezebox Experimental Mode) and Sense.  With Roon/Squeezebox mode, she said the singer sounds like he’s on a stage and there is air around him.  Wow!  Wasn’t anticipating that from her.  When the chorus began, she said she could hear the drums and the bass more distinctly with Roon/Squeezebox.

We agreed Sense had a more “filled in”, rounded, fuller sound where things were less distinct.  I think it goes beyond tonal differences actually.  Roon in Squeezebox mode has more air and distinctive tones, at least on my system….

To be clear, when running Sense I’m using the mode that “converts to FLAC” and low latency mode for best quality.  There aren’t really any other settings to consider.  Running V2.0.10, the latest.  So not sure what settings I could possibly have wrong!  Again, I know everyone says Sense is better than Roon, but does that include Roon running in Sqeezebox mode?  I’m confused as to why Sense sounds slightly inferior to me…