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.




@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…

It includes running Roon in either mode. Innuos don’t tend to make any noise about when updates change the sound quality but users do. There has been no noise around the latest update having any impact on sound quality. Incidentally if you’re running 2.0.10 then you’re not running the latest update as it’s currently on 2.1.1. 

As regards converting to FLAC that’s ringing alarm bells. Is the original format of your music not FLAC then? 

@mahughes, as mentioned above, my use-case is streaming with Tidal HiFi.  Yes, I have some locally stored files that are in flac, but out of convenience my wider access to music is through streaming.

Counterintuitively, streaming sounds better than local file playback once I upgraded to the Innuos PhoenixNET ethernet isolation switch.  This phenomenon was also noted by a particular pro review, which noted that all streamed tracks sounded better than playing high-res local files, however they did note there were two exceptions where the local files sound better.

Thanks for noting the new version of 2.1.1.  I will update my Zenith Mk3.