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.




I added the Phoenix USB reclocker between my modded Bluesound NODE 130 and Gustard X26 pro DAC. Made a positive difference. Not mind blowing, but good enough I’d have trouble removing it lol. It was a pricey upgrade and was glad to get a used store demo rather than pay full price.


Roger that.

Btw, I just read your review of the USB reclocker on another thread  :-

As you say, everything is system dependent, so I probably need a home audition before pulling the trigger for either.  Cheers!

@jon2020 , I should advise not to read too much into what I say beyond the fact that the PhoenixNET needs to be system matched - which goes for every component ever really.

On my current system, I wouldn’t say the PhoenixNET makes things smoother. Rather, it adds clarity and focus. And control. It’s cleaner, which can seem smoother but that’s the wrong descriptor really. It definitely does not balance the sound in the direction of smoothness or in any way tonally. There is nothing lost and the music is free-flowing.

It’s just when I’ve had warmer, denser, more liquid components in my system the PhoenixNET seemed to take something away.

But the PhoenixNET doesn’t make leaner or balanced gear warmer I don’t think, rather, it adds clarity and focus and control and this can seem like it’s a smoothing effect. But rather, it’s more like it’s cleaning up the music rather than the effect “smoother” usually means. If that makes sense.



Thanks for your kind response.

The sound from my system is very balanced now and from your description of the NET switch’s sonic character, it may smoothen things just a tad too much for my liking.

Many thanks again for helping me decide on a purchase. Cheers!

@jon2020 , just to more specifically address your questions - I can’t, unfortunately, as I’ve yet to experience setups with a separate NAS, and I’ve not tested the PhoenixNET too much with files stored on my MU1.  I suppose it could help filter out noise coming into the MU1 from the Ethernet connection, even if it’s not currently playing from that channel?  Not sure.

@jon2020 , after all my updates I am currently very happy with the PhoenixNET.  It adds clarity and focus, in a way that is smooth.  But my experience with it has shown it does not always have a positive effect when paired with some components.  I found that warmer, more liquid sounding components don’t pair well with the PhoenixNET, with the sound taking on an over-dampened effect.  I found this even happened when using certain signal cables in my system.

But that aside, there is no hint of that with other components that are not warmer/denser/liquid in character.  I have it feeding my Grimm MU1 now and it is fantastic, definitely better with the Phoenix than without, with no negative tradeoffs. I recommend it but it’s definitely system dependent, at least in my experience.  

As an aside, it does not require other Innuos gear to sound good (although it pairs well with the Zenith MK2 and PhoenixUSB, as you’d expect).


Apologies for being late to this discussion.

May I ask whether all the improvements that you hhave described after adding the Phoenix usb reclocker and NET switch apply only to streaming SQ or to stored files too?

I would hazard a guess that the usb reclocker would improve the SQ when playing files from the internal storage but by how much compared to without the reclocker?

I would also hazard a guess that the NET switch would improve the SQ when playing files from an NAS but again by how much compared to without the switch?

I am asking before pulling the trigger for these.

Thanks in advance. Jon.


I agree. Within the confines of my system, I find playing music from storage files to be very much superior to streaming. To get streaming to the same SQ as stored files, going by the duscussion here, I would need to spend a whole lot more on hardware, resources for which can be channeled to the purchase of new music which one owns forever.

@thyname, 10-4. As stated, I acknowledge "there are functional differences", but guessing there are many like me who ripped my CD library but I leverage the streaming functionality way more these days. Just saying, with all the different model and configuration options, understanding the SQ pecking order when used as a streamer would be nice. 

With the introduction of the Pulse line there have been some threads asking about Zen/Zenith vs Pulse SQ comparisons. 

Two different things. Zen line is a server after all (with storage and a disk ripper, and with server capabilities), as well as a streamer, whereas the Pulse line is a streamer only. If you only need a streamer, by all means, Pulse is the way to go


OP: @nyev how is Grimm MU1 working out for you? Endgame server / Streamer? Thanks

@lollipopguild, exactly the point I made earlier. The question is, how does the three box solution with premium cableing compare SQ with the Statement? And the further point that it would benefit Innuos (and their dealers) to get in front of this and provide some guidence. With the introduction of the Pulse line there have been some threads asking about Zen/Zenith vs Pulse SQ comparisons. In know there , are functional differences, but understanding their comparative streaming performance would be nice.

@antigrunge2 .  Given what I've spent on PhoenixUSB (2nd hand), new Zenith, EtherRegen (2nd hand), AfterDark clock, 2 decent linear power supplies, Finisar SFPs, Startech FMC, plus cabling - not to mention the mess, then I'm roughly in the same price range as a Statement.

Innous asks you to buy two separate Ocxo clocks in addition to the streamer clock to clean up input and output lest you buy the Statement. Interestingly their newest streamer Pulsar incorporates USB reclocking. None of their equipment offers I2S clocking signal transfer nor a BNC port for a master clock.

In the time that has elapsed since my earlier post, I have been informed by John Rutan (Audioconnection), that the Innuos PhoenixNet is worth the cost as it is provides a very significant sound quality improvement.

I've been looking for a used one, but they get snapped up pretty quickly.


I did actually ask Innuos about the need to re-clock both incoming ethernet and outgoing USB signals.  My question was:  isn't one enough?  This was their response.

"The PhoenixNET offers two benefits primarily; increase incoming signal precision and lower system noise. The signal precision element is a little more 'active' in how it applies when there is incoming audio streams thanks to the re-clocking, meanwhile the lowering of system noise is more 'passive' in that any network devices connected will receive less incoming noise than compared to cheaper switches and their associated switch mode power, ground plane, and high frequency chip noise and so on.

In the context of local files from your ZENith into a DAC, only the latter part of lowering system noise really applies because Ethernet is not the primary source of audio, it is coming from the internal SSD. There is not much network dependency involved here, but the PhoenixNET is providing a lower noise floor than a cheap regular switch.
In the context of incoming Tidal/Qobuz streams, the PhoenixNET is certainly more involved and it's re-clocking help ensure minimal jitter and lower phase noise due to clock inaccuracy. This results in reduced latency and buffering in the ZENith which in turn helps sound quality when it actually gets to the stage of producing the square waveform transmitted to the PhoenixUSB. Having the PhoenixUSB built-in to the ZENith would be even more advantageous as you could leverage even more clock coherence between the devices and even shorter signal paths, and that is one of the reasons the STATEMENT has the advantage it does.

To put another way, the PhoenixNET reduces harm in the DATA transfer stage, whilst PhoenixUSB reduces harm in the AUDIO SIGNAL stage which are two different types of transmission, so they have a similarly holistic approach but are doing at two different stages which is why there are cumulative benefits to having both.

​Although a very different budget consideration, instead of PhoenixNET i would say that if there is a way to get to STATEMENT instead (potentially through trade-in of ZENith, PhoenixUSB) then this would be the way to go. Don't forget there's several less cables involved also which would save on cost.

I would also strongly urge to check out the Hans Beekhuyzen video on Youtube titled 'Why digital circuits influence the sound quality'. He excellently summarises the whole topic, whilst below i can relate those principles more to your system directly."

Curious if Innuos provides any comparison commentary regarding the 3 box PNET>ZMK3>PUSB compared to the Statement? If you are adding upgraded PCs and quality interconnects the 3 box solution is close to or possibly more than the cost of a Statement with standard PSU. 

Hi all, I currently have the PhoenixNET and I like it very much. I was wondering if anyone has compared it to the Nordost Qnet? with the Qsource PSU... Thank you so much!

@nyev On the basis of the points you made regarding the powering of the Phoenix's I decided to overhaul the setup of the powering of my digital sources.

Cable-wise, I previously had a couple of old Ecosse Big Reds, an unshielded Russ Andrews Yellow, and an entry level Isotek Multiway mains block - all of which were very 20th century.

The first change I made was to purchase the current Isotek Evo3 Gemini to feed both my Innuos Zenith Mk3 and Phoenix USB, and this made a huge improvement in pretty much all areas of sound quality.  I was very pleasantly surprised, as I assumed the various high-end linear power supplies in the Innuos boxes wouldn't be that sensitive to power quality.  I expect that reducing RFI/EMI as much as possible is the goal here.

Emboldened by this, I ditched the Russ Andrews for Belden 83803 to feed the Isotek, and re-terminated the Ecosse Big Reds all with MS HD Power Blue plugs (silver), and transferred my existing QSA light-blue fuses across.  These feed the Innuos boxes from the Isotek.  All cables are now fully shielded and earthed.

The improvement across the board is quite something.  I can't say for sure if spending big money on better power cable makes a difference to digital sources, though it does seem to me that filtering and shielding with the aim to reduce noise into the Innuos boxes should be enough to get you most of the way there.


A few months ago, I consulted with the UK QSA importer, having heard significant gains using QSA fuses with my Hegel H390.  Interestingly, he spoke more enthusiastically of the gains from also using QSA wall plates.  Of course, I have to take his "advice" with a pinch of salt - though my curiosity was very much piqued.  It's probably a itch I'll have to scratch in the future.

((((Did you experience the same dependency))))

Dependency? you can also install a more cost effective AQ Blizzard Power cord with awesome results Yes Hurricane is great but Blizzard will more then satisfy........

The Innuos Phoenix Switch works wonders for many and is a great addition to a serious streaming system by allowing a foundation into the music that must be heard to be appreciated. the the Phoenix USB adds to that foundations completeness.

The AQ DBS Power cords just let it happen better.

Best JohnnyR

Yes, the power cord also affects the PhoenixUSB.  Not quite in the same way however.  The same change to both cords will not yield the same sonic changes from each box.

@nyev .  Good to know.  

You mentioned the importance of the power cable for the PhoenixNET.  Did you experience the same dependency with the PhoenixUSB?  I had assumed that as one of the Phoenīcēs* key features is the internal linear PSU, then power cables wouldn't matter that much.


* - pluralisation of Phoenix - honest

@lollipopguild , I use two Audioquest Diamond Ethernet cables with my PhoenixNET isolator. TBH I didn’t test any other Ethernet cables aside from stock generic cords. For what it’s worth, a couple of dealers have told me that Ethernet cables make the least amount of difference of all the cables in your system.  I have also found that USB cables of 1.5m or 2m sound much, much better than otherwise equivalent 1m or less USB cables.  This is counterintuitive, I know, but there are theories floating around on why this happens.  I have no idea if this applies to Ethernet cables but as a caution I went with 1.5m cables.

The power cord to the PhoenixNET is unfortunately important. PhoenixNET does not perform too well when using a stock cord. I can hear clearly audible differences when switching to different cords too, so some experimentation is warranted. I went with an AQ Hurricane Source in the end.

@nyev .  A good review.  I think I'm happy enough with my SotM ISOCAT - though you have tempted me a little. 

Just curious, what ethernet cable do you use before and after the PhoenixNet?

I have the PhoenixUSB and have one good and one great USB cable.  Putting the great one AFTER the Phoenix is definitely better than before it.

Personally, I found one of biggest improvements was actually free. The SQ without Roon is much better. Admittedly, Roon has some nice features, especially the equalisation options, but overall I felt it softened the sound too much

@nyev I just got a PhoenixNET two days ago and I agree completely with your findings. I'm powering it with a Synergistic Research Atmosphere Alive power cord and using it with a Roon Nucleus+ via a Synergistic Reference Ethernet cable.

It replaced an Sbooster powered Uptone Audio EtherREGEN which, good as it is, it is no match for the PhoenixNET (and at a quarter of the price it shouldn't be.

The thing that's freaking me out is that even ripped files on the SSD in the Nucleus sound better with the PhoenixNET. I can only imagine that either I'm crazy or there is much lower noise being injected into the Nucleus by the Innuous switch.


Thanks for your reply. I thought maybe you were just tweaking the sonics with the power cord for the Phoenix Net.I was just curious as to the results.

I have an Innuos Zenith mk.3 and I have been using an English Electric 8 switch. I recently purchased the Phoenix Net and I experienced a great uplift in sonics all round after placing it into my system.

I do not have an Innuos Phoenix Reclocker though ,so maybe that is why my experience was a little different with trying the Phoenix Net.


@timo62 , I found that with the stock power cord, the PhoenixNET did not seem to provide a significant benefit over not using the PhoenixNET at all.


You had stated in your original post :

"even if it’s pricey considering upgraded power cords, Ethernet cables and USB cables (a must - don’t bother without these upgrades"

In regard to the power cord, what was the sonic difference between the stock power cord for the Phoenix Net and an upgraded cord?

@mahughes The reviewer said it was two particular albums that sounded better on the reviewer’s hard drive, all others sounded better streamed.

If you are interested: Innuos PhoenixNET Review

Not to suggest that pro reviewers should be listened to in general, but my experience was consistent with this particular review.





@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.

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? 

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…

@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….




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.

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.

@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.

While acknowledging the efficacy of both InnuOS reclockers, having an external clock reclock both a switch and the DAC seems a more logical approach. InnUOs makes you buy two clocks and LPSs for the same purpose without actually reclocking the DAC’s DA conversion

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The original release of Sense had a major bug which took several release to sort. Since then it works seamlessly. I’m on the beta with full Tidal integration and it strikes me as ready for release. I’ve flipped back and forth with Roon trials but sense is way ahead sound wise.

@gdnrbob , the PhoenixNET might even make a bigger impact than the PhoenixUSB, for me.  The overall sound has a sort of confidence to it now.  The benefits are totally different from what the reclocker does but together they utterly complement each other.  I can’t even imagine having just one or the other now.  

Good to know - I read that Sense was buggy so never bothered…. Is it better now? I’ll give it a shot.

To be clear, I didn’t find the Zenith to sound bad. Just wasn’t materially better than my Mac Mini with Audirvana…. With the two Phoenix devices my Mac Mini is left in the dust though.

Never thought to look into Sense again. I can’t imagine my source levelling up even higher, I’m a bit afraid to change anything as it’s everything I could want, finally…

What is a SR Purple Fuse, where do I get one, and what do I do with it?

I agree — Sense 2.0 is a real game changer. It’s easily twice as good as Roon. Another tweak that I tried with my Zenith MK3 is the SR Purple fuse. Initially, I was skeptical since I had never replaced any fuse in my other equipment. But a fellow audiophile convinced me that it was worth trying. I couldn’t believe the level of improvement in the sound. It’s like everything got more and bigger — wider soundstage, more separation, more air, and a noticeable improvement in the bass department. 

I can attest to the benefit of the Innuos USB reclocker.

I have been on the fence with regard to the Phoenix NET, but your experience makes me want to try one.


I’m more interested in your initial dissatisfaction with the Zenith. Since the advent of 2.0 and Sense the Zenith sounds way better than the Zenith using Roon. 

@tomcy6 , I read a pro review of the PhoenixNET that claimed that streaming actually sounded better than purchased high-res files “in all but two cases”. The reviewer went on to say that the PhoenixNet could be viewed as a money saving investment with high-res file purchases being no longer needed.

I did a brief comparison of local files and streamed files, and in both cases the streamed version was better. This is not the case without the PhoenixNET.

If only this stuff didn’t cost so much! But I’m very happy with the sound now - I’d just has this rightness to the tone, balance and presentation now.  Makes me feel like no further system tweaks are needed.

I have a friend who is an engineer and doesn’t believe there is any possibility that an Ethernet isolation switch could possibly impact sound. I know how this stuff works and I agree it is mystifying. But I can EASILY hear the difference in blind tests…

NYEV, Thanks for sharing your experience in regard to the Innuos products. I have been very happy with my Innuos Zenith Mk.3.