Yes, I’ve read elsewhere that the Phoenix will take you 85% of the way to the Statement and I don’t think that’s too far off. Having heard both it’s certainly understandable. What I would say is that it’s only true if the rest of your system is working as it ought though. If something isn’t quite right you’ll soon know about it.
I own both the Zen Mini with Power supply and Phoenix USB, and the Zenith MK 3 (without the Phoenix USB). As they are 2 different systems, I didn't bother to make the comparisons, as I get tired of moving equipment and cables around.
What I can say is the Phoenix USB did make a noticeable difference in sound quality, for the better. I really should move it to the Zenith and see if it does the same.
Considering the sizable price increase between the Zenith and Statement, and the fact that some reviewers find it not a significant upgrade, would give me pause.
In fact, I ended up moving up the DAC chain and got a Brinkmann Nyquist II to replace the Ayre QB-9 Twenty. It was quite significant upgrade in sound reproduction.
I have no doubt that Innuos believes it's Statement is as good as they believe it to be. But, the amount that it will 'improve' your system is dependent upon you are using, as well as how good your hearing is.
@gdnrbob, the Statement was originally not on my radar for the reasons you described. It’s a lot of money for not a lot of improvement (over Zenith Mk3 + PhoenixUSB). I was hoping in this thread to get a bit more anecdotal comments on this difference, however small.
However, it’s the demo of the Statement with Next Gen Power Supply that caught my attention. In the videos from the 2022 Munich HiFi show you can clearly hear the benefit of the Statement Next Gen over the old Statement. Even on my iPhone speakers I can hear the difference. I know this doesn’t come close to real life comparisons, but the point is the difference is drastic enough that I can hear the difference on YouTube over my phone. I imagine the difference is much larger in person.
Certainly not anything to go by, but the descriptions from media that were present make the new PSU for the Statement sound really interesting. Based on all this my guess is it would be a big leap up from Zenith Mk3 + PhoenixUSB.
The other reason the Munich HiFi show Innuos demo caught my attention is that they used the same amp and I think DAC as I have, for the Statement and Statement Next Gen comparison: Gryphon Diablo 300 with internal DAC module (I believe this is what they demonstrated as there is no other DAC visible in the sparse setup). The fact that Innuos didn’t feel the need to show with fancier DAC’s could be indicative of the fact that this setup doesn’t bottleneck the benefits offered by Statement Next Gen.
The Gryphon Diablo 300 DAC module I believe is a $6k add-on. It’s known to be a very good DAC that has a slightly weightier or “live” character that is synergistically matched with the Diablo 300 amplifier (according to pro reviews but I concur). I see the Statement next-gen as a potential way to retain what I like about my DAC while boosting the quality of its output. In a very long while when I can hopefully afford it, that is!
@gdnrbob one more thing - since you have a premium DAC with your Zenith, it’s quite possible that the PhoenixUSB may not make as much of a difference. DACs if that caliber may be more resilient to incoming jitter, and possibly noise as well. It would be an interesting experiment to try your PhoenixUSB with your Zenith and Brinkmann, I would think. If you don’t hear a big improvement, that would speak volumes on how effective your DAC is. It’s also possible moving to something like the Statement could make less of an impact than when paired with a lesser DAC like mine (which could be why Innuos selected my DAC for their Munich s Statement Next Gen demo). All just loosely formed conjecture on my part.