The same singer's "Trøllabundin" features a single vocal line isolated amidst a vast hauntingly dark landscape filled with mellow but steady drums. The fidata's character is why this recording made its way to the mandatory music list I've since used to evaluate audio products. Still, versus the Statement it had this specific track weaker in the bass, grainier and Eivor's voice more distant, veiled and embedded in less air. The Innuos remained faithful to the song's familiar core yet kept bass beats better controlled, pushed more air my way, had finer clearer image outlines and was overall more meticulous so tiered higher. On music where shove, immediacy, accuracy, timing and spatial scale are key, the Statement was clearly more energetic and dynamically gifted than the Fidata – just as the ZENith Mk3 had been before it.

The more swaps I got under my belt, the more the Statement impressed with its instant gear changes to match repertoire that demands a more suave, delicate and resonant touch. The zippy ZENith Mk3 didn't and my mellow fidata runs out of steam when raw horsepower is mandatory so the Statement now combined/amplified their best features. This sonic correctness, fine balance, insight and performance equality regardless of music type wasn't comparable to any other streaming product I'm familiar with. My reference emerged from this even more system specific than before. Without doubt it remains synergistic in systems which are very quick, ethereal and texturally frugal but to my ears the far more universal Statement will perform very well in any type system I can imagine. Although the full iFi stack morphed some of fidata's fat into muscle tissue, even past this extensive liposuction and adrenaline injection the big Innuos remained a fair bit ahead.

Just as the ZENith Mk3 before it, I still had to exploit the Statement as a Roon Core device against its own software. So its USB output disengaged to make room for a regular CAT5 cable and my DAC's Roon Bridge module instead of its own Amanero USB input. Differences between InnuOS and Roon will list the former's software optimizations and memory management to allocate 4GB of RAM to playback buffering and avoid data readout from the internal SSD. The ZENith Mk3 with its own OS had been more fluent with a darker backdrop, a touch heftier and less mechanical. The Statement pushed this further to render Roon's own engine matte, grainy and dynamically constrained thus inferior to InnuOS + iPeng 9. For the ZENith Mk3 I'd most likely use Roon for its convenience and then reasonably small sonic penalty. With the Statement I'd rely on its own software due to its bigger lead over Roon.

Several months back I'd called out the Innuos ZENith Mk3 as the most accomplished of its kind and a fine example for how to turn inaccessible geeky streaming hardware into a friendly and versatile audiophile package nicely styled. Based on the same platform, now the Statement fit the same profile but managed to impress me substantially more where it matters most. It's why this review is about to finish in red. The Innuos Statement ticks off all functional boxes without buttons or displays yet its utilitarian bling-free visuals score as high in my book as does its build quality. One can easily tell that this is no toy. Neither does it feel or sound like one. Fully embedded Roon, broad cross compliance with other devices, hassle-free operation and on-board ripping form quite the arsenal of utilities while keen execution of all tasks, nearly instant readiness and rock-solid stability imply thorough engineering

Although the Innuos Statement might seem like just a minorly hot-rodded ZENith Mk3 with too few tweaks to charge nearly thrice, it's priced rather astutely. It's the sonic impact of those additions which truly counts. The standalone PhoenixUSB gets €2'499 and stands tall as the most effective USB reclocker I know so today's internal augmentation with this highly effective circuit plus its parallel version for Ethernet make for easy math. Machined aluminium cases and a linear power supply designed by a specialist can't sell for peanuts either. Most importantly, these measures combined turn out meaningful enough to have sonic performance eclipse my Japanese reference by a very undeniable lead. Hence this award.