This review first appeared in the April 2017 issue of high-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this Innuos review in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Innuos - Ed

Ralph Werner
VPI Scout II with VPI JMW 9T arm and Denon DL-103R (MC), Transrotor Figaro (MC), Dynavector DV-20X2H (High-output-MC) and Shelter 201 (MM) cartridges, BMC Audio MCCI phono stage, Audiodata MusikServer, Auralic Aries, Readynas Duo NAS-Server, HP Notebook, iFi iPurifier II
: Luxman DA-06
Amplification: Octave HP300 with MC phono preamp, Musical Fidelity M8 700m amplifier, Denon PMA-2010AE integrated
Loudspeakers: Blumenhofer Acoustics Genuin FS 1 Mk2
Cables: fis Audio Studioline and Premiumline Lifetime, Ascendo tripwire, Dynamikks Speakerlink, Ecosse ES 2.3, Zu Audio Libtec, Vovox, Wireworld Series 7 Starlight Gold coaxc, Aqvox USB
Power delivery: fis Audio Black Magic
Equipment support: Creaktiv Trend 3
Room size: 30m², ceiling 3.4m
Review component retail: €2'699 

Can one call it stealth design when four facets mix it up on a component face plate? Perhaps that overstates but I must admit, this design trick did add dynamic flair to disguise an otherwise plain black box. Here's looking at you, kid: the Zenith MkII music server/player, current flagship of Innuos, a brand still new to our domestic German market. Founded in the UK by two Portuguese in 2009, their HQ has since returned home to Faro/Portugal, an area which holiday makers to Agarve will know since it houses the region's airport. Innuos offer two other models, the €850 Zenmini and the €1'800 Zen.

My pleasingly solid and well-finished loaner brooked zero confusion on matters of use. Aside from the standby switch, the faceted fascia only showed the slot of the internal Teac drive for CD rips. The lid carried the company emblem and things got busier only in the back: power IEC plus mains switch, 2 x USB-A (DAC plus back-up drive perhaps) and 2 x Ethernet (router, network player). Done.

Translated, no Toslink or coaxial S/PDIF output, no Bluetooth, no WiFi like B.M.C. Audio's Mini Media offers. Querying Innuos' product specialist Emanual Ey—after all, some listening rooms have no wired LAN—he explained that unlike a renderer, a music server deserved a wired connection to distribute whole-house data reliably. Also, WiFi injects ultrasonic noise into the machine to compromise its sonics as something Innuos would never accept – a dogmatic if familiar reply.

Hardware. During unpacking and setup, you begin to suspect that you've been shipped a small amplifier like the recently reviewed Creek Evolution, not a server. At 9kg, this is quite the buff deck. Bonnet popped, the culprit revealed itself as a 160VA toroidal power transformer. The Zenith runs off an old-school linear power supply that's reportedly overspec'd by a factor of ten. It does not follow fashion with a potentially noise-emitting switcher.