Nucleus vs. Innuos ZENith mkII as Roon Server

I have heard great things for the Innuos Zenith mkII. Compare it to Nucleus as a Roon Server - I know that it can also be a player / endpoint with Roon, plus disc ripping capabilities. Is there any advantage vs. the Nucleus?

I see it has triple linear power supplies built in, each powers different parts of the circuits, has 1 tb of SSD disc, and Ethernet audio output to hook up a streamer via Ethernet.

Has nyone tried them side by side? As a Roon Core that is.


Obvious advantages of the Innuos are what you’ve stated: disc ripping, audio outputs built-in, and that it comes with storage.

The big issue is with the CPU. The CPU in the Innuos Zenith mkII is below the specification we suggest for Roon. The result is limited library size, limited DSP functionality, and slower searches/focuses/loads/etc… Nucleus meets our suggested specifications, and Nucleus+ greatly exceeds them.

Innuos has an option to turn off the Core and just use it as an audio/storage/cdripping device. The CPU issue disappears if turn off the Core feature, but then you can’t compare it to the Nucleus.

There are Roon members that use the Innuos for audio/storage/cdripping and use a Nucleus for the Roon Core all in a single setup. For example, @alex_wood posted that he uses the Innuos for CD ripping and a Nucleus for the Roon Core:

Thanks for pointing out the CPU issue. I missed that.

As for CD ripping, a Bluesound Vault II can do the same for much cheaper

It’s all about personal choice.These two items have specific purposes in my world and I am happy to say, those are filled excellently

As a Roon server the Nucleus would be much better. The J1800 in the Innuos is very under powered for Roon.

As a player the Innuos would be better because of their linear power supplies.

But the Innuos makes a very expensive player especially if you don’t need CD ripping.

I would personally recommend keeping the server and the player separate for many reasons. Get a network to USB player such as our microRendu or one of the other network players out there.

And get a good dedicated Roon server with plenty of CPU power. I would suggest a NUC (i3, or i5 running ROCK), sonicTransporter i5, or a Roon Nucleus.

You will get better sound from having a dedicated player. You can use multiple players and and single server if you have multiple listening areas and you can upgrade your server and players separately.


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