When you add a quiet server to your HiFi you dispense with aggravating noisy and insidious electrical noise of PC peripheral type NAS drives, built for computers which aren’t designed to be electrically quiet for audio. Noise gets into the HiFi like, well… just like eating a lot of spicy food can mess with your sense of taste…when I was in Mexico last summer I was listening to a lot of Michael Bolton. 😉 So to the new Innuos PhoenixUSB reclocker…
Innuos does this so well with its one stop shop approach to streaming, CD ripping and HiFi servers. Roon too! ; The Zen Mini, Zen, Zenith and Statement. Innuos are from Portugal not Japan by the way…
(Interview with Stephen Healy of Innuos & Sound Impressions)
I thought the Innuos Zenith a revolution in quiet servers which, in a good HiFi or headphone system is very worthwhile. So much so that I bought one.
But the aim of the PhoenixUSB reclocker is to elevate sound of USB audio. USB in from your source and USB out to your DAC. Simples, and anyone can connect this unit up. No worries. But it is modular in the sense you can add it to your other Innuos components or otherwise and it allows an upgrade path.
The PhoenixUSB comprises a USB regenerator where the incoming signal is rebuilt, a linear power supply for the regenerator and a master clock with its own linear power supply. Timing the data to the DAC is important to the extent of reducing jitter. Misrepresentations in the timing of the signal cause distortion in the analogue output of your DAC, hence the use of an OCXO clock and the market offering of PhoenixUSB.
At Bristol 2020 they used the below set up and were allowing A/B comparisons – with and without PhoenixUSB. I thought the difference with the Innuos PhoenixUSB decent, as I said in my video; bass elevation and widening depth and width to soundstage were most evident. But use with an improved HiFi, I’d expect and hope for better things, as the headphones used were relatively modest considering the great Chord Hugo TT2 DAC and Zenith Mk3 in use.
Possibly you’d need a serious system to make PhoenixUSB pay – hopefully it will be turning silver to audio gold rather than gilding the lily but with some ATC SCM40A active 3-way floor-standers I currently have and my Zenith Mk2, that would be a combination to salivate over! Go on Innuos, you know you want too….
$3149, £2249, EUR2499
Test System at Bristol 2020
- Innuos Zenith Mk3 Server – £2,999 (1TB model)
- PhoenixUSB Reclocker – £2249
- Chord Hugo TT2 DAC – £3,995
- Dan Clark Aeon 2 Headphones – £800
- 2 X Chord Epic 1m USB Cables – £800 (pair)