I’m the biggest luddite ever. I play records 85% of the time. The rest of the time I’m tooling around Tidal checking out all kinds of music. I have a couple music servers at the shop but they’re tweaky and temperamental. They’re not entirely intuitive and don’t offer Tidal.
I was looking around for a music server that had all the kinks ironed out. It’s been a few years since I’ve taken a gander. Frankly, I felt the same way I did when the format (aka Fadmat) wars were going on with VHS vs. Beta, SACD vs. DVD-A, etc. I really didn’t give a damn. I was tired of being a guinea pig. I would just roll my eyes and flip the record. Redbook CD’s were just fine when it wasn’t offered on vinyl.
What I found was a company based out of Portugal called Innuos. They offer three models, basically a good (zenmini mk.2), better (zen mk.2) and best (zenith mk.2). I decided on the middle one to test the waters. The Zen mk2 arrived after I chatted up the US distributor Mark Sossa of Well Pleased Audio. I met Mark at Axpona last year and knew immediately he was one of the “good guys”. The brands he represents are excellent and have that “think outside the box” ethos. The Zen comes with 2TB of storage and the “myinnuos” platform. It was easy right out of the box. I did have to mess around with my network by doing the “unplugging and plugging it back in” method. It didn’t seem to like my fancy CAT5 cable either. The cable it comes with is fine. I used the USB input on my Heed Abacus DAC and started ripping a few CD’s and playing files off my other music servers which the Zen found instantly.
Then I squeegeed my third eye…
Roon is a subscription based platform that takes ALL of your music and organizes it in one manageable place making everything seamless. The Innuos machine came with a free 60 day trial. I have to say, I’m hooked! The setup was easy and before I knew it, I had everything at my fingertips. Tidal is offered through the Roon software.
This is the future!
This is what I’d always hoped computer audio was going to become. Streaming great quality music is only going to get better as everything is switching over to fiber optics enabling faster streaming capabilities.
Am I giving up playing records? GAWD NO! There are pros and cons to both formats. As much content that Tidal and Spotify have, they still don’t have a vast majority of music that will only be found on vinyl. Now I can listen to tons of new music and then go buy the record if I really like it.