Among the million-watt P.A. systems and 10 million-pixel outdoor digital displays that constitutes most of Hall 7 at ISE 2016 in Amsterdam, music server champion Innuos is quietly readying its second generation of products: Zen mkII.
The range of new Zen music servers is three strong: Zen Mini, Zen and (and you'll like this) Zenith. Each is designed to fulfil a specific perceived need in consumers - although whether or not consumers break down quite as easily as Innuos expects, into 'music lovers', 'serious music lovers' and 'audiophiles', remains to be seen.
Zen Mini is, unsurprisingly, the smallest ripper/server in the range and is designed mainly for multiroom music enthusiasts whose Sonos (or similar) system is seldom off. Zen Mini is designed to use very little power and can be left switched on more-or-less permanently. It will be available with either 1TB or 2TB of storage.
The Zen is a full-size box, with 2TB or 4TB storage options. It's been designed with ultra-low power noise in mind - high-end capacitors, noise regulators, a USB output with a claimed power noise of less than 10 per cent of more prosaic USB designs and an isolated Ethernet port are accompanied by what Innuos is calling a 'medical-grade' mains filter in a drive to keep power noise to a minimum.
Elsewhere, it's packing a quad-core Intel CPU and 4GB of RAM to facilitate rapid performance and a sizeable buffer memory.
Finally, the Zenith takes the whole 'low power noise' obsession to its logical conclusion by using a triple-linear design, providing discrete power to different parts of the system. And the use of either 1TB or 2TB solid-state drive memory reduces noise and power consumption at the same time.
All three Zen mkII models use the company's new innuOS operating system, removing the need for a computer when ripping CDs and curating metadata. InnuOS allows all functionality, including artwork selection and data editing, to be done via a smartphone or tablet.
Third-party compatibility is, sensibly, on the menu, with the Zen mkII range ready to integrated with multiroom systems, music streamers and all manner of DACs, active speakers and so forth. All three are capable of supporting 32-bit/284kHz, DSD256 and MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) when used with a compatible DAC.
The company is not to be drawn on pricing just yet, but by the time the Zen mkII range debuts at the Bristol Sound and Vision Show (February 26th-28th) each product should have a price-tag attached.