Innuos Phoenix USB Reclocker: Making Music Rise From Digital Ashes

I had a friend who would chuckle at me every time I put an LP on my turntable.

I would use a soft dust-brush to wipe down the record, then give it a zap with an antistatic gun before I dropped the just-cleaned stylus… this he thought was humorous because of my preoccupation with keeping the album as quiet as possible for playback.

It’s no joking matter for those binary obsessed individuals out there though. This analog ritual is one played out constantly on the digital side of the hobby with various intermediaries performing signal optimization to ensure whatever DAC is receiving this sampled sound wave is getting exactly what was gleaned from that waveform.

Most pass on their ones and zeros through a laptop or PC – perfectly acceptable, but less than ideal from a sonic standpoint because personal computers are not designed and built from the ground up to perform the task of sending along those precious bits with the singleminded intensity of sound quality first.

But there are machines out there whose sole purpose is making sure that the delicate electronic signal is passed along to a DAC as utterly unmolested by electromagnetic interference, electronic noise, shared power supplies, unstable timing from audio-data clocks, thermal inconsistencies or improperly optimized software for dealing with audio specifically.

One such machine is the new $3,149 USD Innuos PhoenixUSB Reclocker. While both USB and Network connections suffer from certain sonic performance issues, USB is is fussed over the most, mostly due to timing issues involved with the chipset’s audio-data clock. Read THIS mini-guide for understanding the job of the clock.

According to Innuos the PhoenixUSB is designed to make sure the integrity of a USB signal being outputted to a connected downstream DAC is as pristine as possible. Featuring a 24MHz OCXO clock, the USB chipset output does not have any switching regulators and possesses no less than three independent linear-power voltage supplies.

For those attending Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this weekend, Innuos will be in Suite 3142 providing A/B demos of the PhoenixUSB.


DH's picture

Such devices aren’t really about jitter/timing of the USB per se. In modern asynchronous USB setups, the DAC clock controls the timing, so if the DAC has a good clock, there’s no timing issue.
Signal integrity is more about the claim that various types of noise conducted along the USB affect the audio SQ at the output of the DAC.
That’s an unproven assertion, btw, no one has ever shown it to actually be true. Only sighted listening indicates that it’s true. Why doesn’t someone test this device and see if the signal coming out of it is “cleaner” than the one going in? Maybe it is, or maybe it isn’t.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Go to Denver and listen yourself. No one is confused here.
Awsmone's picture
Awsmone's picture

I am quite interested in this product between my Meitner DA2 and server

I agree with Rafe, this is an important issue with USB transfer
Jitter can occur where ever bits are transferred in an analog manner such as in USB
It would be possible to look at the digital “eye” of the signal pre and post this device

Will you be reviewing it ?

Everclear's picture

Wonder whether AudioQuest Jitter-bug does something similar or not? :-) .........

Dick James's picture

The JitterBug is a power conditioner that is useful for DACs that run on USB power.

DH is right in that USB retimer/power conditioners are not that useful. If a DAC runs on USB power, then it is filtering the USB power for a lot of money. A JitterBug costs a fraction of what this device costs. If the PC, DAC, and USB cable meet the USB 2.0 or 3.x standard, then they already meet the standard of one errored bit every trillion bits. A self-powered DAC doesn't need a retimer/power conditioner.

agb's picture

Does the same job handily with superb specs. It can also drive certain DACs from its USB power supplies - the Chord Mojo being one.

It would be interesting to test this extraordinary $400 device against one costing over $3000 in a fancy case. the 3.0 also has several power supplies.

And yes, I have tried other USB conditioners/reclockers. The performance of all of them can be measured, and have been.