Importance of Music Server
Does the server you connect the Phoenix to matter? I tried a custom music server with LPS, a laptop, and of course the Innuos ZENith SE Mk.2. The short answer is “hell yeah.” Even a laptop powered by only a battery won’t sound nearly as good as a dedicated server with a linear power supply. And by “as good” I mean…it’s a pretty large delta.
That being said, the Phoenix improves the sound coming out of the laptop significantly. Perhaps to the point where it may still be a reasonable purchase after deciding on a DAC (as opposed to buying an expensive server). The greatest improvements are in tone and nuance. The Phoenix fills in the gaps, layers in the texture, and corrects the color of the sound. It’s also much smoother sounding. The enjoyability of the music is taken to a much higher level.