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A Review On: NuForce Icon HD Silver (High Performance Headphone Amp and USB DAC)

NuForce Icon HD Silver (High Performance Headphone Amp and USB DAC)

Rated # 55 in Amp/DACs
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Price paid: $350.00
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Pros: spacious, lucious, detailed sound

Cons: makes poor recordings very obvious

I didn't know things could be this good. Considering the criticism of NuForce, particularly around their uDac2, I doubted if they could make something good. I plugged my AKG's into this unit and the sound was wide and brilliantly detailed. The bass was alive and fantastic. The clarity was amazing. Nothing drowned out anything else (i.e. no bass wiping its snot all over the lower mids). I couldn't believe what I was hearing.


I played all kinds of stuff through this. I think I actually like piano music now because of this thing. I can feal the pianist play the music, instead of just hearing the resonant timbre like I usually perceive it. Also, did you catch how the violins in U2's Bad might actually be violas and are the real deal instead of some loop like I thought they were? How 'bout the fact that Daft Punk's Recognizer from Tron Legacy actually has some studio recorded "bead shakers" and it's not 100% electronic? Everything sounds new again. Oh, and with poorly encoded music, garbage in = garbage out.


I can't tell you what DAC or OpAmp setup they have, but it's impressive synergy. It's the kind of thing that folks like Benchmark charge 3x for... and put it in a bigger box too. I don't talk all audiophile snobbish with subdued language. I prefer to put it out there like this: I really like it a lot.


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