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Nuforce Icon usb Dac, preamp, headphone amp, power amp ... Everything in one~ - Page 3

post #31 of 86
I know the Nuforce Icon made my SR-Gamma Pro out of the SRD-7 Pro come alive in a way that the SRM-T1S would not. The T1S does the SRX-1 Mk2 well but the T1S could not power the Gamma Pro adequately like the Icon + SRD.

Maybe that is why the Gamma Pros get the reputation that they had if they don't get amped correctly.
post #32 of 86

Upgraded Power Supply

I have a stupid question but here it goes. I saw over at Amazon the upgraded PS is available for the Icon. I understand that it would have an impact if you were driving speakers. However, would the same logic apply the headphones?
post #33 of 86
^ Have no ideal but I have one on order and it has shipped. It seems like a small price to pay for an upgrade. Actually the Icon should put out all the power the SRD could handle normally.
post #34 of 86
^ I would agree that the price is more than reasonable. Are you using the Icon to drive speakers or headphones?
post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew jc View Post
^ I would agree that the price is more than reasonable. Are you using the Icon to drive speakers or headphones?
Right now my use is limited to the SRD-7 Pro and the SR-Gamma Pro headphone. This makes the SR-Gamma Pro sound to me very very good.
post #36 of 86

Some more comparisons - with burn-in seeming to be finished

Sorry if this is a little scatter brained, but I am exhausted.

So far the Nuforce Icon SS amp needed much less burn-in than my other amps (3-12 hours). It still sounds the same as this afternoon, and as it did when I went to bed. I only just started using it for headphones last night, and it sounds very close to my other SS amps now - being very nice sounding and with the advantage of being a better speaker amp than the Travagans Red. The Nuforce now seems to have just a little beefier mid bass/low mids via headphone out than the Apogee mini-dac of Travagans Red.

I still slightly prefer the Red as a headphone amp over the Nuforce, but greatly prefer the Nuforce as a speaker amp over the Travagans, except with electrostatic transformers the Red is also wonderful and they are close to equals. If you plan to drive speakers as much as phones, you might want to consider the NuForce Icon because the Red drives the speakers even when you plug in headphones (so you can plug a powered sub into the headphone out). You have to unplug the speakers from the red to listen to phones alone. The Nuforce cuts the speakers off when a headphone is plugged in, but it has a seperate pre-amp out on the back for the subwoofer - so your sub will keep playing bass while you listen to headphones. So, you'd have to turn off the sub manually when you listen to headphones if you don't want to disturb others.

However, all I had to try out as speakers was the small 2" Travagans speakers which needed a lot of EQ to sound average, or some Velodyne 2-way satellites that were designed to work as part of a 5.1 system with Velodyne subwoofer. So bass was lacking with both sets of speakers, unless I added a small sub I have laying around. Again, using the speaker out to drive Stax headphones sounds great, and it even sounds good driving my $2000 HE60 via Stax SRD-7 Pro transformer. But the Nuforce drives the Velodyne bookshelf satellites much better with more bass, and drives my electrostatics with a little more authority.

Nice features of the Nuforce. It has three inputs and three outputs - it has a USB DAC that I haven't been able to test yet; and has both a 1/8" line input and an RCA line input - plus 12 watts/channel speaker out, pre-amp out, and 1/8" headphone out. However, you can't roll opamps with it.

Nice features of the Red - it is tune-able with opamp rolling and sounds a little tubey with the OPA627 or AD797 opamps, and is a little more SS and airy with the AD743. With the OPA627 it sounded close to my Woo WA6 tube amp, surprisingly. The stock LM4562 opamp is very neutral and crisp and at least with the stock opamps the bass fills in more by about 250-300 hours. I like it with a wide variety of headphones even stock (the RS-1 were the only phones I didn't initially like with it, until it had 250-300 hours on it). It even does a great job driving my $1,500 Edition 9 headphones.

The NuForce Icon headphone out seems to be very close to the level of my Apogee mini-DAC headphone out, and to the Red with upgraded opamps. I am still in the process of evaluating the Nuforce, but in summary - the Travagans Red is probably more versatile in rolling opamps to match the sound to your particular headphones, and the Nuforce is probably the more flexible if you are replacing you speaker amp and also need a USB DAC (while still having a nice rich tubey headphone out, although you can't change the sound).

My take is that I can't part with either amp. I would not be complete without the NuForce speaker out into SRD-7 pro to make my HE60 punchier with more bass. On the other hand, my SR-003 absolutely love the Travagans Red when driven by speaker out thru SRD-7 pro, gaining more extension in the bass and treble with a good balance to the mids (not too forward, and not rolled off).
post #37 of 86
Larry have you had an opportunity to listen to either of these amps with the HD600? If so do you have a preference? Thanks….
post #38 of 86
Posted in the parallel thread on the NuForce S-1.
post #39 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew jc View Post
Larry have you had an opportunity to listen to either of these amps with the HD600? If so do you have a preference? Thanks….
I am still in the process of evaluating the Nuforce. I still have to do the HD600 and Edition 9. But, both were good with D2000 and RS-1 as posted above. The Red was very good with HD600, with the volume knob typically at 3-4 o'clock.

Going off topic re: HD600 and amp synergy. The DV336i and WA6 are both better with the HD600 than the Red, but the Red didn't let me down. Of course neither of those tube amps include speaker out. I know Ken Ball says his WA6 headphone out is better than his Dared MP5, which is a tube headphone amp with speaker jacks.

Just give me a little more time to get through my headphone collection with the Nuforce. And, I still have to test it's USB DAC. It's all a work in progress, and I've been listening to headphones in the order of requests. Well, not entirely true, I did listen to the Nuforce Icon with my Yamaha HP-1 orthodynamic, and they sounded very good (possibly as good as the HP-1 driven by the WA6).
post #40 of 86
Larry please take all the time you need. You do such great work! I'm still kicking around choices for my HD580's. I thought it would be easy but it is not. It just stinks because I have the cash burning a hole in my pocket right now.
post #41 of 86
Quote:
The travagans Red with AD743 opamps is only slighty ahead, while the green doesn't quite match the micro-detail and ambience due to it's DAC not being as good as the Apogee.
Headphone, thx, you may have saved me $200

I eagerly await your review of the DAC/USB on the Nuforce! But what you have said so far has been very thorough and has answered most of my questions as to regards of comparisons with other models.
post #42 of 86
Excellent reviewing! I use the Icon with a pair of Edition 9s recabled with Jena 18AWG and Im very happy with it, although I think the 9s sound fantastic right out of the jack of my macbook pro.
post #43 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by perrew View Post
Excellent reviewing! I use the Icon with a pair of Edition 9s recabled with Jena 18AWG and Im very happy with it, although I think the 9s sound fantastic right out of the jack of my macbook pro.
I have always said the UE9 can make anything sound good. It scales everything you use with it up.
post #44 of 86
Headphone addict1

have you finished testing the DAC on the nuforce and will you be doing a review of it. Sure would appreciate hearing how it fares...
post #45 of 86
Still trying to figure out why the DAC plays so much quieter than the 1/8" mini jack line in from the Apogee mini-DAC...
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