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Nuforce Icon usb Dac, preamp, headphone amp, power amp ... Everything in one~ - Page 4

post #46 of 86
Well, I had "sound-check turned on in iTunes and it was cranking the volume down on the USB DAC of the NuForce. Switching from the Nuforce DAC to the line in with the CD player would result in about a 12db jump up in volume. I turned off "soundcheck" and got about 6db more volume out of it.

However, it still appears the Apogee mini-DAC is putting out a very powerful signal out of the line out, so with the CD player through the Apogee DAC into Nuforce, I will have the volume at 12 o'clock with my Yamaha HP-1 orthodynamic. But with the internal DAC I need to put the volume at 2 o'clock when driven by my Macbook USB with iTubes and all digital volumes turned up to max. So, still about a 6db difference in lower volume through the Nuforce DAC.

I played the same lossless CD via iTunes and the CD player, and switched back and forth, matching the volume in the process. I would have to drop the volume to 12 or up to 2 when switching back and forth. The NuForce DAC sounds a lot like my iBasso D2 DAC/Amp, with similar detail and ambience, so it seems to be very good. It is slightly below the Apogee or Pico or iMod via V-caps, but not enough to interfere with the enjoyment or immersion in the music.

At this point I am really liking the Nuforce as a headphone amp, very much. I highly recommend it - it seems to drive ALL of my headphones well, including HD600, D2000, RS-1, Yamaha HP-1, Edition 9, etc... They could be charging twice as much money and I would still buy one.
post #47 of 86
I have confirmed the USB DAC is just as loud as my iMod using v-cap dock plugged into the RCA line inputs - so it is just the Apogee is particularly loud, and not a problem with the USB DAC being at a lower volume than line-in.

I was actually able to switch between the CD player running through the Apogee and into the 1/8" line input, the iMod running through v-cap dock into the RCA line inputs, and the USB DAC being fed from the Macbook, WITH THE SAME MUSIC. Switching back and forth, the CD though Apogee mini-DAC is slightly better than the iMod, and the Apogee and iMod both have a little more micro-detail and space around the instruments than the Nuforce DAC, as I stated above. But Skylab and I have both agreed in other threads that the iMod with v-caps sounds better than ALL of my USB DAC, so no big surprise. If the iMod is using a small portable iMod LOD with small blackgate caps, all the USB DAC give it a much bigger fight and seem to be on par with each other.

I am very impressed with the Nuforce that it doesn't sound bad in such strong company.
post #48 of 86
What can i say? The nuforce has completely redeemed itself! It wasn't bad to begin with, but having tested it pretty thoroughly, HeadphoneAddict, it appears to meet its competition, and for the price, does a hell of a lot better :-)
post #49 of 86
To Headphone Addict -

How would you compare the NuForce Icon as a headphone amp to the Darkvoice 336i? Im running my darkvoice from a line out ipod, and am looking to run the Icon from my computer via usb dac. (im buying the icon originally for stats)


another question, can the Icon be used as a external sound card, converting without pre-amping
post #50 of 86
I still prefer the DarkVoice 336i over the Nuforce, but you can use the Nuforce pre-amp out to drive the DarkVoice 336i, and use the Nuforce DAC and computer as the source. The Icon can be used as a USB Sound card, with 3 outputs being speaker, pre-amp line out on the rear, and headphone out on the front.

Because of how well the DV336i does with my Edition 9, I just moved it back up from the basement to my bedside rig, feeding it from my HR Micro DAC, while the Nuforce is in my main rig driving my HE60 baby orpheus stats via an SRD-7 Pro. I think that says a lot for both of them!

The 336i with the right tubes sounds like a amp twice it's price, and I love it. I have the 336i tuned to sound very good with my D2000 and Edition 9 and HD600 and Yamaha HP-1, using (JAN CRC RCA 6AS7G and Sylvania VT-231). With those tubes it is not as great for my Grado RS-1 and HF-1, making them a little too bright and thin, but I can use a Tung Sol 5998 with Hytron 5692 brown-base and it is great with the Grados. I do think the Nuforce is better with my Edition 9 than the WA6, but the DV336i is even better. (I only just now got 2 more pair of 6DE7 tubes to try in the WA6 with the Edition 9 soon).

Basically, the way it is set up, the Nuforce is "nice" with everything and "excels" at driving my stats like HE60 and Stax Lambda Signature. The WA6 "excels" with everything except the Edition 9 which sound only "fair" with the WA6. And the 336i "excels" with the Edition 9 and sounds "great" with everything else except being just "fair" with my Grados (unless I roll tubes). Nice is better than fair, great is better than nice, and excels beats everything.
post #51 of 86
Thanks, I feel alot better about using this combo now. I will be using a SRD-7pro/NuForce Icon combo to power Lambda Pros, and am excited to have my first electrostatic experience with such a great system.

Your sure the Darkvoice wont blow up if its being pre-amped by a speaker amp?
post #52 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchess of York View Post
Thanks, I feel alot better about using this combo now. I will be using a SRD-7pro/NuForce Icon combo to power Lambda Pros, and am excited to have my first electrostatic experience with such a great system.

Your sure the Darkvoice wont blow up if its being pre-amped by a speaker amp?
There is a 1/8" jack on the back of the Nuforce with a line level pre-amp signal, you don't feed the 336i from the speaker terminals!
post #53 of 86
I just received my icon, It sounds incredible paired with my Lambda pros, but I walked in the room on the first day I had it hooked up and it was smoking. There was a bad smell around the amp and I turned it off and left town for the weekend. It seems to work fine now, but I was curious if anyone else has experienced something similar. The amp was on for about 5 hours continually.
post #54 of 86
I have not heard of an experience like that with the Nuforce and wouldn't know where to begin without consulting the manufacturer. In my mind, smoke is never good.
post #55 of 86
From what you described the smoke is not a good thing. I would make the arrangements to send it back. I'm sure Nuforce will take care of you. I will most likely be pulling the trigger tomorrow on this amp.
post #56 of 86
I may have missed it, but how do you like your D2000 out of the NuForce, HeadphoneAddict? I was thinking of grabbing the Glow Audio Amp One, but I might get an Icon instead. Cheaper, and supposedly quite good for the price.
post #57 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by [S]uds View Post
I may have missed it, but how do you like your D2000 out of the NuForce, HeadphoneAddict? I was thinking of grabbing the Glow Audio Amp One, but I might get an Icon instead. Cheaper, and supposedly quite good for the price.
See post #46

Quote:
At this point I am really liking the Nuforce as a headphone amp, very much. I highly recommend it - it seems to drive ALL of my headphones well, including HD600, D2000, RS-1, Yamaha HP-1, Edition 9, etc... They could be charging twice as much money and I would still buy one.
That was with the Apogee mini-DAC feeding the 1/8" input via Jenna Labs cryowire interconnect with Canare F12 interconnects. The D2000 sound good and I like the way the Nuforce kinda fills in the slightly recessed mids on mine without making them sound too forward. Using the Internal DAC it doesn't play as loud, but that affects the HD600 more than the D2000.
post #58 of 86
I actually had my NuForce Icon smoke as well. It turns out that the speaker amp section was messed up.

Anyhow, I would check all the sections of the Icon - Preamp functionality, DAC functionality and speaker amp functionality.

Jason at NuForce was extremely quick at sending out a replacement to me and its been running perfectly since. NuForce has great customer service and I have nothing but praises for them.

Good luck!

~G
post #59 of 86
Anyone else purchase this amp since this last post? I'm about to pull the trigger on it. It sounds like a great amp, and I'm going to choose this over the iBasso D3 simply because I'd rather deal with a domestic company rather than doing an overseas transaction. Plus I'm borrowing my dad's NuForce Ref9 V2's at the moment, and they are fantastic amps. I would expect excellent quality from the Icon-1 as well.
post #60 of 86
The Nuforce Icon is MUCH better as a speaker amp than as a headphone amp. And it is a great little integrated amp with 3 inputs (USB, RCA, 3.5mm) and 3 outputs (12 watt, 3.5 mm preamp, and 3.5 mm headphone). Even the Pre-amp out sounds better than the headphone out and is on par with the speaker out - very detailed and natural and transparent. The preamp out does not seem to degrade the signal passing through the Nuforce and going into other amps.

The Icon headphone out is not bad, but it is slightly veiled and more on the level of an iBasso D2 Boa, rather than as good as the iBasso D3/Pico/Predator. It is a little below the Travagans Red now that I have spent more time with it, but I use mine as speaker amp to drive my SRD-7 Pro electrostatic transformer and it beats the Red in that capacity without question. The bass is more commanding and it controls the drivers better.
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