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Nuforce Icon usb Dac, preamp, headphone amp, power amp ... Everything in one~ - Page 5

post #61 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
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.
Hmm I see. Well I really don't have many intentions on using this as a stand alone amp. What would be a good amp in this price range for some DT770 Pro-80s? (Not to get off topic..I just want to know what the competitors are at this price range).
post #62 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsplice View Post
Hmm I see. Well I really don't have many intentions on using this as a stand alone amp. What would be a good amp in this price range for some DT770 Pro-80s? (Not to get off topic..I just want to know what the competitors are at this price range).
At this price range in a desktop amp with DAC - Travagans White $290 and sounds much better with headphones than Nuforce Icon (no speaker out). You can still use the headphone out as a line out to feed a better amp later.

Without DAC - Travagans Red or Firestone Cute Beyond (the Red is like a Cute beyond but with 5 watt speaker out too, at the same price). You can roll opamps on these 3 desktop amps and improve them even more, but stock is fine.

iBasso D3 is actually close to those for sound and price range, unless you have 600 ohm AKG or Beyer headphones too, then it will sound nice but not as loud. But having just tried it the D3 with 300 ohm HD600 is pretty much just as loud as the Nuforce. And it has line out for the DAC that by-passes the amp section, in case you want to feed it into a better amp.

I have links reviews posted in my public profile under "about me". I am trying to fix some links there, but broken links work if you set head-fi to show 15 posts per page in your options. Also, the Nuforce DAC is still nicely detailed, it's just that the speaker out and pre-amp out are more detailed than the headphone out.
post #63 of 86
I recently purchased the D3 and have not been using my Icon ever since. The DAC in the D3 is better and the headphone amp is better. Both in SQ and power. The D3 is louder playing anything from 32 to 300 ohms.

The amp in the Icon is great for little speakers and some Stax but being a class D amp it is too noisy for headphones.

I am waiting to see how the new Icon portable headphone amp sounds.
post #64 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunneebear View Post
I recently purchased the D3 and have not been using my Icon ever since. The DAC in the D3 is better and the headphone amp is better. Both in SQ and power. The D3 is louder playing anything from 32 to 300 ohms.

The amp in the Icon is great for little speakers and some Stax but being a class D amp it is too noisy for headphones.

I am waiting to see how the new Icon portable headphone amp sounds.
As above, I have to agree with you that if all you want is the headphone out, the D3 is a better choice than the Nuforce Icon. For those who need speaker out and pre-amp out the Nuforce is a good choice because HP out isn't that bad, just not as good.
post #65 of 86
this thing would suck for high impedance headphones, and I'll tell you why:

"Maximum output @32 ohm Load: 31.25mW"

If that's how much it puts out at 32ohms, imagine how little it would put out at 100ohms, let alone 250ohms or 600ohms.

That spec is from:

Nuforce, Inc
post #66 of 86
anyone using the pre amp to drive active speakers?

experiences?
post #67 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by orthikon View Post
anyone using the pre amp to drive active speakers?

experiences?
I have one, but don't use active speakers. I would imagine that it wouldn't make much of a difference though. Really depends on what kind of sound you're trying to achieve, your source, setup, etc...
post #68 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunneebear View Post
No thanks to HeadphoneAddict's set up of his Icon tickling my curiosity. I unpacked my Icon and dug up a old Stax SR-80 Lambda Jr and SRD-4 to see if it would pair up.

The set up is Apple lossless -->DAC707-USB --> Icon speaker out -->SRD-4 adapter --Stax SR-80.
Sound: absolutely mud. Terribly terrible sounding. In this case it was not the fault of the Icon but the old Stax equipment. Okay, out with the Stax.

Next up, same input set up but Icon headphone out to HD600 and SA5000.
Sound: they both sound just wonderful. Almost like a tube, more warm and lush.

Last set up. Removing the DAC707 and run the built in DAC.
Sound: Less forward and direct. Bit less detail then external DAC. Still a wonderful sound. More open and wider sounding and a bit airy.

The airy sound I mentioned in earlier post is not there. The sound is a lot more focused. The Icon has been packed for about 3 weeks. I wonder if the airy sound before was because of being left running for 10 days straight when I was away. I don't know.

Conclusion: I am keeping it and would highly recommend to anyone in need of a all in one amp. 3 ins including USB DAC, 1 out, headphone and speaker amps at a steal of a price.


P.S.
I curse you and thank you Headphone Addict for making me unpack this amp.
I recently acquired an SR-80 and it reminded me of this thread.

I have been using it for over a week with my Nuforce Icon and SRD-7 Pro in my bedroom, and the sound is definitely not "mud" or bad at all. The SR-80 do have a slight midrange bump that is slightly accentuated by the Icon, but that is still fairly present with my maxed Woo GES too. The SR-80/Nuforce remind me a bit of a stock SR-001 Mk2 portable rig, and fairly pleasant sounding.

I am still very happy with my Nuforce after almost a year.
post #69 of 86
Larry, it must be my old SRD-4 adapter versus your SRD-7 PRO and not the Icon itself because it sounds pretty good with other headphones. I kind of guessed early on that the adapter is the weak link but with the big hole in my wallet, I did not want to throw more money in a mothballed headphone. Even if I a better adapter fell in my lap, the set up was just too cumbersome to be useful.
post #70 of 86
I am planning to use the Icon just as a DAC and headphone amp, as I already have an integrated amp.

Would this be the correct connection:

USB --> Icon --> any amp input via RCA?
post #71 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by krnjoejoe View Post
I am planning to use the Icon just as a DAC and headphone amp, as I already have an integrated amp.

Would this be the correct connection:

USB --> Icon --> any amp input via RCA?

As a DAC and headphone amp, the Icon is just mediocre. The sound quality is not bad but it's nothing special either. I still use my Icon on my PC to power some Definitive speakers, better than any pc speakers I know. Any of my portable amps or portable dac/amps has far more power than the Icon for headphone use.
post #72 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunneebear View Post
As a DAC and headphone amp, the Icon is just mediocre. The sound quality is not bad but it's nothing special either. I still use my Icon on my PC to power some Definitive speakers, better than any pc speakers I know. Any of my portable amps or portable dac/amps has far more power than the Icon for headphone use.
Hi there,

Thanks for the reply. I've been reading up a bit more and it seems you are correct. Most of the positive reviews are about the Icons' amplifying ability re speakers. The headphone amp and DAC feature appear to be not bad, but average (although there are many here that praise the headphone amp ability also).

I think I will go for a DacMagic (to pair with my 650A) and a separate headphone amp later on.
post #73 of 86
Complete newbe here so feel free to haze me. I have searched but am feeling overwhelmed. I am trying to set up a basic desktop system that I can use w/ a few different things. I posted this here because it won't allow me to start a new thread.

Objectives: To be able to play lossless music from my macbook pro, Docked Ipod, and a cds from a independent cd player.

Because of its versatility I am looking at the Icon. I was also thinking about pairing it with a pair of Paradigm Atoms v5. Will the Icon be sufficient to drive these speakers?

I also want to get a decent set of headphones. My friend has the AKG 702s that sounded wonderful to me. Will the Icon pair up well with these or should I look at a different headphone amp? Also how would a smaller more portable amp sound with AKGs for when I just want to listen to music when I'm laying in bed away from my main music system?

I am at the biggest loss finding a cd player. I am looking for something cheap and have an old Playstation around and have heard they work well as a cheap but great sounding cd player.

I apologize if this is an incoherent mess but like I said I am overwhelmed with this decision. I am on a budget and the Icon + Paradigms would only run me about $500 together. The headphones will up the cost but I am willing to spend the money for the satisfaction.

Any suggestions? Any direction? My biggest concern is that I'm asking too much from the Icon.

edit to add: I am willing and thinking I should add a seperate headphone amp to my desktop system. This will be my one and only sound system and will need to fill a medium size room. Please head-fi.org, you're my only hope.
post #74 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by winky View Post
Complete newbe here so feel free to haze me. I have searched but am feeling overwhelmed. I am trying to set up a basic desktop system that I can use w/ a few different things. I posted this here because it won't allow me to start a new thread.

Objectives: To be able to play lossless music from my macbook pro, Docked Ipod, and a cds from a independent cd player.

Because of its versatility I am looking at the Icon. I was also thinking about pairing it with a pair of Paradigm Atoms v5. Will the Icon be sufficient to drive these speakers?

I also want to get a decent set of headphones. My friend has the AKG 702s that sounded wonderful to me. Will the Icon pair up well with these or should I look at a different headphone amp? Also how would a smaller more portable amp sound with AKGs for when I just want to listen to music when I'm laying in bed away from my main music system?

I am at the biggest loss finding a cd player. I am looking for something cheap and have an old Playstation around and have heard they work well as a cheap but great sounding cd player.

I apologize if this is an incoherent mess but like I said I am overwhelmed with this decision. I am on a budget and the Icon + Paradigms would only run me about $500 together. The headphones will up the cost but I am willing to spend the money for the satisfaction.

Any suggestions? Any direction? My biggest concern is that I'm asking too much from the Icon.

edit to add: I am willing and thinking I should add a seperate headphone amp to my desktop system. This will be my one and only sound system and will need to fill a medium size room. Please head-fi.org, you're my only hope.
I think that within your budget this would be a good place to start - it should power the speakers fine, and the headphone amp is pretty decent after a couple of days of burn-in. You can always add a nicer headphone amp later, and feed the pre-amp out into that when using the DAC, or stick with the built-in headphone amp and add a subwoofer to the preamp out. Later, if you get a nicer DAC, you can feed that into the Nuforce and hear the improvement in soundstage and micro-detail. I still like and use mine a lot.

If your room was bigger than a "medium" 15 x 10 room, you may need more efficient speakers/horns, or a bigger amp, but 90 dB/watt/m for the Atom 5 is pretty good these days.
post #75 of 86
I already own a Nuforce Icon which I bought to power my speakers. But now I'm interested in buying a pair of headphones in the range 200-300$. I want headphones that doesn't demand to much power from the amplifier. I listen to mostly rock and acoustic music like John Mayer, Dire Straits, pop like Owl city and also some hard rock and metal. But I would mostly like them to fit the acoustic genre.

I have read a lot of threads and I have found these cans interesting:

Denon AH-D2000
Ultrasone HFI780
Beyerdynamic DT770/DT880/DT990
Audio Technica ATH-M50
AKG k701 (need too much power?)

Which will work best with the icon and my taste?

What impedance does the icon handle? For example the Beyerdynamics is available in 32, 80 and 250 Ohms. What would work with the icon?
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