So far, I'm pretty impressed. The presentation is very neutral, just like the other NuForce products I've heard.
I'm listening with my (somewhat new) dual-driver Klipsch Custom 3's and it's doing a good job driving them cleanly. Here are some specific thoughts:
The Sound - Dutch Radio Recordings (live alternative, WMA Lossless)
Really brings out the raw nature of this recording, I can hear the different instruments pretty clearly and the nuances of when the lead singer is stressing his voice. The drums have good "slam" but this recording doesn't have a ton of deep bass so can't comment on that.
Strauss - Ein Heldenleben (classical, WMA Lossless)
Decent sense of space, but doesn't really have the same life that this recording does through my other Headroom amp (which costs 10x what the Nuforce does). Nice spread in the orchestra, full range sound. Feels like I'm sitting way back and above the performers.
Air - Pocket Symphony (electronica, WMA Lossless)
Maybe a bit harsh, sounds a little compressed. The synths don't sound warm, lush, analogue-like.
MP3's are actually pretty decent, but I still find myself at lower listening volumes as they seem subtly harsh. Garbage in garbage out...
We'll see if anything changes with more time on the amp and the 'phones. So far, so good but it's no giant-killer. At the current sale price of roughly $90 shipped it's worth having one of these just for the size and convenience and a definite upgrade from the stock headphone connection in the computer.
What pmp are you using to drive the Icon? Also, how's the fit and finish? I assume the case is made of plastic. Does the thumbwheel for volume feel sturdy?
I noticed they are coming out with an adapter in mid December that allows the use of the line out on an iPod with a mini to mini cable. That should kick things up a notch if you don't have a LOD cable.
I just ordered one myself and they shipped it today. Hopefully, I'll get it on Monday...
I just picked up some DT 770/80 Pro's. I haven't listened to them yet, but I think I'm probably gonna need an amp. I was wanting a portable with a DAC, but most are out of my price range. This one is priced pretty reasonably. If you guys all think it is a good buy, then I might have to pick one up myself. Does anybody know if this amp would pair well with the DT 770/80's? Awaiting some more reviews. Thanks to all that are taking the time to share their input with us.
My Icon Mobile should get here tomorrow and the first thing I'm goiing to pair it with will be my new DT880's (already Burned in) which are 250 ohm so they should drive similar to your 770/80 Pro's if yours are a similar Impedence. They have so many different models. Some with low and some with high impedence, It's had to remember which is which.
I am not reviewing the amp until I have 200-300 hours on it. But I want to warn people that it will need burn-in, so they aren't disappointed with the sound right out of the box. Many of the amps I have reviewed didn't sound impressive out of the box but became wonderful amps after burn-in, including iBasso D2 Viper, RSA Predator, iBasso D2 Boa, Vivid Tech V1, iBasso D1, etc... So, out of the box via the USB DAC the Nuforce Mobile sounded a bit like the Macbook headphone out or 5.5G iPod video - nice but not impressive with ATH-ESW10 headphones.
After 3-4 minutes of checking the sound I went away and left it playing music, and came back to it 6 hours later (2 hours ago) to listen again. Those 6 hours of burn-in with music made a noticeable difference, and the sound definitely cleaned up a bit. The sound does not suffer when compared to my iBasso D2 Boa, although it remains a more forward sounding amp than the iBasso and is likely closer to the Meier Headsix in that regard. I have not tried analog input, nor any of my earphones for portable, as I am not ready for my review.
This is a premature post. I didn't really plan to post anything until my review was done, but I felt that this needed to be said. And that is that this amp is clearly going to change some over the next couple of hundred hours, and I don't want to say any more till my review other than to reassure you that it doesn't suck.