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Nuforce HDP - DAC (USB and SPDIF), headphone amp and preamp - Page 3

post #31 of 45
I'm guessing but pretty sure it will be in the same form factor as the Icon, where even the Icon Amp uses a similar case. So, I'd expect a volume knob, input selector and headphone out, just like the Icon, with different inputs and analog output on the back instead of speaker out.
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang View Post
The price has been raised to $499 now, shoot!
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuforce-jason
We expect this product to compete well with DAC+preamp costing 10X its price. No kidding.
Taken from Audiocircle, sure does sound impressive, really hope it lives up to the hype.
post #33 of 45
They have raised the bar really high. Can't wait to read your comments Larry.
post #34 of 45
Quote from Audiocircle.com:

Jason: what DACs you compared to?

Answer: "We never mention competitor's brand. This policy has been around since 2005. This is more of a marketing statement to indicate what we think of HDP's performance. Technology changes rapidly. Who knows, in a few years, some $50 DAC would eat HDP for lunch"
post #35 of 45
No one names competitors when they make such bold claims. Benchmark DAC1 is a little more than 2X the price of HDP, do you really think HDP can touch it?

If HDP competes well for its price, then its all good. Ignore marketing bluff.
post #36 of 45

MINI-Review: FIRST IMPRESSIONS HDP

I do have some "sneak-peak" impressions. Total listening time has been only two hours last night, and tonight I will listen again after a 24 hour break.

I have tried it as a 24/96 USB DAC with some 24/96 hi-res music from HDTracks.com (Nancy Bryan), using very hard to drive 25 ohm 87 dB/mw head-direct HE-5, and 300 ohm 102 dB/mw Sennheiser HD600, and 32 ohm Grado HF-2. I enjoyed the HDP with all of them.

I also tried my very sensitive Westone 3 earphones, and there was no hiss or noise. With these very sensitive IEM, when the volume is turned down close to zero there is a very slight channel imbalance, but one can easily turn it down low enough to go to sleep with music and IEM and not feel like it was too loud in one channel or both.

The HDP manages to drive the inefficient HE-5 better than I would have expected, since these phones usually demand an amp with 2 watt output at 32 ohms. Still, my maxed Woo WA6 can drive the HE-5 decently, and the HDP does similarly well in terms of having enough power to enjoy them. Volume levels will not be earsplitting like with a 2 watt amp, but it does play louder than I like to listen to my music. With HD600 it seems to be a little better match, as well as with the Grado HF-2. I do feel like the HDP needs to burn in a little to open up and become more refined, but fortunately it is NOT bad sounding in any way out of the box. It seems to be tuned for strong tight bass, to my ears, which makes me happy.

I also tried it as a USB DAC preamp with analog out feeding a homebuilt eXStatA electrostatic headphone amplifier and some HE Audio Jade electrostatic headphones. It seems to be a very detailed source, and didn't seem to need a lot of burn-in as a preamp, offering good depth into the music. It's a great choice to drive this particular "stat" amp because the person who built the amp made it with separate left and right volume knobs (he's building me the same amp with a single volume attenuator). So, I could use the HDP's single volume knob to adjust the volume, instead of twiddling with two knobs on the amp.

And, with the stat amp's two volume knobs turned up to maximum, the HDP and amp were silent (at least in my noisy house). This is normally a balanced headphone amp, but it can be driven single ended with a simple RCA to 3-pin XLR adapter, without the need for my input transformer box to convert from SE to balanced. When driven single ended this way, the amp's volume will be about 3 dB lower, while gain remains at 1000. The HDP did not have a problem driving the eXStatA amp to be as loud as it would have been with a higher level XLR balanced input.

I was very pleased to see the 3.5 mm input doing double duty as an optical input. I was afraid the digital would be USB and coax only, and it's fantastic that optical made it in there. I will try the optical and coax as I evaluate the HDP later. I will have more time this weekend to listen to it, and I will let it run 24/7 with my Westone IEM to burn-in in between listening sessions.

EDIT - I haven't planned to post much more until burned in, and then I'll post something in it's own review thread. This a sneak peak to let people get a glimpse of what's ahead. I am testing the prototype as Jason stated here or somewhere else, so I can't post photos because the layout does not match that of the final product, but as I suspected in a previous post the HDP is built around the Icon and Icon amp cases.
post #37 of 45
If you post some pictures of it, they will be the first pictures of it that can be found on the web!

Pictures might be able to answer most of my questions about connectivity of the unit.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang View Post
If you post some pictures of it, they will be the first pictures of it that can be found on the web!

Pictures might be able to answer most of my questions about connectivity of the unit.
The chassis looks the same as the Icon and Icon Amp. It runs on a 45 watt 15v 1.6A PSU like the 24 watt/ch Icon Amp.

AUDIO INPUTS:

USB type-B
3.5 mm mini optical digital / doubles as 3.5 mm analog in (like Macbook)
RCA coax digital
RCA pair for L/R input

AUDIO OUTPUTS:

1/4" headphone in front
RCA pair for L/R output - tied to volume attenuator as a pre-amp
post #39 of 45
Thanks for the info!

So it lost the digital out of the udac so it can't be used as a usb digital output device. Hopefully that means the DAC+analog circuit is good enough that you'd never need to feed it to another DAC.

I wonder how much quality suffers by having a volume attenuator on the RCA out pair, even at maximum volume it's probably not the same as not having that circuitry in the path at all.

It would be interesting to separate this into 3 categories it would be compared against other products. One, as a headphone amp, driven by other sources. Two, as a DAC, driving out to other headphone amps or speakers. And three, as a combo unit, compared to other combo units or high end source/amp pairs. Is it really going to be the giant killer as nuforce claims? We'll see.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang View Post
Thanks for the info!

So it lost the digital out of the udac so it can't be used as a usb digital output device. Hopefully that means the DAC+analog circuit is good enough that you'd never need to feed it to another DAC.

I wonder how much quality suffers by having a volume attenuator on the RCA out pair, even at maximum volume it's probably not the same as not having that circuitry in the path at all.

It would be interesting to separate this into 3 categories it would be compared against other products. One, as a headphone amp, driven by other sources. Two, as a DAC, driving out to other headphone amps or speakers. And three, as a combo unit, compared to other combo units or high end source/amp pairs. Is it really going to be the giant killer as nuforce claims? We'll see.
This is a DAC/preamp, with multiple digital and analog inputs - you kinda need a volume control for a preamp. They use a good quality volume attenuator, so I am not worried about losing anything with it.

I was going to post my review in it's own thread and I'm thinking about posting my comments in a new thread, and later updating post #1 with the full review when it is time. That will free up the discussion of the HDP without it being confined or buried in the sponsor forum.
post #41 of 45
post #42 of 45
Thread Starter 
The price might still change (lower than $499). Stay tune for the good news. It hasn't shipped yet so take the published price as estimate only.
post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonl View Post
The price might still change (lower than $499).
Please
post #44 of 45

The HDP has been reviewed properly on 6moons now and won an award (realsization)!

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/nuforce14/hdp.html

 

James

post #45 of 45

At first it's 400 and now 450 @ amazon. Is there any place cheaper?

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