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REVIEW (in progress) - Nuforce HDP 24/96 USB-Optical 24/192 Coax DAC Preamp and Headphone Amp - Page 2

post #16 of 1630
Quote:
Originally Posted by eneloquent View Post
Not to add to much to the clamoring horde, but I wanted to second this with a more specific angle.

I'm curious as to a comparison of its driving abilities. If the uDac didn't have quite enough muscle to really push some of the more inefficent cans (i.e. 300ohm Senns), is the HDP enough of a step up to make an audible difference, to act as an adequate substitute for a dedicated SS amp (like a Caliente?) I'm assuming so, but I'd like your opinion on this gap specifically, if you have the time to do so.

uDac
Power output: 80mW x 2 @ 16-Ohm

HDP
Headphone Output: 6.3mm headphone output jack drives headphones up to 600-Ohm (80 mW@600-Ohm)
I'm actually more interested in the opposite scenario . How do the HDP and uDac compare as a preamp when using a dedicated amp?

Please address both situations. Thanks
post #17 of 1630
Larry, you clearly have your work cut out for you with this one - you need to make it all things to all men AND convince Jason that cheapskate Head-Fiers cant possibly afford a $499 amp. As one of those cheapskates, I accept that Jason has to make a profit on this thing - I just want him to make the shipping date. The 499 price might actually improve my chances of getting one before the dreaded 'Out of Stock' icon appears on the product page.

Thanks in advance for the review. As I posted elsewhere, my decision will largely be based on your review, and I suspect that many others feel the same way - no pressure, dude
post #18 of 1630
Jeez you guys, how about you let him finish his initial impressions and writeup before piling on.
post #19 of 1630
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kostalex View Post
Is it possible to feed HDP DAC output to external amp (WooAudio 3 in my case) and then back to HDP audio input (from WooAudio 3 preamp output in my case)? If I plug headphones to HDP then, I would have kind of hybrid amp.
No, you can't do this because only one input can be active at one time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eneloquent View Post
Not to add to much to the clamoring horde, but I wanted to second this with a more specific angle.

I'm curious as to a comparison of its driving abilities. If the uDac didn't have quite enough muscle to really push some of the more inefficent cans (i.e. 300ohm Senns), is the HDP enough of a step up to make an audible difference, to act as an adequate substitute for a dedicated SS amp (like a Caliente?) I'm assuming so, but I'd like your opinion on this gap specifically, if you have the time to do so.

uDac
Power output: 80mW x 2 @ 16-Ohm

HDP
Headphone Output: 6.3mm headphone output jack drives headphones up to 600-Ohm (80 mW@600-Ohm)
As far as the driving ability specs, I think they were stressing or implying that the intended market for the uDAC is the computer-source/IEM people (or with easy to drive phones); whereas the HDP is aimed at the stand alone source/computer/full size phone market which demands more power. So far it seems both DAC/amps are suited for the typical or most commonly used IEM and full size phones, at least among those I posted that I have tried). I don't believe that phones like the HE-5, K1000 and 600 ohm AKG K240M (or highly dampened modded orthodynamic phones) are in the uDAC's target market.

Thus, the uDAC is considerably less powerful than the HDP with the very inefficient 25 ohm HE-5 that require large current reserves and power, and the uDAC barely gets by driving the HE-5 while the HDP actually drives them to levels similar to the WA6 (which is very adequate but still not enough for blasting).

The uDAC will play the more efficient 32 ohm HF-2 louder than it can the HE-5, but it will still clip much sooner with the HF-2 than the HDP will. I can actually max out the volume with the HDP with HF-2 and instead of it getting fuzzy and distorted at max, the bass just goes a little flatter as it runs out of current. Like many desktop amps the HDP is better behaved as you reach the power limits.

The uDAC is also less powerful with the HD600, but it has adequate power levels for most people to still really enjoy these 300 ohm cans (similar to the most power portable amps). However, with infected Mushroom "Dancing with the Kadafi" the HDP can drive the HD600 to very loud levels, make my ear lobes start to vibrate, and do it at max volume right at the edge of clipping. This is desktop amp power, not a 5v portable amp.

Getting off topic of the power specs, but while I'm talking about HF-2 - The sound signature of the HF-2 is also better suited to the HDP than the uDAC - the uDAC is more forward sounding than the HDP with HF-2, while the HDP is more open and unfettered sounding with them. This is one of those times when I really wish I hadn't sold my re-cabled RS-1 which are more detailed and open than the HF-2, as they would come in handy with my reviews. I am also noticing the HDP sound signature changing a little with burn-in and the highs are a little less present at 36 hours, but this is less of a problem with HF-2 than HD600. I expect more sound changes with time, so I would like to avoid commenting a lot about the sound until my 10-day burn-in is done.

Note - I have not compared the HDP to other desktop amps yet, nor it's 300 ohm performance to my other desktop amps yet, and I have not tried the 600 ohm AKG or the K1000 yet. I'm still very early in the evaluation process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackwheel View Post
Could you also compare this to the uDac please and let us know whether or not you believe the price difference is equivalent to the performance boost? I understand that this has more ins/outs, but purely from an audio quality frame of reference, is the HDP worth the extra $$$. Thanks.
I expect that I will compare HDP to more DACs than just my two more expensive desktop DACs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Dying_Wren View Post
Gah... $399 I can possibly budget for but $499 puts it way over the top.

Any chance of a head-fi introductory discount?
They said they will try to shoot for $449 if possible, but I agree that an introductory $399 price for the first 10 or 20 head-fi members sounds like a good way to get more people to listen to the HDP and post their thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackwheel View Post
I'm actually more interested in the opposite scenario . How do the HDP and uDac compare as a preamp when using a dedicated amp?

Please address both situations. Thanks
See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post
Larry, you clearly have your work cut out for you with this one - you need to make it all things to all men AND convince Jason that cheapskate Head-Fiers cant possibly afford a $499 amp. As one of those cheapskates, I accept that Jason has to make a profit on this thing - I just want him to make the shipping date. The 499 price might actually improve my chances of getting one before the dreaded 'Out of Stock' icon appears on the product page.

Thanks in advance for the review. As I posted elsewhere, my decision will largely be based on your review, and I suspect that many others feel the same way - no pressure, dude
Sorry, I don't have that much influence on them, but if there is ever a problem with the sound then they confirm it and don't argue about correcting things.
post #20 of 1630
Looking forward to some comparisons with your desktop amps and the HDP with the HD600
post #21 of 1630

Thanks!

Thanks Larry! I look forward to your review after burn in!
post #22 of 1630
I certainly was much more enthusiastic about it at $399 than $499. I hope they can try to keep the pricing lower if possible.

One thing I'd like to hear about is if the usb inputs degrade sound compared to using spdif.
post #23 of 1630
Here's hoping for a lower price, can never hurt since I see the uDac and the HDP as something budget conscious head-fi'ers buy to maximize bang for buck over everything else within their respective price ranges.
post #24 of 1630
Ya $499 is definitely pushing out of the budget price range. Nuforce is known for their high quality gear at low prices, this would go counter to that.
post #25 of 1630
blackwheel, have you looked at the prices on their higher end gear ? Credit where its due, but this isnt iBasso : NuForce have a range of products from cheap to audiophile-level-expensive ..... I have the 'Stereophile Buyers Guide', and most of the liisted NuForce gear is up around the 5K mark. Cheap compared to McIntosh amps, but hardly uDAC territory.
post #26 of 1630
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackwheel View Post
Ya $499 is definitely pushing out of the budget price range. Nuforce is known for their high quality gear at low prices, this would go counter to that.
the price tag of $499 will have to depend on how it performs. If it's better than similar products in the same price range then high quality gear at low prices would be true. I dont expect the best quality for basement level prices..Nuforce does have to make a profit after all.
post #27 of 1630
They added this to their site:
"Note: Icon HDP uses the same DAC as the high-end CDP-8 (MSRP $1450.00) and similar preamp as P-8S (MSRP $1650.00)."
post #28 of 1630
Quote:
Originally Posted by pearljam5000 View Post
They added this to their site:
"Note: Icon HDP uses the same DAC as the high-end CDP-8 (MSRP $1450.00) and similar preamp as P-8S (MSRP $1650.00)."
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonl View Post
We have been following our strategy since 2005! It happened with our high-end amplifier (hey, we actually own several US patents) and other high-end products too. Our $1450 CDP-8 (just released) sounded better than a famous world class reference quality CDP priced at $7000.
I think nuforce is a little prone to exaggeration. We now have a $500 amp/dac (hopefully $400) which apparently sounds as good as a $7000 piece of equipment.

Strange that they would say that their $500 product is as good as their own $1450 product or is it a different product he's referencing? Sounds all a bit too smooth for my liking.
post #29 of 1630
let's just hope it's less than 500$ and closer to 400
post #30 of 1630
Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Dying_Wren View Post
I think nuforce is a little prone to exaggeration. We now have a $500 amp/dac (hopefully $400) which apparently sounds as good as a $7000 piece of equipment.

Strange that they would say that their $500 product is as good as their own $1450 product or is it a different product he's referencing? Sounds all a bit too smooth for my liking.
It doesn't say that at all, it says that their $500 product has the same DAC as their $1450 product. The sound depends on how well the dac is implemented in each product.
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