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[Review] Nuforce Icon HDP - Page 7

post #91 of 172

Thanks.  Just ordered.  :)

post #92 of 172

This new AMP just allowed me to get rid of a 25 year old Yamayomama pre-amp.  My ears are astonished!  The first thing I played through the amp and my 800’s was the “New Beginnings” DD piece by Boyer.  I swear to you that I’m hearing things I’ve NEVER heard!! 

 

I am overjoyed!!

I just spent the last 12 13 hours just going through my library, challenging this pitifully simple signal path of “PC Soundcard>Optical>ICON HDP>HD-800” with everything I have.  

I would swear that I can hear the bass drum player’s every single strike starting “Dance de la Terre” in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring- every strike!!

I’ve ALWAYS been a desktop listener.  My delve into that which is portable truly takes a back seat.  It is truly wonderful to take good sounds with you wherever you go, BUT……the thrills of home-listening, exciting enough to make one get out of the chair and scream “YEAH”!

Uh…  OTOH, it DOES make Jim come running to my office and ask me if I’m all right. 

 

L3000.gif  YES, I’m alright!!!

Anyway, I guess with virtually any upgrade I might get as excited -  in its day, my pre-amp was state-of-the-art.  Next time, I won’t let ‘state-of-the-art’ go to my head, and will REALLY take a look at what’s available on the CURRENT market!

 

Steve

 


Edited by Stevemitchell - 8/31/11 at 2:07pm
post #93 of 172

Just got a 240 ohm impedance adaptor in the mail. One of these:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Etymotic-ER4P-ER4S-3-5MM-plug-resistor-adaptor-/270792974191?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f0c84df6f

 

I bought it because I hoped it would give me the ability to run my IEMs from the HDP without the hiss (NuForce has confirmed that they did not make the HDP for senstive IEMs) and with great happiness my plan worked out!

 

Switching between the 240 ohm impedance and my straight CK100 plugged in the HDP the hiss is gone! In fact the knob is probably about 10-11 oclock now whereas before I couldn't turn it about 9 and sometimes needed to turn down windows. The back-ground is pretty much black which is a _huge_ improvement on before when I could never listen to these through the HDP seriously. I'm very happy with this result, I can't notice any lack in sound quality (as yet) and thought I'd let others know in case they wanted to try it out.

 

Oh, if this going to blow up my IEMs or destroy my equipment in anyway, for the love of god someone please tell me quickly before I keep using this! normal_smile%20.gif

post #94 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonS View Post

The optical input of the HDP works up to 192kHz, but MANY OTHER PARTS of optical, such as the cable and the source DON'T SUPPORT > 96kHz.

The HDP supports 88.2 and 176.4 but not via USB.

 

Hope this helps,

JasonS



Could you explain this? As far as I'm aware my iMac is capable of outputting 192kHz via optical although I don't know how to configure this in the MIDI setup. If I do this and run it into the HDP will it be bit perfect? Also when the HDP is connected to a power amp will it function as a pre amp as well as a DAC?

Please forgive for these silly questions but this is all very new to me redface.gif

post #95 of 172

Also want to add a query to this:

 

"The HDP supports 88.2 and 176.4 but not via USB."

 

My HDP does not support 88.2 via Optical from what I've found testing with my own device (On multiple computers). The HDP's web-page on NuForce is annoyingly vague on that matter... It states:

 

Digital input
  • S/PDIF - Coaxial or 3.5mm Optical when inserted. Coaxial up to 192kHz/24-bit or Optical up to 192kHz/24-bit
USB DAC
  • USB 1.0 and 1.1 up to 44.1kHz/16-bit, USB 2.0 Full-Speed up to 96kHz/24-bit
  • 88.2 kHz is not supported

 

Then you go to the HDP's manual that comes with the box (here) and it states:

 

Features:

  •  USB 2.0 Full Speed compliant and 1.1 supported, 8-96kHz/16-24-bit
  •  S/PDIF input: Coaxial up to 192kHz/24-bit or Optical up to 96kHz/24-bit

 

First problem: "Optical" mentioned twice with two different specifications, one 96/24 the other 192/24... Which is it?

 

Second problem: I like many others will not understand that Optical runs through the "USB DAC" and so it should be mentioned that this product does not support 88.2 via Optical either... (I'm assuming this from my own observations in which neither Optical or USB will play 88.2. My HDP could just be a faulty singularity and I also don't know whether the Optical, USB and Coax inputs are sent to the same DAC or are processed seperately in the device. If they are seperated then the "Optical DAC" doesn't look like it supports 88.2 just the same as the "USB DAC".)


Edited by WillHughes - 9/19/11 at 8:07pm
post #96 of 172

I'm running optical from my MacBook Pro and can output up to 96kHz including 88.2kHz.  With USB, 88.2kHz does not work. This is not a function of the DAC but of the S/PDIF and USB receivers.  The USB receiver sends an I2S signal directly to the DAC without converting to S/PDIF. 

post #97 of 172

Found this on Computer Audiophile:

"HOWEVER, the iMac's ouput is not 24/192 via toslink. To get 24/192 you need a USB to S/PDIF converter capable of 24/192 via its own USB drivers."

So to my understanding, the iMac (as well as others Mac's) is capable of outputting UP to 24/96kHz via optical or USB, not 24/192kHz (unless you have a converter). I have to ask now, will having a device such as this: http://www.m2tech.biz/hiface.html be of any use in combination with the HDP? Is the HDP actually a 24/192kHz DAC? Also, is there any significant difference between USB and optical connected directly from Mac to the HDP?


Edited by coolguyalex - 9/20/11 at 11:55pm
post #98 of 172

The HDP always functions as a preamp unless headphones are connected.  If your computer is properly set up, you should be able to output "bit perfect" data to the HDP.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolguyalex View Post





Could you explain this? As far as I'm aware my iMac is capable of outputting 192kHz via optical although I don't know how to configure this in the MIDI setup. If I do this and run it into the HDP will it be bit perfect? Also when the HDP is connected to a power amp will it function as a pre amp as well as a DAC?

Please forgive for these silly questions but this is all very new to me redface.gif



 

post #99 of 172

If you have high resolution files, then it would be useful to incorporate a hiface into your system so that you can play them back without downsampling. The HDP is capable of converting up to 192kHz digital files to analog.  As to the benefits of upsampling, you will have to listen for yourself to determine if this is desirable.  The HDP was conceived without hardware upsampling as NuForce contends that upsampling has a detrimental effect on the quality of the sound.  There is a wide spectrum of opinion on this subject.

 

Likewise with USB vs. S/PDIF.  You will have to use your ears with your system to determine for yourself which is better.  My personal experience with the HDP indicates that the difference can be audible but is not particularly "significant."  I find the sound with USB ever so slightly "fatter" or "fuller" but with Toslink slightly more "precise" and "detailed".  This is only apparent however under critical A-B listening conditions.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolguyalex View Post

Found this on Computer Audiophile:

"HOWEVER, the iMac's ouput is not 24/192 via toslink. To get 24/192 you need a USB to S/PDIF converter capable of 24/192 via its own USB drivers."

So to my understanding, the iMac (as well as others Mac's) is capable of outputting UP to 24/96kHz via optical or USB, not 24/192kHz (unless you have a converter). I have to ask now, will having a device such as this: http://www.m2tech.biz/hiface.html be of any use in combination with the HDP? Is the HDP actually a 24/192kHz DAC? Also, is there any significant difference between USB and optical connected directly from Mac to the HDP?



 

post #100 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by koto-in View Post

The HDP always functions as a preamp unless headphones are connected.  If your computer is properly set up, you should be able to output "bit perfect" data to the HDP.
 



 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by koto-in View Post

If you have high resolution files, then it would be useful to incorporate a hiface into your system so that you can play them back without downsampling. The HDP is capable of converting up to 192kHz digital files to analog.  As to the benefits of upsampling, you will have to listen for yourself to determine if this is desirable.  The HDP was conceived without hardware upsampling as NuForce contends that upsampling has a detrimental effect on the quality of the sound.  There is a wide spectrum of opinion on this subject.

 

Likewise with USB vs. S/PDIF.  You will have to use your ears with your system to determine for yourself which is better.  My personal experience with the HDP indicates that the difference can be audible but is not particularly "significant."  I find the sound with USB ever so slightly "fatter" or "fuller" but with Toslink slightly more "precise" and "detailed".  This is only apparent however under critical A-B listening conditions.
 



 


Thank you very much koto-in, your help is much appreciated. The reason for all the questions is that I don't actually own the HDP yet (I probably didn't make this clear) and want to make sure I make the right choice. Another question, the hiFace is available with RCA and BNC outputs, which one would I need in order to connect to the HDP?

 

post #101 of 172

Anyone able to comment on the sound quality of the HDP as a pre-amp?

 

It's currently running as a DAC/Pre to the Lyr and am wondering whether the HDP's pre-amp is a weak link or possibly changing the sound in any way. (I'm specifically asking about the quality of the pre-amp's build as I'm aware of the other advantages/disadvantages of using a pre-amp in a headphone only setup)


Edited by WillHughes - 9/21/11 at 2:33am
post #102 of 172

  I am starting to look at amps again to upgrade my head-five. I'm running a modded 325i right now that I really like, but I heard those stupid ortho's at a meet and now I want a pair. Specifically, I was camped at a table next to Strid3r and listened entirely too long to his HE-5LE out of his PPAv2 and USB DAC. I obviously need more power to get anything out of an ortho like that though. I listen from my computer with a Auzentech Prelude 7.1. I still feel there would be more with a really good discrete DAC, but at the same time, I feel like the sound card is good enough that I might be better off spending the whole of whatever I spend on a better amp. If I were sticking to easier phones like the Grado, then the HDP sounds like a no-brainer it it's price range based on the reviews. I'm interested to hear from people like WillHughes in particular who have a set of orthos and a bigger amp right there to compare to. Specifically the Lyr which i was starting to look at. Will?

post #103 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkWolf View Post

  I am starting to look at amps again to upgrade my head-five. I'm running a modded 325i right now that I really like, but I heard those stupid ortho's at a meet and now I want a pair. Specifically, I was camped at a table next to Strid3r and listened entirely too long to his HE-5LE out of his PPAv2 and USB DAC. I obviously need more power to get anything out of an ortho like that though. I listen from my computer with a Auzentech Prelude 7.1. I still feel there would be more with a really good discrete DAC, but at the same time, I feel like the sound card is good enough that I might be better off spending the whole of whatever I spend on a better amp. If I were sticking to easier phones like the Grado, then the HDP sounds like a no-brainer it it's price range based on the reviews. I'm interested to hear from people like WillHughes in particular who have a set of orthos and a bigger amp right there to compare to. Specifically the Lyr which i was starting to look at. Will?


 

Well, first of all I only just received the Lyr today and so don't want to give many impressions just yet. It's on a generous trial from the Aussie distributor for the rather large review I've got planned. I'll be comparing the Burson HA-160, HA-160D, DA-160, CEntrance DAC Mini, NuForce HDP, Schiit Lyr, Wyred4Sound DAC1 and Violectric V200 and may also throw the Violectric V800 DAC in there for good measure. All of this will be solely for the LCD-2 Orthos and so you might want to wait until I pump that one out before making any decisions.

 

I will say that the HDP is a great little piece of gear for the price and that the LCD-2 can be run from it decently but is likely the easiest big-name-ortho to drive. The HDP also handles the HE-500 but think it will struggle with the likes of the HE-5LE and HE-6. The HE-6 in particular will benefit from the juice that the Lyr can provide and I've heard that it (The HE-6) scales very well with the more power you feed it. One thing that I can say for certain with what I've heard so far, the soundstage is definitely wider when using the HDP as a DAC feeding the Lyr compared to just using the HDP as an all-in-one. I'm only still new to this game so I would take my advice with a grain of salt, although you should do that for everyone on here, just make that grain a little bigger for me. wink.gif

post #104 of 172

Sorry for the confusion. We have clarify the issues on our product page.

88.2kHz is not supported for USB input, but supported for S/PDIF inputs.

Some device can not output > 96kHz for optical S/PDIF but our inputs support > 96kHz.

It was incorrectly stated in the manual that optical is at 96kHz/24-bit.  192kHz/24bit is the correct spec.

 

Jason

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillHughes View Post

Also want to add a query to this:

 

"The HDP supports 88.2 and 176.4 but not via USB."

 

My HDP does not support 88.2 via Optical from what I've found testing with my own device (On multiple computers). The HDP's web-page on NuForce is annoyingly vague on that matter... It states:

 

Digital input
  • S/PDIF - Coaxial or 3.5mm Optical when inserted. Coaxial up to 192kHz/24-bit or Optical up to 192kHz/24-bit
USB DAC
  • USB 1.0 and 1.1 up to 44.1kHz/16-bit, USB 2.0 Full-Speed up to 96kHz/24-bit
  • 88.2 kHz is not supported

 

Then you go to the HDP's manual that comes with the box (here) and it states:

 

Features:

  •  USB 2.0 Full Speed compliant and 1.1 supported, 8-96kHz/16-24-bit
  •  S/PDIF input: Coaxial up to 192kHz/24-bit or Optical up to 96kHz/24-bit

 

First problem: "Optical" mentioned twice with two different specifications, one 96/24 the other 192/24... Which is it?

 

Second problem: I like many others will not understand that Optical runs through the "USB DAC" and so it should be mentioned that this product does not support 88.2 via Optical either... (I'm assuming this from my own observations in which neither Optical or USB will play 88.2. My HDP could just be a faulty singularity and I also don't know whether the Optical, USB and Coax inputs are sent to the same DAC or are processed seperately in the device. If they are seperated then the "Optical DAC" doesn't look like it supports 88.2 just the same as the "USB DAC".)



 

post #105 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonl View Post

Sorry for the confusion. We have clarify the issues on our product page.

88.2kHz is not supported for USB input, but supported for S/PDIF inputs.

Some device can not output > 96kHz for optical S/PDIF but our inputs support > 96kHz.

It was incorrectly stated in the manual that optical is at 96kHz/24-bit.  192kHz/24bit is the correct spec.

 

Jason

 



 


Thanks for clearing that up Jason.

 

Any idea why I can't get my HDP to run 88.2 using optical? I'm running Windows 7, using Foobar2000 and can run 96kHz but cannot get 88.2 to work.

 

P.S. Doesn't look like 192 works either. It's either software related or a something to do with the optical component of my PC / cable, or my HDP is faulty. I seem to remember reading that I need to install a driver to get 192 working on default W7 configuration... Anyone able to chime in?

 

P.P.S Searching is a useful feature. It's most likely a problem with the realtek drivers in my computer (a standard problem for everyone with realtek drivers it seems). Am working on destroying them now.

 

P.P.P.S Unistalled Realtek. Now have the ability to play 88.2 but only in 16 bit and it sounds horrible. Has all this fuzzy noise on every note and sounds a bit like an alien being stabbed in the neck, am now googling this issue. I'm only getting this with Foobar2000 and WASAPI. Switching output from WASAPI to standard lets me play 88.2 without this noise but cannot be sure that it's 24 bit nor that it is bit perfect. How interdasting!

 

P.P.P.P.S Well I made a fool out of myself but had a good laugh in the process. I ended up downloading J River to see if it was player specific, or WASAPI specific. The answer was no to both, I was getting the same issue in JRiver as in Foobar. I was very confused at this point, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what else it could possibly be. Here I am, completely complexed when I look down at my HDP and notice the blue light is on. Oh my god I think to myself... I've had it on USB this whole time haven't I (The input that doesn't support 88.2). Somewhere in between uninstalling the Realtek driver and downloading JRiver I connected my PC to my Marantz Receiver to test if the Optical was working properly and had forgotten to switch it back! So on my journey I managed to confirm what I had long feared, I'm a moron... At least now a moron who can enjoy 24/88.2! Hooray!

 

For those with this issue of not getting 88.2, uninstall your Realtek driver and restart computer. Microsoft installs it's default driver on startup and you should be good to go, just make sure you're using the optical input.


Edited by WillHughes - 9/21/11 at 7:11am
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