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NuForce Icon 2 versus HDP

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've been searching all over the forum, and have not really turned up much. I'm debating buying the NuForce Icon 2 or the HDP.


Right now, my source are high-quality rips via MacBook. I have powered speakers, Alessandro MS1s and Sennheiser HD600s. But I do want to buy some better speakers. That makes me want to lean toward the Icon 2, since it can amplify both speakers and headphones, right?


The HDP seems to be very well-received. I do not really want to spend a lot of money (like everyone, or at least most non-HFers), so getting a combination DAC/amp seems awesome, right?


So, yes. I am trying to see if anyone has experience with the Icon 2, mostly, since there is tons of information and opinions about the HDP. Do you think I'd be sacrificing much by getting the Icon 2 rather than the HDP? Does the Icon 2's speaker-driving capability outweigh its not-as-good DAC? Am I barking up the wrong tree altogether?

post #2 of 8

Up for this msg, i'd like to find out what the difference is too!

post #3 of 8

Honestly, your choice here should be dictated more by the functionality than the "performance". If you have money to burn and want the best of both worlds, then get the Icon HDP + Icon Amp.

post #4 of 8

Did you end up buying the Icon-2? I also have a pair of HD650's and would be keen to know if the Icon-2 does an OK job of driving them?

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

did end up buying the NuForce Icon-2. To be honest, I think it's maybe a dud? The sound straight out of my MacBook Air (2010) and MacBook Pro (15" late 2008) and iPhone 4 to Sennheiser HD650 all sound the same. For real. I have very good hearing, and I'm a musician and semi-pro music critic. It all sounds the same. I live in New York, so I'm thinking of going into the city and finding a place to demo other desktop amps.


I recently got a pair of Senn IE 8s, and I prefer them to the HD 650 right now. The Icon-2 is pretty overpriced IMHO since it doesn't seem to improve the sound of the HD650. I swear it drives them fine, but others on the forum will tell you an iPhone can't drive them (and they sound the same from Icon-2 and iPhone 4 to me...) So by my calculation, it's not really worth it. Hope this impression helps.


BTW, it works fine as a preamp to powered speakers (Audioengine A5s, which also kind of suck, FWIW).

post #6 of 8

Hmm I did suspect it may just be pass through circuitry for the headphone output with therefore no positive difference. Appreciate the reply, thanks.


Out of interest which other desktop amps you are considering? I live in Australia and really cant find anything else that even comes close to the icon's compact size (and claimed audio quality).

post #7 of 8

Sorry in my previous I was assuming you use the analogue inputs, is this the case? or do you think the Icon 2 DAC sounds the same as your macbook output?

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

To be honest, I do think it sounds virtually the same. Perhaps the HDP is better, since people on the forum seem to rave about it. If I had the money to spare, I'd probably go with that Burson amp, which looks nice and is made in Australia if I'm not mistaken.

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