I'm new to HeadPhones after being into audio/music for 30 years. I recently moved to a new home and I couldn't get my audio system to sound good in the available space, so I'm moving to HeadPhones as my primary music transducers. Got a pair of Sennheiser HD650s for Christmas and I really like them. I'm really enjoying the relaxed sound and find they do wonders for material that was a bit too strident on my old rig.
Currently I'm using a NuForce Icon Integrated (the original Icon) as the Amp (for desktop monitors), Headphone amp (for HD650s) and as the USB DAC taking output from a MAC Mini running iTunes and internet radio. I've ripped lots of my CDs to iTunes using AIFF and I also listen to quite a bit of internet radio streams.
The Icon is fine, but I would like to upgrade to something that may drive the HD650s a little better and I wouldn't mind getting a bit better resolution across the bass, midrange and highs. I have limited real-estate on my desktop, so I need to keep the package pretty small.
So, what's a good upgrade for a USB DAC/Headphone amp? I wouldn't mind retaining the pre-amps outs that the Icon provides and if it also had a power amp built-in (like the Icon Integrated), even better. It would seem that the NuForce Icon HD or Icon HDP would be logical steps up. What do you think? Are their other options in the same $350-$450 price range that will give me the same features and good performance driving the HD650s? I don't mind spending a bit extra if the extra dollars translate into significantly better sound. But remember, I like the warm and relaxed sound of the stock HD650s and don't want to lose that aspect of the music I'm hearing from the HD650s now.
Thanks for the excellent forum!