So I've had the NuForce Icon iDo for just over a week and here are some of my thoughts. First off, if you haven't heard of the Icon iDo, its an amazing device. Form factor, its very close to the well known HDP headphone amp/DAC from Nuforce; except this unit only takes inputs from Apple devices. It has the ability to pull the digital data out of these Apple devices and bypass the less than optimal DACs that they have inside. I would have also liked to have seen a standard USB input from a PC or Mac to compliment the inputs (ala the iWadia).
For the actual specifics of the device, you can find them on the NuForce website here:
Ok, so how does it sound? Well I can say that it worked flawlessly with all of my Apple devices (iPhone 4, iPad 3, iPod Classic 160Gb and my wife's iPod Nano). Using it was simple. Simply plug in the unit for power and attach the i"device" (oh and plug in your headphones too ).
UE Triple Fi.10
I did some A-B comparisons with the above headphones directly plugged into my iDevice and then compared them to how they sounded when run through the iDevice. First off I noticed that the sound staging was no longer collapsed and 2 dimensional. Through the iDo the imaging opened up considerably to being much more 3 dimensional; a great step up from my iPad or iPhone. The details on the cymbals were easier to hear as well through the iDo too. Mids were more organic and forward (and less sucked out as they were on my iPod Classic). Bass was slightly tighter and better defined. I would consider the sound signature of this amp/dac as balanced and clean.
For $249 MSRP, I can think of no better bang for my buck bedside rig where I can simply attach my 160Gb iPod Classic or iPad 3 and have great quality sound. And my wife likes it as it doesn't take up much room, nor look out of place (to her anyway ).
Side Note: I also have had a chance to evaluate the NuForce NE-600X IEMs and for $30, the price to performance ration is fantastic. I would classify these IEMs are "fun" when compared to my Westone 4s, but for less than 1/10th the price, I'm amazed at just how resolving they are. Isolation is top notch, bass is plentiful (and quite good too, though not as "tight" as say the 700X or my other top flight IEMs that I've owned throw the years). But I have to keep reminding myself that these are only $30 IEMs, but they do punch in weight classes above their price point.
I plan to try some of my full-sized headphones next....more to come.
Edited by MacedonianHero - 6/21/12 at 4:15pm