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NuForce Icon HD or the Yulong D100 MKII?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I need a bit of help picking out a reasonably priced headphone amp & DAC, seeing as I listen to my music solely on my computer. I'm sporting Grado SR325i's, and I've done a bit of research on the NuForce Icon HDP and the Yulong D100 MKII, both of which are in my price range. However, since I'm only using the amp/DAC on my desktop computer setup, I don't need the extra features the HDP has over the HD.

 

My question is: Does the HD indeed have the same exact DAC and amp as the HDP's? NuForce seems to explicitly state the DAC is the same, however I could not find confirmation that the amp is the same. From what I've read, the HDP's amp is its strong point, the DAC being decent. I'd hate to compromise the HDP's strong point by grabbing the HD.

 

And back to the title of the thread: Which would be a better match for my Grado SR325i's? I'm not looking to "roll off any highs" on my sharp Grados. I like 'em sharp, but nor do I need em any sharper. I'd like a transparent amp that sounds smoother than my on-board audio and powers the low end of my headphones a bit better.

 

So from what I've read, the Yulong's DAC is great, but the amp is good. And the HDP's DAC is good, but the amp is great. Again, just impressions from what I've read. So - what would help my Grados more? A great amp, or a great DAC? Keep in mind, NuForce is selling Icon HD's for $300 at the moment this interview is written, which is a stellar price compared to the $450 HDP and the ~$500 D100. But if the Yulong is simply better as a DAC/amp unit, I can stomach the price jump if it's a significant improvement.

post #2 of 3

I'm not a big fan of amp and dac combos.  I prefer to have them separate in case I want to upgrade one but not the other or if one breaks.  I wouldn't limit your search to combos.
 

post #3 of 3

I use the NuForce Icon HD in my system as well. I think you have some of the info backwards....or maybe you just read completely different reviews than I did. I did quite a bit of research before I bought the NuForce - originally, I used both the DAC and amp, but I bought it specifically for the DAC (now I use the DAC, but run it to my LD mkiv se headphone amp).

 

Anyway, the DAC is actually really good and the amp portion is decent/adequate. I have no complaints with it - I bought it knowing that at some point I would use the DAC, but run the signal to a dedicated HP amp. It's a really nice unit and I would have no problems purchasing it again.

 

Regarding the DAC:

"The Icon HD employs the same DAC as our high-end CDP-8 (MSRP $1450.00)."

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