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HE500 + NuForce Icon HDP?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Can the NuForce Icon HDP's amplifier sufficiently drive the HE500?

I have the Icon HD (same DAC / amp as the HDP, fewer features) and I have the cash to drop on $700 headphones. I've been thinking about the HE500, but was concerned about my only available amp - Icon HD. I heard somewhere that the HE500 needs 1 watt of power to perform at its peak, but it sounds like the Icon HD won't quite reach that, or am I wrong?



post #2 of 6

The HDP delivers approx. 250 mW in 50 ohms, so it´s a bit underpowered if you play at loud volumes. At low listening volumes it´s really good. Especially if you replace the standard switchmode PSU with a linear power supply (fx: http://www.squeeze-upgrade.com/nuforce-linear-power-supply-nuforce-icon-p-1636.html). Or why not build a batterysupply for the HDP? I did, and it has given new life to the HDPsmile.gif.



Edited by Calypso - 8/11/12 at 3:14am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

What's a cheap SS amp that would power the HE500 more than sufficiently, but without breaking the bank? Schiit Asgard?

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've been trying to do a lot of research on a budget amp that can sufficiently power the HE500. I can't seem to find a "budget" amp to do the trick.

I almost feel as if I simply can't enter the high end of headphone audio without a ridiculous budget. Am I simply pigeon-holed to use Grados and a NuForce Icon HD until I have a $1-2k budget?


Don't get me wrong, I like my Grado SR225i's. But I just am looking for something with a greater soundstage and stronger bass - which the RS1i delivers and sound very nice to my ears. But I'm just not sure the RS1i is $500 better than the SR225i. So I've ordered the SR325i, which are on their way. I've directly compared them to my SR225i's at a local retailer, and the SR325i delivered in exactly the two areas I needed - greater soundstage and bass, just shy of the RS1i's. And btw, I like bright highs, and I felt that the RS1i's highs were some of the nicest I've ever heard (they're also the most expensive headphones I've ever heard).


But, I just don't think the RS1i's sound like $700. Is the Icon HD limiting me? Or am I just reaching diminishing returns? Or are the RS1i's just simply overpriced? To me, they sound like $400-500 headphones, which I know is meaningless and entirely subjective, but having heard them just makes me super curious as to how good the HE500 sounds, which are identically priced.


So if I ordered the HE500's and tried them on my Icon HD, would the HD's amp simply be too inadequate for these phones? Would it give me an unfair first impression of the HE500's sound quality and capability? Or would the HE500's on the Icon HD be a revelation to my ears despite the inadequate amp, seeing as the RS1i's are the best headphones I've auditioned yet?


Note: I listen to music solely on my computer (one reason the Icon HD seemed like a no-brainer). But, before the Icon HD, I used the Fiio 17. To my ears (which are by no means "golden", having tinnitus in both ears), I can't really discern a difference in audio quality between the Icon HD and the E17. Then again, I only A/Bed them for a few minutes and I was using Grados, which I've read don't exactly need an amp or even benefit much from one. Should I consider ditching the Icon HD and grabbing a Fiio E9 and pair it with my E17 and return the Icon HD (which I can still do yet)? It looks like the Fiio E9 provides a lot more current than the Icon HD does - this is a good thing for Grado phones, yes? Or perhaps I should look into the Yulong D100 MKII? It seems it offers a much heftier 900 mW at 32Ohm, opposed to the ~250 mw of the Icon HD.

post #5 of 6

Maybe, Chris_Himself might be able to offer some input into this question.  For a bit of time, he had the HE-500s with the HDP.  From reading his posts, the results were those in which he liked.

post #6 of 6

I own both, and the combo doesn't impress me. the hdp cant properly drive an ortho.

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