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Nuforce Icon HD, UDAC-2 or AudioengineD1 for HD-600?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
hi, I want to build my first nice desk setup, I'm almost set on the HD600, I know that they scale well with good amping but but I want to start with a smaller budget, I wanted to know if something like the Nuforce Icon HD, or even an Audioengine D1 or Nuforce Udac-2 could power the HD600 Nicely. I want to Know if they can get loud enough with any of these and how enjoyable is the audio (I'm coming from unamped SRH440 and Citiscape Uptown) I don't need the best audio for now, just to be able to enjoy the headphones, and as time passes by I'll upgrade, probably keeping the dac but upgrading the amp any feedback is hugely aprecciated, I have about 2 months to thing it, my perfect budget is around $200 but can extend a little thanks! Diego
post #2 of 28

The uDAC and I suppose also the D1 (haven't tried this one) can "get loud enough" but an amp isn't just supposed to "get loud enough." Transparency of the amp (or the device's amp section, if it has a DAC) lets you hear the recording and the source decoding more, as well as providing the right amount of voltage and/or current so your headphones (or speakers) don't sound sluggish or distort at least at the volume level you listen to, are just as important - the latter being more so than absolute output to get the cans to a loud enough lsitening level because chances are amps with enough current and voltage will have enough continuous output to get to reasonable loudness.

 

That said among yourchoices I'd pick the HD - maybe upgrade the power supply later on - but for the most part it's the one with the technically better DAC (up to your ears to decide if it is better) as well as the better amp. It might have a bit of peakiness on the upper bass and from listening it leads to distortion past 1:00 on the dial on the stock power supply, but if you listen at only 12:00 (and if your room is quieter than where I listened to it) it shouldn't be a problem.

post #3 of 28

I use the HDP with the 600s and it sounds great.  Highs are clear and smooth but never sibilant with quick decay, the mids are creamy and accurate and are a little laid back.  Bass has extension to about 50hz (without eq) and is well balanced with a great timbre.  If I had to pick a flaw with this set up it is that it can sound sterile in comparison to a warm source.  I have an old Nakamichi CD player that makes the HDP sound too edgy and digital in comparison.  If I had never listened to the CD player I would be more than happy with the HDP

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

The uDAC and I suppose also the D1 (haven't tried this one) can "get loud enough" but an amp isn't just supposed to "get loud enough." Transparency of the amp (or the device's amp section, if it has a DAC) lets you hear the recording and the source decoding more, as well as providing the right amount of voltage and/or current so your headphones (or speakers) don't sound sluggish or distort at least at the volume level you listen to, are just as important - the latter being more so than absolute output to get the cans to a loud enough lsitening level because chances are amps with enough current and voltage will have enough continuous output to get to reasonable loudness.

 

That said among yourchoices I'd pick the HD - maybe upgrade the power supply later on - but for the most part it's the one with the technically better DAC (up to your ears to decide if it is better) as well as the better amp. It might have a bit of peakiness on the upper bass and from listening it leads to distortion past 1:00 on the dial on the stock power supply, but if you listen at only 12:00 (and if your room is quieter than where I listened to it) it shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks a lo for your reply, If I later want to upgrade to a nicer amp, let's say a Woo Audio WA-6, can I still use the HD as DAC? or would I have to ditch it? I know the HDP is the same but with a pre-amp function, as far as I concern, will this be more helpful if I eventually upgrade?

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmstrmbn View Post

I use the HDP with the 600s and it sounds great.  Highs are clear and smooth but never sibilant with quick decay, the mids are creamy and accurate and are a little laid back.  Bass has extension to about 50hz (without eq) and is well balanced with a great timbre.  If I had to pick a flaw with this set up it is that it can sound sterile in comparison to a warm source.  I have an old Nakamichi CD player that makes the HDP sound too edgy and digital in comparison.  If I had never listened to the CD player I would be more than happy with the HDP

thanks a lot for your reply.does the HD has the same quality as the HDP, just that without the Pre-amp?

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by andwii View Post

cross out Udac 2, not enough power for HD600. 

nice, I was asking for the D1 because in his unboxing, Hifiguy528 responded to a comment by saying the d1 could power them

post #7 of 28

 I run my HD600s through the NuForce Icon HD and as another poster wrote - it's a nice pairing. I purchased the HD specifically because of the up-scaling I could do with it.

 

To answer your question - Yes. I run my laptop to the NuForce HD and then analog feed that to my Little Dot MKIV SE and then into my Beyer DT880s.

 

It's a great starter combo unit and since the DAC is the one used in their $1000+ equipment, you can just use the DAC portion and down the road pick yourself up a Woo!

 

Happy listening!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leveler View Post

Thanks a lo for your reply, If I later want to upgrade to a nicer amp, let's say a Woo Audio WA-6, can I still use the HD as DAC? or would I have to ditch it? I know the HDP is the same but with a pre-amp function, as far as I concern, will this be more helpful if I eventually upgrade?

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpink44 View Post

 I run my HD600s through the NuForce Icon HD and as another poster wrote - it's a nice pairing. I purchased the HD specifically because of the up-scaling I could do with it.

 

To answer your question - Yes. I run my laptop to the NuForce HD and then analog feed that to my Little Dot MKIV SE and then into my Beyer DT880s.

 

It's a great starter combo unit and since the DAC is the one used in their $1000+ equipment, you can just use the DAC portion and down the road pick yourself up a Woo!

 

Happy listening!

 

Thanks a lot! I'm really exited so I better start saving :). I am going to get the HD first to use with my current headphones, and then I will have to really tough out what headphones to get, it's just so overwhelming how many choices they are, the HD-600 look great but I'm not sure if it's the best for the kind of music I like, I listen mostly to all kinds of metal, from Opeth to Dream Theater to Between the buried and me, Born of Osiris, Periphery, Veil of Maya, Meshuggah, The Human abstract, August Burns red and the list goes on and on, I also listen to some rock and electronica but about 80% of my library is composed of music like the bands I mentioned, and I am not sure if the HD-600 would be able to keep up the pace, since you have both the HD-600 and the DT880's, can you tell me which is better for that kind of music? the most important part for me is clarity in the instruments and vocals, and how detail it sounds , while not being overly bright.

 

thanks again! btw, is your username because of Mr. Pink, from Reservoir Dogs?

post #9 of 28

Another thumbs up here for the Icon HD and the HD-600's.  The Icon has plenty of power and the slight brightness of the Icon HD is a good match with the Senns.
 

post #10 of 28

I know what you mean about the seemingly unlimited number of different headphones, amps, DACs, etc..... I recently spent nearly 6 months trying to decide between 3 or 4 different amps! The nice thing about this forum is, if you aren't satisfied with what you buy, you can usually sell it for a nominal loss.

 

Honestly, the only band you mentioned that I've heard of is Dream Theater.......about 85% of my listening is jazz with the remainder divided between classical, bluegrass, and some alternative rock. That being said, I purchased the HD600s for jazz and classical - and they do an outstanding job at both!!! The Beyer DT880s (600 ohm) I purchased for bluegrass, alt. rock, etc....basically everything except jazz and classical. I think both headphones are excellent at what they do, but I'll admit that I never grab the Beyers for jazz or classical - it just doesn't have the deail or instrument separation that the HD600s do. If you have narrowed it down to those two choices, I'd definitely go with the Beyers!!!

 

The NuForce will drive the Beyers, but they definitely benefit from a nice, dedicated amp - and most will suggest a tube amp. Like I mentioned before, I really liked the fact I could use the NuForce as a combo unit until I saved enough for a dedicated amp.

 

Yep, you nailed the name reference :-) Man, I think I started using that user name in like 1997...kinda makes me feel old :-O

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

thanks, I think I'll pick up the 600's used, and if I don't like them I could probably resell them for enough to get the Beyers, the reason I'll go with the Senn is that since the best variant of the Beyer are 600 ohm I know I'll need a more dedicated amp, while I guess the Senn's will sound better right out of the HD, plus in a minor note I like much more their look :P 

 

Thanks for helping me make my choice.

 

on a side note, Reservoir Dogs is my favorite Movie, Trantino is a BEAST!

post #12 of 28

Yeah, that is probably the best option - even given what I said about going with the Beyers. The more I think about it, the Senns will probably handle all genres just fine....they'll just shine a bit more with some. Plus, it does pair up nicely with the NuForce. I ran the Beyers through the NuForce as well until I got the LD....it did an adequate job, but I could tell it wasn't getting all it could out of them.

 

Good luck with the purchases... keep us posted as to your thoughts on both the HP and amp/dac!!! Happy listening!

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpink44 View Post

Yeah, that is probably the best option - even given what I said about going with the Beyers. The more I think about it, the Senns will probably handle all genres just fine....they'll just shine a bit more with some. Plus, it does pair up nicely with the NuForce. I ran the Beyers through the NuForce as well until I got the LD....it did an adequate job, but I could tell it wasn't getting all it could out of them.

 

Good luck with the purchases... keep us posted as to your thoughts on both the HP and amp/dac!!! Happy listening!

well, I guess this is the end of this thread until I get the Nuforce in about 2 months (I am a teenager so I have to wait till my birthday to have some cash). sadly the HD-600's will have probably to wait until christmas, sin my original budget was much lower (Audioengine d1 plus q701). but I figured out it's just better to spend more for a nicer set up if anyway I would have wanted to upgrade eventually. Again thanks a lot for your input and talk to you when I get a hold of the gear

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leveler View Post

Thanks a lo for your reply, If I later want to upgrade to a nicer amp, let's say a Woo Audio WA-6, can I still use the HD as DAC? or would I have to ditch it? I know the HDP is the same but with a pre-amp function, as far as I concern, will this be more helpful if I eventually upgrade?

 

This must have been answered already, but yes you can use the HD to output a fixed line level output to the WA6, which has its own preamp stage and therefore does not need a preamped (ie, variable) line output. I don't know what they sound like together though.

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

This must have been answered already, but yes you can use the HD to output a fixed line level output to the WA6, which has its own preamp stage and therefore does not need a preamped (ie, variable) line output. I don't know what they sound like together though.

I saw in your page you like prog metal, it it's my favorite genre, how do the HD-600 handle this genre?

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