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Got my new Nuforce Icon HD (shiny pictures inside)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by timestretch, Jan 19, 2011.
  1. Timestretch
    Hey, this was just delivered to my door today, and I want to shamelessly show it off and talk about it.
     
    What is it? It's the Nuforce Icon HD - a desktop DAC/amp that is perfectly identical to the HDP, the flagship leader of their affordable and renowned Icon line of products. It's just got a few less inputs/outputs than the HDP, but for anyone who just plugs the HDP into their USB and plugs their headphones into their HDP - well, it is perfectly identical. Also, it is $100 cheaper than the HDP. Anyway, it's just amazing, and I rarely hear of people getting it, so let me actually show it off now: 
     
    It sounds far better than my HT Omega Claro Plus, and it sounds far better than the headphone out on my Pioneer a/v receiver, too. I am super pleased with the purchase and would suggest this DAC/amp to anyone. This is funny, because only a few days ago, if you'd asked me, I would have probably said that I would never need a "real" amplifier and that my sound card/receiver was "plenty." Oh my.
     
    Vxsmall.png
     
    kDsmall.png
     
    It looks great, sounds great - is great. Seeing this on my desk next to my Denons makes me feel like a proper audiophile. 
     
    Anyone else have this?
     
  2. snaps11
    Good impressions. It looks like a solid unit. Enjoy your upgradeitus (its here to stay).  Whats the biggest difference have you noticed so far?
     
  3. steveotron
    Looks good! I just ordered a black one which should arrive this Saturday along with some new HD 650s. My reasoning was the same as yours about saving an extra $100 (would have really been $80 because I could have gotten the HDP for $430 from Crutchfield) since I really just need the USB connection and headphone output.
     
    Although it isn't a preamp, it can still be used as a standalone DAC that can be used with a discrete AMP through the output connections, correct?
     
    The silver looks really sexy, and it would have matched my iMac very well, but all my other stuff is black (Windows PC + external HDDs), so I went with a black one. I hope I enjoy mine as much as you do yours.
     
  4. Timestretch


    Quote:

    Bass goes deeper and feels stronger. But, it is also tighter, more controlled, less bloated, and even though it is deeper, some particularly bassy songs that would literally hurt my ears when using my A/V receiver's headphone jack, don't bother me at all on the Icon. It's as if the sound was dirty before, but now it is clean. Speaking of cleanliness, everything seems a bit more full and a bit more clear and detailed. I didn't realize it at all before I owned the Icon HD, but the jack I was using makes a fairly muddy, bloated, messy and dirty sound. The Icon feels very pure, glass-like, smooth, clean, sharp. Most of all, things like vocals are now extremely natural. Before, I always knew that the sound was artificial reproduction coming from some electronic audio equipment on my head - now, pairing the D-5000s with the Icon HD, I think the sound is a fair bit closer to the real sound of a natural human being actually singing. I'm not saying it is perfect, but it is extremely good. 
     
    Also, no noise floor. People talk about the noise floor on the HDP, and how it isn't present unless you have super fancy IEMs. Well, they are all correct. This thing is so clean and silent it is alarming. 
     


    Quote:

    Well, it does have two RCA jacks poking out of the back, so I guess so. I haven't tried that function yet. 
     
  5. danielghofrani
    sweet!
    I hope you enjoy it to the best.
    I honestly dont know how you guys can talk about the noise floor, my laptops fan has such a high noise that renders the fiio E2 amp noise floor unrecognizable.
    I listen to alot of classical music, Persian classical and opera, and there is quite a bit of silence and sustain in some of them. the noise of the fan clearly interferes with the music.
     
    before I start worrying about 0.001% THD+N vs 0.05% THD+N, I need to get myself a silent computer.
    just my little rant :wink:
     
     
  6. project86 Contributor
    Great pics, thanks for posting. I like how they removed some features and sold the new model at a lower price. Seems like kind of a no-brainer and I wish more companies did the same.

     
    Quote:

    True! When I switched from a regular laptop to a silent netbook (passive cooling, solid state HD) the difference was clear and very welcome. It doesn't matter as much if you use IEMs or sealed headphones, but with open models it does.
     
     
  7. danielghofrani


    Quote:


    Oh sweet!! the first person who knows where I am coming from! :) what laptop are you using now?
    I was thinking of getting a low power passive cooling aleutia computer, but I was unsure of its USB performance (since the computer is low power I thought maybe the signal from USB wont be that good). 
     
  8. project86 Contributor


    Quote:
     
    It's less of an issue for me now since I've added a Squeezebox Touch to the setup. Now I keep the netbook stashed away and only bring it out once in a while. The Squeezebox also means using coaxial or toslink to the DAC instead of USB, which might matter for some situations.
     
    I just use a fairly cheap Dell Mini 9 netbook. I chose the 9 over the 10 because at the time it was more proven to run OSX hackintosh style. I experimented with that and ended going back to Windows 7. Mine just has the 1.6ghz Atom CPU, and I upgraded to 2GB RAM and a 128GB solid state hard drive. I find it plenty powerful for playing FLAC files, even high resolution stuff. I don't regularly use it much for anything else but it's plenty fast for web browsing, youtube, Netflix video streaming, etc. I don't buy into the idea that a quad core i7 with 12GB RAM will make my music sound any better.... my external DAC is doing most of the hard work anyway.
     
    Never heard of Aleutia. Just checked them out, seems very cool, kind of expensive but cool. I chose a netbook because I don't want to have a display in my listening area. Aleutia could be a great option though.
     
    Sorry for derailing this thread. Back to discussing the great looking Icon HD!
     
     
  9. Leanier
    Are the line outputs variable (affected by the volume knob) or fixed?
     
  10. paceee
    i have an omega striker 7.1.... when i plug in the nuforce hd, will that matter? hd650s to go along with it, btw.
     
  11. Timestretch


    Quote:


    It won't matter. I had an Omega Claro. Both were active at once with no issues. They just show up as separate playback devices that you can switch to and from as you please. 
     
  12. debitsohn
    i love how nuforce does business. they cater to so many peoples needs by releasing things that are at a lower price point but with less features.
     

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