Just an amp with usb
Aug 1, 2008 at 11:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

emjen

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I´ve been searching for a decent amp for my one and only output... usb. I want to hook up my computer, external HDD or ipod and that´s all I want to do. The Itube Fatman looked allright and I can get it for a decent price, but it doesn´t have a USB entrance.

My budget is around 500 euro, including speakers. I´ve also seen some NAD integrated amps which were on sale in a local shop. Anyone´s got any advice on these things?

xendak has also been catching my eye, but these seem more expensive. Anyway, please help me point the way towards a decent amp!
 
Aug 2, 2008 at 9:06 AM Post #5 of 12

emjen

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Yup, it's for speakers first and foremost. So the ibasso and the ray samuel kind of fall out of this department.

I like the Travagan though. If anyone's got any advice on which speakers go along well with it be my guest.
 
Aug 2, 2008 at 9:15 AM Post #6 of 12

synaesthetic

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What about the NuForce Icon? I've heard a lot of good things about it, and it looks very slick.
 
Aug 2, 2008 at 12:15 PM Post #8 of 12

skullguise

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I have the Icon, it's a great little amp for the $. Few notes on it (all IMO, others are welcome to chime in):

- If you buy used, make sure you're getting the "revision 2" board. The rev1 board had USB issues (sometimes had to restart Icon to re-attain USB recognition on machine, L/R channels switched IIRC)

- It'll drive most semi-efficient speakers well. I have used it in a 14x14 room driving supposedly 86db efficient speakers, to good volume

- If you're using it on the desktop, the supplied cables (RJ-45 to banana) are OK, but are only 1M in length. Easy enough to make up your own, though, if you need longer

- Icon responds well to power supply upgrades. I put an overkill Pyramid 15V 25amp PS on it, but an e-friend built me a 12V 5A audio-oriented PS that is more musical

- The sound is very good, especially for the money; but it is perhaps not as giant-killer as some have described. I hear some artificial sounds in the highs, just doesn't sound as natural as other amps I have or heard. Bass is OK, improves with a better PS. Mids are pretty good right out of the box, no real complaints there for me.

- It has a headphone output. Haven't listened a ton, but it seems ot have goods and bads to my ears. Not quite as good sound as through speakers, but can mate well with the right phones. It could JUST drive my AKG701's, but didn't have enough dynamics and life to really enjoy. Alessandro MS-2i's mated very well with it, though

FYI, another option os the KingRex Tripath based amp, with USB input. Audiomagus - high end not high priced audio products carries it. Personally, I like the flexibility of the Icon.
 
Aug 7, 2008 at 11:27 AM Post #10 of 12

poo

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The Icon looks good (haven't owned one myself - but have been tempted to since release).

I can highly recommend the Kingrex T20U (I bought mine with PSU unit). Very impressive sound. The DAC to my ears is not a huge difference in quality to my Benchmark DAC1. I know that is a big statement, and I do prefer the DAC1, but the difference is not as significant as I would have expected. The Kingrex still has great clarity and sounds only slightly warmer than neutral to me. Just be sure to check a few numbers when looking at speakers to match with a smaller amp like this or the Nuforce - so long as you get the power within limitations (there are still many choices) you will have an awesome system - honestly my Kingrex is part of my 'lesser' system, and right now, it is putting gear worth many many times the value to shame.

If you are interested in the Kingrex products, worth reading the 3 moons reviews (google will get you to them). At the very least audition a T20u - will be surprised if you aren't impressed.
 
Aug 9, 2008 at 5:54 PM Post #11 of 12

iNiGFx

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i am assuming this amp is for speakers since there was no mention of headphones
 
Aug 9, 2008 at 7:49 PM Post #12 of 12

infinitesymphony

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You really want two things: a USB DAC and an integrated speaker amplifier. USB DACs require a computer to be present; they cannot read directly from an external hard drive.

The NuForce Icon and KingRex products are some of the only integrated amplifiers with built-in USB DAC sections, and seem to be good values given their prices. The more flexible choice is to buy a separate DAC and amplifier.
 

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