Nuforce Icon Desktop Amp
May 20, 2009 at 9:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

classicalguy

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I have been playing with the Nuforce Icon Desktop Amp for the last two days. For those of you who don't already know, it's a small beautifully built two channel amplifier, a quality pre-amplifier capable of switching between two analog inputs and it's own built in USB DAC, and a good quality headphone amplifier. It also has a mini-RCA pre-amp output on the back for a subwoofer or external amplifier - I have not tried it, but have heard very good things about the quality of the separate preamp.

I am using a pair of Infinity Primus P142 speakers on my desktop.

The Nuforce has unusual speaker outputs - instead of cheap speaker clips or binding posts, it uses a modular connector like that normally used for computer ethernet cables. It comes with a pair of nice quality but rather short cables terminated on the other end with banana plugs. It was actually very easy to connect to my speakers, and seems to make a very high quality and solid connection on both ends.

I bought a blue one direct from the company, B-stock. I saved 20% over the current amazon discount price of $220 ($180 including shipping). Everything arrived beautifully packaged. It really feels like a quality product in every way. Even the little stand for vertical placement feels like quality. The knobs on the front (for source switching and volume) are high quality and provide some tactile pleasure (sorely lacking on the t-amp). The Nuforce amp has an attractive modern look to it. The aluminum case feel solid. Very impressive for a product in this price category.

There have been some comments on the internet about the amp being noisy, especially with highly efficient speakers. Well, I have none of these problems. The amp is very quiet - even with the volume turned up full blast and my ear put in front of the tweeter.

Previously I used a T-Amp Gen II with a good quality USB dac (DIYEDEN SVDAC05). The Nuforce sounds cleaner, has MUCH better build quality than the T-Amp, and includes source switching and a good headphone amp. The headphone amp drives my Sennheiser HD-580s very well.

Overall, I'm very impressed with how much quality sound you can get with a pair of small bookshelf speakers and a beautifully designed digital amp. The T-Amp at $50 is quite a bit cheaper, but this is a big step up in performance, build quality, looks, and functionality.
 
May 21, 2009 at 5:43 PM Post #3 of 5

elbuzzard

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I have been wanting one of these.
I have been using SI T-Amps (v1 and v2)for my Klipsch Heresys and my PSB Alpha bookshelves.

Any comment/comparisons on the USB DAC input? Should i just email through their web site to inquire about the B-stock? I live relatively close to the headquarters maybe i should just do some dumpster diving out back.
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May 22, 2009 at 3:03 PM Post #5 of 5

classicalguy

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Elbuzzard: You should talk to the company about your Klipsch speakers. My understanding is that the amplifier has had problems interacting with high efficiency speakers. I don't know whether it would be a problem with your Klipsches, but you should check before ordering.

With respect to the "b" stock, I just wrote to them and asked about refurbs. I could not tell the difference between the one I received and a new one. It appeared to be perfect and new to me. If you have trouble getting a response, send me a private email I'll give you the email address of the person I dealt with. I don't want to post her email address on-line.

USB sounds great to me. I'm using asio4all and foobar. I was previously using a more expensive separate usb dac. I think the usb dac is pretty comparable. It uses the same TI burr brown dac chip as most of the $100 usb dacs running around.

Midget: I don't know anything about akg K-701s. The amp sounded very good with my senn hd-580s and my cheapo koss ksc-75. I haven't tried my more efficient shure e2-cs - I probably should to see if I get hiss. I'll try in a couple of days when I get home.
 

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