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NuForce Icon HDP
Headphone amp/USB DAC/stereo preamp (Black)
Item #: 773ICNHDPB
This item is no longer available.
Original Price: $349.99
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Watch a product review
Item #: 773ICNHDPB
This item is no longer available.
Original Price: $349.99
Rock your headphones
Great headphones are like race cars they need high-octane fuel to perform their best. If you're driving your 'phones straight off of your PC or stereo system's headphone output, you could be missing out on a lot of music enjoyment. That's because computer and audio manufacturers frequently use low-cost, low-performance circuitry to power their headphone jacks resulting in thin, lifeless sound. NuForce's HDP solves the problem by employing high-current, low-distortion amplification designed especially for headphones. This pint-sized powerhouse lets you make the most of your headphone investment by rendering your tunes with richer, deeper bass, clearer highs, and explosive dynamics.
Cool features for a top-notch compact audio system
The HDP is more than just a great headphone amp. You're also getting a high-quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and a stereo preamplifier, all in a single compact component you can use as the centerpiece of a killer desktop audio system.
The HDP's sophisticated DAC can accept digital music files from your PC via USB bypassing your computer's built-in soundcard for a far more exciting listening experience. You'll hear layers of musical nuance previously obscured by the noisy environment inside your PC reverberations echoing in a concert hall, or the natural decay of an acoustic guitar chord. On good recordings, every instrument and vocal will stand out clearly and distinctly in its own separate space, allowing you to follow each one note-for-note. It's audio detail at the molecular level.
Versatile connections for your music sources
You can connect multiple music sources to your Icon HDP:
A pair of high-quality, gold-plated RCA outputs lets you connect the Icon HDP to an amplifier of your choice for a full-blown audio system, or a pair of amplified speakers for a high-end, compact desktop stereo.
Easy to set up and use
Operation is simple just plug the NuForce into any USB port on your computer, where it will automatically install itself and be ready for use in a matter of seconds. The included external power supply helps keep any noise or interference away from the HDP's circuitry. The top knob turns the amp on and controls volume. The bottom knob is the music source selector. A sturdy non-slip silicone stand is included to keep your Icon HDP firmly planted on your desktop.
Why buy a separate DAC? These devices are all about getting true high-fidelity sound from digital sources like computers, streaming music players, smartphones, and more. While these kinds of sources usually have their own digital-to-analog converters built in, you can expect a separate DAC to give you much better accuracy and finer detail.
I compared listening thru my Sony Studio quality headphone direct from the headphone jack on my 12 years old Sony Home Theater amplifier and through the NuForce Icon HDP connected direct to the output from my Pioneer Elite DVD player, I was listening to Diana Krall SACD,the sounds coming out from my old Sony Home theater amplifier is much richer in hi frequencies and bass and midrange, and I consulted Crutchfield team, and the team said it is obvious that a processed sound from home theater amplifier will produce much better improved sound. I was kind of disappointed to buy this product after hearing so many inputs that the NuForce Icon HDP is such a very good product.
Cons: Sounds is dull compared to what I used to listen from my hometheater amplifier direct headphone jack.
To start off I want to let everybody know that I have been a true audiophile for many years. I've had several home and car audio setups that I have spent a lot of money on over the years and I am confident when I say that I know good sound. I recently purchased a premium set of headphones for home use (Sennheiser HD650s). When i received them I used them with my home theater's headphone jack and they sounded fantastic! but when i plugged them into my computer they just bottomed right out! they had no guts to them... no oomph! They lacked the power and clarity that they are supposed to have when ran properly. After speaking with a Crutchfield representative I decided on purchasing the Nuforce Icon HDP headphone amp. Let me tell you what... this headphone amp makes such an incredible difference with ANYTHING you listen to. Whether its rock, rap, country, jazz, you name it. As a matter of fact I feel that these two items go incredibly well together, like they were almost made for each other. And since it is a headphone amp, DAC, and preamp all in one, I sometimes hook it up through my home theater system to give it even more power! I highly recommend this item to anyone who is looking to power those high-impeded headphones the RIGHT way and not just settle for your computers stock headphone jack...believe me, this thing makes a world of difference and is totally WORTH the price. After all, a $500 pair of cans deserves a $500 amp, don't you agree?
Pros: Powers up to 600 ohm headphones extremely well. Goes perfect with the Sennheiser HD650s. Extremely versatile headphone amp that also acts as an external computer DAC and preamp. Several connectivity options, including optical, coaxial, and RCA in and outs. Small and lightweight, but feels and looks very solid. Comes with a white silicone stand and looks GREAT with any setup you choose to incorporate it into.
Cons: A little on the expensive side, but totally worth it when you look at what you are getting for the price you're paying. Do some homework on headphone amps and DACs and you will see very quickly that this headphone amp is a great piece to add to your setup. Sure, there are ones out there that are the next level up, but they are well over $1000. The Nuforce Icon HDP is perfect for anyone! Whether you are an average listener, or a true audiophile, you will absolutely love this product by Nuforce!
This was was a remarkable addition the my audio equipment. Before I purchased the NuForce Icon HDP I didn't get much satisfaction listening to MP3 files and I listened to mostly vinyl LP records when I was at home. It was purely a listening convenience that was used as an out of the house on the go type of arrangement for me.The music lacked so much depth until I hooked this little baby up to my Sennheiser HD-650 headphones and ran my iPod Classic through it. Now I listen to my iPod and iPhone a lot more at home. The sound is is amazing, vocals are clear and each instrument can be easily singled out and heard the way it's supposed to be. If you plan to listen eo your music collection using MP3's or other compressed sound files through either a portable player or over you computer than you can't go wrong with the NuForce Icon HDP in fact you owe it to yourself to hear what you've been missing. I will be purchasing a portable headphone amp next for my on the go solution.
Pros: Clear rich sound. USB DAC hookup sound is amazing. You MP3 Player never sounded so good.
Cons: None other than a little pricey but worth every penny.
I am using the Nu Force HDP with a pair of PSB M4U 2 Headphones (totally killer headphones BTW). The sound is unlike anything I have ever heard before! I have a $10K home stereo that doesn't sound as good as this. The music is much more dynamic and the details of each instrument are very easy to hear on each song. I know it's a cliché, but seriously I am hearing stuff I never heard in songs that I have listened to for 20 years. Strong bass, super clear mids and highs. I am using Audioquest cables for the analog and USB. I have played this with my PC as well as a Cambridge Audio ID100 via analog - outstanding sound! I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to hear the best sound possible from their music. Yeah a One may think this unit is a little pricey, but I guarantee you it is a total bargain for what you get. Pull the trigger and enjoy yourself!
Pros: Ease of use and absolutely fantastic sound.
This product makes even cruddy youtube songs sound alive. The clarity is unreal, ZERO distortion. I can say that the combo of this bad boy and my hd 800s are UNREAL. music is transparent and soundstage is amazing. must have for a true audiophile!!!
Cons: NOTHING. maybe a litle to bulky thats about it
I've been into music and high-end audio for 22 yrs now and can say that all of the online reviews (look them up and see what I mean) and the ones below are accurate and spot on. This device is WAY beyond a great value. To most, 449.00 is too pricy. Only each individual can determine what's a 'great value' to them or not and they have to determine if spending this much is worth it. Would I recommend this to someone with a $50 boom box? No. However, for what its features are: headphone amp, DAC and preamp, it is OUTSTANDING! Sound quality, build quality and ease of use is great--especially the sound quality!!! The only thing that might slow some down is getting all of the settings on your computer correct for the DAC input. However, Crutchfield has a great staff willing to help out. PLUS: Nuforce's customer service is great, too. If your system can allow one to hear what this device can do, this thing is a steal! Highly Recommended!!!
Pros: Sound quality! EVERYTHING is better: highs, mids, lows, detail, space, ease of listening, better delineation of everything on your recording (given your recordings are good), everything is smoother sounding with a greater amount of detail without being etched. If you're not used to real high-end gear, you'll hear things on your recordings that you never heard before. Build quality. Small size. Upgradable (check out other Nuforce products) Lots of gain to drive virtually any cans
Cons: If you are a cave man with computers, let Crutchfield or Nuforce help you with the DAC part of it. Or, find online/youtube guides to help you.
Since the only audio output on our HDTVs is optical-digital, I needed a means to convert to analog for headphone use for my wife while she works out on a treadmill. Though it's not cheap, this DAC performs perfectly. The sound is crisp and the device is well-constructed. Setup is simple with an optical cable. Thanks to Zac at Crutchfield for suggesting this unit.
Very good thing to have connected to one's computer. It's a good DAC, and a decent
headphone amp, too. I use it connected to my powered Audioengine A2s and my various
headphones, including a pair of four figure cans. The sound is eons better than what I got
from my stock soundcard (but that is a very unfair comparison). This is not a product I
would use for my main rig, but it is not far off. The incredibly small footprint, and combo
DAC/Headphone amp are perfect for a second system with one's computer. I am very
pleased. Black background when quiet in b/w songs, and clear, crisp sound. I enjoy
listening to tunes through the NuForce Icon HDP mucho. Highly recommended.
Puchased on recommendation of sales person to boost clarity and volume of TV audio
headphones for father with severe hearing impairment. Substantial improvement over
previously used stereo amp in clarity, limited improvement in volume. Kept.
Wonderful sound and craftsmanship at a very reasonable price. I'm extremely happy
with my purchase
The dac on this thing is amazing for the price it sounds better than dacs costing twice as much and you get an amp that does a great job with All the headphones i tried. I had the Dennon Phones on this and they sound great the shure 530 sound great as well . All in all this amp does the job, the dac sounds good, Its nice to be able to use usb for 96/24 Music in such a small package and sound so transparent it is trully a great piece!! For the money this thing cant be beat If you want music to sound the best it can and still be portable buy this!!
Overview: The icon HDP is a headphone amp, digital to analog converter, and preamp. There are USB, optical and coaxial digital, and analog inputs, along with RCA and 1/4" headphone outputs.
USB Input: The USB input is designed to connect between your computer's USB port and desktop audio system, or your primary audio system if you prefer. The input is a USB Type-B port and a USB Type-A to USB Type-B cable is included.
Digital Inputs: There are two digital inputs, an RCA coaxial digital and a 3.5mm optical digital mini-jack (Toslink to optical mini adapter included). There is no way to switch between these two inputs, so only one or the other should be used.
Outputs: The outputs are analog and include stereo RCA preamp outputs on the rear panel and a standard 1/4" headphone jack on the front panel. Both outputs are controlled by the rotary power/volume knob and the rear panel RCA output is muted when headphones are plugged in. A small LED on the front panel lights when the unit is turned on (the color changes based on the input selected).
Some headphones just sound as beautiful as they look. And with their mahogany earcups, the Grado GS1000i headphones looked very beautiful, indeed.