Want better sound from your computer? Take a look at the compact Icon integrated amplifier from NuForce.

The audio circuitry that's built into most computers leaves a lot to be desired. A puny amp. A cheap digital-to-analog converter. Flimsy little speakers, too. It all adds up to distinctly low-fi sound. If you spend a lot of time with your computer, and music is important to you, you'll want to upgrade all three parts of the audio chain. The NuForce solution is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to do it.

Connect up to three music sources to the Icon. A stereo minijack accepts the headphone output from your smartphone or MP3 player. A pair of RCA jacks accommodates a CD player or iPod® dock. A USB jack connects your computer to the Icon's built-in high-grade DAC.

If you've invested in a good set of headphones, you'll also appreciate the high-resolution headphone amp inside the Icon. It runs circles around the one built into your computer. You'll get crystal-clear sound for times when you need to keep your music to yourself, like in a crowded office or late at night.

Product Highlights:

  • 12 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms at 0.06% THD
  • built-in USB DAC
  • high-performance headphone amplifier
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack audio input
  • 1 pair RCA analog audio inputs
  • stereo minijack audio output
  • RJ-45 speaker connectors (speaker wire included)
  • AC adapter handles worldwide voltages (60W, 100-240VAC)
  • 1-1/4"W x 6"H x 4-1/2"D
  • weight: 1 lb.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Everything you always wanted in a stereo receiver, except the radio

An integrated amplifier is essentially a receiver without a built-in AM/FM tuner. You get power to drive your speakers, audio controls, and inputs for music source components. Connect an iPod, a computer, a network music player, or any other device that can play Internet radio, and you may find you have no need for an AM/FM radio.

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Integrated amplifier
  • Power supply with attached 5' DC output cord (15 volt/1.6 amp)
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Silicone stand
  • Two 64" Speaker wires (each with one RJ-45 connector on one end and two single banana plugs on the other)
  • 38" USB cable (USB Type-A on one end and USB Type-B on the other)
  • Manual

Product Research

Features

Overview: The icon is a desktop amplifier with a headphone amp and digital to analog converter built in. There are three inputs, USB (digital), stereo RCA, and stereo mini-jack, along with a mini-jack line output and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

USB Input: The USB input is designed to connect to your computer's USB port, allowing the icon to act as the sound card and amplifier. The input is a USB Type-B port and a USB Type-A to USB Type-B cable is included.

Analog Inputs: There are two analog inputs, stereo RCAs and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, both on the rear panel.

Speaker Outputs: The amplified outputs are RJ-45 terminals and speaker wire is included with the amp (with an RJ-45 connector on one end and two single banana plugs on the other). When using the NuForce S-X speakers, the wire included with the speakers should be used, which has RJ-45 connectors on both ends.

Controls:

  • Power: rotary power/volume control on the front panel; controls the volume for both the speaker level and front panel headphone outputs; turn fully counterclockwise to turn the unit off
  • Input: rotary input selector switch; three position, mini-jack, RCA, and USB

Connections:

  • Front: 1/8" headphone; stereo; compatible with headphones up to 32 ohms; 31.25 mW x 2; THD 0.03%; 20 Hz-20 kHz
  • Rear:
    • Power: DC input for use with included power supply
    • Input 1: stereo mini-jack (3.5mm)
    • Input 2: stereo RCAs
    • Input 3: USB Type-B input; compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 (full speed and high speed); USB cable included
    • Speaker Output: left and right RJ-45 terminals; muted when headphones are plugged in
    • Line Output: stereo mini-jack; use the icon as a preamp or add a powered subwoofer

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

NuForce Icon Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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Amazing

Written By CharlieL, Claremore OK on Sunday, January 01, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

We have an Imac with all our music stored on Itunes and Bose Companion 5 speakers which sounded pretty good, but i guess its safe to say we did not know what was missing....:) Did a little research on these DAC's and ordered this little unit from Crutchfield. Once we hooked it up WOW what a difference, you have to hear it to believe how your music can sound on your computer. Like us, you may not know what your missing! Amazing

Quality, Affordable, Amazing Sound

Written By Luke, Saratoga Springs, NY on Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been dying to hook-up a pair of Klipsch KG.5 bookshelf speakers to my iMac that I picked up from a garage sale last year for 50 bucks...after weighing the costs of a tube-driven DAC and other, extremely expensive amplifier solutions I settled on the Icon due to a Wired magazine review that sang its praises.

Well, I'm singing to the choir now - just setup the Icon DAC (maybe 5 minutes) and cranked up "Trampled Under Foot" from Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti. Holy smokes, what have I been missing from my iTunes collection?

Sound is excellent - no more distorted high-end or muddy bass. The design is high-quality and I love that the brushed aluminum and black finish match my iMac...the build is solid, the knobs turn smoothly and feel substantial. More than enough headroom to drive these mid-size bookshelf boxes and I'm delving into the 60 gigs of music that has gone largely ignored for the last couple years.

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