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Nuforce Icon iDo
Digital-to-analog converter/headphone amplifier for iPod touch®, iPhone®, and iPad® (Red)
Item #: 773IDORED
This item is no longer available.
Original Price: $149.99
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Watch a product review
Item #: 773IDORED
This item is no longer available.
Original Price: $149.99
Sure, your iPhone works just fine with lightweight portable headphones while you're on the go. But what happens when you get to work, or home, and want to listen to your mobile music library through some serious high-fidelity cans? Or your big-rig audio system? What happens is... not much! At least, not much that sounds good, anyway. And that's the problem the made-for-earbuds circuitry inside your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad has a choke hold on the sound of your music. It just can't muster the power and precision that is absolutely vital for critical listening on a high-quality sound system or high-end headphones. NuForce has the perfect solution to this problem.
If you've never heard your digital music played through a high-quality DAC or headphone amp, you're in for a big treat. You'll get sparkling clear highs, detailed midrange, and deep, sonorous bass you can feel all the way down to your tailbone. Every instrument and vocal stands out clearly and distinctly in its own separate space, allowing you to easily follow each one note-for-note. You'll feel immersed in sound with a greater sense of ambient space around you.
From the review A one-stop solution to get quality sound from your Apple portable
"Overall, this product feels well-designed and thought through and reasonably priced... I have a feeling Nuforce's mighty iDo will rank high on my wish list for the upcoming year."
Woody, Crutchfield Home A/V Writer
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 am a critical listener. When listening I am looking for clarity and resolution. I'm listening for crisp rim shots on the snare drum or any other percussion instrument, the detail and clarity of strings, the smoothness of the standing base, and a tight base on any of the lower notes. Im listening for how well the music source is engineered and produced (how the session musicians sound). Finally I'm listening to the vocals, melodies, and harmonies . I use a good pair of Sennheiser over the ear headphones or a pair of UE in- the- ear buds plugged in to the NUforce Icon iDo, and I use the included USB chord to plug in my iPod. The NuForce is a substantial, well weighted, the size of a standard paperback book, DAC amplifier. It is thoughtfully engineered with intuitive, simple controls and can be positioned horizontally or vertically. Mine sits vertically in an ingenious, non-marring stand (abt 2 x 5 inches ) on my nightstand. The single large knob has a nicely machined action that controls the volume with electric blue led indicator lights. There is a small green led light to indicate that the pushbutton switch on the back has been turned on. The AC-DC converter also has a green led signaling that it is powered. Finally, after listening to my iPod for years now with just its ability to reproduce through phones or buds, I was stunned by the difference the NuForce Icon iDo makes. Small enough to take with you and very fairly priced for a quality piece.
Pros: Magnitude improvement in quality and faithfulness of music source reproduction Metal cabinet, weight, thoughtful engineering, beautiful stand for vertical mount Fairly priced
Cons: I bought a standard Apple USB cord to go with mine- not needed! It comes with one for a direct connection into your iPod/handheld
I bought this inplace of the DAC module for my NAD integrated amp because it natively played Ipad and Iphone devices. I was surprised that I had to turn the volume up on it as much as I did and that the sound was not as clear and crisp as from the CD player. It is a nice to have but a bit disappointing based on the other reviews.
Pros: Easy to install and use; price; functionality
Cons: Power; volume; clarity.
The first thing I noticed was that the iDo has a big effect on the clarity of your audio files. Distortion on a guitar sounds crisper and crunchier. Bass guitar sound effects came to life when before I hadn't even noticed them. Drums, especially the snare, sounded better. Exactly what was improved varies by album, so it's been exciting to go back and listen to all of my music again. The guitar & drums in "Possum Kingdom" by the Toadies were clearer, resulting in a slight but noticeable improvement in the overall quality. "Don't Panic" by Coldplay sounded like a new song. The harsh snare/high hat faded to the background as the guitars in that song finally came out. The vocals sounded so much better that I checked to make sure that I was listening to the usual recording. In Soundgarden's "Outshined," I heard a background guitar rift that I'd never heard before.
This is a great product at a great price. Make sure that you have a decent set of headphones and at least a high quality mp3 rip to get the most out of this product.
NuForce's website does not say that the iDo will work with the 7th gen iPod Nano, while Crutchfield's website says that it does work. I have the 7th gen iPod Nano and I can confirm that it does work with the iDo.
Pros: Improved Sound Quality, Build Quality, Price, Charges your device while you use it
Cons: Limited Support for Older Apple Devices.
I purchased the iCon iDo to improve the sound using headphones directly jacked into my iPod Classic. Several audio stores I contacted suggested purchasing a dedicated headphone amp ($400 or more), a new DAC( $400) plus an iPod dock. Oh, and better headphones, maybe Sennheiser 650s. I have been using AKG K240 Studio over ear headphones. They give a "very good" sound directly jacked into the iPod and are very confortable--no "head clamp." All I wanted was "some" improvement in sound. I saw the NuForce iDo on the Crutchfield site and it appeared to do the job of all the above extras (amp/Dac/dock). So I bought it. Results: I have been using the iDo for 2 weeks. The music on my iPod was all downloaded from CDs and includes classical, jazz (mostly 1950s bop) and some rock. The iDo was a clear improvement over the direct headphone to iPod arrangement. Recordings that sounded good without the iDo now sound excellent. More detail, more feeling of presence and generally hearing things I had not heard on the recordings before. Also, a smoother sound which is hard to explain. Not a loss of unpleasant harshness, just a more pleasing tone to many recordings. Poorly recorded material was not improved. The audio info just isn't there to be improved. Even some very old records (Louis Armstrong) from the 1920 sounded much better. The iDo seemed to get through to the analog grooves directly cut by the needle. The improvement is sometimes subtle, but it is there.
Pros: Good price. Easy to set up and use. Excellent volume control. Recharges iPod automatically. Provides a clear improvement in sound quality over simply jacking headphones directly into the iPod. (I only tested with full-size over-ear and on-ear phones, not earbuds). Solidly built.
Cons: Needs a power source, so it is not portable. Only has the small jack input, not the 1/4" hole.
Tried this with my Sennheiser PXC 150 headphones and made them sound like I paid twice as much or more. Then hooked them up to my portable stereo and made it sound better than my home stereo. I have already recommended the IDO to 5 of my friends. You can't go wrong
Pros: Works great with an Apple remote, sounds awesome, priced right
It improves the sound, but in terms of clarity compared to the iPhone's DAC, I can't tell if it is just the amp providing more "oomph" or the DAC providing any appreciably better sound. If I compare the two, the general clarity of sound between the iPhone's DAC and iDo's DAC doesn't seem to be significantly different so I'm thinking it is mostly the amp. The iDo does sound clearer, but not much to my ears. I find the iDo's mid-range, while louder, is kinda muddy at times, and for me, this is disappointing, because I like balanced sound. Another problem is the 1/8" phone jack. With an adapter on a 1/4" plug, it seems to strain the jack. I stuck a small pad of post-it notes underneath it for stability, but honestly, it is a headphone amp, so why not a 1/4" plug to use with audiophile headphones? The volume knob has clicks, but it is hard to fine tune the sound with the unit's volume knob. I tend to go to the iPhone for fine-tuning volume. I have had a few instances of flakey performance... you plug the iDevice in, and you get no sound. Unplugging the device in most instances will fix it. One time I had to restart the iPhone and plug it back in to get it to work.
The iDo is a nice single unit form factor, has coax out, and is an improvement from the stock iDevice. I may pick-up a separate headphone amp to use with the iPhone and see if there is any difference. I'm thinking a vacuum tube unit. If there is not a significant difference, I may sell the iDo.
Pros: Nice form factor. Coax out. Decent, but not stellar improvement over listening directly from iDevice
Cons: No 1/4" jack. Louder, but not necessarily improved sound from iDevice's DAC. Flakey performance, though usually resolved with reconnecting device.
Just an update to the other 4 & 5 star reviews (which I completely agree with). The Ido works well with the new IPAD Retina (4th gen). It also has the UN-advertised benefit of giving a boost to the signal level at it's Line Out jacks. This allows the Iphone/Ipad to be kept at a moderate volume level setting (to reduce clipping potential) and still produces enough signal to drive most amps. Very nice benefits on top of the very noticeable improvement in sound quality over standard head-phone outputs.
Pros: Nice level boost to work as line driver with larger systems.
I bought this together with a set of Grado SR325is headphones (see also that review). I use an iPad 2 with lossless music files as the source. The sound is much better than through the headphones directly into the iPad. As far as I can tell the digital to analog conversion is perfect and the frequency response is very uniform over the whole audible range. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something very slightly lacking in the iDo headphone output versus what I hear when I run analog out from the iDo's RCA terminals into my Onkyo 8522 receiver and plug into its (the 8522's) headphone out. But then again, that is not a fair comparison between a semi-portable little box and a behemoth analog receiver.
This is the missing link between your iPad and headphones that will allow you to get your audiophile fix on in places where you can't have a full rack of gear. Mine sits tidily on my desk at work. It is easy to move around but I wouldn't call it portable. I only bring it home sometimes on the weekend, where it performs much higher quality digital to analog conversion than I get by running the same files through my Apple TV into a Samsung TV for conversion before the 8522. The artifacts are plainly heard in that latter setup whereas I never hear them from the iDo. Operation is foolproof - plug everything in, turn it on and set the volume. Playback is controlled from the iPad just as if you were using its headphone jack or built-in speakers.
Pros: Very good DAC with high quality output signal to either headphones or an analog main amp.
Cons: Makes me painfully aware of how crappy the digital to analog conversion of my main home system is.
The iCon iDo is a great way to connect an iPod to a higher end stereo without having the sound card that is built into the music player getting in the way. This delivers a much higher level of sound quality. I also like the fact that the unit works with my Apple remote. Excellent way to get high quality sound out of an iPod without spending a bunch of money.
Great little unit-superior customer service
Cons: iPhone 5 not supported?
The Nuforce iDo was easy to install. I'm using the headphone jack to deliver the sound to my two powered speakers/powered sub using my i-pad. The quality of the sound was quite noticeable once I added the iDo to my sound system and it immediately expanded the dynamic range of the music delivered to the speakers - a very refreshing thing since streamed MP3 music has limited dynamic range. The sound is now truer and more pleasant to listen to, no matter what type of music I played. I am very pleased with this purchase and I use it everyday.
Pros: Small, well designed and a very rugged DAC unit to add to your sound system.
Cons: The base could have been black in color in lieu of white to match the black color of the iDo itself.
Purchased Shure SRH 840 Headphones to use with My IPod and was disappointed with the results. Decided to try the Nuforce Icon ido DAC after doing a bit of research and was astounded at what I have been missing in my music for years. Ease of use and portability (use this at both work and home) is great, just plug it in, turn it on pick your music and turn up the volume. Clarity of individual instruments and voices is incredible. Listening to Etta James you can hear her breath between notes. About as close to live performance from recorded music as I have ever heard. Also using this with Shure earphones with same results. Definitely recomment.
Pros: Ease of use and sound quality is first class
Cons: A bit pricey at $249.00 but if you love music, it is a must try
I noticed two very significant and important benefits of the DAC over a direct connection to an ipod. 1. Significantly improved dynamic range and frequency response. Bass was stronger and much deeper and high frequencies were clearer and sharper. Also, the unit provided a finer level of control over volume than the iPod direct control. It could be even better if it had a remote and wireless functionality and more output options, but I'm very happy.
Pros: Significantly improved sound quality.
Cons: Volume is interactive with volume of iPod. So you have to set both to a value.
Got the bright idea to transfer my music, CD's and vinyl, to my new IPod Classic and use that along with my existing Harmon Kardon receiver/JBL speakers. Read a lot on how it could be done and looked at a lot of equipment to do so. With help from the Crutchfield site, I finally decided to give the NuForce IDo a try as it was reasonably priced and could work along with my existing H/K receiver. The unit was received quickly after only a couple of days. The packaging was very well done, everything arrived in excellent condition. Set up and connection was simple.
I used the recommendation from your telephone rep, Blake, in ripping my CD's and transfer to the IPod. While I've only just begun to listen to my music from the IPod so far I couldn't be more pleased. The sound of CD's from the IPod is full and rich; highs and lows are crystal clear. I can't hear any difference from the original source. I would recommend this unit very highly.
Pros: Simple, quick installation. Easy to operate
Cons: Output volume has to be adjusted each time the unit is used as it resets when the unit is switched off. I suppose this is to protect users when the unit is used as an amplifier for direct connected headphones.
This DAC is very compact and after using for some time now I am very impressed with the improvement in sound quality. The product is very well packaged and the instructions are straightforward and complete. I have had no issues.
Pros: Small compact easy to hookup and use. I really like that it charges my devices while in use.
Cons: None encountered.
I just purchased a 3rd generation iPad and was very disappointed in the sound, even though I used Klipsch x10i earphones. I purchased the NuForce Icon iDo and the sound was completely changed. I downloaded my iTunes library onto my iPad (320 kbps AAC). I now listen to breathtaking sound through my Klipsch x10i earphones. Listening to Schubert and Kiri Te Kanawa is like being in a concert hall. I couldn't be happier. The NuForce Icon iDo DAC is an audiophile's dream come true!
Pros: Excellent quality sound. Easy set-up. Quality built product that takes up little space. Priced right (I found an open box at Crutchfield's outlet and got a 10% discount. The product was new.)
You have an iPod classic or a new version of the Nano. You want to play your iPod through your Hi-Fi, but the analogue output from the iPod is simply not as good as your Hi-Fi. Frustration. Your iPod contains 256 kbps ACC (MP4) digital files that SHOULD sound almost as good as an uncompressed CDA/WAV file from a CD. In fact, there should only be about 6-10 db less signal to noise ratio in the 256 kbps MP4 file. On only the most quiet solo piano pieces should you be able to hear ANY digital-based distortion. E.g., very quiet piano notes in a Debussy piece may have a slight whooshing sound, however, many poorly recorded CDs also have this problem. With 99% of all commercial music, an iPod file SHOULD sound the same as the CD, IF it is converted with a high quality DAC along with a high quality analogue preamp section. THE iDO ACCOMPLISHES THIS TASK WELL. The iDo has a coax digital output as well & I compared the iDo's DACs to an expensive 24 bit Denon DAC. I think the iDo DAC wins by a hair, but it was nothing I could tell easily. In short, the iDo is great. I also A/B'd CDs to the iDo (w/ 256 ACC files) and only on quiet piano music could I hear any difference. The CODEC for the MP4 (ACC) file is damn good. You really don't need the "lossless" format anymore. Someday soon, when fractal math is employed for digital audio compresion, we will have CD quality sound in 1/10th the file size of your average iPod ACC file.
Pros: It bypasses your iPod's DAC and analogue section. The iDo has a solid DAC and analogue section (what the iPod is missing!) and also affords a coaxual digital output should you want to use your zillion-dollar DAC. It does what the Wadia does for a fraction of the price. It's all too bad, because the iPod could have very easily been built for serious Hi-Fi if Apple had only spent an extra 2 bucks on a better battery and DAC chip.
Cons: The iDo does not bypass a seconday digital section within the iPod (i.e., EQ). Contrary to conventional wisdom, iPod EQ is accomplished DIGITALLY and can cause much distortion, even if it's turned off. Many new albums are OVER NORMALISED and the iPod cannot handle such densly normalised (wave-hammered) music. E.g. Madeleine Peyroux's "Careless Love" album. Since an iPod Classic can operate as a USB file storage device, the raw digital file is all that should be processed by the iDo.
The NuForce Ido DAC headphone device that adapts to the newer iPods, iPhone 4, and the iPad (I use it with the iPhone 4 and the iPad ), and is touted to improve sound quality and the spacial dynamics of whichever device it is used with, more than lives up to the claims made about it. The device softens the sound and allows the listener to "define" the instruments as they are playing. The bass is boosted considerably, but does not overpower the listener.
I decided to attach the device to my surround system, powered by a Yamaha Natural Sound Surround Receiver RX-V663, pushing Bose 161 speakers and a Boston Acoustics center channel speaker, and put it through its paces. The improvement was phenomenal! I listed to HD Radio through an app on my iPhone 4, which was attached to the ido through an adaptor made for the iPhone 4. Honestly, it sounded as if the orchestra and musicians were in the room with me. Every instrument came through clearly. It was a an exciting listening experience.
I bought the ido because I previously purchased the smaller, but equally as good, NuForce DAC to use with my MacBook Pro.
I would recommend wholeheartedly the Nuforce Ido to any person with an ear for quality music. It's definitely worth the investment.
Pros: The product lives up to its claims in every way.
Cons: I found that I couldn't use a headphone extension cable with the Ido because the plug wouldn't connect to the input securely. The headphones themselves (Klipsche) would, but not with an extension cable.
Very little difference w/ the I pod touch/ Dre Beats headphone combo, extremely disappointing. It looked to good to be true. And as the saying goes.... :(
I have the Nuforce Icon iDo feeding an Onkyo receiver and Definitive Technology towers. Setup was easy and the sound is amazing. I think it has definitely brought back the impact to the music on my iPod. Not sure if there is a break in period or not, but it sounded great from day one to me.
Pros: Easy set up Dynamic sound
I'm using the iDo with my iPad and running it through my stereo. I must say that the soundfield has added depth and other ambient info that didn't exist through the headphone jack. Highly recommended.
provides additional warmth, and larger soundstage, lower bass and less gritty sound Silicon stand is heavy and sticky to prevent tipping over. Well built chassis
Pros: small package, great sound
Excellent amplifier which improves highs and lows. Charges devices while you're listening. But, won't work with older ipods (3-4yrs). Bummer. Cruchfield staff was unaware, another bummer. My Iphone works fine, but doesn't have my entire music collection, like my ipod. So from that standpoint, a rather spendy upgrade.
Pros: Excellent amplifier which improves highs and lows. Charges devices while you're listening
Cons: won't work with older ipods (3-4yrs). Bummer. Cruchfield staff was unaware, another bummer. My Iphone works fine, but doesn't have my entire music collection, like my ipod.
Overview: The NuForce icon iDo is an audiophile-grade DAC and Headphone amp for select Apple iPads, iPhones, and iPods. Featuring audiophile-grade 24-bit D/A converters, the iDo extracts the original digital audio data from your compatible Apple device and then coverts the digital audio data to a high-quality analog signal for use with headphones or your home stereo system. The iDo offers a built-in headphone amplifier capable of powering hard-to drive headphones to their full potential. The iDo's analog RCA and coaxial digital S/PDIF connectors interface with your home stereo system. The iDo is ideal for music enthusiasts who primarily listen to their digital music libraries stored on their Apple devices.
USB Port with Apple 30-pin Charge/Sync Cable: You can connect select Apple mobile devices (iPad/iPhone/iPad) to the icon iDo's USB (type-A) port with the Apple approved and included 30-pin sync/charging cable (or the Lightning cable included with your iPod/iPhone in the case of the newer models). In addition to transmitting audio, the iDo will charge your connected Apple device. The NuForce icon iDo is compatible with the following Apple devices (as of 2/21/2013):
|iPod Model||Generation||Tested Version||Audio Output||Charging|
|Headphone||Stereo RCA||Coaxial Digital|
Note: The NuForce icon iDo is designed to work only with Apple iTunes and iPod software. Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the device and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.
24-bit DAC: The NuForce icon iDo features audiophile-grade 24-bit D/A converters that operate exclusively at the data's native sample rate for bit-perfect, low-jitter music file playback (no sample rate conversion). The iDo extracts audio data in its original digital form (in USB Host mode) from your Apple mobile digital device, delivering bit-perfect, low-jitter, audiophile-quality music file playback. As a result, the icon iDo delivers audiophile-grade CD quality sound to digital music files stored on your Apple mobile digital devices.
Note: The maximum sample rate currently supported by Apple is 16-bit/44.1kHz or 24-bit/48kHz.
iPod DAC Bypass: Apple uses its own audio codec, Apple Lossless Encoder (ALE), to compress and store music files on its devices in original CD quality without loss. However, even ALE files only sound as good as the default DAC (digital-to-analog converter) found within the mobile digital device. The icon iDo bypasses the built-in DAC and extracts the audio data stored on the device in its original digital form in USB Host Mode. It then converts the high-quality files for bit-perfect and low-jitter music playback.
Headphone Amp: The icon iDo also offers a built-in headphone amplifier capable of powering power-hungry headsets, giving users a total audio experience. By properly powering headphones, the icon iDo enhances the auditory performance of the headphones because optimal amperage is being delivered to them, allowing for greater audio clarity. The icon iDo is equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack to connect a set of headphones for private high-quality sound playback.
Analog & Digital Outputs: The NuForce icon iDo is fitted with an analog stereo RCA output and a coaxial digital output. The icon iDo plugs into your home stereo system using stereo RCA cables or a single coaxial cable (both sold separately).
Digitally Controlled Volume Control: Digitally controlled analog volume control provides precise control, accurate channel tracking, and superior resolution. The volume is set to 10% when the iDo is turned on. The volume level is indicated by the relative position of the Blue LED indicator on the front-panel.
External Power Supply: The NuForce icon iDo operates off of standard household current using the supplied AC power adapter. The external power adapter is separate from the icon iDo to further improve sound quality.
Note: Power button is located on back of unit.
Frequency Response: 10Hz to 20kHz (-0.5dB)
THD+N: 0.01%, 1kHz, 1.2 Vrms
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >95 dB
Power Requirement: 6.5V, 2.3A; 100-240VAC
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