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NuForce Icon HDP

Headphone amp/USB DAC/stereo preamp (Black)

12 Reviews

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Item # 773ICNHDPB

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Overview

Our take on the NuForce Icon HDP

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.

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:

  • Input #1 gives you three different ways to hook up components. Its coaxial digital input is ideal for connecting a CD player and taking advantage of the HDP's high-performance DAC for better sound. Then there's a stereo minijack, which accepts the headphone output from your smartphone or MP3 player. This input also doubles as a 3.5mm optical digital input for connecting components with optical out, such as some computers. Nuforce even includes a Toslink optical to 3.5mm mini optical adapter for your components that use a full-size optical digital out.
  • Input #2 is a pair of RCA jacks, ready to take on an iPod® dock or other audio components with line-level output.
  • Input #3 is a type B USB jack, which feeds the output of your computer into the Icon HDP's onboard digital-to-analog converter. This lets you bypass your computer's soundcard to enjoy much higher resolution audio.

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.

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!!!

derekB, Syracuse, NY

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What's in the Box:

  • Headphone amp
  • Power supply with attached 5' DC output cord (15 volt/1.6 amp)
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Silicone stand
  • 38" USB cable (USB Type-A on one end and USB Type-B on the other)
  • Female 1/8" to Male 1/4" Headphone adapter
  • Female Toslink to male optical mini adapter
  • Manual

Product Highlights:

  • low-distortion, high-current headphone amplifier (drives headphones up to 600 ohms)
  • THD+N: 0.001% at 1 kHz
  • frequency response: 10Hz to 100kHz (-0.5dB)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: >100dB
  • built-in high-resolution DAC (192kHz/24-bit for optical and coaxial digital input, 96kHz/24-bit for USB input)
  • digital inputs:
    • RCA coaxial or 3.5mm optical
    • USB Type B
  • analog inputs:
    • 1 pair line-level RCA stereo audio
    • 3.5mm minijack (overrides RCA inputs when connected)
  • 1 pair high-quality, gold-plated RCA analog outputs
  • full-size stereo headphone output (3.5mm minjack adapter included)
  • Toslink to optical mini adapter included
  • external power supply
  • removable non-slip silicone stand
  • high-quality analog volume control for improved channel tracking at low listening levels
  • high-voltage 2V analog output
  • digital inputs use no capacitors in the audio signal path for cleaner sound
  • 38" USB (Type A to Type B) cable included
  • 1-5/16"W x 6"H x 4-3/8"D (3-3/16"W x 6-3/8"H on stand)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu. This DAC is not compatible with Dolby® Digital signals.
Reviews

NuForce Icon HDP Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(12 Reviews)
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Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

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).

Controls:

  • Power: rotary power/volume control on the front panel; controls the volume for both the rear panel preamp and front panel headphone outputs; turn fully counterclockwise to turn the unit off
  • Input: rotary input selector switch; three position, USB, Digital (optical or coaxial), analog

Connections:

  • Front: standard 1/4" headphone; stereo
  • Rear:
    • Power: DC input for use with included power supply
    • Analog: stereo RCA inputs
    • Coaxial: single RCA coaxial digital input
    • Optical: 3.5mm optical mini input
    • USB: USB Type-B input
    • Preamp: stereo RCA preamp outputs; muted when headphones plugged in

Specifications:

  • USB: rear panel USB Type-B; compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 (full speed and high speed); USB cable included; 8-96 kHz sampling rate; 16-24 bit resolution
  • Digital Inputs: up to 192 kHz sampling rate and 24-bit resolution
  • Analog Preamp Output: 2.0 volts RMS
  • Headphone Output: compatible with headphones up to 600 ohms; 96 mW x 2 @ 600 ohms
  • THD+N: 0.001% @ 1 kHz
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 100 kHz
  • S/N: greater than 100 dB

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