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  • NuForce - Icon - Integrated Desktop Amplifier (Red)
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NuForce - Icon - Integrated Desktop Amplifier (Red)

by NuForce

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Technical Details

  • Model: iconred

Product Details

  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • ASIN: B0016EPS7E
  • Item model number: iconred
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,909 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: December 23, 2010

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

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See all 5 customer reviews
As a bonus, Icon has a decent headphone amp.
Yoshihiro Sasaki
Hook this up to a pair of bookshelf speakers, and you have a great little system for a room.
Ryan F.
I tried every one of its functions and it's superb for what it costs.
RT "Gadget Guy"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Yoshihiro Sasaki on April 5, 2008
NuForce is a high-end digital amp manufacture and they are known for the high performance proprietary Class D amp technology.
I knew their product on several auditions, I had a high expectation on this so I jumped at this chance to get it. It is well rewarded.

First, I connected Icon with my PC via USB DAC and YAMAHA desktop speakers. The sound quality of Icon was very nice from just out of the box.
I thought the ability is beyond the desktop speakers. Finally I set it up with my best speaker Dynaudio twenty five special via LINN IKEMI.

I was amazed by the quality of bass reproduction. It's so rich and deep, I can not believe it from the tiny size of Icon-1. Lower register of the speaker is well controlled as expected from Nuforce reputation.
Second, I like musicality of the Icon. Icon is not sterile nor dry without loosing any virtue of the Class D amp. In fact, Icon sports a high resolution and low distortion.
I think the overall performance is far beyond the price.

As a bonus, Icon has a decent headphone amp. This is not a cheap trick, Icon employs a discrete circuit for the headphone amp. Again, the sound quality is very good, this is no mean feat for the headphone out of audio amps.

I highly recommend this to every audio fans from the beginner who use PC mainly as a source to the audiophile who want a second system.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RT "Gadget Guy" on May 13, 2008
I bought this Nuforce amp (Silver color) just because of the reputation of Nuforce for offering audiophile quality amps that have tremendous value. When Nuforce announced they would be coming out with a $249 desktop amp, I had to buy one just because I knew it would be good.

First, look at the thing, it is beautiful in its simplicity, housed in a nifty attractive aluminum enclosure with simple knobs, and even the packaging is top rate. The unit comes with a hard silicon-like stand to stand it vertically, decent quality (but very short) banana plug speaker cables with an odd RJ-45 connection, a USB cable, a wall-wart adapter with universal voltage, everything you need to get started.

This unit can serve several purposes:
- It has two line inputs to connect iPods or your computer to it. Both analog inputs are switchable using the lower front knob
- And it has a USB input so you can plug your computer into it and it acts as a soundcard with up to 16bit/48Khz sampling rate. You can select this using the lower knob at position number 3
- It has a low level line out so you can use this as a preamp to your powered speakers or subwoofer. The output is controlled by the volume (top) knob.
- It has RJ-45 jacks which you use with the included cables to plug into any normal bookshelf or floorspeaker. It has banana plugs on the other end. They recommend a speaker with a sensitivity rating of above 86dB@1m.

I tried every one of its functions and it's superb for what it costs.
The Digital amp is only rated at 12W per channel, but it's enough to power medium efficiency bookshelf speakers to fill a small 12x8 room with sound. I plugged in my $900/pr NHT Classic 3 speakers and the sound quality was solid, tuneful, with very good bass impact.
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By Ryan F. on September 26, 2009
Verified Purchase
This neat-o little device is a big step for people who are learning just how good music can sound.

Suddenly, you can use the USB DAC and clean up the sound out of your PC considerably. Hook this up to a pair of bookshelf speakers, and you have a great little system for a room. Most importantly, the sounds coming out of it are clean, smooth, and much clearer than you can imagine if you've only ever spent your money on BOSE or your Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or Target soundsystems. It's night and day.

If you've got an iPod that you spent $250 on, you can hook it into this and instantly make it sound clearer.

I use this in my tiny little listening office upstairs, and his bass was hard to manage; a LOT of thump comes out of this thing when he's turned up. No distortion, just punch. When I finally wired this onto the right CD player, the sound was jaw-droppingly smooth and tight. I kid you not; I turned on a CD with a little extra bass on it to balance everything, and I wound up not leaving the room until the CD was over. I was hooked.

This is a stone bargain for someone who wants to really experience music and find out what he or she has been missing. Finding a good pair of bookshelf or powered speakers to pair with it (I'm looking at you, Audioengine A2 White (Pr) 2-way Powered Speaker System) could turn any little room, computer room, guest room, bedroom, etc. into a listening oasis. ESPECIALLY a must if you're thinking about getting a sturdy pair of can headphones for home listening (for example, Grado Prestige Series SR80i Stereo Headphone).
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Some time ago I came to the realization that most of the music I listen to is sourced from my computer and the pair of powered speakers I scavenged from a cheap PC really were not up to scratch. I have a "proper" hi-fi system (carefully-chosen separates connected by decent cables within a reasonable budget rather than cost-no-object audiophile gear). I bought that 15 years ago. It's too big to put in a bedroom and too disruptive of family life to listen to properly (loudly!).

The ICON and a pair of second-hand KEF Q-compact speakers (89 db sensitivity) allows me access to good quality music reproduction once again. I'm driving the Icon using the USB input and I have the speakers on my small computer desk on some wooden stands I made myself. I'm sitting around 2 feet from the speakers. In this setup I have found there to be ample loudness. The guy I bought the speakers from suggested I should drive them from a 100W amplifier but in my opinion the Icon would be loud enough for most kinds of music in any room up to 200-300 sq ft.

The only comparison I have done is to use an Oppo DV-980H DVD player as a source and compare the same music through the built-in DAC. The Oppo's audio decoding ability gets great reviews; I would say it is a little better than the Icon's USB decoding but both are clearly much better than the Cambridge Audio CD player in my "proper" hi-fi.

I seriously considered buying the matching NuForce speakers but ultimately chose not to because, apparently, digital amplifiers don't have a good reputation for long life and I wouldn't want to have to discard the speakers if/when the Icon dies.
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