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.
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.
- 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 (3-3/16" on stand) x 5-15/16"H x 4-3/8"D
- 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.