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NuForce Icon DACs


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I am wondering if anyone has any experience with the NuForce DACS; more specifically, the NuForce Icon iDo DAC.

 

It is a relatively new product from what I understand, and is designed to work with iDevices. It is also a "budget-friendly" DAC. I just ordered my first "hi-fi" system, which included the iDo. I had to send it back though because immediately after hooking my ipod classic to it, it corrupted the ipod. They are sending me another iDo, and I decided to give it another chance. However, I also decided to go ahead and purchase a Peachtree DAC*it...I will audition both of them, and try to be objective.

 

I am curious though what the CA consensus is about NuForce DACs...I do not see very many in signature lines, so that tells me they are not highly regarded as audiophile equipment.

 

 

 

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but I have a NuForce uDac 2 Asynch upgraded and am impressed with the sound. Originally it was just a straight uDac 2, but the upgrade kit was released last year an I now consider it's performance is quite superior to the original.

 

NuForce do make Linear power supplies for their desktop equipment, so take a look at their website --- with out actually owning one, I would take a punt on upgrading except I have set my sights on a Wavelength Proton.

 

 

Source: 1.0TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro < FW800> Mac Mini (2009 / 10.8.3)

1.0TB WD MY PASSPORT Mac Mini (2009 / 10.8.3)

 

Players (Hardware): MacBook Pro 13 (2011, 10.8.3 8 gig), ATV2

Amp / DAC: Nuforce DDA-100

Speakers: ELAC 201

 

Software: iTunes & BitPerfect / Audirvana Free / Audirvana Plus / MPD 0.16.6

Connectivity: subject to random changes

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I had the NuForce UDac2SE asynch for a few weeks but returned it. The sound (stage) and image width deteriorated with complex tracks but it did sound good with simple acoustic tracks. I replaced it with a MF V Dac II and although I couldn't directly A/B, the vdac does sound better in that the soundstage and image width remained even with complex recordings and I feel overall there is more depth at least with the tracks I know well.

 

The biggest reason I returned the NuForce though is the fact that it was cutting out all the time, something they even address in their FAQ's in which they proceed to blame the problem on USB DACs and Macs. Well I now have the MF Vdac connected to the same computer and not a single episode so I look at it as a problem with NuForce. That one reason I will probably not buy another another NuForce product. Read their answer...it's a cop out as far as I am concerned.

 

Here's their statement:

 

"Q:  I have an Apple Mac computer and for some reason I get clicks, pops and intermittent audio from my NuForce product.  Is the device defective or is there something I can do to fix this problem?

A:  There appears to be an issue with Mac computers with regard to their USB ports.  While in theory they are all supposed to be the same, in practice this seems not the case.  At present the industry in general is not certain why this behavior occurs. The problem appears to affect various external sound cards from a variety of manufacturers and is not exclusive to NuForce products.  Rumor on the Internet has it that the USB port nearest the Fire Wire port works the best, while others have declared  the opposite to be true. Regardless, the only way to know which port works best in your situation is to experiment.  In most cases you will find that one USB port clearly works better and usually without problems as compared to the others."

 

 

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Thanks for the input.

 

Stan Man - I had a very similar experience with NuForce. I called them up and explained what happened when I set up the iDo (my ipod Classic is now corrupted after hooking up to the NuForce, and I can't do a restore without getting Apple to do it) and the man I spoke with took no accountability whatsoever. He assured me (without looking at anything of course) that it must have been an issue with my ipod, even though I use it almost every day and have never had a problem with it. He basically said it could not have been a problem with the NuForce. He also told me I should be able to plug another iDevice into it; however, he did not offer to compensate me if yet another iDevice stopped working and became corrupted.

 

Thankfully, I purchased the product from Crutchfield...they already shipped me a new one without questioning me about it. I guess this is turning into a "bash Nuforce post", but that is not my intention. I really want to know about the sound quality and the experiences other people have had with their DACs. Since I sent out the original post, I have pretty much decided I am probably going to return the new one they are sending me as well, and just use the DAC*it. When I want to physically hook up an idevice to the system, I could just use the Pure Audio i20 (reviews were impressive and it actually has more features than the iDo for less than half the price!) as a transport.

 

 

 

 

 

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A uDAC2-HP - USB DAC and Headphone amp which supports 24/96. It has worked flawlessly and is used with a set of powered speakers and my laptop with J-River software and a Pangea USB cable.

 

I really like the company as providing very good value for the money. If I was going to invest over $500 in my desktop rig, I would replace the speakers before I upgraded the Dac and if I did do a DAC upgrade, I'd have to spend about $600 on a Simaudio Moon 100D to really see an improvement. (the cheapest DAC I have actually heard that made a big enough difference on this system to justify the money).

 

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you any understanding – Samuel Johnson

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I have none of the hardware / sound issues you have outlined -- and I use my uDAC2 with a wide range of "players", (Audirvana Plus, MPD, BitPerfect etc) and with my mac-mini (2009) / macbook (2011)

 

Not sure what you mean by complex track -- but I listen to "death metal" through to "opera" and most stuff in between. and don't notice any changes in soundstage / image width.

 

Guess it comes down to personal opinion.

 

 

Source: 1.0TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro < FW800> Mac Mini (2009 / 10.8.3)

1.0TB WD MY PASSPORT Mac Mini (2009 / 10.8.3)

 

Players (Hardware): MacBook Pro 13 (2011, 10.8.3 8 gig), ATV2

Amp / DAC: Nuforce DDA-100

Speakers: ELAC 201

 

Software: iTunes & BitPerfect / Audirvana Free / Audirvana Plus / MPD 0.16.6

Connectivity: subject to random changes

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http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/nuforce-udac-2-drama.html

 

Don't know how it effects their other products. Just gives one pause about Nuforce products in this price range perhaps.

 

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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@dave_kiwi: what I noticed with the Udac 2se was that with complex tracks witha lot of instruments, drums etc and just a lot going on musically at the same time( like a typical rock album ) was that it just seemed like the sound just shrunk in, almost becoming mono like and this is not the case with the MF vdac ii. A more acoustic track from the same album sounded fine. This seemed to be the case across albums. I really wanted to like it because it was a nice small package especially with a volume knob. I like the Vdac but digital volume is a pain.

 

With regards to the cutting out issue, NuForce claims this is an industry wide issue, but maybe I am wrong here, but I haven't seen any posts here on CA or elsewhere concerning audio cutting out on USB DACs connected to Macs. So it was really a three strikes for me. If it had sounded good but still cut out and was only an unknown issue, I probably would have exchanged it for a new one, but when a company admits there is a problem without a specific resolution, then it's a no go.

 

 

 

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No Ido here, but I have an Icon HDP since roughly a month now. I wasn't too impressed by the DAC after some (possibly overly) critical listening. Dynamic sounding, nice resolution and really good instrument separation. But with rather uninvolving mids, it is overall lacking a little in 'soul' compared to my old 16/48 NOS DAC.

It seems like it resolves but doesn't entirely 'put things in perspective'.

Acoustic guitars tend to have a little less body and sound just a tad more 'steel stringy' than necessary.

To put this in perspective, this is only apparent in direct comparison (with a much more expensive dedicated DAC/CD transport) and probably dependent on taste.

Right now, I am listening to it (background internet radio and music server) and find no fault with it.

 

Anyhow, I kept it since I needed a head amp (and as such I like it a lot) and a simple source chooser for the mac based music server, DVDplayer and AppleTV. Technically, it works flawlessly with all sources and Audirvana/Mac via USB.

 

 

 

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You might want to try pairing the Icon HDP with Nuforce's LPS-1 power supply, I was pleasently surprised how it tightened up both mid-range and bass in my system. At present I'm waiting for my AQVOX Linear Power Supply to arrive, if it works as expected I should see further improvement system wide by feeding my Audiophilleo2 with clean power.

 

Mac Mini, Audirvana Plus, Metrum Hex NOS DAC w/Upgraded USB Module-2, UpTone Regen Amber, Pass Labs INT-30A Amplifier, B&W 802 Diamond Speakers, Shotgun Bi-wire Kimber 4TC Cables. Headphone setup: Burson Soloist Amp, Audeze LCD-3 Headphones.

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Hello all, I just wanted to let everyone know that my previous comments regarding NuForce customer service should be amended...I was contacted by their tech support, who offered his help on the matter. They are not "passing the buck" so to speak, at least not yet. They are looking into the matter, and I believe they are sincerely trying to assist me in resolving my problem with a corrupted iPod. I received a very long and detailed response from NuForce, which explained that they are trying to help me with the situation.

 

I just wanted to inform the readers here of their actions and to amend the negative words I said about their company previously. I was not aware that they were willing to help me after my first conversation with them. Their recent actions have proven to me that they care about their reputation and their customers' overall satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

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They are really huge in what i call "Deceptive Marketing" , but they are not unworthy,

they sound pretty okay, for the money you pay in modern hi-fi sense, can't expect much from mass-produced taiwan made gear any which ways.

 

Read the specs carefully before you go nuforce, else there will be no-force from the music you hear.

 

 

 

 

 

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