"Fantastic Small Amplifier"
The NuForce Icon is an all-in-one desktop amplifier for speakers and headphones. It's a miniature integrated amplifier with a USB DAC and a built-in headphone amp.
Icon isn't your typical amp for PCs. The audiophile-grade Icon is a 12-watt Integrated Desktop Audio Amplifier featuring two outputs, a 3.5-mm stereo input for connection to an iPod or other portable device, a USB input for operation with a PC or Mac, and standard RCA inputs. It gives you lots of flexibility and has incredibly capable.
"A 'Now I Get It' Product"
"Icon is a fantastic small amplifier," reports Thom Moon in GoodSound! for September 15, 2008. "With a set of good, sensitive speakers and nearly any kind of music, the NuForce Icon will give you a system that really satisfies."
"The Icon is a 'Now I get it' product for people who think good-sounding audio is expensive and silly... I think I now know why the Icon has a capital I and the other iPod-inspired products donít: It deserves it," says Wes Phillips in Stereophile magazine.
"I donít bother listening to music on my laptop because the sound quality from the headphone jack is thin and distorted, not to mention the occasional pops and crackles. But when I hooked up the Icon via the USB port and patched in my Grado SR80 cans, it was a revelation," reports Danny Dumas in hisGadget Lab review for August 28, 2008.
For the headphone enthusiast, the Icon also offers a high-performance headphone output. Of particular interest to the computer user, the Icon's line-out functions as a PC or Mac USB-to-analog audio converter or can also be used as a connection to a subwoofer.
With the same patented technology that has won a string of prestigious awards, the tiny Icon brings NuForce°'s celebrated sound quality to the music lover's desktop.
As the core of a desktop audio system, the Icon connects to an Ipod, CD player, PC or Mac. To fully utilize the Icon's sonic capabilities, we recommend high-quality monitor speakers with a sensitivity of 87 dB or higher.
Lots of Applications for Icon
Via the best, jitter-free USB technology, the Icon operates as a USB DAC for converting a PC or Mac's audio signal to high-quality analog sound.
For optimal headphone performance, the Icon includes a discrete, high-performance headphone amplifier. For operation as an audiophile-grade preamplifier, the Icon's linestage can be connected to a power amp or active speakers.
As a high-quality auxiliary power amp in a surround-sound setup, the Icon can be used to drive tweeters or rear-channel speakers.
"At $249, itís an amazing little integrated amplifier with USB DAC, and itís styled and built to a farethee-well. Who cares if it doesnít drive $3000/pair audiophile speakers better than the high-priced gewgaws? Not me -- and Iím picky. I donít think NuForce designed the Icon for people who have $3000 speakers or are comfortable buying them. The Icon is a 'Now I get it' product for people who think good-sounding audio is expensive and silly... I think I now know why the Icon has a capital I and the other iPod-inspired products donít: It deserves it."
- Wes Phillips, Stereophile, magazine
"The NuForce Icon is a fantastic small amplifier. I recommend it for any application in small spaces such as offices, bedrooms, dorm rooms, etc. With a set of good, sensitive speakers and nearly any kind of music, the NuForce Icon will give you a system that really satisfies."
- Thom Moon, GoodSound!, September 15, 2008
"The Icon, no bigger than Madonna's little black book (the paperback version), suggests what music in the home might become if we don't devolve into a nation of iPhone or iPod or iTouch speaker-dock addicts. At its best, this $249 device summons something far greater than dock-quality music...Neither complaint will stop me from calling the Icon one of the year's hottest new products..."
- Kevin Hunt, The Chicago Tribune
"You can turn your desktop/laptop computer into a super high-end audio system for $249 for the Icon amp and $249 for a pair of the S-1 speakers."
"A few decades ago, $500 would buy you a bare bones hi-fi setup. Today, that same $500 -- when used on a computer -- will buy you an amazing sounding setup for listening to your computer music files."
- Gary Krakow, The Street, July 22, 2008
"I donít bother listening to music on my laptop because the sound quality from the headphone jack is thin and distorted, not to mention the occasional pops and crackles. But when I hooked up the Icon via the USB port and patched in my Grado SR80 cans, it was a revelation."
"The Icon uses a high-quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to convert the computerís digital signal to sweet-sounding analog, and all of a sudden the music was crystal clear, the bass cleaner and deeper, and the overall sound infinitely better. The only downside here may be that youíll realize how crummy some of those downloaded MP3s actually sound."
- Danny Dumas, Gadget Lab, August 28, 2008