Don't need cd player anymore...
Posted by Hugues Morin (Québec, Canada) on 25th Apr 2012
I got an Icon Amp last year and was absolutly satisfied by this product. It delivers my Ipod the best sound possible but I wanted more. So, I bought a Icon uDac-2 and tried it with my PC and the Icon Amp. Whooo ! Unbelievable difference ! This setup was for the dining room but have become the main Hi-Fi setup in the house. I'm now ripping all my cd's in wave format to listen them all with the uDac-2 ! The differences was a larger soundstage, the clearest sound ever heard here and the amount of details in the music. I've re-discover my entire music library with this DAC ! It also improved the listening into my earphones in an incredible way ! I bring it sometimes in my classroom to have a better sound and my students are pleased... Almost plug and play, portable, sound quality immediatly and significantly improved, ridiculous price ! What are you waiting for to get one this magic box ?
Improved Audio Quality
Posted by Dennis H. on 20th Mar 2012
Firstly let me say that I have only given this 4 stars because I have not used any of the other fine products found on this site so I can't justify saying it's the best. That being said, this is indeed one excellent piece of equipment to own if you are serious about your music listening experience. I bought this as an upgrade for my internal soundcard in my PC. Instantly I could hear an improvement on the range and depth of the music playing through my Grados. I collect a lot of hires music which was my main reason for buying this product. It was well worth the small investment and will consider upgrading once my funds allow to do so. Until then I will thoroughly enjoy rockin out with this little guy.
First attempt at a good desktop setup...
Posted by Steve Hernandez on 19th Mar 2012
Like I said this was my first attempt into creating a great sounding setup for my home. I hooked up a pair of M-Audio BX5D2's to my Macbook pro using the NuForce Icon uDAC2. As this was my virgin voyage, I spent a good amount of time on the internet researching "DAC's". I kept coming across NuForce. I went to site and immediately made a purchase. What turned me onto it was the size. I didn't want to clutter up my desktop with a bunch of cables, boxes etc.. I can tell you that when I received my Icon uDac2 I was more than pleased. It sounds amazing. I could not be happier. I am going to let this setup settle and I am going to look at some of their more "high-end" items. I believe NuForce has turned me into a customer for life. THANK YOU for making music better again!
Digital Niceness..Short & Sweet..
Posted by Anthony B on 21st Oct 2011
I've had the uDAC2 for about 2 months now and with it I am extremly pleased. Mainly use it between a Notebook &/or PC to a pair of Audioengine A5 Active Monitors, but occasionaly between a Netbook & Analogue Hifi System. Also have a pair of Alessandro MS-2i Headphones (Grado) and although no replacement for a dedicated high end headphone amp to make these sound their extreme best, they sound pretty decent through the uDAC2 also.
We could get all hung up with audio measurements etc, but to my ears, the unit stands up to and handles everything thrown at it fantastically well. As a music tutor once told me: '..if it sounds right, then it is right'. Nuff said.
Traditionally a vinyl lover, I still don't think a digital recording can test a well recorded piece of material grooved out on wax, however, the flip side is that with this unit I find myself listening to a lot more digital recordings - mp3's etc - more frequently than I ever used to.
The size, portability & well engineered finish of this unit are also major pluses.
A solid investment.
Posted by Bill St. Clair on 10th May 2011
I've had the original uDAC for about a year. Decided to gift myself an upgrade to the uDAC2. And what an upgrade it is? I don't have a lot of 96Khz/24-bit music yet, but I've ordered a new external hard drive to store it, and have started downloading from HDTracks.com.
I'm listening to "Hancock Island: The Music of Herbie Hancock" as I write this (Lenny White, Buster Williams, George Colligan, and Steve Wilson). It's almost like being there. Amazing! I look forward to acquiring more hi-res Chesky jazz recordings, and marveling at them played through my uDAC2.
But, oh, that Violet Edition! Wasn't here yet when I ordered, or I would have sprung for the extra $20.
Use for different headphones and RCA for active monitors on my PC/Laptop.
Posted by Geir Pedersen on 6th May 2011
My problem is the onbord soundship on PC motherbord, it is noisy some hf noise is there all the time, I also try to replace by a external soundcard but the same problem is there. Not so much but it is frustrating when you try to listen to music.
So after lot of reading in different forum I go for one UDAC2. I have done one modification on the USB cable I have connected a ferite on the end that is closed nearest the UDAC2 (IF there is some HF electrical noice this ferite will take care of this problem.)
The UDAC2 is noiseless and that is grate, and the sound it deliver is also grate . I have tested it with different headset from AKG. (K701 and K 272 HD), Sennhizer (HD 497), Philips (HP1000), Audio Tecnika PRO 700 and some different ear-bud from E.R. All of this headset is working wonderful, even the K 701 is playing extremely well on this UDAC2.
The next problem I solved was. PC loudspeaker do not work well I think, but using the RCA output and one pair with active monitors from Fostex PM04N, this work wonderful. The volume pot is also regulating the RCA output signal so now I can play with handset or active monitors on the same UDAC2 soundcard and also with a external volumecontrol. And that is GRATE.
I also have tested the SPDIF output to my Audio equipment (BEL CANTO e300i) And this is also working quite well. I am wondering to by one more of these UDAC2 for a media center setup for my audio equipment.
I thing this little UDAC2 is a rely good investment that sound good and is relay flexible for different use.
I have used my UDAC2 since september 2010.
Great little noise nugget!
Posted by Amazon Customer Reviews-- J. Adler, March 30, 2011 on 8th Apr 2011
I ordered a uDac-2, after getting fed up with the rather dark audio I was getting through my DT770 Pro-80's through the onboard sound from my work computer (a 2008 iMac). The sound card wasn't bad, per se, but I found myself regularly running the volume around 60-70% for normal listening, and it seemed a little lifeless. I got better results with a kit cMoy amp, but replacing two 9v batteries constantly got old really fast, and an 18v linear-regulated DC power supply is not such a common or cheap thing to come by.
I went through countless reviews and discussions of every contender in the sub-$150 price range from Creative Labs X-Fi to iBasso and Fiio to Little Dot hybrid tubes to crazy $50 Chinese tube amps on eBay that you have to modify right out of the box. Eventually I decided that while the Little Dot I+ seemed like a cute piece of hardware for under $150, it left me with a large, fragile piece of desktop stereo equipment that still relies on the quality of the computer's headphone output. I went back and forth for weeks and eventually settled on the uDAC-2 due to its great reviews, sturdy build, USB power (no wall-warts! no batteries!) and totally clean, minimalist, miniscule, pocketable form-factor. I could throw it in the smallest pocket of my backpack at the end of the day and use it at home.
Long story short, I like it. It's a rock-solid little chunk of kit (I mean rock-solid... I opened the front panel and it's so packed with circuitry, resistors, caps and chips that there's nary a cubic centimeter left.) It's small enough that it's pretty inconspicuous, but dense enough that it doesn't really want to move around too much. It's handsome, with a smooth black volume knob and a dim white power LED that doesn't blind you when it's sitting directly below your monitor.
Mostly, though, it puts out good power. My Grado SR225's require less than 25% throttle, with a subtle but noticeably larger soundstage, and my Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro-80's need just a little more to deliver tighter bass and more treble detail than was possible without an amp. The most dramatic difference, interestingly, was with my modified Koss Portapro which seemed to expand just a bit in every direction and deliver MUCH more detailed treble than I had access to before.
My experience with USB DACs is limited to this one, and my experience with headphone amps isn't much better, but I feel that this is a VERY worthwhile affordable and portable all-in-one solution, better than my kit CMOY and a huge improvement over no amp at all. Before this, I was looking into a DAC with a separate power supply and a stationary desktop amplifier with the same. Two boxes, two cables and two wall-warts (or power cords). This has exceeded my expectations in the form of a tiny little aluminum box with one short USB cable for everything. I can't promise that I won't add a tube-amp down the line, but for now I'm very satisfied with every aspect of my noise nugget.
Also, if you need to know, I'm almost certain that the red ones sound the best.
Sound quality is impressive
Posted by Amazon Customer Reviews-- Sean Foulkes, March 6, 2011 on 8th Apr 2011
I bought this to fit in between a pair of Beyerdynamic headphones (DT770) and my Macbook Pro.
The sound quality vs the headphone jack on my laptop is really, really impressive. The bass tightened up and the high frequencies just really opened, and I hear a pretty big difference in sound quality even using my gym earbuds, some cheap-o Klipsch things that sound like crap to begin with. I also use some Shure SE-425's with these (the dual-driver earbuds) and those sound noticeably better too. Not "barely" noticeable. I usually take the extra time to hook up the amp any time i plug headphones into my laptop now.
For the money it is definitely worth it. I have also owned the Headroom Total Bithead for a few months, and I like the design and quality of this far better than that square plastic thing they have. The only way this could be better is if it had a mini-USB cable instead of the obsolete printer-sized cable that not many devices use anymore, and plus the thick cable seems to just get in the way a lot.
Does everything it claims and more
Posted by Amazon's Customer Reviews-- Kashif, October 22, 2010 on 23rd Mar 2011
Let me preface this review by saying that I am no audiophile but just an audio enthusiast who really enjoys and gets into his music.
Now, the review:
SIZE / BUILD / DESIGN / AESTHETICS :
The udac-2 is small i.e. very portable (more than the pictures lead you to believe) and I love that. I travel a lot for business and its size is so very much appreciated.
Looking at the pictures I thought it would feel slightly cheap or plasticy but I was VERY VERY wrong; the all aluminum construction is first rate and the unit feels EXTREMELY solid. The volume control has a good feel / actuation and the soft blue led light (when on) is a classy touch.
The RCA and Coaxial(S/PDIF) outputs are all gold plated and again, like the rest of the construction, very solid. I'll cover the sound quality from the RCA outputs in the audio performance section of the review.
There are a few color choices. I decided to get black but after getting it, seeing and feeling it, I wish I had gotten red or silver; its that good looking.
AUDIO / PERFORMANCE / SOUND QUALITY :
Right out of the box the sound quality is outstanding. The DAC and amplifier are both very musical. I listen to all kinds of music and all genres and ever since I got the udac2, I have listened to every kind from Jazz to hip hop, rap, dance, rock, pop etc. I just cannot wipe the grin off my face.
I have the following headphones:
Ultimate ears super.fi 5 pro
Klipsch Image S4i
I tried the udac2 will all three and although each and every one of them sounded great, the udac2 made my Sennheisers sing. I usually reserve the use of the Sennheisers with my old Nakamichi stereo receiver but no more. This thing just blows the Nak's headphone amp out of the water. The audio review that follows is the udac2 with the Sennheisers.
Group/ Artist: Down To The Bone
Album: From Manhattan To Staten
Track: 01 - Staten Island Groove
I think this is a very dynamic (albeit quite long) track filled with layers and layers of elements. While listening to the track and almost each and every element stayed distinct and I think I may have picked up another element that I didn't know existed. I tapped my fingers and feet the whole time I listened to it.
Group/ Artist: DEPECHE MODE
Album: Violator (Remastered 2006)
Track: 06 - Enjoy The Silence
I have heard this track countless times and is one of my favorites. The udac2 did it justice. The baseline, drums, the guitar riff throughout are crystal clear and in perfect harmony.
Group/ Artist: Blue Man Group
Album: The Complex
Track: 03 - Sing Along (Featuring Dave Mathews)
Format: MP3, 320Kbps
I got completely lost in this track the 2 or 3 times I listened to it over and over. I don't know what else to say.
Group/ Artist: Bass Mekanik
Album: Max Killa Hertz
Track: 02 - Aktivate-Terminate
Format: MP3, 320Kbps
The bass and percussions were solid. Never once did the bass get muddy.
Group/ Artist: Green Day
Album: American Idiot
Track: 04 - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
I felt Green Day were playing live for me.
I feel like listing every track I listened to and there was about 40 or 50 but this review would never end then.
The RCA outputs as I mentioned earlier are very solid. I connected the udac to the old nakamichi receiver in the bedroom. The signal was very strong and I wished this product was around a few years ago. I would have got this instead of a sound card to connect my HTPC to my home theater receiver; the sound quality would have been 10x better.
CONCLUSION / CLOSING THOUGHTS
It is everything that nuForce claims it is and more. Truth be told, I just cannot seem to stop listening to it and at $129 it is a steal. It has allowed me to enjoy my music when I am on the road as much as my main rig (some electronics connected to a McIntosh amp feeding paradigm studios) at a fraction of the cost.
Eliminates noise and keeps pretty much the full audio spectrum
Posted by Amazon Customer Reviews-- Jad Naous "Jad", March 6, 2011 on 23rd Mar 2011
This was my old review:
Admittedly, at low volumes, the udac has almost no high frequency noise, but at higher volumes, when the signal to noise ratio (SNR) is significant my laptop's connexant HD sound card blows the udac out of the water. The udac mutes higher frequency sounds and does not make available the full landscape of sound. There are sounds that are completely missed with the udac. Definitely not worth the money... So disappointing.
Here's my new review:
After listening to the Icon for quite a bit (pretty much 10 hours a day since I bought it), I do not want to switch back to my sound card. First, the static noise is much more noticeable on my laptop, and I have started to notice the high frequency differences much less. I've tested both again, and I have to say, I much prefer listening through the Icon. Also, their customer support seems to be pretty good (check out the responses to my comment). Is it possible that there's some warm up period on the Icon?