Review Headphone Amp

Icon Mobile

Chris Martens, Playback Magazine

NuForce’s Icon Mobile makes an affordable, versatile, and effective vehicle for those who would like to take their portable or desktop headphone listening experiences to the next level.

Remember that to hear the unit at its best, you really must try it with your PC so that you can bring the NuForce’s surprisingly good USB DAC into play.

Potential buyers will, I think, appreciate the fact that the Icon Mobile puts primary emphasis on strong sonic performance at a reasonable price—not on flashy, “boutique” styling.

The Icon Mobile, though attractive enough in its simple and straightforward way, is really one of those products where “beauty is as beauty does.”
Ratings: Value – 10, Design & Feature – 10, Bass – 10, Soundstaging – 9, highs – 9, mids – 9
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Marja & Henk,
The NuForce Icon Mobile is meant for the user who desires more than the sonic quality provided by the onboard amplification of a mobile player like an iPod, Zune, Creative Zen or Sony E. These devices all suffer the same problem. To market them at a spiffy price, the manufacturers compromised the parts budget – stupid in a way but a fact of life…
There are plenty of high-quality personal or headphone amplifiers for static use at your desk or Lazy Boy. For amplification on the go however, battery power becomes necessary. Ditto portability. That not only means low weight, the housing also should be small. And smooth. Due to its quartet of AA batteries, the iQube is quite heavy although its packaging is smoothly rounded over. The Predator is smaller and lighter due to smarter battery use but its casing is boxy and hard edged. For real portable use during a park jog or commute to work, these specific examples of portable amps are probably not the first choice…
For the asking price however, the Icon Mobile is a great portable amplifier that offers musical enjoyment wherever and whenever from either a portable player or computer. The overall sound quality makes it certainly worthwhile to shop for the best in-ear or standard headphone your budget allows.

Peter Treadway,
How many times have you been on a plane and seen two luvahs sharing a pair of earbuds? …How often have you wished that you could use some decent headphones with your portable player, but the power just wasn’t there? …
Sound is reaaaally good. Attack is phenom with the clarity we have repeatedly seen in all of NuForce’s products. Soundstage is much improved over the typical “center of the head” mumbo-jumbo you get out of your naked ‘phones. We feel the dimensionality of the instruments themselves. Not able to place them exactly, but the sounds are not clumped together and there is depth that fascinates!

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