NuForce Icon iDo Brings Audiophile Quality to iOS Devices

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For audiophiles, the MP3-revolution has been a painful experience. Audio files reduced in size by compression technologies like MP3 or AAC -- the technology the iTunes Music Store uses -- are not "lossless". Some of the audio fidelity is lost in the quest for smaller sound files. But so-called "lossless" audio files, which can be acquired by converting CD's in iTunes using the "Apple Lossless" format, retain all the quality and fidelity of a CD.

Load those files onto an iPhone or iPad and audio enthusiasts can have high-quality audio on the go. But, there is still a matter of the "inferior" digital-to-analog converters (DAC) built into the iOS devices themselves. That's where the NuForce Icon iDo comes in.

The Icon iDo delivers audiophile-grade CD quality sound to digital music files stored on Apple® mobile digital devices. iDo is ideal for music enthusiasts and musicians alike who primarily listen to—and have their digital music libraries stored on—these devices.

Apple products are becoming the hub of a person’s entire music and audio collection, so improving the audio quality produced by these devices is key. The Icon iDo delivers on that at very affordable price point.

The Icon iDo does two things. One, it acts as an amp and DAC for plugging headphones into an iPhone. It connects to the 30-pin dock connector on the bottom of the device, then converts the digital signal to analog and runs that through its own headphone amplifier. According to the company, the product "enhances the auditory performance of the headphones because optimal amperage is being delivered to them, allowing for greater audio clarity." The Icon iDo can output digital or analog signals to a stereo, as well.

The Icon iDo MSRP's for $249 and works with all recent-vintage iPods.

Hat tip to Gizmodo.

Top Rated Comments

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119 months ago

Who comes up with the names for these things..


iDo.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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119 months ago

Who comes up with the names for these things..

iDo.

Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
119 months ago

Ah yes, the audiophile. Technology's equivalent of the wine snob.


The better term is "audiofool". These are the people who buy the $100 wood knob and the gold plated power cords. They are mostly ignorant people with money.

There are real "audiophiles" who know snake oil when they see it and who can understand the engineering. These people are mostly invisible on Internet forrums
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
119 months ago
I really think modern music (recordings) suck more because of the "loudness war."

See //www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ for a good explanation and demonstration.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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119 months ago
Who comes up with the names for these things.. How about something not silly that actually relates to what the product does.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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119 months ago
Reality Check from a musician

Ok, both sides chill. It's juvenile to bash "audiophiles" as well as gloat if you have the $$$ to afford the finer things in life. I've written and produced albums and can tell you from a production side what matters.

99.9% of Pop/Rock stuff whether old or new is compressed and loudness enhanced, whether available from iTunes at 256kbps or on "remastered" CD.

Only some of the first CDs, ca. 1983/84 came close to using the full dynamic range (max. 96db). Compared to todays "remastered" releases, you can hear the difference in sound level to match today's listening devices. Very few people still have an analog amp with paper-cone speakers. Musicians & producers want to make money, so they produce music that sells to the masses, not a few "audiophiles".

As an example, compare the 1983 CD "Love Over Gold" by Dire Straits, to today's CD or iTunes store. I still have the original CD and it sounds way better musically, but less "loud".

In the Jazz & Classical genres, there's a few better examples of true high fidelity recordings, but even there many are "remastered" again for todays digital amps and speakers.

Now to the "iDo". For me it falls in between 2 markets, audiophiles & casual listeners and therefore probably won't sell well. I'm neither one, I appreciate music quality, not tech specs.

Here's my setup.
I have my Apple Lossless library stored on a MacMini, the equiv 256kbps AAC version on my MacbookAir & ipod/iPhone. If I'm in my car or on the road, I cannot (and I will claim most audiophiles won't either) hear a difference because you're not focused on the fine nuances when you're driving or otherwise mobile with ambient noise all around you.

The iDo has to be be plugged in, so if I need to be near a socket, I might as well use the optical output on the MacMini to feed into my digital amp with a BurrBrown DAC, which probably exceeds the DAC (since they don't name it) in the iDo. And I can control it with the Remote App on my ipod touch/iPhone/ipad. So, why would I buy an iDo ? It doesn't even include an optical S/PDIF (TOSLINK) connector. The USB->RCA doesn't give you electrical isolation, which is important to audiophiles.

A useless product especially at that price point. You can buy a $30 Line-Out ipod Dock connector and feed that into your headphone amp of choice. Good ones are available for $100. But again, if you're mobile with your ipod, just invest $50-$100 in a good pair of lightweight headphones instead of this bloated iDo. If you fly a lot, buy a $150 noise-cancelling set.

iDo? iWon't!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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