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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I have a NuForce Icon doing my music processing from my Mac Mini fed into a pair of Orb Mod 1's and a Mirage Omni 8 sub. I just found out that NuForce is bringing out an Icon 2 which bumps from 16/44 & 15 WPC to 24/96 & 30WPC. Here are the links:

Icon - http://www.nuforce.com/hp/products/icon/index.php

Icon 2 - http://www.nuforce.com/hp/products/icon2/index.php

Here is my question:

If most of my rips are Apple Lossless from CD, I am not going to see any gain in fidelity in upgrading to the Icon 2, correct? I would only notice a difference if I had some HD digital tracks?

Along with that, if I have an Oppo 980H hooked up to the Icon via RCA cables, I won't see any improvement there either because the Oppo has already processed the SACD or DVDA to analog output internally?

I would enjoy the doubling of the WPC as the NuForce is a little polite in the sound currently.

Hope that make sense. Anyone feel free to chime in and help assure me I am understanding correctly. Thanks!
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

The 24/96 in the Nuforce 2 means it can work with files that have sampling rate/word lengths as high as 24/96. It doesn't upsample to 24/96. You would still be playing files that are 16/44. If you get any high resolution (HD) files (24/96) it would work with them and your current files. Your current files and any future files captured in Apple Lossless from standard Red Book CD's are and will continue to be 16/44. There would be no increase in fidelity from them. Any increased fidelity would come from saving and playing 24/96 HD files which can't come from a CD.

Nuforce says the Icon 2 is 24 WPC. Going from 15 to 24 WPC is not much of a change.

AFAIK: Apple Lossless doesn't work with 24/96 or any other HD file format.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Thanks, Joe. You confirmed some of what I was already thinking and provided some additional insight.

While it may tip my hand to my "audiophile in training" status, am I correct in thinking the Oppo is already processing the 24/96 prior to output, so the NuForce is just amplfying the signal and I wouldn't gain anything by upgrading?
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

While that unit has only a modest increase in output over the previous version, both the Icon and Icon 2 have preamp outputs so you could use a separate power amplifier with it in the future. If you are going to stay with your current resolution for digital music files yet need a bit more power you could consider adding a power amp, perhaps the Emotiva UPA-2.
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Thanks, Joe. You confirmed some of what I was already thinking and provided some additional insight.

While it may tip my hand to my "audiophile in training" status, am I correct in thinking the Oppo is already processing the 24/96 prior to output, so the NuForce is just amplfying the signal and I wouldn't gain anything by upgrading?
Where are you getting 24/96 music files from? There are none on regular CD's. I believe your Oppo plays SACD's but they are Bitstream. AFAIK your Oppo also plays DVD-A disks. They are 24/96. If you're using the analog out from your Oppo it's all a moot point. You could play DVD-A's and use the digital out from the Oppo into your DAC. Of course, this works only if your DAC does 24/96.

I agree with jackfish about adding an external power amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Where are you getting 24/96 music files from? There are none on regular CD's. I believe your Oppo plays SACD's but they are Bitstream. AFAIK your Oppo also plays DVD-A disks. They are 24/96. If you're using the analog out from your Oppo it's all a moot point. You could play DVD-A's and use the digital out from the Oppo into your DAC. Of course, this works only if your DAC does 24/96.
Yeah, I was speaking to the 24/96 fidelity with regard to the SACD & DVD-A discs. The Oppo does both SACD and DVD-A and I am using the analog outs into the NuForce Icon, so you confirmed my thinking that upgrading is a moot point in most (if not all) regards. ALTHOUGH, I have heard of folks ripping hi-res formats into 24/96. I have Audio Hijack Pro, which lets me rip any source into 24 bit AIFF, but the sample rate only goes to 48. Not sure how an AIFF rip at that sample rate would compare to the sound of SACD or DVDA outright since I can't go up to 96. Maybe something I will try prior to upgrading.

I will begin to plan for an external amp. That Emotiva is pretty large (physically) and I like to keep my desktop system svelte, but balanced with quality. But then again, size pretty much goes hand-in-hand with power, so I will start to investigate a bit and see where I end up.

Thanks for the advice/insight!! :T
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Not as powerful as the Emotiva but the Parasound Zamp v3 is small and well regarded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

mod comment - chaps can we be careful when talking about ripping CD' or other formats as there are copyright rules in place.
Of course. Thanks for the reminder. I guess I don't think twice about such discussions because I only rip music I own. I can't imagine stealing art of any kind, especially music.
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

That is a nice looking unit. Now since I have a 2.1 set up, how would I incorporate the sub since I see no sub out on the amp? :scratch: I am still learning.
There are RCA jacks to the right of the "In" RCA jacks with "Loop ->" pointing to them. Those right RCA jacks are an output of the input which can be fed to line in inputs of a subwoofer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There are RCA jacks to the right of the "In" RCA jacks with "Loop ->" pointing to them. Those right RCA jacks are an output of the input which can be fed to line in inputs of a subwoofer.
Cool! Now would I just run one of those two out to the sub or would I need to connect both using dual to single connector RCA cable?
Posted via Mobile Device
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Yes, a 2 male to 1 female RCA adapter with a single rca cable of appropriate length could be used.
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Many subs are configured so that only one RCA connection is needed even if there are two input jacks. Check the manual for your sub. If it has a single jack marked LFE use that one. You'll be using the crossover in your preamp so turn the crossover frequency control on the sub all the way up.
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Many subs are configured so that only one RCA connection is needed even if there are two input jacks. Check the manual for your sub. If it has a single jack marked LFE use that one. You'll be using the crossover in your preamp so turn the crossover frequency control on the sub all the way up.
The Mirage Omni 8 subwoofer has a single RCA input for a "summed" two channel or LFE input. The line "Loop" output of the Parasound Zamp is right and left channel and a 2 male to 1 female RCA adapter should be used to get its line output to a single RCA plug so that all desired program material is accommodated. In the OP's described system there is no crossover in the preamp so the speakers will have to be run full range, relying on their inherent rolloff, and the subwoofer's low pass filter would be engaged. With the Orb 1s that would likely be around 80 Hz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Thanks for the input! JoeESP9 actually got right to what I was thinking as I have heard you can run just one RCA out into LFE and that would carry all the info needed. However, that always sounded odd to me.

So from what jackfish is saying, it depends on what is outputing the signal that determines whether you need to run both L & R outs into the LFE or if one will suffice?

Just to clarify I plan to use both outs in the set-up once the amp is added. I am just curious as to why sometimes running one channel out will work, while at other times (like this one) you need to use both.
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Some subs will take a single RCA cable from the receiver or preprocessor sub output, usually marked "LFE" or when there is a pair of sub input jacks sometimes one (usually the right) is marked "LFE" or the manual specifies the RCA jack that will accept the LFE input. My sub just has a pair of RCA jacks and my preamp has a single subwoofer RCA jack, so I use a 2 male to 1 female RCA adapter, and a single RCA cable. In your case, if you got a Parasound Zamp, you would be taking a right and left pair of full range outputs from the amp and "summing" them with a 2 male to 1 female RCA adapter into a single RCA cable going to your subwoofer which has a single RCA jack for line level input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

Some subs will take a single RCA cable from the receiver or preprocessor sub output, usually marked "LFE" or when there is a pair of sub input jacks sometimes one (usually the right) is marked "LFE" or the manual specifies the RCA jack that will accept the LFE input. My sub just has a pair of RCA jacks and my preamp has a single subwoofer RCA jack, so I use a 2 male to 1 female RCA adapter, and a single RCA cable. In your case, if you got a Parasound Zamp, you would be taking a right and left pair of full range outputs from the amp and "summing" them with a 2 male to 1 female RCA adapter into a single RCA cable going to your subwoofer which has a single RCA jack for line level input.
So essentially what you are looking for on both the output and the input is some indication of LFE. For example, my Denon AVR 1909 has and LFE out and my Orb Super 8 sub has an LFE in, so one cable will do the trick. If there isn't a single output labled as such/described as such in the manual, then you need to run from both L & R outputs on an unused speaker channel to the sub LFE. Likewise, if you have L & R inputs on your sub with neither being designated as a "summed" input, you'll need to use both.

Did I get that right?
 

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Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

That's about it, except "L & R outputs on an unused speaker channel" would only be used for a high level or speaker level input on a subwoofer if you are talking about speaker outputs or terminals on an amp or receiver. But I think you actually mean "L & R line level outputs." For line level signals it would be "L & R RCA jack outputs on an unused line level output." This would usually be a two channel preamp or subwoofer output. Good luck in your quest for an amp solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: NuForce Icon 2 - Increased fidelit for my setup?

That's about it, except "L & R outputs on an unused speaker channel" would only be used for a high level or speaker level input on a subwoofer if you are talking about speaker outputs or terminals on an amp or receiver. But I think you actually mean "L & R line level outputs."
Yes. You are correct. I misspoke. That is exactly what I meant. I really appreciate the dialog and wishes of luck.
 
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