Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,097
13,717



ido.jpg



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.

Article Link: NuForce Icon iDo Brings Audiophile Quality to iOS Devices
 

LeeTom

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2004
1,558
209
I'm not saying it won't be a noticeable or even huge improvement over the sound of an iPod alone - but at $250 for a DAC and headphone amp - audiophile quality it is not.
 
Comment

al2o3cr

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2009
210
0
I'm not saying it won't be a noticeable or even huge improvement over the sound of an iPod alone - but at $250 for a DAC and headphone amp - audiophile quality it is not.

No kidding - they'll have to tack another zero onto the price or add a special "audiophile" wooden knob before *that* crowd will be interested. Maybe they could throw in a special "oxygen-free" iPod cable (guaranteed to make digital bits sound MOAR BETTAR) for the low, low price of $1,995...
 
Comment

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
Ah yes, the audiophile. Technology's equivalent of the wine snob.
 
Comment

finkmacunix

macrumors regular
Feb 5, 2011
115
0
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

That thing looks massive! Wouldn't that take the "portable" out of MP3 player?
 
Comment

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,801
584
Redondo Beach, California
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
 
Comment

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,055
162
Canada, eh?
ahhh... making fun of audiophiles for enjoying quality sound. Not cool.

Well, as always, there are two questions to ask:

1. Does this actually make the audio sound better?
2. Is this worth the cost?

The "audiofool" is willing to pay for all kinds of silly things (2) without checking to see if it actually sounds better (1). (Of course, they think it sounds better -- surely it must be better if it was so expensive!)

A fool and his money...
 
Comment

scott911

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2009
723
439
ahhh... making fun of audiophiles for enjoying quality sound. Not cool.

right!

the DAC in apple items are ok, but sure can be improved on by quite a number of products.

To someone with good ears, the difference between good sound and great should is no different than the difference between old res and retna display to people with good eyes.
 
Comment

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; de-de) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

as long as sth isnt mono i dont rly hear a difference and dont care ^^ great for those who r into these kind of things i guess
 
Comment

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
right!

the DAC in apple items are ok, but sure can be improved on by quite a number of products.

To someone with good ears, the difference between good sound and great should is no different than the difference between old res and retna display to people with good eyes.

I don't know that analogy would hold up. If you take 100 people and have them point to which has a better display, the 3GS or iPhone4, I am willing to bet a much higher percentage can pick that out compared to those same 100 people comparing a 256 AAC file vs a higher fidelity audio source.

I'm not saying it doesn't exist, especially for those with trained ears, but if the product doesn't have a noticeable effect on the vast majority than the benefit is questionable. I suppose the masses are just unwashed cretins though....
 
Comment

Jodles

macrumors regular
Dec 5, 2008
172
2
I don't know that analogy would hold up. If you take 100 people and have them point to which has a better display, the 3GS or iPhone4, I am willing to bet a much higher percentage can pick that out compared to those same 100 people comparing a 256 AAC file vs a higher fidelity audio source.

I'm not saying it doesn't exist, especially for those with trained ears, but if the product doesn't have a noticeable effect on the vast majority than the benefit is questionable. I suppose the masses are just unwashed cretins though....


In this case though it's not just about the bitrate. Yes, it is quite hard to hear difference between 256 AAC to lossless, without really good equipment and well-trained ears. In this case though, the DAC's in most equipment around today, including the iProducts are of quite old technology, and with decent equipment you *will* hear a difference quite audibly. Whether you will hear a difference or not of course depends on what you're listening through, though, and Beats by Dr Dre doesn't count...

On another note, external DAC's for iPhone isn't anything new?

Edit: + in most cases, people don't know what they're missing before they've heard a decent system. Whereas with a screen you can imagine the ppi being greater.
 
Last edited:
Comment

djgamble

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2006
880
376
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

Steve Mobs said:
""Audiophile Quality""​

Yeah probably delivers the same quality as the million dollar gear that paedo...audiophiles use. That says, 196k AAC does as well ;) every time people do the tests, NOBODY can tell the difference because most of the sound deleted cannot be heard by our human ears.
 
Comment

malnar

macrumors 6502a
Aug 20, 2008
626
37
I'm not saying it won't be a noticeable or even huge improvement over the sound of an iPod alone - but at $250 for a DAC and headphone amp - audiophile quality it is not.
I think the price is out of line unless it is made of extremely high-end materials, which I think is unlikely, but those making fun of the IDEA of something like this are equally out of line. Just because you may not notice or care about the difference doesn't mean there isn't a difference. There are two branches of audiophiles - the smart ones who skeptically test things to see if they really do work and the fools who happily throw money at every expensive thing and insist they do wonders.

The first and best upgrade is headphones, period. Really, truly great headphones will blow your mind with what they reveal. Most people will never need more than that.
 
Comment

Jodles

macrumors regular
Dec 5, 2008
172
2
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)



Yeah probably delivers the same quality as the million dollar gear that paedo...audiophiles use. That says, 196k AAC does as well ;) every time people do the tests, NOBODY can tell the difference because most of the sound deleted cannot be heard by our human ears.

Every time people do the tests? I'd like to see some references;-) What is undetected by our human ears are very high sampling frequencies. This is where some audiophiles might sometimes go out of line in my opinion. We can't hear much above ~22kHz. Bitrate is another story, however. And in this case, the DAC is arguably even more important if we're already dealing with relatively decent bitrates (196k AAC in your example). Go to a high-end audio shop, and listen to some of their top of the line gear and see for yourself if you can hear a difference or not.

Oh and "paedo...audiophiles"? Was that really called for?

edit: Lion keeps autocorrecting bitrate to nitrate! :p
 
Comment

koruki

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2009
1,249
527
New Zealand
I love my music and quality audio, but this looks like BS. You won't hear any difference using normal IEM's, the iPod's DAC is pretty decent. I'd suggest people get themselves an iPhone 4 if they want a quick and easy upgrade to portable audio. The iPhone 4 is a noticeable step up from the normal iPod, during parts of the track where there is no sound, its dead silent, no hissing like other mp3 devices.

The only way to experience an increase in audio quality (given the source is good) is with more powerful headphones and by powerful I don't mean bass. This little thing would not be able to drive higher impedance headphones anyway. From there **** goes crazy in terms of cost so steer clear :cool:

btw Nuforce do make a great pair of bang for buck IEM's with their NE-7M's I heard, so spend on that instead of this =)
 
Last edited:
Comment

R3k

macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2011
1,020
926
Sep 7, 2011
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

LeeTom said:
I'm not saying it won't be a noticeable or even huge improvement over the sound of an iPod alone - but at $250 for a DAC and headphone amp - audiophile quality it is not.

Well of course not, where would you fit all the tubes?

Jokes aside, I think you can get some nice conversion for $250. It doesn't have to be a multi thousand dollar Mytek converter to be great- diminished returns when you're up in the super high end territory.

Id have to agree and guess that $250 is too expensive for the quality you'll get here, but not because you can't get quality conversion at that price point.
 
Last edited:
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.