$249 baby amplifier wows audiophiles

The NuForce Icon breaks just about every audiophile stereotype--it's cheap, tiny, and digital--but sounds swell!

The Icon comes in four colors. NuForce

I heard the NuForce Icon (briefly) at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last year, and the little bugger was astounding. The anodized aluminum chassis is available in four snazzy colors. It feels well made.

Stereophile's Wes Phillips reviewed it for real. He even had the nerve to hook up the teeny NuForce Icon to a pair of Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower speakers, and Phillips was bowled over by the sound! The sheer incongruity of the match-up was disarming, but in the end Phillips heard the limitations of the NuForce Icon. Used as intended driving small speakers, it's tough to beat for its size and price.

It has USB, 3.5mm, and stereo RCA inputs; and headphone and speaker-level outputs. It's a 12-watt-per-channel desktop amp, so NuForce isn't touting the Icon as a giant killer, just that it'll sound sweet used in the context of a desktop audio system. Did I mention it's little, just 1 by 4.5 by 6 inches, and weighs one pound?

The S-1 speaker. NuForce

NuForce also offers a matching speaker, the S-1, for $249 a pair. There's also a subwoofer, the W-1, that goes for, you guessed it, $249.

The W-1 subwoofer NuForce
About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Delete your photos by mistake?

Whether you've deleted everything on your memory card or there's been a data corruption, here's a way to recover those photos.