there are a bunch of posts about it in the archives.
217 responses Add your response
I love the NuForce product. They have competed well in my showroom against a Parasound Halo A51 and Krell 400 cx on both Dynaudio Contour 5.4s as well as VMPS RM40's. These little monoblocks (Ref. 9s) beat both of the above competitors in low bass response for our application. They are simply amazing. (Especially for the price.) And the WAF if huge; you can hide them almost anywhere.
We offer a free in home demo if anyone is interested. We just ask that you simply pay for the return shipping of these 9lb monoblocks. Feel free to email me.
Tyler T. Mueller
NOTHING compares to a good tube amp - like mine! Audiomat Opera: 30wpc pure class A push-pull.
I had the original NuForce model 8s in my system for a month, but wanted to return them the day I got 'em. Compared to tubes, the NuForce does not do harmonics properly or get the effortlessly organic tube sound correct. It has a kind of "processed" sound to it, similar to what dithering does. The soundstage just doesn't open up like you get with good valves.
If you're coming from solid-state, however, you may like 'em. I didn't.
Oz, I'd definitely say they outperform most tube amps I've heard (especially in terms of bass articulation and top to bottom resolution). And the amazing thing is that you can get them to sound just like a great tube amp if you want to -- simply by using a great tube preamp ahead of it.
I have a friend who uses his NuForce with a TAD-150 Signature with excellent results. In fact, it caused him to get rid of his tube amp, which couldn't keep up sonically.
I'm currently using a Parasound P/LD-2000 into a TAD-150 Signature and then into the NuForce Reference 8s. I know that using two preamps in tandem might seem weird, but I'm actually getting the best sound quality that way. It's my own special recipe that I discovered by accident when I first hooked up the TAD-150 to see if it worked. I found the TAD-150 by itself (though an excellent performer) to be just a touch soft and laid back for my taste.
The solid-state P/LD-2000 feeding the TAD-150 somehow lets the system maintain its excellent dynamic kick while also creating sweet, airy tube sound. It's fantastic on vocals and guitar and the bass totally comes alive. I consider this combo the best of both worlds. I'm using SignalCable's excellent Silver Resolution interconnects to connect the chain and it's pure magic.
I have the ref 8b's running fully balanced from a Marantz SA-11S1 thru a passive-mode Adcom GFP-750. To me, the sound is absolutely fantastic with rock, big band, jazz, acoustic, etc. In general, the sound stage, imaging, bass and most of all the PRAT are better than with my PrimaLuna Prologue 2. However, I still enjoy the sound of my tube setup and I do like it somewhat more with most classical pieces. The main reason I bought the NuForce was to have a high quality, cool running system in the summer months. Tubes and Class A equipment take a siesta in my listening room from June through September. I am very pleased with the performance of these digital amps. Furthermore, having the two systems allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds during the course of the year. Its like drinking red or white - although they are quite different, they can be equally enjoyable when of good quality.
Some like tubes some don't. In contrast to many of the top-end ss amps these NuForces battle with the best. Did you notice that The Absolute Sound just praised the Reference 9's with the Editor's Choice Award for 2005?
They are very impressive and near impossible to beat at their price point. I have heard them be 95% of $12k Sim Audio monos at an audio jam; no small feat.
Hi folks, does anyone know the differences between the eAR ICEpower amps, for instance the eAR 1001, and the NuForce? Does the NuForce sound more organic and natural in comparison with the ICEpower amps? Recently Bel Canto design released an ICEpower amp called the Ref 1000, which will replace their well known Tripath based eVo 2.
Okay I really hate to respond but, Nuforce is not a bad amp at all... It is for the people that are "Intellectual" or more of an accurate listener not the super emotional listener. They do everything well and maybe perfect, but music is not perfect and maybe should not be... Big reason tubes are very popular is they add a certain harmonic distortion or color of their own to give a certain conveyed sound, same as Vinyl to CD in some extent... Nuforce does not sound fatiguing or any of the bad words that solid state carries with it most of the time, but they are not for me in the end.
If you like a "wetter" or more liquid organic sound and do not mind that the hard edged definition is missing in your music then these are for you, and they are super efficient very small and well I guess cost effective in many ways, but not really..
Bottom line is sure you can get some real crap between 1500 and 3000.00 dollars, and some Gems, and these might be better than what you have or heard no doubt...
Here is the problem with these in my eyes as a bottom line, and this was verified to me by a couple of very good amp manufacturers and I am no expert, there is no more than 150.00 worth of parts in these, No big Caps, No big Torroids, No big fancy Cabinet which is the main costs on any amp and they went on to say they could easily copy the design and have no problem admitting they could beat out some pretty good competition.. So yes these Defy all odds and Can sound good doing it, but remember FACTS are Facts you will be buying 3 lbs of very basic design and a couple of fancy WBT posts for the money that you would in turn be putting into actual electrical components of actual cost buying better A/B or tube amps that have actual value in parts inside.
IN NO WAY am I saying this effects sound, Right or wrong but this is something to think about... If they were about HALF the price they are then I could choke down the fact you are buying next to nothing in simplicity and good sound for a simple and versitile component. IF you really do the math guys, look at a 1000watt digital Plate amp, you can have them for what a mere 150.00 retail these days? thats because parts are very basic and efficient in these designs.
I would go for them in a 7 channel setup or something if they ran about 250.00 a piece, but even then I just heard the New JVC hybrid receiver and it does all channels digital for about 450.00 with processors and good sound.
For 2 channel they do not do it for me, I have heard them in a couple systems, so again they could be better for others and synergy could click with other stuff.
My money is not going to them and on first impression they present music in a way that you may not be used to hearing in a conventional manner and you may reject them immediatly, but always try them yourself, opinions and reviews mean nothing next to your own needs and ear.
Correction to my above post
"If you like a "wetter" or more liquid organic sound and do not mind that the hard edged definition is missing in your music then these are for you, and they are super efficient very small and well I guess cost effective in many ways, but not really..".
Sorry I MEANT "these are NOT for you"
About $150 in parts is all you would find in just about ANY $800 amplifier. That's the economics of it. Also, remember that this is a very different technology. Comparing parts is a bit misleading.
In my system, they did not compete with the Rowland 201. I really, really wanted the Nuforce to be as good or better but they were not. The Nuforce sounded pleasant but somewhat artificial and, as Matrix says, less liquid and organic. Too bad.
The system at RMAF that used the Nuforce amps sounded very good to me, however.
I have the ref8 on my second system,can you guys check
your cabling? maybe some of you, who did not like them,
did not synergise in your system,I just hook them up
last night,I think this are very very good amps,I will
seriously listen to them in onother 3 days.The amps
that I will be comparing,are Plinius SA100 and Oddyssey
Stratos extreme, So will see, if they will dethrone my
2 amps.But I am quite surprise already.
The cost of parts argument is just weak.
Example: the doctor gives a prescription. The pills cost pennies to make but cost you a buck. Profit? Research? Marketing?
Example: a consultant spends an hour and charges you a thousand dollars. You pay for his/her years of experience, not an hour's worth of time.
What is a very good idea worth? More to some, less to others.
Get off the amp comparison for a minute - just listen to various higher end CD players - they sound good but different. Is the price differential justified? Yes for some, no for others. Which is 'right?' It's up to you.
I liked the NuForce 8Bs. Am breaking in the reference 9s now. Can tell you they sound good. Good to me is not necessarily good to you. My reference amp is tubed. I may not miss it. Haven't decided yet.
Correction above, I do have the ref9,I am finding that
they are excellent on my Diapasons,slam is just making
my wall shooked,the transient is quick,vocals are so
natural, they are very efficient on my Diapason, they
have a bass, I have never heard on my Diapason.I tried
them on my friend Andra II, to my surprise, they were
able to drive them not as good as DNA 500 McCormack,
and the CJ 350 but those are expensive amps.If you have
a monitor, I would think, it worth trying this amps.
I get really tired of reading how cheap this stuff is to build, and how easy it is, etc. Do these same people object to $2000 interconnects? Hey, it is just wire and some fancy connectors, right? Can't be that expensive or hard to make.
If it is so easy and cheap, why don't we see any of these pseudo-experts making and selling products?
Part of the reason is that they will find that designing a Class D amp from scratch is not that trivial. Especially if it has to sound good. I won't even touch on the subject of keeping the EMI down to an acceptable level.
In contrast to Drubin's findings, I compared the twice-as-expensive Rowland 201s to the NuForce Reference 8Bs on Aerial 10t speakers and found that I liked the Nuforce much better in the midrange and high frequencies. The ONLY area where I felt the twice-as-powerful Rowlands beat the Nuforce was in bass extension and slam. I thought the Reference 8s sounded more natural and musical than the Rowlands in the critical midrange and highs.
I am now (and have been for some time) testing different versions of the NuForce Reference 9 amps. There are a few variables that Nuforce is playing with that have had dramatic effects on the unit's overall performance.
I can tell you that the Reference 9 series has a more extended and powerful bottom end than the Reference 8 series. It sounds generally more relaxed and can play at louder average levels. I can also tell you that this particular amp may have the potential to be a state-of-the-art contender, regardless of its price and/or expense of its individual components.
As I write this I'm waiting for my amps to return from another (minor but critical) change that may put them into super-amp territory. I have heard versions of the Ref 9s that excelled in one area or another, but I'm hoping this latest version will excell in all areas and fit my paradigm of the ideal amplifier. It's the refinement and culmination of several parts/circuit changes and some fine tuning. Some might even consider it personalization for my particular taste and system requirements. So be it!
Will it be every man's cup of tea. Heck no! No amp, no matter how perfect would appeal to everyone because we all have different listening biases and our individual ideals for "perfection".
I used to do a lot of audio club demonstrations and came away with the firm opinion that if you put a live band behind a curtain and let them play, at least half the group in attendance wouldn't think it sounded quite right. For some it would be too bright, for others too colored, and still others would think it wasn't colored enough.
Let's face it, pleasing ALL audiophiles is something no one component (no matter how fantastic or absolutely accurate) could possibly achieve.
I've also got a pair of Aerial 10Ts that I've been driving with a Levinson 331 but have been toying with the idea of uping the power since the 10Ts do love power. The McCormack DNA-500 is on my wish list but, of course, it's price tag is a good bit beyond the NuForce 9s.
Plato, can you say more about the 9s with your 10Ts and what you're having done to the amps? Are these personal mods or is Nuforce still tweaking the design of the 9s? (i.e. is 'latest version' your version or theirs?).
Plato, very well said.
Mdconnelly, I also own the 10Ts and after recently hearing the NuForce Reference 9 amps in my system, I sold my beloved McCormack DNA-2 Revision A amp. The NuForce weren't night and day better, but they are more refined, revealing, and musical. Surprisingly, they did an excellent job of competing head to head with the phenomenal bass of the 300 wpc into 8ohm DNA-2 Rev. A or should I say 600 wpc into my 10Ts at 4 ohm loads. (fwiw, my preferred listening levels are 92 to 97 db)
Phd, you said, "There may be more hype behind these switching mono blocks then they really deserve." To that I say, "then again, perhaps not." You issued a good caution to try before you buy. But that should go without saying regardless of the product or industry.
Unsound, these are analog switching amps. Not digital. To see how the NuForce amps rank among some of the better amps TAS is touting these days, I would suggest checking out this very recent review by Chris Martens of the Absolute Sound:
One comment Chris Martens made that I find intriguing was,
"The Ref 9s offer a truly extraordinary level of see-through transparency, and as an audiophile friend so aptly put it, Their transparency is real, not a fake artifact
caused by brightness."
I think that comment said quite a bit and without any fluff. Especially when one considers the other amps he's comparing to.
I've not heard the latest and greatest TAS recommended amps as mentioned in the review but until now the DNA-2 Rev. A amp was the overall best I've heard. That includes the Halcros DM68s and DM58 which I've had the pleasure to hear on several occasions.
Disclaimer, at the same time I sold my DNA-2 Rev A amp, I became a dealer for NuForce.
The reason I ask where the halcro sits is My friend in Sydney has complete halcro system with Wilson7 all the
famous cables and tweeks shunyata Valhalla Indra AQ Sky
Linn Cd12, BC Pl1, shunmooks, harmonic dots,etc.very highly teeek system most people go around to his place thinks thats best system they ever heard or one of the very best.
Here comes real revalation Nuforce Ref 9 with latest
upgrade has dethrone the dm68 in his system so my question
Where does the NF 9 sits?
Hmmm very interesting
I'm the nuforce distributor for Australia
I would not buy these amps yet. Not because they aren't any good, they obviously are, but they are a work in progress.
The Ref 8's went through something like 6 iterations with improvements at every step. The Ref 9 is already up to 9.02 or something like that. The good thing about this though is the designers give the option to upgrade the internal modules to latest version for not much cost, but still... I would wait for them to get it perfected with such a new technology.
There is a guy who does level 1 mods on them as well at www.tweakaudio.com
""Some of the things done in the mod include:
1. Remove the LED for clearer sound.
2. Damp various parts for cleaner sound.
3. Install ERS material between power supply and output board.
4. Change input cap to super expensive V-Cap Teflon (maybe world's best cap). We burn in these caps for one week on custom burn-in machine before installing.
5. Change power supply caps to damped nude Blackgates.
6. Change filter cap to hand made copper foil and Teflon tape cap.
7. Change input op amp to better, faster type.
8. Change input jacks to OFC copper types (SoundConnections/Vampire).
9. Change input ground wire to Jena Labs wire.
10. Change output wire to high purity copper Litz Cardas wire.
11. Remove the sound of the binding posts by running the output wires through grommets in the chassis and wrapping the tinned ends of the wire around the outside of the binding posts (effectively giving a wire to spade clamp).
12. etc. ""
I would not buy these amps yet. Not because they aren't any good, they obviously are, but they are a work in progress.
This nicely encapsulates my primary issue with the Nuforce amps. My secondary issue is with the sound of the amps, but that's a matter of personal taste.
Can someone explain to me why so many of you guys buy something and then send it to some "modder" to hack on it???? You realise that you end up paying more, but if all of the "improvements" came stock, and the price was raised accordingly, you would kvetch about it costing too much.
An excellent question, and one I'm certain drives designers of high end audio equipment absolutely crazy.
It took NuForce team 2 YEARS to complete the R&D and we have been granted 3 US patents and filed many more. The small team in California worked for long hours without pay for 2 freaking years! And attorney fees cost a fortune.
Do you think we're getting rich making a few hundred $ per unit? It is not like we're selling millions of these. Do you think traditional 50 lbs amp cost a lot? Come on, what you're paying for is the weight of the transformer, heavy metal case, R&D and marketing.
If you look around in the high end market, how many companies are actually doing original research?
With regards to revision, we could have stopped upgrading the current amp, come up with another model, raise the price and people will still line up to buy them. But instead, we stay true to our philosophy of providing better value to our customers. Sure, we're going against a very tranditional mindset here. But for those of you who "complains" about upgrade, don't you notice that your PC, laptop, routers, and many other high tech equipment all have different version numbers depending on when you buy them? Manufacturers like us add different version number so that we can differentiate between one production version versus another, even if there is minor changes.
Now about R&D etc. We're not done yet and don't forsee that we'll ever be done :). As we have said, we're constantly doing R&D and if we discover new enhancement, we will decide either to withhold it (for the next model) or release the upgade into the next production.
We are very grateful for those of you early adopters who recognized the tremendous value and performance (read the TAS and other reviews) of these amps and supported us. Those early customers will get a price break for more exciting products that we're coming out (such as preamp). Those who want to wait can buy the same great amp next year for perhaps higher price :).
Jason from NuForce
The Ref 8 case is made of all aluminium, more expensive that other thick iron or steel case that some people preferred. In the early production, we use bright blue LED that is hard to control the brightness. The latest production has frosted blue LED.
Ref 8 is targetting people who appreciate good sound but are not willing to pay the extra. There are a lot of people who prefer that their audio equipment stay out of sight and to them, sound is what they care (may be not what you like). Ref 8 is also frequently used as surround and back channel amps and placed close to the speaker. It is meant to be light and small.
Jason from NuForce
Jason, I can appreciate the fact that the team at Nuforce is working their butts off to create and perfect the product, however neither the defensive tone of your post, nor the somewhat threatening comment,
Those who want to wait can buy the same great amp next year for perhaps a higher price.contributes to Nuforce achieving legitimacy in the high end audio market.
Are you kidding, we're just a small company :). We're in no position to be threating. The points I were making related to justifying the (already low) price and product positioning of Ref 8. I don't know what Tvad meant by achieving legitimacy in high end audio market :). We care more about having satisfied customers. Do we have plans to bring out high price and more exotic amps that cost a lot more ? YES. But we're also planning to continue to offer lower price and great sounding products to the average consumer who can't afford to pay a few grand for a system :).
Jason from NuForce
I just hooked them on my Norh 6.9,synthetic marble,
the ref 9, are good match with these speakers also,
the system is not even warm, the musicality is
good, and they sound very impressive.I am hearing
something I have not heard before.The piano is just
so natural ,its sounds real to me, you can hear the
instrument very clear, because the layering is superb.
I can tell there is something special with the ref9.Thanks
I'm sorry, Jason. I will cut you some slack and listen to the Reference 9 amplifiers before I comment again in any fashion on Nuforce products, because based on the overwhelmingly positive experience of others, I must have been mistaken in my opinion of the Reference 8 amplifiers based on my audition. The ability to continually return a Nuforce amplifier for updating is a benefit I overlooked, and contributes to the unmatched value of Nuforce amplifiers.
You have wonderful product with the revolutionary Nuforce Reference 8 and 9 amplifiers. I wish you many, many years of success.
Obviously the Nuforce are not for everyone,some did
like them,some did not.In my case I happen to like them,
Jason I dont know you, I think you have something
special on this amp,one person I know He heard them
on the show, and did not like them,what kind a evaluation,
is that? In order to know if the amp are good, you
should hook them in your system,some are only interested
comparing them with their expensive amps,I know already
this amps are not as good as the CJ350, and the DNA500,
driving the Andra II,but at the end I respect everybody's
opinion.We are all created unique.
I know already this amps are not as good as the CJ350, and the DNA500, driving the Andra IIJayctoy, thanks for your kind comment. But he he he he, I think the above statement should include a certain version and model of the amp :). In a few more weeks, we'll have some announcement to make and everyone will know our product roadmap. Every product that we introduced are carefully positioned in a grand scheme ;).
Jason from NuForce
I'm pretty sure that one of the things that really muddies the issue is that people get used to whatever sound they've had, and when they try a demo unit at home IT ISN'T what they are used to hearing. I am going through that right now. Different may or may not be better, but it is different and you have to allow for that.
Example: compared to my reference tube amp, the NuForce Reference 9s have a much more dynamic sound. Is it better? My experience has been affected by the bloom of tubes. I have to refresh my thinking in terms of dynamics, soundstaging, clarity, bloom/compression, bass and treble extension. The change isn't a familiar sound (yet) since I am so used to the tube effect. BOTH are, to my ear, excellent. But different.
Phd, I agree with Woodburger, the NF do have a
differrent sound than my Plinius and my Oddyssey
Stratos Extreme,I am trying to forget the sound
of my amps, otherwise I wont be able to evaluate
this NF accurately, or maybe I might end up bias
with what I have.I think I will request my dealer
to give me more time, so my ears will get acclimated
with the new sound.
Woodburger very good post.
I write this without any intended wise cracking or malice...
I hope that when the time comes for sellers to list their Nuforce amps for sale, they mention which version of the amp they are selling, and I also hope Nuforce publishes a lineage of amplifer versions on their website so buyers know what they are buying.
Signoro Wood makes a very good point.
Despite what a certain overly vocal member may say, there is a period of adjustment, so to speak, with "digital amps." Some guys can not get the sound of their old amp(s) out of their head. It leaves those of us who make these (and therefore very familiar with their sound) scratching our heads wondering what, if anything, we have done wrong.
For those that do get over their old amps, they all swear they will never go back. Still, doesn't mean that this genre is for all folks.
Hmmm.......not to be exploited by dealers?
Someone told me that the purpose of this place was to be a market place, of sorts. And that a presence here was almost mandatory for small firms. The people who run this place changed all of the commercial memberships to normal memberships. No idea why, but they claim that these new "programs can increase your business at Audiogon." So, I guess it is about business. Since there was no mention of that NOT extending to the forums, well, draw your own conclusion(s).
Back to the topic at hand............
Phd I agree with you,there is a big responsibility
when posting here,thats why its fun when we are able to
help.I am not worried,because when I post, I tried
to be as honest as possible.I will email, after one
week, to see if there is anymore improvement.Again
to all who are interested on any gear,make sure, audition
them,and get 30 days trial.
I am finding out that the Ref9 9.01 is more like
analog sounding,and I am able to play all my bright
sounding cd,plus the musicality got better.The decays
of the intruments are with extension and air.Its much
quicker now, maybe the dealer is right that it needs more,
burn in,now I have to try my Plinius again,to confirm
what Iam hearing,remember my SA100 it has tube sounding
quality.I am having fun listening with the NF.