This is a fantastic tube amp, just beautiful. I've tried many a headphone amp and this is one of the best. I bought a new set of Electro-Harmonix valves, a step up from the stock tubes. I have maybe 25 hours on them, that's it. I'm moving back to solid state and thinning the collection so this beauty needs a home. I ran HD800s and LCD3s. Of all the headphones amps I've owned, the Icon has the best synergy with my HD800s except for maybe my McIntosh MHA-100 (which is just a tab bit more expensive $4500).
If you go with my buy-it-now price I'll throw in a pair of Morrow Audio MA-1 interconnects. They were 50 bucks I think? Surprisingly good given an entry level product from Morrow.
(Basically asking 700 for amp, and recovery of money on the new tubes 50). Please no low-ball offers as this is a fair price.
Paypal fee on me
Lets call shipping 40 dollars fixed. 2 boxes, one for the tubes
many great reviews... here's a random one
The first thing that struck me when listening to the HP8 was how clear it sounded. Often times tube amps have an overly warm, syrupy presentation that can be fun in the short term but ultimately somewhat dull in the long run. That's definitely not the case here. The Icon is indeed smooth but not at all dark - rather than shelving down the highs, it displays them in vivid color, yet remains free from grain or harshness. It's really quite a trick and I have not heard many amps with this level of ability. I'd still call it mostly neutral though; just with a certain gracefulness to it as compared to a strictly analytical sound. The second word that came to mind was "effortless" - the HP8 just flows like a gentle breeze on a summer day, never forceful but always welcome and refreshing. It's one of the more potent SET amps I've seen in terms of power delivery which probably helps explain this aspect of it. My reference tube amp, the $1500 Analog Design Labs Svetlana 2 has superior inner detail but can't match the Icon in terms of raw dynamics. This is definitely an amp that likes to be played at higher volumes.
Because of its unforced clarity, the HP8 makes a fantastic pairing with highly resolving headphones such as the Sennheiser HD800. Some amps cast a shadow over the HD800 and stiffle its accuracy in the process. Many other amps push the HD800 right over the edge into painful harshness. The Icon/HD800 combo deftly walks the line between detailed and tizzy. It won't transform the high-strung Sennheiser into a smooth Audeze LCD-2 but it does have a sense of effortlessness that makes the HD800 more tolerable for long term listening....... A well respected audio firm, operating for well over a decade and specializing in tube amps, makes a high quality headphone amp... and hardly anyone in the hard-core headphone world notices? That's strange. If Icon was a larger company with a correspondingly large marketing budget, I suspect the HP8 would be very popular indeed. Based on my experience it sure deserves to be. The sound quality is simply beguiling, with all the stereotypical benefits of a single ended triode design and very few of the drawbacks.