July
2020

Country of Origin

UK

icOn 4Pro SE

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1 & H1 Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref, Auralic Vega
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B, Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; Crayon CFA-1.2
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150 & 120; Acelec Model One w. Avantages Audio omni super tweeter
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000 and Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands 
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators; LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: TBA

Older but still optional display. I ordered the current 7-segment orange version.

The morning after. I'd put the icOn 4Pro review to bed and slept with dreams of forbidden desires. Then an email: "Nice review on that new autoformer passive. It reads like a TAP-X in a different form factor with extra features. Quite the find. Kudos for sniffing out novelties that some of us can still afford. I especially like all the custom order options including true balanced from an AVC. I sensed that you were close to getting one for yourself? It must have smarted to realize how close it came to your big tube preamp!" Signed not the devil but Patrick Croyden. Had this reader manipulated my dreams from afar? The real trouble was, our Vinnie Rossi Lio with Slageformers already covers the same ground. I couldn't justify a virtual duplicate. But wherever there's a will, there's a just way. Justify? You bet!

Ask me and ye shall receive. I remembered this from the apocryphal writings of Pál the pacifist. As one of the forgotten preamp apostles, he's too passive to be much quoted. But there's also the populist encouragement of asking never hurts. So I did. To appreciate my question, first some background. In my upstairs system's front left corner sits a very tall Zu Submission subwoofer. I like to sneak it in below various monitor speakers which are good to about 40Hz then fall off. Without running them through a quality active high-pass filter, all I really want from the sub is the bottom octave of 20-40Hz. In reality not wishful thinking, that would require a virtual brick-wall filter.

Zu's Hypex plate amp has a continuously variable 4th-order Linkwitz/Riley low-pass filter. It can be set anywhere from 10Hz-110Hz. Yet even at 10Hz, there's too much bleed well past 80Hz. My way of cheating had been to use PEQ gain at 20Hz, then very subdued sub fill for just a bit of low-bass reinforcement. It works quite well but not as clean as I'd like. Knowing that Pál Nagy listens to big Linkwitz 4-way open baffles to have experience building active filters, here was my question to him:

Could he configure an icOn 4Pro output to be low-passed at 40Hz/4th-order Linkwitz/Riley?

He could.

Emboldened, I asked whether he could configure another output to be high-passed at 40Hz/4th-order?

He could.

The ivory subwoofer in the left corner behind the Michael Parkes picture.