September 15th. "From hand-made to factory-made step by step, the first batch of outsourced 4Pro rear plates from high-tech German manufacturer Schaeffer AG arrived. Amazing quality, professional packaging, quick delivery – I'm over the moon [left image below; laser engraving on the right]."
"Each preamplifier has an input selector. How many have an output selector with remote control? For serious audiophiles who sometimes run two or three amp-speaker combos optimized for different musical genres—a tube amp with hornspeakers for female vocals, class D with a big JBL box for Rock 'n' Roll etc—now icOn 4Pro can be ordered with switchable outputs besides the usual switching inputs. I write these RC codes to relax after a full day of soldering, assembly and CNC work." Given Pál's extensive options, it's important to stress that custom laser engraving isn't standard. Over the years I've seen far costlier pieces like LampizatOr use stick-on labels when they had to alter their standard silk-screening. How about ugly screw-on plates to hide unused socket holes or slide-in bays on a rear chassis? One spots these even on exotic Swiss kit. icOn 4Pro includes made-to-order socketry with proper name markings. It's more time-consuming and inconvenient for a maker who can't rely on one-type-fits-all plate inventories but does show proper respect for fine detail.
It's also the definition of bespoke.
September 23rd. "I'm working in 'emergency' mode and will in the coming month as well I think."
"I wear many hats which isn't new but I'd be happy to throw some away. There's even a chance that I'll finally succeed. My dear wife Agnes [with Pál below] put aside her web-design business for a while and works full time in the icOn factory – admin, customer relations, packaging, organisation even cable manufacturing. So from now on, icOn will have an even more angelic sound.
"I just finished two fully balanced Model 4 to HK and California. Schaeffer AG in Berlin just shipped new back plates for the Model 3 (a version of your SE) and 4. See the comparison chart for how I streamlined the feature menu.
"Next week I'll start assembly of your SE and some silver-wired Model 2 for Asia. By the way, everybody is mad about silver Slagleformers. About each second inquiry asks about them.
"I also finished the output selector firmware. There are 'virtual' outputs too when more than one is active. Theoretically with 3 outputs, you could choose from 7 different output variations but you can pick how many you want. For the resellers and special customers, the small configurator gadget is ready to activate some functions or parameter changes like maximum volume, display mode in dB or numbers etc. Now back to my virtual garage to work."
Meanwhile customers with preamplifiers as dear as an €18'000 Concert Fidelity were placing orders to replace them. As to the extra cashish that goes up in smoke for silver, a pair of such autoformers adds £1'450 to the bill. Extremists doing balanced silver will thus lay out a spare £2'900; pretty much what a complete Model 4 gets. Getting schmancy also adds 4-6 weeks to the wait time as Pál keeps no silver inventories. These very costly parts are ordered in only as needed.
About the configurator, "it's a 'simplified' firmware upgrader. Some audiophiles don't like to download and install new files via USB. To them DIP switches are more familiar from phono preamps. That's actually a very sad thing. DIP switches aren't good enough for audio signal. I only use them to choose between digital 0 or 1. If you want to change a program parameter, just connect the configurator for a minute. It'll write new code to the processor's non-volatile memory. To my mind, you shouldn't have to buy a new preamp if suddenly you need an A/V bypass. Set the DIP switches per the instructions, connect to icOn and make a remote pairing at turn-on. The processor reads and installs the new A/V bypass mode. Done. Disconnect the gadget, put it in a drawer until you want another thing changed. It's not a standard accessory like the remote. It's mainly a tool for dealers to personalize a customer's unit within minutes." Customization toot sweet. icOnic.