Icon Audio's All-Tube HP8 MkII Is Glorious With Any Pair of Headphones: Tube Smoothness and Excellent Detail Multiplied by a Powerful Headphone Amplifier Equals Astonishing Sound
Built just like Icon Audio's magnificent tube amps, yet designed for the specific demands of 'cans, the HP8 MkII tube headphone amplifier is a love letter to headphone listeners. Flexible, powerful and rich sounding, the HP8 MkII delivers the sonic goods and is built to last. Created by an audiophile for audiophiles, the HP8 MkII is chock full of sought after "sound goodies" from PTFE coated Silver internal wiring and an ALPS Blue volume pot to the heavy steel chassis and gold-plated RCA jacks. The circuit is simple; all point-to-point wiring, no circuit boards in the signal path, all tubes, all triode and as sonically pure as Icon could make it. The execution is fabulous with large Japanese made EI core transformers, metal-film and wire-wound resistors, polypropylene capacitors. HP8 MkII truly stands in a class all by itself. Even the gorgeous copper plate over the top is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. Listen to your 'phones as they were intended to be heard, with tubes. HP8 MkII makes it easy no matter what headphones you own. Or will own.
To satisfy audiophile cravings, the all-tube gain stage is built around the much venerated 12AX7, a tube renowned for its smoothness, detail, and fluidity. Further back, a pair of 6SN7s do the heavy lifting, these tubes as linear and rock-solid as they come. A custom hand-wound multi-tap output transformer gives the HP8 MkII optimum load matching ability with a broad range of compatibility. Easily swap between your hardest to drive headphones and your easiest, with a flick of the front panel switch.
"The HP8 just flows like a gentle breeze on a summer day, never forceful but always welcome and refreshing. The sound quality is simply beguiling, with all the stereotypical benefits of a single ended triode design and very few of the drawbacks...." – John Grandberg, Inner Fidelity
In addition to building HP8 MkII with utmost care, Icon takes the worry out by providing a two-year parts-and-labor warranty as well as full service and support for the lifetime of the product. That's how it should be, and while most competitors don't go to such extremes, Icon is happy to do so.