ICON 6-Channel Tube Guitar Preamplifier (2U)
ICON builds upon the tone legacy of six iconic circuits used extensively throughout the guitar amp business, including our London Power Standard Preamp, providing classic warm Fender clean tones, Vox bright clean tones, hot-rodded distortion tones, and adding the Dumble, Zen and Swede gain of modern metal. Ten tubes create the entire sound.
• uses ten of 12AX7 or any of 12AT7, 12AU7, 12AY7, 12AX7, ECC-81/-82/-83, or equivalent
• each channel is fully independent with its own Input and Output jacks
• each channel has its own Drive and Level control
• each channel has its own 3-way EQ
• gold-plated input & output jacks
• gold-plated tube sockets and internal audio connectors
• 2U 4.3kg,17″W x 3.5″H x 6.5″ D (plus tubes)
• 100V-240V in two ranges
• rack-mountable with optional kit
ICON has six fully independent all-tube preamplifier channels that can be used individually, all at the same time, or chained, to discover new extremes of tone. Each channel has its own Input and Output jacks on the rear panel, along with dedicated tube(s) accessible on the rear panel without removing ICON from the rack. Many other modelling amps and convertible amps with plug-in modules achieve the sounds of various vintage amps, but ICON is the only one that lets you use all these sounds at once – in fact, six different players can use ICON simultaneously!
Download the ICON Operator Manual (136 KB PDF)
What Is an “Iconic” Sound?
Iconic sounds are those with which most guitar players are familiar, such as a Fender amp’s warm clean tone, or the early master volume distortion of the Marshall 800. Keep in mind that the sound you hear is the product of the complete amplification system – the combination of a preamp, a power amp with specific tubes, and probably a specific speaker. For example, most Fender amps use 12AX7s in the preamp, 6L6 power tubes in the power amp, and a fairly average speaker tone, where Marshall uses 12AX7s in the preamp, EL-34s in the power amp, and Celestion speakers. The EL-34s have quite a harsh midrange compared to the neutral 6L6 sound, and Celestions also have a big midrange step that can be grainy. ICON captures the preamp contribution to these sounds.
Each channel of ICON accepts a wide range of tube types, and each type provides an entirely different soundscape and range of clean or distorted textures. For this reason, London Power ships ICON without tubes and encourages the player or studio personnel to experiment freely.
Channel-1 is the Fender clean sound, following the classic architecture that all Fender guitar amps had by the early 1960s. Use a 12AX7 here for that tone; use a 12AT7 for a mellower sound that includes a bit of the speaker treble roll-off; go to 12AY7 for use with harmonica, or to 12AU7 for the mellowest tone possible. Add some reverb for the quintessential Fender clean sound and for surf sound.
Channel-2 is the Vox “Top Boost” preamp, which Vox used to balance the muddiness of their cathode-biased EL-84 power amp in the AC-30. On its own, the top-boost preamp sounds rather thin, but when combined with a modern “18W” amp it will sound like a vintage AC-30. You may also chain Channel-2 into Channel-1 using Channel-1 to mimic an over-driven power amp. Use a 12AX7 for the original tone, or mellow it out to an “octal” tone with the T, Y or U.
Channel-3 is the Marshall “master volume amp” sound of the earliest 800s, or the 2203 and 2204 amps. This is like Eddy van Halen’s “brown” sound if you add an EL-34 power amp and a phase pedal at the input. Use two 12AX7s for the original tone, or take it down with one or more of a 12AT7, Y, or U.
Channel-4 is the London Power Standard Preamp high-gain path, which represents hundreds of hot-rodded amp models of the 1980s and 1990s. Two 12AX7s achieve the full saturation, but less heavy sounds with a hot-rodded voicing can be attained using one or more of the T, Y or U.
Channel-5 is the Dumble over-drive sound set for jazz voicing. We’ve included two front panel controls to give the topology more versatility. The sound of an over-driven Fender amp was the original goal, the same as the Mesa mark-1 and Mark-2 – a parallel development of Howard’s idea by Randall Smith. Use two 12AX7s for the original sound, or take it down a notch or more using one or more of T, Y or U.
Channel-6 is the Soldano SLO path – the basis for most modern “mid-sucking” metal tones. Use two 12AT7s or 5751s for the original tone. Use 12AX7s for the Mesa rectifier tones or Peavey and Fender’s 5150 tones – dead copies of the SLO. Take it down a notch using one or more Y or U.
ICON’s Channels Can Be Chained
ICON‘s channels can be chained for an even wider range of tonal options. For example, Channel-1 can be used as a front-end boost for even more saturated distortion from the high-gain channels, or it can be used after any of the other channels to simulate the warmth and smoothing of a tube power amp. Get a Hiwatt tone by cascading Channel-2 into Channel-4. Get a Vox tone cascading Channel-2 into an 18-watt amp. Use low-mu tubes in Channel-6 for a blues tone with a high-gain voicing. The possibilities are endless.
“Old-Fashioned” Ease-of-Use via Analogue Controls
ICON‘s channels are completely independent, so up to six musicians can play through ICON simultaneously. For the player or for studio personnel, ICON‘s control settings for a given channel remain undisturbed when the next channel is used – everything is analogue, and everything functions purely via hardware and front-panel controls that are always visible. Nothing is disturbed by power fluctuations or on/off cycles. What could be simpler? Players using multiple channels of ICON for different sounds can use any of the external switching systems that are common today. You can create a multi-amp setup, or a multi-voice system, where voices can be used one at a time or in unison – mixing a clean tone with a dirty one, for example, or using them separately. ICON imposes no constraint on your imagination, and should serve to expand your musical explorations.
ICON incorporates all of London Power’s standard design and construction features:
• world mains compatibility
• toroidal power transformers
• fusing for all transformer windings
• Galactic Grounding
• long-life capacitors
• low-noise metal-film resistors
• metal-oxide and wire-wound power resistors
• zero standby power when switched ‘off’
ICON can be rack mounted using the optional 2U6-BRKT, sold as pairs.