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    My First ICON Experience

    So I've made it pretty obvious on MAF and SSA that I was ordering a 10" ICON from SSA for a while, but haven't really put up my impressions of it yet. Well, just so happens that I got her in this week and have had a couple days now to play with it. But first, the pictures!


    Was too heavy for the wife to bring in...lol


    All concerns about this sub not being packed gingerly and braced to survive UPS' typical mishandling can now be dispelled. The foam blocks were glued to the shipping box itself and the magnet was held in place with more cardboard and a wood basin. I ended up pulling the sub out from the magnet side because I didn't want to damage the foam blocks


    Yay! I has a sticker lol. I'll save this for future use. This sub is sub-stantial (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).


    That's a gorgeous-looking motor. More on that later...


    I'm a big fan of these poly rings being used for spacers and the amount of side cooling this sub offers. The wiring is Audio Technix 10ga that I had lying around.


    Foam pad meant to prevent lead slap. Ends up being quite effective, IMO


    More shots of those poly rings that I happen to love (inherently resonance-resistant), but what stands out to me is that coil. Just like it's peeking up to say, "hello...I'm about to give you delicious, clean bass."


    Believe it or not, this is my favorite feature of the whole sub (aside from how it sounds, of course. Instead of just taking a foil sticker and slapping it on the bottom end of the motor, it's encased behind some clear plastic.

    Now here's where things got weird. I had an enclosure built previously for my 10" DC Audio Level 2 and was having issues getting the ICON to fit because of the double baffle as well as the inner baffle being about 1/8" too small for the basket. At first, I thought I was going to have an issue, but then a voice inside me said "turn it around, man...let that beautiful magnet be the centerpiece." So I ended up with this:


    XS D2700 in the stock battery compartment sitting right alongside a Zed Audio Minotaur III. In the future, I will have a second Minotaur and be able to feed the ICON up to 2.6k at 4 ohms. Talk about efficiency and the essques!

    So here's my first and second-day listening impressions. I'm just going to copy them out of my MAF build log:

    SO! First day of listening to the ICON in the car. Keep in mind that Aaron actually recommended using the SMS enclosure with its 32Hz tuning and I, stubbornly, went with the dcar box anyway (seeing as how I had it at the house)...

    Umm holy ****, guys. There's something awesome about this ICON. On paper, it might not look as awesome as some other subs. If all you look at is power ratings, 1250W isn't an incredibly huge amount. And it looks like a Fi*[/size][/font][/color]. But I'm telling you all that this sub has character. It has low end and in magnitudes greater than I was ever able to experience with the Level 2. I know it's not a fair comparison seeing as how the coil sizes are different, power rating is almost twice as different, blah blah blah, but it was the last sub I ran in my setup. So there. Even running the Level 2 at 2 ohms with twice the power I'm feeding the ICON at 4, the DC can't keep up. This ICON got lower, louder, and cleaner across the spectrum than the DC ever did in an enclosure DESIGNED for the DC.

    Today's demo discs were*Hardwell Presents Revealed, Volume 4*(mainstream EDM) and*Chase and Status - Brand New Machine*(Drum & Bass). Hardwell's album produced a good amount of bass. Nothing exceptional, but what you would expect out of radio-friendly EDM tunes. The standouts here were Hardwell's own "Never Say Goodbye," Martin Garrix' "Animals," Armin van Buuren's "This Is What It Feels Like," and pretty much all of Chase & Status' new album in terms of bass reproduction. In a contest of lows, Chase & Status all the way, which really helped show how low this sub could dig. Low, loud, and clean are definitely the ICON's M.O. here, but what amazed me was how much more transparent my sub stage has gotten, even over doing everything I could with the DC. If the ID10 was like getting into your car first thing on a cold morning and the DC was like the first few minutes after running that defogger, the ICON is like the same windshield on a perfect autumn afternoon.

    TL;DR = ICON>Level 2, though not a fair comparison. Gets louder, lower, and does it cleaner with a certain sense of character that can't really be described.

    ---

    Yes, yes it is. I still want to do another tune with it, but I've been very impressed with it in terms of clarity of signal and ease of use. You would be tickled pink with it, man. I didn't choose the ICON life, the ICON life chose me

    ---

    More ICON listening impressions today. Listened to a couple more albums:

    Chase & Status - No More Idols
    Nero - Welcome Reality
    Excision - X Rated

    Bass is still full, surrounding, clean, low, and (dare I say) WARM. I have yet to go back in and re-tune the front stage for the increased sub stage output, but there's something almost analog in the way the sound of this sub is. It's never overbearing or as in-your-face as the output should be making you feel, which is something I really like. That's not to say it doesn't get loud, but it does it in a way that just feels nice. Listening to one of my favorite tracks of all time, Chase & Status' "Flashing Lights" was just a pure joy and the ICON handled it effortlessly. Nero's "My Eyes" was just like I remembered hearing it live. I almost closed my eyes and saw Hard Day of the Dead's light show going on from when I saw them a few weeks ago.

    In a week or two, I'll start putting in some acoustic and live instrument tracks to see how it keeps up with those.

    ---

    More listening impressions will come in over time. I'm looking forward to the suspension to loosen up and see how this thing does after a break-in. Also very happy that I'm getting this response with only 750W available for the sub (4 ohms). Being able to give her rated and more is going to be a real treat.



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    not much of a reader... lol love the pics....




    H.U. - Pioneer P7200HD
    Fronts - Pioneer premier TS-C720PRS
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    Amp - kx2500.1
    Sub - AQ HDC4 12
    just a lil' slam for now.... tuned to 33hz!!!!!

    complete budget system under 400.00... (kenwoods)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtyFmWXI94U&list=LLCQ1MqkfSOcRep6vDFWsWxg

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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Lookin' good! Tell your gf to do some push ups, lol.



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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo_Ride View Post
    Lookin' good! Tell your gf to do some push ups, lol.
    Ironically, my wife and I do planks every night. She just wasn't expecting this sub to weight 40 pounds after the Level 2 was only 20-something.



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
    Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/neo_styles/playlist/6t9ru42j0wbEsuo4bXqXD8
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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by neo_styles View Post
    Ironically, my wife and I do planks every night. She just wasn't expecting this sub to weight 40 pounds after the Level 2 was only 20-something.
    oops yeah wife! how big is the box and whats it tuned to?



    Refs = PapaGeno21, Goindef154, 92c1v1c, Disarmer, chemmins, 97maxima, kroid777, ithertz, basscort2009, hunterw, mar08052, appleyard, millimac247, jonny101abc, sundownz, cranberryyumyum, mig139, daboyfrumdabx, skateguy92, basebalz13.

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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo_Ride View Post
    oops yeah wife! how big is the box and whats it tuned to?
    1.0 cube, 29Hz



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
    Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/neo_styles/playlist/6t9ru42j0wbEsuo4bXqXD8
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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Throw 1500 watts at that sucker and let it wang!



    Refs = PapaGeno21, Goindef154, 92c1v1c, Disarmer, chemmins, 97maxima, kroid777, ithertz, basscort2009, hunterw, mar08052, appleyard, millimac247, jonny101abc, sundownz, cranberryyumyum, mig139, daboyfrumdabx, skateguy92, basebalz13.

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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Nice review.Looks good Neo.



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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo_Ride View Post
    Thorw 1500 watts at that sucker and let it wang!
    I plan to. Oh I definitely plan to



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
    Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/neo_styles/playlist/6t9ru42j0wbEsuo4bXqXD8
    PROUD MEMBER OF TEAM VERTEX

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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Just went in and re-tuned both the front stage and sub using the test tones I made a while back on Audacity. Also set tones with the volume level at 40/50 vice 35/50 to hopefully bring RCA voltage up. I'm not going to go higher than 80% as of now just simply for the fact that I don't have a scope to verify that the signal isn't being sent clipped. What surprised me is that while, last time, I was able to bring my amp gain to match a voltage right at rated before the 0dB light came up last time, I was able to eke a good deal more this time around using a 50Hz@-6dB tone. Last time it was the same frequency, but a -5. Also, before, the protection circuit meant to ramp voltage down to protect the amplifier did not engage, even as I crossed the 750W threshold, but stayed at 750W just for good measure. At this point, the amp's gain knob is just below the 12 o'clock position. As for the front stage, I used a 1KHz@-3dB tone and again set for the amp's rated power of 125W@4ohms.

    The results, however, were both good and bad. While it feels like I lost sub output, I noticed the front stage was much more present and full. Methinks there's just a tradeoff here. I've also gained a ****-ton of volume out of the front stage, so maybe I have just been used to listening to a quieter front stage relative to the sub volume. Does that mean I've lost my bass entirely? Absolutely not. I still get that rich, low, environmental bass in its laid-back presentation. I think once the suspension starts to loosen up and I get the second Minotaur in there to feed the ICON rated power, I'll gain a bit more output. This all means I'm still reserving my final verdict, but so far it's pretty much still all positives



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
    Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/neo_styles/playlist/6t9ru42j0wbEsuo4bXqXD8
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    Re: My First ICON Experience






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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Nice review!!! I'm still waiting to build my budget to add another Zcon 12 and a quality 5k amp to fully complete my build. Gotta love the SSA sound signature!!!! Clean and magnificent bass across the spectrum.



    Clip city b1tch, clip clip city b1tch. 10's, 12's, 15's, goin up in flames b1tch.

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    320 amp Singer alt comming soon. Just a group 31 deka in the back atm with big 3 finished.

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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffdachef View Post
    Nice review!!! I'm still waiting to build my budget to add another Zcon 12 and a quality 5k amp to fully complete my build. Gotta love the SSA sound signature!!!! Clean and magnificent bass across the spectrum.
    Thanks, bud. I was talking to Aaron about what to expect moving up the lines and basically got this breakdown:

    XCON = ICON on steroids. Much more in your face in comparison to the ICON's surrounding and warm representation
    ZCON = Bonkers
    Evil = Bonkers squared

    Sound about right @denim ; ?



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
    Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/neo_styles/playlist/6t9ru42j0wbEsuo4bXqXD8
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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Sure, sounds about right. Everything in our line up is meant for impressive daily driving listening and clean sound, some models are just able to have tremendous output in the right install.





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    Re: My First ICON Experience

    Ok...it's been a while since I posted, but I wanted to put a lot of material through this sub before I gave any additional impressions. It's hard to judge performance on live instruments when you're talking about subs after all. Just that one slap of the kick drum or snap of the snare can be made or broken by a sub stage's performance. So here's what I used to put the ICON to the test:

    Barenaked Ladies - Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before
    Dishwalla - Self Titled
    Finch - Say Hello to Sunshine
    Tool - Aenima
    Korn - All Mixed Up
    Green Day - American Idiot
    A Perfect Circle - aMOTION
    Godsmack - Awake
    ...and a CRAPload of tracks from the 80s (which, if you happen to use Spotify, can be found here

    Barenaked Ladies - Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before

    BNL's latest hits album was probably the first I put on. Call me crazy, but that day I could not get If I Had $1,000,000 out of my head. Thinking I was only going to play that one song and move on, I kept finding myself noticing that certain instruments that never really had an impact were suddenly making their presence much better known. Obviously the drumwork was better this time around; things were more realistic, though I didn't get that hit-you-in-the-chest feeling (well...we are talking about a single 10" on 1/2 RMS here). But what completely blew me away is that I had never known BNL for making crisp, clean music; it always sounded muddied and rushed through production to me. Here, though, I was hearing tracks like they were recorded just this year.

    Dishwalla - Self-Titled

    This album is just a complete feel-good to me. I was going to use Opaline, but there's something funky in the mix that I thought might give that album an unfair advantage. Let's be honest here: this is an album I know pretty darn well. I've listened to it thousands of times and, during the whole time I had the DC, could NEVER get it to sound quite like I could back when I heard it for the first time (flying down the freeway in a '99 Jetta Wolfsburg, windows down, and a sealed Infinity Reference...don't laugh). Either bass was completely anemic or it was overexaggerated and would hide the rest of the musical elements. Here's where I started to realize that I was experience more SQ-oriented bass levels. I was again feeling the same things I was with the BNL albums and what shocked me was that it wasn't exactly quantifiable. Does this sub have...soul? I mean it's a frickin' piece of machinery, but it's almost like my music has a life of its own again. I wasn't getting the rear-view-mirror rattling bass I was with the DC, but I didn't care either. Save for a few spots where I knew a certain element of a certain song was supposed to hit harder than it did (and they were few and far between), everything was just perfectly balanced. I wasn't having a sub stage overwhelming a front stage or a front stage shrieking over a sub stage; it just felt...right. Suffice to say I started smiling here.

    Finch - Say Hello to Sunshine

    By and large, if you told me that I could only listen to five albums for the rest of my life, this would be one of them. This is my album that tests order out of chaos. I have heard this album now on about 30 different systems and each time come away with a different, yet at the same time, common impression. Sure, I heard a couple new things here or there, but the unifying principle remained: it didn't sound right. Everybody has an album like this and this album is such a particular bitch to tune that we often just throw our hands up and do our best to enjoy it as is. Who cares if the vocals and highs completely overwhelm everything else? Who cares if all I hear is the kick drum? SCREW IT! I'M JUST TIRED OF TUNING. But I honestly feel like the ICON just took a world of stress off my shoulders. Again, tuned as is, things just kinda fell into place. Was it the most bassiest ZOMG listening experience EVAR? No. Was it enjoyable? A resounding HELL YES. Again, I could feel that BALANCE and, the more I listen to this sub, the more I realize how integral having a subwoofer is in your car (even if you don't need what my son calls the "big boom"). There's rolling basslines that can finally come forward, tempo and rhythm changes on the drum set that can easily be detected, and THAT GUITAR...Ok, let's be honest that Alex Linares is no Yngwie Malmsteen, but Finch carries their guitar part as almost a mainstay in certain parts; from the infectious riffage of Ink to the chaos of Brother Bleed Brother, the ICON always seems to make sense of it all and say all good, I'm just going to play what I need to.

    Tool - Aenima

    Another album I have had tons of time with, though mostly using IEMs and studio headphones. In a near-field listening environment, there's a lot of details that get picked up on with albums like Aenima, but it detracts from the life of the music. Aenima is organic, in a way. Fans of prog can probably understand far better than I on the matter, but I'm just making my own observations. And for those who say I don't know prog, keep in mind I also listen to Dream Theater, Rush, String Cheese Incident, Alan Parsons, Oldfield, Yes, and a handful of other dudes. For a modern-day record, Aenima comes across to me as organic. What do I mean? I mean nothing on this album sounds forced. If you listen to it on a system that is overly clinical, you can't enjoy it. This is an album that needs a little coloration of sound to be fun. And fun it was. I'm not talking about kick drum repeptitions that make your skull shake kinda fun, just something you can turn the volume up on and rock out to when driving solo. Something you want to roll the windows down for. ICON to the rescue, again. I can turn my HU's volume up as much as I want and the ICON never attempts to steal the show, yet it produces some AMAZING complement to the midbass in a lot of these tracks. While I've heard Die Eier von Satan and Hooker With a Penis about five million times, I never heard it quite like I had with the ICON. The rolling guitar lines had new life I wasn't previously aware of. I can catch my smile slowly spreading during the sequences that Danny Carey is capable of knocking out on drums, especially on HWAP and Forty Six & Two.

    Korn - All Mixed Up

    Not much to talk about on this EP that hasn't already been said. Korn is known to mix with a favoritism for the mid-to-low end. While it's a fun addition for the die-hard Korn fan, there's not much to talk about in terms of musicality. The standout track here on the ICON was definitely the Dub Pistols remix of Good God. More quick-attack-quick-release drum repetitions coupled with some chugging guitar riffs, but not a whole lot of substance otherwise.

    Green Day - American Idiot

    This album has a bit of an unfair advantage here thanks to gratuitous dynamic compression. Tre's drum work definitely got all the love on the soundboard when this thing was being recorded. Still, I'm quite familiar with the ins and outs of this album (it's one of the few I can damn near play front to back on guitar) and was really impressed at how well the ICON was able to interpret all aspects of this record. The big wow moment here for me was on the acoustic number Wake Me Up When September Ends. While my mids and tweets in tandem have always done a decent job on acoustic guitar, the ICON was able to add that final element that made each picked note sound even more natural. I could close my eyes (not while driving, of course) and actually picture where around the guitar's mouth Billie was strumming.

    For the sake of brevity (since I keep running out of adjectives, adverbs, and ways to make the same things sound different), I'll just say that APC and Godsmack's albums were, again, pleasant surprises. My 80s playlist was streamed over BT from my Galaxy S4 using Spotify, but didn't hesitate to produce adequate SQ for listening impressions. Without a doubt, guilty pleasures like Cherry Pie and Rock You Like a Hurricane just got guiltier and the more brooding tracks like Fascination Street and Head Over Heels were a little more able to wallow in their own misery.

    And this is why I think I finally understand the ICON. I'm sure, with its 3" coil and 1250W rating, it can get as loud and low as you want it to, especially in a multi-woofer setup. But that's not how I listen to music and it hasn't been how I've listened since I was a 16-year old kid sitting at home and studying tracks on my parents' Fisher tower system and Bose 501 floorstanding speakers. If I wanted loud, I got out of the house and watched an act live. With the ICON, I feel like it's capable of giving me both those aspects while staying true to the music and in a fashion that I was previously unable to attain given my current or past setups.

    But if you thought this was my long-term impression....no. I've got another amplifier to feed this sucker and a whole lot more music material to feed it as well. I also plan to try the ICON out in a more loud-friendly enclosure of 1.3 cubic feet with a 32Hz tuning. But for now, this is probably as much as I'll comment on with my experience to date. Hopefully it helps a few of you out there debating if it's worth the extra coin to take the leap and keep on smiling.



    Deck: JVC KD-A95BT
    Speakers: PHD FB mid, JBL MS tweets
    Amps: Boston Acoustics GT-2125, Zed Minotaur III (x2)
    Sub: 10" SSA ICON, IA Death Penalty 18" (coming soon)
    Starr Mountain Sound Nuthugger #2 (I'm a #2 lol)
    dcarcustoms Nuthugger #1
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