smart AVC preamplifier with remote

While our competitors might label it as “ultimate” or “reference”, we simply refer to it as icOn 5

icon5 passive preamp

icOn 5 – smart passive preamp with a remote

While our competitors might label it as “ultimate” or “reference”, we simply refer to it as icOn 5


icon icOn 5 passive preamplifier is

  • a passive magnetic preamplifier (AVC) built around world-class autoformers and optional active buffer to overcome limitations
  • without colouration, noise or distortion, but has unrivalled transparency enabling you to enjoy the original recording to the full
  • fully controllable from your listening position with an easy to use remote
  • capable of unlimited life of noise-free switching on account of using FET switches instead of rotary switches or reed relays
  • adjustable in 0.5 dB volume steps, which allows a smooth control of volume having a range of 83 dB with 136 steps
  • unbalanced and “true” balanced (with 2 pair autoformers) models with flexible input/output configurations
  • highly functional with balance, mute, optional AV bypass, display with night mode providing control at your fingertips
  • the most versatile and future-proof passive preamp family on the market with customisable features by the enduser
  • contemporary design with clean, sleek lines in a minimalist enclosure with high WAF
  • highly innovative with unique features seldom found in passive preamplifiers regardless of price
  • designed and handmade in Manchester, UK

Designer of IcOn preamps

Why did I design the new icOn5?

Over the past years, I have consolidated my experience and the feedback of several hundred audiophiles worldwide, whether or not they purchased an icOn preamp. They shared their unresolved problems and dreams of their perfect system, which spanned a wide range of priorities, wishes, objective, and subjective opinions. After working in this sector for seven years, I now have a better understanding of everything. I have found repeating patterns and identified some unresolved problems which I wanted to rectify…

Pal Nagy Founder

By the first half of 2023, the icOn 5 had reached 95% completion. However, I felt a sense of complete satisfaction was still missing. Although technical specifications and figures had improved, I believed there was more to achieve. My goal was to enhance sound quality, compatibility, and create an entirely new experience for audiophiles who love to experiment and meticulously tune their equipment in pursuit of something unique.

So, I redesigned the icOn 5 with the intention of presenting a genuinely groundbreaking product. The icOn 5 is more than just another set of supplementary “mods” for the renowned icOn 4PRO passive preamplifier series. Finding a preamplifier within this price range that surpasses the quality of the icOn 5, whether active or passive, will be a challenging endeavor.

What Customers Are Saying

I’m sure you really don’t need me to say how much better the icOn 5  actually is.. because you already know this to be true. This is exactly what you set out to achieve… and you have done…emphatically, the ultimate autoformer attenuation device is here. As you say in possibly the final development for this technology.. and I am delighted that I have the privilege to own one. Yet, after previously being so content with the icOn 4, it really doesn’t prepare you for just how profoundly different next level will turn out be. Now I find the step change, to this higher plateau, demands a complete re evaluation. It’s not just another component with marginal gains. With the icOn 5  in my system, it seems to enhance the performance of everything connected to it. It takes a while to absorb this level of instant upgrade, nothing I have previously experienced comes near to this. The 136 steps of attenuation is absolutely sumptuous, maintaining the dynamics and details proportionally at lower levels, results in a more harmonious relaxing audio experience. Listening to music is a time and space experience, with the icOn 5 effectively performing as a super conductor, flowing our precious signals so efficiently, that the time and space is flooded with more music and less of anything else . This is the best way I can understand this, by describing it as a light speed audio effect. The resulting completeness of sound is simply magical to me.. I salute your work Pal, I believe this is the end game design for attenuation from what I know.. and given the laws of physics and known materials, this will be so for a very long time..bravo!

All the very best 

Michael from UK

Why is the icOn 5 different from its competitors?

The icOn 5 isn’t just a typical remote-controlled passive preamplifier. While it can operate purely passively, we’ve designated it as an “AVC line control unit” due to the additional active circuits it incorporates. The icOn 5 features a new autoformer that stands out with its lower inductance, larger air gap, and improved linearity, contributing to a livelier and more natural sound profile. The lower inductance requirement led us to design an input buffer that can be easily bypassed with the remote.

The step configuration is also distinctive, offering 136 steps over an 83 dB range, from -80 dB to +3 dB. Adjustments from -48 to +3 dB are in 0.5 dB increments, while adjustments from -80 dB to -48 dB are made in 1 dB steps. Additionally, the remote-controlled “tilt” function, reminiscent of Quad systems, is an option for the single-ended models. This feature is ideal for audiophiles seeking precise fine-tuning or those who have reservations about the capabilities of purely passive preamps.

We’re confident that the icOn 5 represents a significant enhancement in every aspect. It stands as our most advanced, “science”-driven solution for achieving the best sound quality possible.

silver autoformer

new features

Noteworthy enhancements

  • New autoformers (with silver wiring as an option) featuring lower inductance, translating to a more vibrant, livelier and transparent sound
  • Enhanced precision and smoothness in volume control, now spanning 136 steps, a substantial improvement over the 68 steps in the 4PRO models. This advancement extends the attenuation range from +3dB down to -80dB.
  • Refinements in fine-tuning with 0.5dB increments from -48dB to +3 dB and 1dB increments below -48dB.
  • Implementation of an input buffer to enhance compatibility with various sources. This addition addresses the autoformers’ requirement for low driving impedance. The buffer can be bypassed for passive preamp mode.
  • Inclusion of an 8-step tilt control, each at a 0.5dB interval, with the option for deactivation. It resembles the vintage Quad tilt control, centered around 900 Hz. It allows for up to 2 dB boost or cut at 20Hz and 20 kHz. This is in response to many clients asking for a predictable very easy way to improve the sound of particularly old vinyl. This tilt works like an ultra-precision very subtle tone control but can be completely bypassed.
  • Adoption of a larger 3-digit white or amber 7-segment display for improved visibility.

Three different models with seven input/output configurations, plus the optional icOn Input Expander, provide an unparalleled level of choice for all audiophiles, whether they have a minimalist setup or a full-blown, large high-end system.

icOn 5 Dual from $3990

Features both RCA and XLR input and output sockets, making it an ideal match for most audiophiles with both analogue (like vinyl) and digital sources (DAC, CD player).

icOn 5 Single-ended from $4990

Equipped with 8 pairs of RCA sockets or 3 pairs of XLR + 3 pairs of RCA sockets for audiophiles with a large system.

icOn 5 Balanced from $5990

Designed for users who prefer a fully balanced connection throughout the entire signal path.

icOn Input Expander $990

Adds extra XLR & RCA inputs to the Balanced and Dual models anytime


icOn 5 is for you if you value:

  • Sonic transparency, ensuring no additions or subtractions from the sound. This maintains the purity and integrity of the audio, allowing you to experience your music exactly as it was intended
  • Comprehensive remote control with a generously sized display, easily readable from afar
  • Precise volume adjustment in 0.5 dB increments, along with balance, mute, AV bypass, and tilt control
  • Three models with a wide variety of I/O sockets, allowing for adaptable and user-modifiable configurations
  • Seamless compatibility with virtually any single-ended or balanced source and power amplifier.

For further details, kindly refer to the User’s Manual or look at these measurements.

What Customers Are Saying

We compared both my icon4PRO and icon5, man! You are right icon5 is just livelier and the bass is tight. It’s a keeper 🙏🏼. The tilt feature in icon5 is awesome! Left it at my friends place, he will connect with you soon.

icOn 5 is just amazing, thank you

Sridhar from California ,US

Pal, what can I say?! I am sitting here a grown man almost crying…. yes its so good! It has everything, the glow, the naturalness, the flow the ease. My stereo has never sounded better! And they say a line stage, or pre or what shall we call it has no meaning, but this is a game changer for sure! And i have had and heard many preamps an also direct. Nowhere near. Thanks again, i am happy here, life is good!

Have a nice weekend!

Paul from Norway

As seen in

icon hifi critic audio excellence
“As far as sheer sonic excellence, maturity and completeness go, it sits as high as my reference linestage that now sells for roughly £17’000 before VAT and is the best one I know, okay? That’s why if you’re in the market for a preamp and don’t intend to purposely inject chunky syrupy flavor into your system, auditioning icOn 4PRO prior to anything else is my best advice.” DAWID GRZYB Read on Hifi Knights
“Today’s award wrote itself… One this good and flexible is simply more globally relevant than many will have thought. Being priced fairly and built to a high standard makes it a true standout.” SRAJAN EBAEN Read on 6Moons
icon hifi critic audio excellence
“Now with refined system design, excellent ergonomics and improved sound quality, the remote controlled icOn4 is a no-brainer for overall value.” MARTIN COLLOMS Read the article*icOn4 is the previous model 

People don’t just buy what they need. They buy what they want. which needn’t be the same. Case in point? Active preamps. Most modern digital sources will drive most modern amplifiers to full output. No extra gain is required, just signal cut/attenuation plus sure selection. What do active preamps do in this context? Look at it this way. 2+8 -9=1. Two is your source signal voltage. One is the signal strength needed to play at your desired loudness. Adding more gain symbolized by eight only to knock it down by nine is wasteful. A passive simplifies the math. 2-1=1. It’s pure signal cut, no boost. At the very least it’s more efficient so greener. It also should incur fewer losses from less signal manipulation and produce less noise and distortion.

Srajan Ebaen

How does it work?

icon icOn uses a high  performance microprocessor, sophisticated firmware to control not only the basic features like volume, source selection, but also balance, instant mute. AV BYPASS, night mode, sleep, etc..These features are simply missing from other passive transformer based preamps, meaning the icOn 5 has a much higher level of versatility from the comfort of your armchair.For volume level adjustment, icOn uses high-quality FET switches to select the autoformer taps, ensuring contact error and noise-free operation, which conventional rotary switches are prone to.

Furthermore by the use of these FET switches the signal path is kept remarkably short, thus reducing possible interference to a minimum.  This compares to the more common rats nest found in many TVC/AVC passives which can be prone to interference pickup.

Most people find that the autoformer volume control sounds significantly better than even the best potentiometer or stepped attenuator. And it’s not a subtle difference; most people report that the autoformer has such an open, effortless sound that they would not consider going back to a resistive device.

What Customers Are Saying

I wanted to thank you for transforming my listening experience this year with the Icon5, I have been enjoying it immensely, even more each day. It has enabled me to listen and re-listen and appreciate Vikingur Goldberg variations…


Victor from Canada

I have the line stage running in the system at the moment and it sounds more dynamic, more natural and more transparent than the ‘4. icOn 5 is a very substantial improvement over the ‘4, in every way that matters. All four of the key musical pillars  – dynamic expression or energy, tonal density, dynamic agility and timing, are better with the ‘5 than the 4. Spatial effects are also greatly enhanced with the 5’. Do tell Agnes that her packaging is impressive, adding to the feel that one has acquired a quality item.

With kind regards,

Kevin from the UK

The icOn models

The long-awaited NEW icOn 5 Balanced is now available for order.

The expected delivery time is approx. 2-3 weeks. Prices don’t include VAT on our website. We charge 20% VAT for UK customers. The buyers outside of the UK might have to pay VAT alongside any applicable customs fees or duties at the point of import.

You can choose between USD, GBP and EUR prices on the product page.