For much of the last year, Icon Audio founder David Shaw has, in his own words, been building his own birthday present. After discovering a quantity of ‘new old stock’ Russian GU81 transmitter valves, Shaw began to work on a prototype amplifier that would achieve a long-held personal goal: to effectively drive any modern low-efficiency high-end speaker to realistic levels.
Shaw has long been a fan of triode operation, being the purest form of valve circuit. But triodes have a downside: limited power output.
After many months of designing and listening, Shaw has produced what is, in essence, the final pre-production prototype of the Icon Audio MB81: a triode monoblock which can deliver an astonishing 200 watts RMS into even the most demanding of loads….