Notes on the Icon Lumen


Posted this on another site, but thought there would be a receptive audience here as well.

I was recently generously gifted a pair of speakers that I knew nothing about. The Icon Lumen. I thought I’d document my research here for others to enjoy.

Icon Acoustics was a small company that existed for a few years in the early ’90’s, created by David Fokos—who started out designing speakers for Conrad-Johnson. it was one of the first with a direct-to-consumer business model. Try the speakers for free in your home for 30 days, free shipping both ways! Ahead of its time. A novel enough business model that it was featured in an article in Inc. Magazine.

Mr. Fokos personally built all of the speakers, outsourcing the cabinets. He made two models, the full-range Icon Parsec — reviewed in Stereophile here, and the stand-mount Lumen.

The Lumen was reviewed in a shootout review in the July 1991 Stereophile Magazine (page 138) PDF download, with a quite long letter-to-the-editor response from Mr. Fokos in the August 1991 issue (page 221) PDF download.

Technical info— more detail in Stereophile Magazine shootout:
8 ohm nominal
90db sensitivity
crossovers are 2nd-order filters around 1250 Hz
6.5” polypropylene woofer (made by Vifa)
1” aluminum dome tweeter (made by SEAS)
Front ported enclosure
Audioquest internal wiring (all hand-soldered)
Tiffany binding posts

So, that’s what I know! These speakers have replaced the MartinLogan 35xti in my system for now. They definitely sound like an upgrade in all areas except upper midrange of vocals. Which, isn’t surprising given the folded motion tweeter in the MartinLogan. They throw a nice wide and deep soundstage that is more stable and accurate than I've experienced before, and an abundance of detail. All around strong performers!

narrowfellow

These are great speakers. I still own a pair that I no longer use, since I recently acquired a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 100s.  I personally met Dave Fokos and bought the speakers and probably the speaker stands directly from him. Just happened that his manufacturing facility located in Billerica MA, a town north of Boston MA, was next door where I used to live and work in the early 90s. Ilke the article in your posting, he was basically a one-man shop, he used to outsource the cabinets to a local cabinet maker and then he'll assemble, test, process and ship the orders. If I recall, the speakers at the listening room were hooked to a Mark Levison No. 23. Like the marketing materials, he lent me a pair for a month for a try out and let me choose the cabinet finish, mine are light oak. He was ahead of his time since the internet didn't exist back then as it is now.  Below is a pic of my set, notice the tweeter is different from your set.

Your photo didn't make it through, but it's certainly nice to see someone else who appreciates these speakers. Thanks for sharing your buying experience!