To a large degree that's a property of the headphone itself. I'm thinking the A18 is already on the dynamic side and you probably won't get what you are after by switching amps. I'd try to audition an LCD and go from there.
Depends on your preferences. In this case the SS amp (A18) has the more stereotypical "tube" sound to it - warmer, smoother, more bass bloom. The Icon has a sweeter top end though, and can also be fairly warm if you turn up the output impedance knob. Soundstage depth is in fact a benefit of the Icon as well, though tube choice plays a large factor in that.
Yep. I've got a bunch of different cables and they all fit slightly different. It probably comes down to variation in each individual connector - I have two sets of Toxic Cables Silver Poison, one fits fairly flush and the other has slight gaps. Probably also has to do with the sockets on each CIEM being a bit different too. For what it's worth I've never had a problem with this type of fit.
Sounds like everything you could try, has already been tried.
The only other thing I sometimes do is sleep on it and start fresh the next day, going over everything you've already done with fresh eyes. Sometimes I discover that what I thought I did.... I didn't do properly. Happens every once in a while.
Most likely though you have some loose connection inside, or other defect. Hopefully Fried and crew can troubleshoot it and get you going quickly and easily.
I like the WA3 as a fun, sweet sounding amp. I also like the basic WA6, it's solid for the price. I'd say once you go up to the WA6SE the value does not correspond to the price increase. The WA22 is good as well but again too much for what it is. Personally I would take the Icon over all of them based on design, value, and sound. On pure sound quality alone the WA22 is competitive if we don't consider price comparisons. The Woo stuff has excellent build quality and...
All good choices, you can't really go wrong there.
I personally think the Hugo, amazing little bugger that it is, can be bested by some of the better desktop units out here. Hugo is excellent and sounds amazing for the size but to my ears it is not a miracle device. Mirus, to me, is a significant step above, and I would not be at all surprised if the Yggy end up being superior as well.
Back when I had the original Invicta around (v1, non-Mirus) I was using it with adaptor for balanced headphone out, powering an LCD-3 non-Fazor. It sounded quite good indeed. By the time LCD-3F came around I no longer had that Invicta but I imagine the result would not be far off.
I now use the Invicta Mirus feeding one of my amps which then powers the LCD-3F, and it's even better. But for an all in one compact solution I suspect the non-Mirus would be very satisfying...
Agreed all around. I still use the Concero family on a regular basis - easy to move around, and all of them sound wonderful. I don't know how many RLabs has sold - they seem reasonably popular - but I think they would sell like hotcakes if people could simply get over the "bigger is better" mentality.