7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good but some room for improvement.
When my Teac CD player/Amp started to play up I decided that I would step into the modern age and put everything onto an iPod and play it through a dock. The Carbon 2 seemed to be getting good reports, especially when used with half decent speakers so I looked for a good deal and found it on offer for £200. I'm playing it through my Tannoy Mercury speakers.
Published on 18 Aug 2010 by Jack
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This dock is very poor
I have had this dock about 3 year and yes the sound is very good when it actually works.
The remote stopped working after 6 month and then the dock did.
I replaced it due the warranty and it was no better
The remote stopped working again and now the dock suffers from white noise and stops working
When it feels like it. Maybe I have been unlucky...
Published 7 months ago by Boak44
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good but some room for improvement.,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)When my Teac CD player/Amp started to play up I decided that I would step into the modern age and put everything onto an iPod and play it through a dock. The Carbon 2 seemed to be getting good reports, especially when used with half decent speakers so I looked for a good deal and found it on offer for £200. I'm playing it through my Tannoy Mercury speakers.
The good points are that it both looks and sounds great. It is solidly built and the quality of finish is very good. We have three different iPods in the house and it works with all of them, even the iPhone works. It also has inputs for my deck and tape player should I need them in addition to a jack for other mp3 type players. The volume is more than adequate for an average room, but not to ear splitting levels. However, it will play at full volume without distortion.
Less good are the feel of the switches which are OK, but lacking the quality of the other components and also the very cheap remote control with its sharp plastic edges although it works well enough. Another problem I found would be true of any dock and that is that my eyesight is not good enough to read the iPod menu from the other side of the room. A video connection is provided for the TV and it is a pity that this cannot be used to display the menu. There is also no way to see the position of bass and treble settings or to return them to nominal.
All in all, I'm pleased with this purchase and would recommend it. Buyers should be aware that an identical amp and dock are available in silver called the Fatman Red-i. This can be bought for the same price, but it does not look as good and the speakers get very poor reviews. I did not need speakers, so went with the Carbon 2.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracker!,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)A great mix of modern functionality and (pseudo?) retro looks. This a great sounding little amp and it's true that the valve pre-amp stage lends a degree of warmth to the general tone and to some degree does take the brittle "edge" off digital MP3 files and the like. However like all good amps, it does depend on the source material and it won't disguise poor or overly compressed files. It has more than enough power for the average size room and will kick out just enough volume for a (grown-up) house party: it certainly makes Wharfedale 9.1 Diamond speakers kick!. It has the added advantage of two phono inputs as well as a 3.5mm jack - in addition to the i-pod dock so you can run CD players and the like through it as well. I run a a wi-fi DVX server through it for music files and also a DVD player for boosting movie soundtracks: OK you don't get surround but you do get great sound. It also looks dead cool in "piano" gloss black with those glowing valves. Even my wife loves it and claims she can hear lyrics she never picked our before. Praise indeed!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb sound,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)For the money this has to be the best sounding I-Pod dock anywhere near this price range.
I first listened to it as well as many others at The Gadget Show in 2011 & although I hadn,t intended to buy one I couldn't say no given the sound quality.
The 2 dials on the front are a little cheap looking as is the remote but everything works well & lets be honest it was purchased for the sound quality which is superb.
If you are looking for a robust dock with crystal clear sound & do not want to spend over £500 this has to be th eone for you
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)A great invention, looks super cool, super solid construction, definitely worth the extra pennies for the extra outputs, i love being able to watch movies and music videos from my ipod! Only crit is the remote control which is a cheap piece of crap, which is a shame, it works ok, but feels very cheap, you can almost hear the springs ping as you push the buttons. The main amp unit is very well put together and produces a good quality of sound, my ps3 never sounded so good :D
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars release your ipod!,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)As a woman, I really couldnt get the fuss, my husband created, during his longing for the fatman and its valves. I relented and so glad I did in the end... it has released our ipod into a new world of sound and entertainment. The quality of sound is fantastic and hearing music like never before ! The unit seems robust and even beginning to grow on me over the past week, since fatman came to our home!
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonkers but brilliant,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)I bought this amp because I realised that the Sony mini system I had been using was only being used for an iPod, a DAB radio and a Logitech streaming music system. I never used the CD player, FM Radio or Mini Disc in the mini system at all and I had to buy a multiway switch for all the digital sources I used.
It therefore seemed logical to have an amplifier with an iPod dock and enough external inputs for my other devices and because I've always wanted a valve amp this one seemed too good a chance to miss.
It does seem crazy to have an old fashioned analogue valve amplifier being used for very modern compressed digital sources but when paired with a decent pair of speakers (I use some Yamaha bookshelf ones) the sound is superb. The remote control can operate the iPod menu system to select songs but you do need to be very close to it to actually see the iPod screen. In may case the system sits on my desk so that's not an issue.
One down side is that my 3rd generation iPod classic is too fat to fit in the dock with the support in place but it is possible to remove the support completely and trust that the iPod will stand up on the iDock connector OK.
For users used to solid state circuitry please note that you have to wait about 20-30 seconds for the tubes to warm up when you power the unit up.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fatman Carbon,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)Just bought this valve amplifier/iPod dock and a pair of Q Acoustics 2020i speakers. I live in a shared house so my music lives in my bedroom - not the best environment to enjoy great sounds - but, despite that, this amp sound superb. Obviously, at the lower volumes, the bass is a little restricted, although tight and well defined but when cranked up, the system sounds superb! Beautiful warmth from the valves and great clarity and balance from the speakers! Highly recommended in terms of sound but loses a star because I have to agree with almost everybody else who has said that the knobs are flimsy and the remote, whilst fully functional, is a piece of dog poo!.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sound,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)I have this connected to a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers using QED XTC speaker cables. The sound is fantastic and the unit looks great. Pity it didn't have a headphone socket though. The remote looks a bit cheap also. Apart from that i give this product 5 stars for the sound quality.
4.0 out of 5 stars fat sounds!,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)This is a great product. I've hooked it up to my Dali concept I bookshelf speakers in my home office and it sounds really impressive. It gets better as it warms up as well. Lots of what I think they refer to as 'air' in the recordings which I hadn't noticed before. It's got plenty of punch Ive only had it up a few notches and it was LOUD. Even at that volume it wasn't distorting at all and the sound was still very full and warm sounding. The valves look great as they warm up too it really impressed my mates who are all into old vintage guitar amps. I love it.
4.0 out of 5 stars It is just starting when the Fatman sings,
This review is from: Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 (Electronics)Visually I rate a 3.5
Sonically a 5
Visual - the overall look is pleasing but as some other reviewers have commented the dials on the front do look rather cheap and slightly spoil the look, although they are firm enough to the touch. I would rather the volume control had a visible min/max surrounding the dial as well. The piano black finish of the amp case looks very good, although I am sure will be a dust magnet!
Also the remote control is a little flimsy and not very well laid out. Definitely a 3 for that.
Last construction criticism is that I have encountered better "docks" for iPods. The only adjustment is a rather crude "book end" device that slides behind the iPod to hold it up. I think a little care needs to be taken when positioning the iPod into the socket. I also wish the valves glowed brighter, but that really is a cosmetic whim.
Overall the amp is heavy and solid feeling. The jacks on the rear are all well built and readily accessible. I wish I had used banana clips before as they make connecting speakers a breeze! It allows connection of three other hi-fi separate devices - these all work seamlessly at the turn of a dial. My only surprise (not having studied any weights and dimensions data before purchase) was that the amp is heavy (5+kg) and slightly smaller than my other units particularly front to back. But that is purely an observation. Lastly, re the amp it takes some time to warm up before producing any sound. The power light flashes green before it is ready. And to turn off properly it is necessary to use the power button on the amp. Power off on the remote only puts the machine into standby.
Onto sound. I am not an audiophile and any change to my hi-fi separates is a rare event. I am using my own book shelf speakers (Q Acoustics) and I was previously using a Cambridge Audio amp. I say all this as the sound from the Fatman is utterly different from the Cambridge Audio amp. Is this the valve effect? I don't know.
My initial reaction was one of shock because it was so different to what I expected. I am wondering whether the valves needed a little time to warm up on initial use as I thought it sounded somewhat "fuzzy" at first even from different sources. Perhaps it was just my ears acclimatising? But if you encounter this reserve judgement for some minutes.
After my initial reservations I concluded the sound to be extremely good. Crystal clear and detailed and that was equally via iPod, CD, FM radio or music streamer playing internet radio. In comparison my old amp sounded "thin". I think this is the valve versus digital effect and the "warmth" other reviewers mention. The stereo separation seemed particularly good - but possibly this is also function of the clarity of the sound I am hearing. Personally I would like some more bass but this amp might educate my ears to not needing the bass I like. I am now looking forward with eager anticipation to listening some more to my Fatman and think it will breath fresh life to some of my music collection as I hear the music differently. My wife, as a casual music listener, has given the Fatman an unreserved thumbs up too. I have not pumped it up to full volume, but as loud as I have gone it sounds plenty good enough and without distortion. It is plenty loud enough for the average urban room.
So if you are looking for a sonically good amplifier that allows docking of iPods plus connection of other components I give it a definite thumbs up.
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Fatman iTube ValveDock Carbon Edition 2 by Fatman
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