When you hear the word "iTube," you're probably more likely to assume it's the name of a grossly self-obsessed version of YouTube. But you'd be wrong, as fans of Fatman--the company, not iPods.--would tell you. The iTube 452 is in fact Fatman's uber-stylish new valve amplifier and it comes with the ValveDock for seamless integration with
Valve amps claim to offer a warmer, more natural musical sound than that from today's common transistor-based amplifiers, and they're often favored by audiophiles. With the iPod's arguably good sound quality and support forformats, combining them with a valve amp makes a lot of sense.
This iteration of the Fatman iTube incorporates nine valves, 45 watts of power per channel and weighs a whopping 23 kilograms (about 50 pounds). It also costs an equally humongous $3,000.
There are heaps of inputs around the back, so if you want to jack in that turntable, it won't be a problem. In fact, doing so will win you serious brownie points with the audiophile elitists, who would congratulate you for being so high-fiveably analog.
We'll have a review for you as soon as Fatman gives us an iTube 452 to play with. You can check out some extra specifications on the product's Web site, or if you're looking for a much more affordable door to the valve world, take a look at the attractive Philips MCD908. Watch this space, transistor haters.