The iPod-focused Fatman range by UK audio specialist TL Audio offers a pretty perfect blend of new and old technology, combining Apple’s innovation with traditional valve amplification. Available to buy with or without speakers, the Carbon Trinity is a one-piece hybrid vacuum tube amplifier with iPod and iPhone dock.

Although not the most attractive dock on the market, the Fatman is a good alternative to typical docks and comes with some proper hi-fi credentials.

The amplifier has a USB connector for computer use, and a powered subwoofer can be added using a 3.5mm input.


While the Fatman system does require some setting up, and care switching on and off due to the tubes needing to cool, the effort is worth it. The sound is warm and detailed, bringing out the best in all musical choices.