What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 10 Dec 2008, 3:00pm

Fatman Red-i

Tested at £400
60100
3

If it was available without speakers, and if it wasn't fundamentally identical to the Carbon, the Red-i would be much easier to love

Write your own review

For

  • Proper standard of build, decent specification, goes very loud

Against

  • Speakers let the side down in quite a big way

iPod docks aren't difficult products to understand. Even one as well specified as this (a pair of line-level inputs, composite and S-Video outputs, and a 3.5mm input for use with other MP3 players) isn't hard to get your head around.

What is tough to fathom about the Red-i is what it's doing here at all.

The Red-i is very reminiscent of another Fatman product called the Carbon, winner of a recent Group Test.

One of the reasons we loved the Carbon was its availability with or without speakers – the Fatman efforts were reasonable, but without them it cost just £250, leaving plenty of cash for a pair of Tannoy Mercury Custom F1s, Roth OLi1s or similar.

The Red-i, on the other hand, is a complete-with-speakers deal – and they're inferior to the Carbon boxes.

All power and little poise
Playing an uncompressed file of The Replacements' Here Comes a Regular, the Red-i delivers a brash, unsubtle sound, far removed from the voluptuous signature we've come to expect from Fatman.

It's more powerful than the Carbon, and capable of quite formidable volume, but treble sounds harden as you wind the volume dial towards the business end – although a quick change of speakers to something less excitable restores a bit of order.

The one advantage the Red-i had over the Carbon was compatibility with the latest iPhone models, but its Fatman sibling has been since upgraded. Our advice would be to take a look at the Carbon instead.

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