Roth debuts vacuum tube amplifier with iPod dock | iLounge News

Roth debuts vacuum tube amplifier with iPod dock


Roth Audio has unveiled the Music Cocoon MC4 ($769), a vacuum tube amplifier with a built-in iPod dock. Roth claims through the vacuum tube style design you’ll be able to hear “a real warmth and dimension” to the music you are listening to. Other features include power output of 13 watts (x2), speaker output with short circuit protection, volume control, iPod charging and an included remote control. The device also sports a 3.5mm jack on the back for connecting other devices. [via Gizmodo]

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i’m very sorry but this kind of photos make me smile, you know, the ipod so modern in the middle of this light bulbs, it’s the surrealism looking for a warmth and dimension sound ooooooooooo.
The price also is very funny.

Posted by gonzalo on March 6, 2007 at 1:44 PM (CST)


I never really get these tube/ Ipod things. If you are such a serious audiophile as to be able to tell the difference between tube amps and regular amps, you almost certainly have a very nice home stereo, and probably prefer vinyl over CD’s, let alone digitally compressed audio. I’ve got 2 iPods and a really nice set of IEM’s, but when I really want good sound, I use my big ol’ stereo.


Posted by afolpe on March 6, 2007 at 3:58 PM (CST)


This is “Sharper Image” territory.  It doesn’t have to be better, just trendy & spendy.  Maybe If Pinocchio listens to one of these he becomes a real audiphile? OR ...  Maybe we’re meant to see the iPod as the boy robot in AI and the tube amp/dock as the biological mommy he yearns to ‘bond’ with.  If Kubric had lived to finish AI, maybe Gigolo Joe becomes Mr. Sharper Image and we have a whole new incestuous way of looking at an iPod dock? or not.

Posted by Elcoholic on March 6, 2007 at 6:54 PM (CST)


Why do you care so much? If you dont like it then dont buy it. Geez.

Posted by brent on March 6, 2007 at 8:12 PM (CST)


One word haters:


Posted by mthrsuperior on March 6, 2007 at 8:15 PM (CST)


mthrsuperior, don’t be silly.  Every good audiophile knows that even keeping your vinyl albums in the same ROOM with digital devices causes them to sound less “warm”.

You want them to sound “warm”, don’t you?

No true audiophile would tolerate digital music in ANY format.

(I’m so VERY glad I’m not an audiophile.)

Posted by Lee Gibson on March 6, 2007 at 11:49 PM (CST)


I agree wholeheartedly with Lee Gibson’s post. Most of the audiophiles I know don’t use digital music, and they hardly buy CDs. Most of them do use vinyl or SACD or DVD-Music for audio. And most audiophiles also have high-end speaker systems.

Posted by The Soup Nazi on March 7, 2007 at 12:16 AM (CST)


So maybe this is for the audiophiles desk at work then. Nevertheless, it’s pointless. Everyone with a clue about these things will just get something better at the same price but sans iPod-Tax and just hook up his iPod via some maxed-out dock-cable.

Posted by Bad Beaver on March 7, 2007 at 6:52 AM (CST)


That was the point I was trying to make. I’m not even sure why you’d get the iPod involved- just stream it directly from your computer, Lossless or whatever. (I actually switched over to 320AAC, from Apple Lossless- I really can’t tell the difference even with good equipment, it takes up a 3rd of the space, and I can share my library across multiple computers. Much more convenient than lossless was.)

Posted by afolpe on March 7, 2007 at 9:27 AM (CST)


You people are all missing the point.  It’s pretty!  And expensive!  I want pretty and expensive.  Gimme.

Posted by alexarch on March 7, 2007 at 10:44 AM (CST)


Ah well, afolpe, the iPod/PMPs are turning into people’s favourite way of lugging around their music. So say you drop by at a friends house / hi-fi meet / party / work / whatever and instead of bringing CDs you bring your iPod. Due to the magic of cable all those “docking”-Products are all pretty pointless in my opinion. All they do is ride the iPod wave.

I am totally with you regarding the streaming thing, and should Keyspan finally get their TuneView USB out of the door (NUDGE!), that will prolly catch on.

Posted by Bad Beaver on March 7, 2007 at 12:00 PM (CST)


Maybe if iLounge would review one of these tube amps we could base our judgements on the actual merits of the product.  For those of you that think audiophiles only listen to vinyl, think again, most do listen to cds via very expensive cd drives and btw many have also adopted ipods as well usuing lossless files.  There is a market for high end products and aftermarket mods (the imod by Red Wine Audio)and special cables and head phone amplifiers that mitigate some of the limitations of the ipod’s electronics.

This little amp may sound great, but we will not know until it is reviewed.  I could live without the ipod dock however, and the dock is there to try to capture additional attention among ipod fans such as you who visit this website and are seeking additional compatibility and convenience.

I think we should encourage innovations and products that allow us to enjoy the convenience of the ipod even more.  While the ipod’s output is pretty clean, it can’t compare to that of Slim Devices Squeeze Box, a good computer soundcard or a good cd player.

Posted by coprock on March 7, 2007 at 12:35 PM (CST)


No true audiophile would tolerate digital music in ANY format.

That’s a dirty lie. Vinyl is NOT the only Holy Grail in the Alter of Audiophileness.

Seriously, SACD and DVD-Audio have proven that superb audio quality does not require going back to vinyl. My Denon universal does both near flawlessly. And even with standard CD and ripped digital, the so-called stigma of ‘cold’ digital has disappeared in recent years with advancements playback development (amazing what software and firmware tweaking can do). As for this reverb back to tubes for a digital device like an iPod…well, no one says you have to buy into this premise. But I have no problem using my Naim CD player with a tubed Mcintosh amp and pre-amp; sounds superb, and I really don’t miss my Rega TT (well, not that much, but at any rate it’s sitting right next to the Naim should I fall off the wagon).

Posted by flatline response on March 7, 2007 at 2:00 PM (CST)


coprock, are you a fan of the short-lived, little-loved, 90s, weekly tv series featuring policemen and women singing and dancing?  ‘Cuz if you are, good for you!  These discussions need a little camp-infusion

Posted by alexarch on March 7, 2007 at 3:18 PM (CST)


I use a Roth Audioblob and I have to say that it out-performs equivalent three-piece speaker systems very handsomely indeed. It costs £119 at the moment, and is so much nicer than the Bose Soundock and Companion and better than everything I’ve tried from the JBL Creatures through the Altec Lansing M602 and FX6021, the Klippisch iGroove, and even the Monitor iDeck, while coming close to the Jamo i300 in some respects, and beating it in others.

(I’ve kept my Audioblob and the Jamo, while most of the others have been donated to friends, my wife’s school, freecycled or sold.)

Roth himself comes from working for Harman, and he roped in Tannoy to help with the Audioblob. He is the UK distributor for the Fatman line. The company is all about great-sounding, superbly finished, and beautifully engineered kit, in other words, and all the reviews seem to be glowing and enthusiastic.

I haven’t tried the Cocoon, but it sounds pretty exciting to me, bearing in mind the track record of the company who have launched it. And while I sympathise with the view that a Tube amp seems like overkill for an iPod, I am currently using a Fatman iTube, and it is the best bit of audio kit (in terms of quality for money) that I have ever owned, and it certainly brings out the best in an iPod, even with MP3s encoded at 192. Call me simple, but I just ask myself whether the music sounds better, and whether the improved listening experience is worth the money.

Before I owned an iTube, I used to try one in John Lewis, and you’d be astonished at how it used to draw a crowd of folk, whose jaws dropped as much as mine did, and who asked (as I did) “How do you get sound like that out of something at that price?”

This Cocoon is quite a bit more expensive than the iTube, but it’s also more powerful, and I can only imagine how it might sound teamed with a pair of Fatboys, or something similar. I don’t NEED one, but by gum I think I want one!

Posted by Jackonicko on March 7, 2007 at 5:50 PM (CST)


SACD, DVD-Music and DTS Audio discs are arguably audiophile quality.  What’s regrettable is that these 3 formats are incompatible and split the market.  Since my Denon equipment can decode DTS I’ve only bought 3 or 4 of the premium discs because the selection is so sadly limited.  In contrast vinyl is analog and is therefore more natural, warm or organic without even trying. Additionally vinyl preserves value because tuntables offer total compatiblity.  Granted different stylus, cartridge and arm combinations would be optimal for each - but I can enjoy Muddy Water’s 78s, Elvis’ 45’s, a mono copy of Revolver, stereo 33 rpm EPs, LPs and amp clipping-tweeter eating Telarc Stereo 33s of the 1812 Overature on the same turntable.  That’s a library manufactured over a 50 year span that if well cared for still maintains nearly all of it’s original value.  On the other hand a collection of 4 track carts, 8 track carts, 1/4 track reel to reel, 1/2 track reel to reel, cassettes, Cassettes w/ Dolby B, Cassettes with dolby C, Cassettes w/ Dolby Pro HX, DAT, CD, SACD, DVD-Music, DTS Audio would require me to keep, and maintain a player for almost every one of these media.  That’s another reason why I still have my vinyl and everything else between ther and CDs is long gone.

Posted by Elcoholic on March 7, 2007 at 7:06 PM (CST)


“coprock, are you a fan of the short-lived, little-loved, 90s, weekly tv series featuring policemen and women singing and dancing?  ‘Cuz if you are, good for you!  These discussions need a little camp-infusionz”

Tis me. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever see the historic tv series on itunes.

Posted by coprock on March 7, 2007 at 7:13 PM (CST)


“I am currently using a Fatman iTube, and it is the best bit of audio kit (in terms of quality for money) that I have ever owned,”

Me too. I bought the iTube + Tannoy speakers package for my office for just less than £500 and am very happy with it. Like you I was sold on it at a John Lewis store. I don’t see is as that expensive for what it is - it is very well put together and sounds really quite good. Not nearly as good as at home where I have an iPod hooked up to Castle Howard speakers and all the usual jazz. Then again this system is not nearly as expensive.

Posted by Joshua on March 8, 2007 at 2:44 PM (CST)


I have no problems with the concept (I enjoy anachronisms) but 13W from a 12AX7 sounds high; maybe that’s why those tubes are glowing so brightly in the pictures ;-)

Posted by Steve on March 9, 2007 at 3:52 PM (CST)

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