After using a headphone amp for a couple of months now I couldn’t go back to just using my headphones. The Carot One Fabriziolo stereo tube preamplifier/headphone amplifier is a good example of a well rounded amplifier.
To start off the packaging is good, plenty of padding and protects it very effectively. Postage is free worldwide! In the box is the Preamplifier, some no frills cables and a power-brick.
The Fabriziolo is 65mm x 25mm x 98mm. It has a front panel jack for headphones and another for the input of an MP3 etc. Around the back there are a pair of RCA inputs and a line out jack. The Carot One is CE stamped!
Here is all the technical spec provided by Carot one:
Vacuum Tube: 6DJ8/6922 series or 12AU7 series (exchangeable)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): 92dB
THD + Noise: 0.05% @ 10k ohm 0.15% @ 33 ohm
Input Audio: CD IN RCA (Left/Right) x 1 [3Vpp max.]
Power Socket: (5.5mm/2.1mm) x 1
Output Audio: OUT 3.5mm x 1
Headphone: OUT (3.5mm) x 1
Knob Audio and power switch x 1
Power Indicator: (Blue LED under Tube Socket) x1 Volume Knob x 1
Power Supply DC 12V-13V (max.)
After taking a close look at the preamp you start to see that the finish isn’t great: The screws look cheap, the valve is lopsided and the sound knob feels flimsy. These are minor problems however and could easily be fixed by the manufacturer. This isn’t to say that it looks bad. It looks great! I love the way it glows blue when turned on and its a very well thought out design to fit in such a small enclosure. The design is also very bold with the signature Carot colours of orange and highlights of blue. The single valve sits proudly on the top and makes it stand out from the crowd.
To test the sound I ran the preamp though a PC playing FLAC audio files. I ran the Fabriziolo though a Schiit Modi DAC and used NAD Viso hp 50 headphones ( I also compared it to a Schiit Magni preamplifier though the same setup). You can also play your Mp3 player through the unit using the front mounted socket or as a preamplifier if you have powered speakers.
The audio performance is amazing and unexpected. The music sounds crisp and clear without any interference. The sound isn’t particularly bass heavy but it’s personally just enough. I listened to many genres of music (Rock, Electronic, Blues, Funk…) and it came alive especially with electronic music. I could hear many layers to the music and discovered parts of a song that I couldn’t hear with just my headphones.
Compared to the Schiit amp I personally think the Carot amp sounds better.( This could be something to do with the valve) …But this is to be expected as the Fabriziolo costs more than twice as much as the Schiit.
It’s a shame that the Carot One preamp couldn’t make the 100 pound price point but it’s price still isn’t too off-putting.
I was also Given the Carot One Titta to review, a pair of in-earphones that follow the same design of the Fabriziolo (and all the other Carot One products). These earphones are great value for money. They are extremely comfortable, they’re light and isolate pretty well from outside sounds. They are very well rounded and are a good all purpose in-ear headphone. They work perfectly with, and looks wise really complement the Fabriziolo preamplifier. If you are an audiophile on a small budget these earphones are for you!
In conclusion Carot One is a brand that needs recognition for their great sounding and stand out looking audiophile products. (based on what I’ve heard)
Carot One Fabriziolo preamplifier: Price at time of review 199€
Build quality: 6/10
Overall – 7.3
Good for people looking to improve their headphone experience without breaking the bank.
Overall – 8.3
Recommended as a good value all round in-ear headphone that works well with the Carot One Fabriziolo
Harry Smith is Hifi Pig’s teen correspondent and reviews audio that we feel is of particular interest to this market brought up on computer audio, iPods/MP3 players and computer audio. If you’d like to get in touch or have a product you’d like him to look at them please contact us here