Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Johnny » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:27 pm

Okay, the Fatboy has been out for sometime and is now being produced in a 10 inch version thereby appealing to a greater audience.

For those who have purchased and/or upgraded, could you please give us your impressions? Please include your current table, cartridge and former tonearm.
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby teenage diplomat » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:48 pm

Johnny, I've posted an extensive review/comparison between my fatboy and the arm it replaced, an original 12" 3D. Search under my name and it should pop up - I posted it about a month ago. The headline: it is an outstanding arm, well worth every penny.
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Johnny » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:28 am

Thanks teenage diplomat, I did read your well thought out review and I appreciate your insight.

My dealer told me that the Fatboys are on back order (sold out), therefore, I thought there must be a lot of forum user who upgraded. So far, not many have chimed in.

Brf, 930Turbo, WntrMute, Letsmakeadeal et al...what say you??? Have you upgraded?
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Bob » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:45 am

Bob's Devices will be playing a Fatboy Gimballed arm on a VPI Prime Signature Rosewood at the California Audio Show in Oakland, CA this weekend. If you are in the San Francisco area, come by and bring your favorite record, or buy one at the show. Demo cartridge will be the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze.
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby 33+1third » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:58 pm

I like mine :) .4mV VAS, 12' on Avenger TT, Sutherland Phono Pre , Bryston 4B ST with 1.7 Maggies @ 4ohms

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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Johnny » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:55 am

33+1third wrote:I like mine :)


Nice comprehensive review ;)
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Peer Gynt » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:01 am

It really does come down to whether you like it or not. We all hear things differently.

I think these arms are now at the level where differences are probably subtle.

The trade in program makes A to B comparisons less likely.

Once you get to the level where the deck does nearly everything well (a knowledgeable party who won’t be named was once quoted as saying that over $6k is often just turntable bling), it becomes harder to sort out what’s better and what’s just different.

HW is using master tapes and level matching for comparisons, and that’s really the only valid method. Few can do this. I can’t, for example. I level match, but I do not have master tapes and matching vinyl disks.

For me, the Fatboy makes sense because it gets the center of gravity near the pivot, and the profile gives a lower energy density as you move toward the pivot. If I were to exchange my current JMW 10 3D Printed tonearm for a Fatboy, I’d go for the gimbal. And if I did this, I would probably share that “I like mine.”

I have two VPI built 10” 3D printed arms right now. The one is a JMW unipivot mounted on a Classic 3 with the fancy feet and an SDS. The other is the gimbal style that VPI designed and built for the Levinson 515. The Levinson was designed and built in its entirety by VPI and it’s motor and controller appear to be very similar to the ADS.

When both are set up well, they both sound great. But for me, the unipivot set up experience is still aggravating and unpleasant compared to a gimbal. Even with the dual pivot, it’s not without fiddling and aggravation.

Now I’m sure that someone who cut their teeth on unipivots could do it faster than I can. But that’s not important to me. In my system, Gimbal style setup = 15 minutes tops, maybe less than 10 in many cases. On the other hand, in my system, Unipivot style setup = 45 minutes minimum, and probably more. So this setup time is important to me when I’m auditioning different cartridges. Otherwise, it’s not.

In the end, I agree with HW’s thoughts the other day when he was asked about unipivot vs gimbal. To my ears, the gimbal style gives tighter, better bass, and the unipivot gives a sweeter treble. But I would judge neither as lacking. People pick one over the other based on personal taste and preference.

Last night I did some more comparisons between the Levinson 515 and the Linn LP12 w/Radikal, Keel, and Ekos SE.

The Levinson is sporting the stock Ortofon Cadenza Orange. The Linn has a Lyra Delos.

Once level matched, the one I like the best is the one I’m listening to. Which one matches the tape? I dunno... I don’t have the tape. Which one sounds more like live music? They’re both convincing.

FWIW, you may get a free improvement by moving your speakers around. Until you’ve really optimized speaker placement, a lot of the rest, including resolution, warmth, soundstage, pitch, and timbre, are literally impossible to truly assess. A lot of people throw money at their system without dealing effectively with the room and speaker placement. This is nearly always expensive and disappointing.
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Johnny » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:03 pm

Peer Gynt wrote:It really does come down to whether you like it or not. We all hear things differently.

I think these arms are now at the level where differences are probably subtle.

The trade in program makes A to B comparisons less likely.

Once you get to the level where the deck does nearly everything well (a knowledgeable party who won’t be named was once quoted as saying that over $6k is often just turntable bling), it becomes harder to sort out what’s better and what’s just different.

HW is using master tapes and level matching for comparisons, and that’s really the only valid method. Few can do this. I can’t, for example. I level match, but I do not have master tapes and matching vinyl disks.

For me, the Fatboy makes sense because it gets the center of gravity near the pivot, and the profile gives a lower energy density as you move toward the pivot. If I were to exchange my current JMW 10 3D Printed tonearm for a Fatboy, I’d go for the gimbal. And if I did this, I would probably share that “I like mine.”

I have two VPI built 10” 3D printed arms right now. The one is a JMW unipivot mounted on a Classic 3 with the fancy feet and an SDS. The other is the gimbal style that VPI designed and built for the Levinson 515. The Levinson was designed and built in its entirety by VPI and it’s motor and controller appear to be very similar to the ADS.

When both are set up well, they both sound great. But for me, the unipivot set up experience is still aggravating and unpleasant compared to a gimbal. Even with the dual pivot, it’s not without fiddling and aggravation.

Now I’m sure that someone who cut their teeth on unipivots could do it faster than I can. But that’s not important to me. In my system, Gimbal style setup = 15 minutes tops, maybe less than 10 in many cases. On the other hand, in my system, Unipivot style setup = 45 minutes minimum, and probably more. So this setup time is important to me when I’m auditioning different cartridges. Otherwise, it’s not.

In the end, I agree with HW’s thoughts the other day when he was asked about unipivot vs gimbal. To my ears, the gimbal style gives tighter, better bass, and the unipivot gives a sweeter treble. But I would judge neither as lacking. People pick one over the other based on personal taste and preference.

Last night I did some more comparisons between the Levinson 515 and the Linn LP12 w/Radikal, Keel, and Ekos SE.

The Levinson is sporting the stock Ortofon Cadenza Orange. The Linn has a Lyra Delos.

Once level matched, the one I like the best is the one I’m listening to. Which one matches the tape? I dunno... I don’t have the tape. Which one sounds more like live music? They’re both convincing.

FWIW, you may get a free improvement by moving your speakers around. Until you’ve really optimized speaker placement, a lot of the rest, including resolution, warmth, soundstage, pitch, and timbre, are literally impossible to truly assess. A lot of people throw money at their system without dealing effectively with the room and speaker placement. This is nearly always expensive and disappointing.


So in summary, you haven’t heard the Fatboy.... only kidding PG :D :D

I had a chance to see a static displayed ML 515, much more impressive in person. Definitely a VPI family resemblance.

Any othe Fatboy owners who upgraded?
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby Peer Gynt » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:00 pm

Johnny wrote:So in summary, you haven’t heard the Fatboy.... only kidding PG :D :D


True, although a careful reader would mark your summary as incomplete. :roll:

The only way I will ever hear it in my own system will be to buy it. I am waiting for VPI to open their listening house ... I may plan a trip north just for the fun of that.

:lol:
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Re: Fatboy Owners, give us your thoughts

Postby 33+1third » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:46 pm

Johnny wrote:
33+1third wrote:I like mine :)


Nice comprehensive review ;)



And this is exactly why I seldom participate in this group :lol:
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