Clones 25pm + AP1
Funjoe strikes again.
After the Clones Audio 25p Funjoe followed the successful story and created a separate version of his stereo amplifier. I've already raved about the sound in my review here, and as I wanted to hear what monoblocks could offer comparing to the single box version we scheduled for a review pair.
With Clones Audio Funjoe created something really special. Namely musical and fluidity, that we rarely stumble upon not only in entry level, but even with upper echelon. The simplicity and dynamic pureness was once again revived with the arrival of Clones Audio 25 monoblocks. But it doesn't stops here.
Now the upgraded few things, that we all expect from any monoblocks vs stereo amplifiers are at least a better three dimensionality, focus, sense of space and sound-stage.
I expect much more. For sure the musicality. Too often when separating the stereo version of a great sounding amplifier, you'll end up with more powerful machines, but you'll loose the intimacy and bloom.
Clones Audio 25pm thankfully kept the intimate relation to the music and even expand in many things. I can safely say that music didn't loose the "magic" associated with the awarded 25p. The sense of involvement and feeling of being there at the musical event kept untouched. The ability to let you interact with the performers on the emotional level is even more profound with the 25pm's.
Now, the real advancement of high end audio represent the implementation of best advantages from tube or solid state concepts. These is where majority fail. Bringing something substantial and great sounding is a compacted and elaborated task.
Clones Audio 25pm are the vivid warriors of musical presentation. They hold nothing back. You might have your set of reservations regarding the lower frequency performance. Hold your fear in the locker room. As I've demonstrated to quite few people on different occassions with these amplifiers, they are not even close to being bass shy. They bring enormous energy that clearly redefine the size matters paradigm.
I said to Funjoe few times how I'm going to pack those little musical boxes into large chassis and when finished with my demonstration of performance to some narrow minded people I'll open their upper plate and show the fake sized amplifier innards. This would help moving many prefixed minds into the broader territories.
Fixed reality of those being fundamental (or to fundamental) in their views is distorted and far away from the real life experiences. Sadly...
BACK TO THE REFERENCES
Here I would return to the primal and only true reference. Live, unmodified, acoustical music.
Clones 25pm simply thrillS with their performance when such music material are feeding their inputs.
Pure vocal recordings are still an art to record and get it right sound wise. Its the same thing with their reproduction. Let us take few of the popular 80's female pop artist under the scope. Suzanne Vega's Tom's Dinner and Tracy Chapman Last Night offers the emotional pureness and vocals to die for. They forecast of what's coming with a potent energy their unique musical talents.
With sole vocals there is nothing to take away and nothing to add. You've got the full enlightenment. Raw and straight. Both of Tracy and Suzanne vocals are their trademarks with life poetry seamlessly joining in.
Clones Audio 25pm mono blocks portrayed these two songs in its most direct and sensible way. Not only the elements of physical awareness was present, but all the little nuances of surrounded performance were there also. The inner world of decays and reverbs forms a unique atmosphere and while something simple as vocal songs might seems so easy to record and recreate it gets very complicated when need to "restore" it in full bloom.
Clones Audio 25pm did the job gloriously. Controlled and with bloom that's hard to get out of organism.
CLONES AUDIO AP1 PREAMPLIFIER
Whit the great response from the audio society, Funjoe often received the inquires for a matching preamplifier. He told me, that it was quite a burden and challenge to design something similar to performance of Clones Audio 25p. So the hunt for performance and circuit design began.
AP1 used the same tank like build chassis as other products from the Clones Audio line. As Clones power amplifiers, it uses as simple as possible direct circuit combining the same familiar musical DNA.
In my listening notes I've noted few times the feeling of good modern tube preamplifier. This means the best attributes of tubes, but without their typical flaws. Fuller, bodied three dimensional sound with life like feelings.
AP1 is as simple as it gets in operation. It offers three line-level inputs one line-level output (with optional 2 outputs)
As noted above it share same compact box dimensions (170(w)x100(h)x170(d)mm) as power and integrated amplifiers. With included five year warranty you can set your mind to peace and dive safely into charted and uncharted musical territories.
Two knobs on the front serves as the line input selector and as a volume knob. Even at 9 o'clock position there was enough gain to fill medium size room of some 20+ m2.
I can only say and share the same conclusions as with 25pm. It is simple and great sounding. This preamplifier is designed to breath with 25pm or 25p.
It proved in standalone operation with other amplifiers, but when buying the Clones story and power section you do want to match them wit AP1. They're designed to compliment each others.
You can read my full review of AP1 here.
If your room is of moderate normal size and your speakers of sensitivity close or above 90dB, then Clones Audio 25pm will easily move your musical world. Of course more efficiency with speakers will control the music easier and with more mojo, but all the fundamentals are there even with less sensible loudspeakers.
I had great experience with both my reference Sonus Faber Olympica III and Franco Serblin new Accordo Grey loudspeakers. Even in my second demo room and with Wilson Audio Watt Puppy 7 series speakers the performance was mesmerisingly of the same quality.
Both Clones Audio 25pm mono blocks and AP1 preamplifier offers so much performance and most importantly such great musical journey for the money, that is no brainer to recommend them. As with Clones Audio 25p I'm giving a clear 2013/2014 Mono & Stereo performance and great value award to both of them.
I've been using 25pm so often in my listenings and combined with my critical testing and listening, that they become a part of my reference setup. That should say something.
If your vision allows you to see and hear beyond the fences of same old typical ways of high-end audio indoctrinations here is the set that will move your heart and shake your mind.
For those who are accustom to simplicity, enjoyment of music and budget oriented this is my clear recommendation. In my countless emails I'm always receiving the questions about high-end systems "on budget" with performance of the real high-end substance. My dear audiophiles, music lovers and high-enders here you go...
3 line-level inputs
1 line-level output (Optional 2 outputs)
* 5 year warranty
Output power: 25W(8ohms)
Input impedance: 22k ( unbalanced only )
Gain: 30dB, input impedance: 22k
Signal to Noise Ratio: >95dB (min)
* 5 year warranty
Matej Isak. Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine. All rights reserved. 2006-2013. www.monoandstereo.com. ..:: None of the original text, pictures, that were taken by me, links or my original files can be re-printed or used in any way without prior permission! ::..