Funjoe of the Clones Audio kindly organised for his latest version of the Clones line of power amplifiers. These are the more powerful versions of the already established 25pm monoblocks with added power and few new "tricks".
MEET THE CLONES 55 pm
Funjoe told me that he was very worried about the creation of the 55pm monoblocks as 25pm really brought something special and found many happy homes. It was quite a challenge for him to introduce all new more powerful amplifiers with the clear goal and vision of the same purity and authority.
Whenever you change something in the phase of development or elaborating, there are so many traps to fall into easily. You can quickly stretch to far into direction not really being intended. Overdue is a modern hubris in the of high-end audio thrones chasing specification game. Bringing the more power to the same concept as the 25pm power amplifiers might seems like an easy task, but it was actually more then just a simple matter of trial and error works. It took much time and serious listening in concluding the the final voicing of the Clones 55 pm amplifiers.
Tuning something into being musical is the most demanding task for any audio designer and making the basic circuit of the amplifier more powerful can be very deceiving. Dealing with the gain at the high performance level brings their own set of the rules and "problems". To properly implement the gain stage without affecting the musical flow is an art of its own.
The great example of how gain can be treated in complete different and untypical way, but with grand success is the Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier. This unique preamp is capable of preserving most demanding music material without adding or subtracting anything and keeping it musical. For the transistor based preamplifier, this is not only special, but groundbreaking. In the 21st century we finally came to the point where we can forget about the endless war and discussion of tubes vs transistors. Robert proved the industry, that it's a matter of know how and deep understanding of electronics that makes for the final result and not the ever repeating old eschewed paradigms being just "pumped up." In connection to that Clones Funjoe operates with the similar advantages. He use the technology in the service of the music and tune it in the best way possible. His high-end audio background for surely shaped his vision and choices and many of customers and us reviewers could recognise this already throughout his work so far.
There is a saying that we have to keep the things simple, but not simpler (Einstein). Gain Clones designs are simple and as basic circuit design on the hand for everyone to use. I've heard quite many gain chip based designs during the years, but so far the original 47LABS and Clones Audio versions makes most sense. Funjoe managed to refine and fine tune some of the things with the circuits that put him in the advanced position among vast version. As mentioned before he brought the liquidity of the triode based amplifiers and morph it with the advantages of gain Clones. The basic word here is pureness. The ability to create something pure that is also able to preserve musicality is the holly grail of high end audio. Clones Audio 55 pm monoblocks brings out the emotions and let you reflect the spirit of any given moment of the music in really special way. They go to into the core of the music.
Clones Audio 55 pm monoblocks builds upon the success of 25pm and introduces the evolutional step for the Clones Audio power amplifiers.
I guess my scepticism was similar to the Funjoe fears. Will they make a worthy successor of 25pm? My doubts soon proved to be without any solid ground. Even after the few notes I could recognised the familiar tone. Music was conveyed in effortlessly and emotional. Small boxes, big winners!
As I've used 25pm amplifiers on the daily base for quite some time and know exactly what to expect from them it was all clear what 55 pm was up against. The familiarity was clear from the start, yet, there was few things coming to the front as recognised positive add ons.
Clones Audio 55 pm monoblocks delivered the same natural impact as their smaller cousins, but with the added authority. My Sonus Faber Olympica III reference speakers were already nicely powered by the 25pm power amplifiers. When driven by the 55pm amps they brought more definition and the feeling of the authority.
Anne Bisson excellent vinyl is always on hand helping to determinate how vocals and piano reflects the actual reality of recorded event. Both of Anne albums are a joy to listen and they are repeatedly used as a reviewing reference. Her voice stand on its own and can quickly show the actual quality of any given high-end audio product under the review. I've seen these albums being use by quite many manufactures also in presenting their high-end audio systems.
In comparing with the 25pm Clones Audio 55pm monoblocks evoked extended lifelike feelings and created more anchor points, that makes an illusion of the musical reproduction more palpable.
The recognising Clones character that so closely relate to the best attributes of the tube based amplifiers was always on hand making the music sounding ethereal and involving. The listening felt more like connecting flights of enjoyable traveling, then one destination hectic trip.
At close call both 25pm and 55pm holds the same qualities, with the 55 pm bringing more solid and balanced performance. The difference shows a step up on the evolutional path with preserved musicality.
Clones Audio 55 pm monoblocks clearly adds more controllable lower register and upper mid bass, that is essential for the recreation of believable vocals and instruments in the mid sized rooms of 20 + m2.
Both Clones power amplifiers are performing great in the golden triangle listening position, but when speakers are being moved a bit further aways the 55pm power reserve shows it advantages. They can handle bigger speaker distance and more far listening position with the same musical impact as 25pm.
Clones Audio 55 pm monoblocks represent the present Clones Audio flagship power amplifiers. They can be easily parted with the Clones preamplifier or any other preamp for setting up a really well balanced and high performance audio system.
The directness of dynamic simplicity was clearly preserved with this new amplifiers. They bring pure gain structure, that can be heard and felt. Like with Tom Evans phone preamplifiers, Clones Audio deals in grand way with the speed, solidity and open nature musicality.
They might not be an everybody cup of tea as they reveal everything in the musical audio system. For those who might have more reserved listening habits Clones might bring something opposite of expected, even scary result for some. They bring the emotions! These are clearly a musical machines for those who wants to enjoy in the music. I wouldn't won't them created in any other way. Our high-end industry need more music evoking products like this!
Even at the low volume these amps can deal with the music in a grand way, but open up the volume and 55pm transforms into the F1 like audio experience under the right circumstances. They can really deal well with the gain like few amplifiers does. And if you consider the size of the box it mind boggling :).
I've found 25pm amplifiers to be inspirational and uniquely different. There is something special about their response to the music being played through them. It affects you in a best way and Clones Audio 55 pm monoblocks kept all those great advantages of their specific gain clone design and added few strong attributes. The real life illusion of the music being presented is even more convincing. This is where the live acoustical in amplified recordings come to life and show the high-end reference status of the 55pm.
I love the Clones Audio 55pm monoblocks as much as I did 25pm, but their added power and few of the circuit changes created even more intimate positive results.
Clones Audio 55pm amplifiers bring the closer insights into the reality of the music without loosing the prior highly established quality of musical reproduction.
These are among the best no brainer recommendation for audiophiles, music lovers and audio enthusiasts and I can wholeheartedly give the Mono and Stereo highly recommend award to 55 pm monoblocks. No elaborated contemplating needed. These "guys" work seriously good. Great work again Funjoe!
Output power: 55W (8ohms)/100W (4ohms)
Input impedance: 22k ( unbalanced only)
Gain: 30dB, input impedance: 22k
Signal to Noise Ratio: <95db i="" min="">95db>
* 5 year warranty