|CLONES Audio 25iR Integrated Amplifier Review|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Friday, 06 March 2015|
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CLONES Audio out Hong Kong, has enjoyed an amazing amount of awareness stateside generated in a very short period of time. This is due to positive reviews, and international distribution. On these pages I reviewed the 25p power amplifier, which I subsequently purchased and use in regular rotation with my usual stable of amps.
Since that review, CLONES and its proprietor, Funjoe, have been mighty busy, bringing to market several new products, and upgrades to others. Funjoe is tireless, and his pursuit of perfection is very admirable. There have also been some logistical changes as well, with CLONES going through several distribution arrangements. Late last year, Mark Sossa, of Well Pleased AV, signed on to become to the US importer and dealer of record. Sossa is a seasoned veteran, highly knowledgeable, and very gracious. All things point to a good marriage. CLONES has also added the SHEVA DAC, the PA-1 phono stage, and a few accessories to the lineup. All CLONES products are still handmade in Hong Kong.
Funjoe contacted me very excited about the fact he had updated his 25 watt per channel 25i integrated amplifier. I had spend quite a bit of time with it previously and was smitten. The only thing I wished for was a remote control. I will admit it. I am lazy. I want to be able to make fine adjustments to the volume while in the listening chair. Funjoe indicated it was in the works but, alas, there were other projects and orders to fulfill, and a full year passed.
Adding remote capability was not a simple task, as the 25i’s chassis is modest in size, and adjustments had to be made. But lo and behold, the 25iR has appeared. It adds a wonderful palm sized metal remote, an LED volume display, and does away with the input selector knob, but the volume knob does remain. A few other refinements were made. The 25iR, and the 25iR are a bit unique and that they have passive input stages. The volume control simply attenuates the gain with no preamplification. This is my preferred design. The elimination of a gain stage and a shorter signal path lends a certain purity. You could say the 25iR/25i are power amps with input selectors and a volume knob.
I asked for a bit more detail, and according to Sossa, “the 25iR has a passive line-stage (no active gain) but is active in the sense that the volume control has has it's own power supply section and PCB. The 25iR's main power supply is configured with eight diodes to provide better linearity and lower distortion. So there is more to it than a 25i with a remote.”
After all these refinements were made, the units started to ship, and I received mine, pristine from the assembly line. The 25iR is $1200, a very fair $300 premium over the standard 25i. The remote itself is full function and blows away remotes I have used in far more expensive units.