They call him Funjoe. A humorous nickname for someone who makes seriously good hifi products. How do I know? The Clones Audio 25i integrated is a smashing little Gainclone descendant that I’d peg as superior to the NAD D 3020, the Rega Brio R and Wadia’s 151PowerDac Mini. The formal review train will tumble down the line in due course.
In the meantime, Funjoe has readied his ‘reference’ DAC under his Hong Kong-based Clones Audio banner. Enter the Sheva.
Under the hood (of a fairly utilitarian box) you’ll find ESS Labs’ Reference Sabre 9018 converter chip which sees data clocked in with Femto precision. The analogue and digital sections each enjoy their own dedicated toroidal power supply.
Digital input options are broad: AES/EBU, Coaxial, BNC, Toslink, I2S and USB (an Amanero board). So too is file format support: DSD64/DSD128, DXD (aka 24bit/384KHz PCM) and good old fashioned PCM up to 24bit/192kHz. You’ll be shoehorned into using USB or I2S for DSD playback. Source selection, filter choices and 100 step digital volume attenuation are handled by a front-facing rotary encoder.
Outputs come in two flavours: unbalanced RCAs and balanced XLR.
The Sheva DAC is available in black or silver finish for €1799 (~US$2500) and comes with a three year warranty.
Further information: Clones Audio