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Vol. 12, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2009



NEW PRODUCTS

Simaudio/Moon

In our last issue, we talked about Simaudio's dedicated efforts to bring their superb sound quality down to more affordable prices via the development of their new entry-level Moon i-1 and CD1 integrated amplifier and CD player. Encouraged by the audiophile community's very favorable reception of these products in terms of both glowing reviews and customer reaction, Simaudio decided to use these two products as the basis of two new even more affordable offerings, the Moon i.5 and CD.5, each selling for $1200. These two products are based strongly on their bigger brothers and incorporate as much of their technology as was practical at their $500 lower price.

Simaudio Moon CD.5 CD playerThe MOON CD.5 Disc Player offers tremendous value. It delivers unrivaled performance for its price range and comes in a distinctive and attractive package. With features including a fully-customized CD transport mechanism and highly advanced digital and analog circuitry, the CD.5 creates music like no other player in its class. Incorporating technologies found in Simaudio's much more expensive CD players, the MOON CD.5 Disc Player is the perfect companion source component for the i.5 Integrated Amplifier or other fine amplifiers. Significant design features include:

  • Eight stages of DC voltage regulation
  • 24-bit/352.8 kHz upsampling
  • Proprietary CD drive system with in-house developed hardware & software
  • All digital and analog audio circuitry mounted on a single circuit board, each with its own respective ground plane, to minimize signal path lengths and eliminate any potential for interference and signal degradation
  • Accurate digital clocking system for exceptionally-low intrinsic jitter levels
  • Advanced analog signal path using a DC servo circuit and proprietary analog filter
  • Gold-plated, pure copper circuit board traces for low impedance characteristics
  • Optimized selection of very high quality electronic components

Simaudio Moon i.5 integrated amplifierSimilarly, the i.5 integrated amplifier has a design based principally on the i-1 and has a provenance strongly derived from Simaudio's highest-end integrated amplifiers. Containing numerous features such as a headphone jack and a front-panel input for personal media players, the i.5 is both superb sounding and easy to use. It has a power output of 40 watts/channel, slightly less than that of the i-1, but the power doubles to 80 watts at 4 ohms, showing the robust and careful design of the power supply. It also has many advanced design features such as:

  • An oversized power supply using a custom toroidal transformer design
  • Remote control operation
  • Class A output to 5 watts for greater efficiency and optimal sound quality
  • Heat-sink-free design incorporating an all-aluminum chassis for evenly distributed heat dissipation
  • Rigid chassis construction to minimize the effects of external vibrations
  • Gold-plated, pure copper circuit board traces for low impedance characteristics
  • Optimized selection of very high quality electronic components

Two of Simaudio's most popular components ever were the i-3 integrated amplifier and Equinox CD player, both placed just above the i-1 and CD1 in the Moon lineup. With the engineering improvements that Simaudio developed for their top level components and with the advances that made the above entry level products possible, it was time to redesign the i-3 and Equinox. Enter the i-3.3 and CD3.3 at $3300 and $3000, respectively.

Simaudio Moon CD3.3 CD playerListening to a well-recorded CD on a player such as the CD3.3 is a whole new experience. Gone are the flat perspective and thin sound of so many players. The sound is open, spacious, deep, warm and detailed without being bright or forward. The CD3.3 owes its performance to many design factors such as:

  • A proprietary CD drive system with in-house developed hardware & software
  • A CD drive system mounted on Simaudio's revolutionary, M-Quattro gel-based, 4-point, floating suspension for vibration damping, allowing ambient and spatial cues in your recordings to come to life like never before
  • 10 stages of DC voltage regulation
  • Internal upsampling with 24-bit/1.411 MHz processing (That's 32 times oversampling!)
  • Burr-Brown PCM1798 high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-Analog Converter and 8x oversampling digital filter
  • Very precise 25PPM digital clocking system
  • Advanced analog signal path using a DC servo circuit and proprietary 6dB/octave analog filter
  • All digital and analog audio circuitry mounted on a single circuit board, each with its own respective ground plane, to minimize signal path lengths and eliminate any potential for interference and signal degradation
  • Gold-plated, pure copper circuit board traces for low impedance characteristics

Simaudio Moon i-3.3 integrated amplifierAs with the CD3.3, the i-3.3 offers some remarkable sonic and convenience advances over its predecessor, the i-3. The open, relaxed, and involving quality that makes Simaudio electronics sound so natural and enjoyable is present in spades in this new model. Furthermore, the options available make it flexible enough for any audiophile's needs. These include a phono preamplifier with MM and MC inputs and a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) board which can accept USB 2.0 as well as optical and coaxial digital feeds. Thus, the i-3.3 can be directly connected to a computer via a USB connection for playback of your computer-stored music collection. The phono preamplifier ($300) and DAC ($400) can be purchased as built-in options or added later. Some of the i-3.3's design features include:

  • An oversized power supply using a custom toroidal transformer design
  • Rated output of 100 watts/channel into 8 ohms and 200 watts/channel into 4 ohms
  • 5 line-level inputs including a front-mounted 1/8" mini-jack for personal media players
  • Headphone output located on the front panel
  • Four bipolar output devices per channel which offer superb linearity throughout the entire audio frequency spectrum
  • Class A output to 5 watts for greater efficiency and improved sound quality
  • Optimized selection of very high quality electronic components
  • Rigid chassis construction to minimize the effects of external vibrations
  • Gold-plated, pure copper circuit board traces for low impedance characteristics

Finally, while we never rely overly on reviews for our recommendations, it is nice when a respected magazine agrees with us. Amazingly, Stereophile has placed almost every component in Simaudio's Evolution series in its Class-A recommended components list, a startling achievement for any company. Furthermore, it's not just their most expensive models that are garnering such praise. Both the CD1 and the LP5.3 phono preamplifier earned Product of the Year recommendations from The Absolute Sound. Every price range in the Simaudio line offers superb performance to the music lover.


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Audio Nexus, LLC
33 Union Place
Summit, NJ 07901

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   (908) 277-0333

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