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Vol. 18, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2015



NEW PRODUCTS

Simaudio/MOON

Simaudio Neo 280D DSD DACThis year Simaudio has introduced four new and delightful components, two very advanced DSD-capable DACs, the Neo 280D DSD at $2200 and the Neo 380D DSD at $5500 and two headphone amplifiers, the Neo 230 HAD $1500 and the Neo 430HA at 3500.

This is the affordable DSD USB DAC we've been waiting for. Its proprietary DSD engine was designed in-house at Simaudio and has incredible decoding speed that allows it to handle DSD64, DSD128, and even DSD256with ease. This is native DSD and requires no conversion to PCM. Some of its other features include:

  • PCM capability up to 32-bit/384kHz
  • DXD support (24-bit/352.8kHz)
  • Bluetooth APTX support for the convenience of wireless streaming
  • Fully-balanced design with both single-ended and balanced analog outputs
  • Network streaming capability and iPad remote control with Simaudio's optional, internal MiND module at an additional $600

The power supply is very large, in fact, far larger in capacity than it needs to be, as is typical of MOON components. Therefore, the Neo 280D DSD can reproduce soft and loud sounds with amazing fidelity and awesome dynamics. The analog outputs are a fully balanced, proprietary design using the finest components available. This ensures a stable, wide soundstage with enhanced detail and resolution. This Digital-to-Analog Converter is going to be the one to beat in the under $2500 category, and it only costs $2200!

Simaudio Neo 380D DSD DACSo what do you get with the Neo 380D DSD for the higher price? The two DACs share much in terms of technology and both can decode exactly the same formats. In terms of features, the Neo 380D DSD has more inputs, a MiND network player built in at no additional price, optional variable outputs and volume control so it can even be used as a digital-only preamplifier, and a front-panel LED display to show volume setting, input selection and resolution. In terms of sound, the Neo 280D DSD is a trickle-down of the Neo 380D DSD, using a simpler power supply and a less elaborate analog output stage. So in terms of sonic refinement, the superiority of the Neo 380D DSD is immediately obvious. Is the Neo 380D DSD worth the extra money? It absolutely is. Is the Neo 280D DSD a great value? It is more than that, it is an extraordinary value.

 

 

Simaudio Neo 230HAD headphone amplifier/DACBased heavily on the reference 430HA headphone amplifier (see below), the Neo 230HAD offers exceptional performance at a very fair price point. However, this unit is not just a headphone amplifier for analog sources as it comes equipped with its own built-in DAC capable of processing both DSD and hi-resolution PCM. The internal DSD256 /32-bit PCM DAC can be used with virtually any digital source such as a computer for streaming music and can also accept digital inputs from devices such as satellite TV receivers or Blu-Ray players.

The Neo 230HAD can easily be hooked up to an existing audio system or it can function as a stand-alone headphone system by hooking it up to a computer or other digital or analog source and your favorite headphones. Some of its features are listed below.

 

 

 

  • Two analog inputs, 1 single-ended RCA pair on the rear panel and 1 single-ended 1/8” jack located on the front panel
  • Outputs include a ¼” headphone jack as well as both fixed and variable single-ended line-level RCA stereo pairs
  • Fully asynchronous DAC with four digital inputs (S/PDIF x 2, Toslink x 1 & USB x 1) allowing for use with virtually any digital source
  • Supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 (USB input only); Supports PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz (all inputs) and 32-bit/384kHz (USB input only)
  • Pure analog amplifier using a transconductance circuit
  • An oversized power supply using one toroidal transformer in conjunction with 8 stages of DC voltage regulation
  • Includes full-function remote control

Simaudio Neo 430HA headphone amplifierJust as the Neo 380D DSD is an upscale relative of the 280D DSD, so the Neo 430HA headphone amplifier is a more advanced and higher performing sibling of the 230HAD. In fact, the Neo 430HA is loaded with numerous state-of-the-art features. This fully-balanced, pure analog amplifier includes an output stage that uses discrete transconductance circuit topology, selectable gain settings (14 or 20dB), an oversized power supply and a defeatable analog crossfeed circuit for tailoring your headphone's imaging. Borrowing various technologies from the more exotic and costlier Evolution series and incorporating the most advanced analog audio circuitry, the 430HA will achieve the very best possible sonic performance from your headphones. The optional DSD256 and 32-bit PCM capable DAC ($800) is the same as that built into the 230HAD (see above for description). Its features include the following:

 

 

 

  • Inputs include 2 single-ended RCAs, 1 balanced XLR, and 1 single-ended 1/8” jack located on the front panel
  • Outputs include a pair of 3-pin XLR and one 4-Pin XLR located on the front panel behind a sliding window, a ¼” jack, and both fixed and variable line-level single-ended RCA stereo pairs
  • M-LoVo (MOON Low Voltage) DC regulation circuit, a highly sophisticated circuit that is virtually free of noise, yielding an exceptionally fast, precise, and stable DC voltage. The result is a power supply with a virtually-immeasurable noise floor
  • M-eVOL2 volume control with 530 steps and channel matching of 0.1dB
  • Includes full-function remote control
  • Optional DAC as described above for the 230HAD

 

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