The Simaudio Moon 700i v2 integrated amplifier flexes its muscles!
I had been waiting for a while to receive the latest version of Simaudio’s 700i v2 integrated amplifier quite patiently for a full review and finally, a few months ago the unit arrived at my premises, in all its splendor. It must be emphasized that the word splendor is more than proper to describe the cosmetics of this thoroughly beautiful looking amplifier will all its trimmings. Being that it is quite a heavy unit, it may take 2 people to get it onto your favorite, sturdily built audio rack. This amplifier, ideally, should be carefully placed on the top shelf of your equipment rack not merely to get optimum access to it but also to show off its prominent appearance.
Simaudio designs and makes all its amplifiers in its manufacturing facility in Boucherville, Quebec, and the Moon 700i v2’s TEN – four-layer circuit boards are imbued with gold-plated pads, along with a strong aluminum case and heatsinks. They additionally give the longest warranty of any high-end audio component I have come across- 10 years! This is a company that takes one into their heart as there is so much to like about how they control their commercial enterprise.
The 700i v2 is a dual-mono analog design which gives it a huge charge from the start in my book! It features 175 watts per channel into 8 Ohms, 350 watts into 4 Ohms, and theoretically — 500 watts into a 2-ohm load! Consequentially, it can drive just about any loudspeaker you can get your hands on. The 700i v 2 is a class A/B design, and those two gigantic toroidal transformers give it huge amounts of reserve power (energy) which tells a lot about this amplifier. (Much like the darTZeel CT-8550 II).
The dual-mono design features one Japanese-cored 500VA toroidal transformer per channel while the preamplifier uses its dedicated transformer. As to some other specifications, the Moon 700i v2 has an input impedance of 23.7k ohms, gain of 37dB, and a frequency response of10Hz-100kHz, ±0.1db.
Although the Moon 700i v2 doesn’t employ a built-in DAC (no necessity for today’s audiophile) or phono stage, (at this price, that could be a different story) in every other way, this integrated amplifier is fully stocked with everything one may otherwise ever desire. The unit is endowed with high-quality, gold-plated binding posts on the rear panel, which include: one balanced (XLR) and 4 unbalanced (RCA) inputs; a line-level output (RCA); a tape loop (RCA); an RS-232 port; a 12V trigger; an IR input; and an IEC energy inlet. Additionally, Simaudio has just added their proprietary SimLink connection, MiND streaming platform and app which allows the 700i v2 to interact with different Moon products, particularly great for streaming from any service you may wish to use.!
For every input, you can assign a name, allow an offset of ±10dB, and beautifully set a maximum volume level, that will bypass the internal volume control completely for use in a home-theater setup. Navigating the menu system will take a bit to get used to, but it is very intuitive otherwise as the front panel controls are quite ergonomically friendly for the user to discern. This is what one would expect with an amplifier at this price point and as for its functionality, it hits all the right spots!
The V2 toroidal transformers are somewhat unique as compared to their original model, the 700i. The transformers are potted in defensive bins with epoxy, which helps to keep the strength of the power supply from spurious electromagnetic emissions and noise—hence; DEAD QUIET! Secondly and most important is the use of better performing semiconductors in the PREAMP, which were not available in the original model. These technical points that we will see later, make up the sound performance of this amplifier. The V2 comes with a formative and well-built remote control that is easy to use and sturdy in the hand.
INITIAL SETUP and SOUND
The 700i V2 was evaluated and compared with a good amount of upstream equipment. Eventually, I ended up using my current 3 reference loudspeakers for this analysis; these being The Living Voice R25A (anniversary), the Spendor BC1, and the Quad ESL 63 (US version) plus the excellent Audio Note AN/ED speaker as 4th backup. The amplifier was also compared with the Avid Integra integrated, darTZeel CT-8550 II, the Aavik I-280, and the Mark Levinson 5805 integrated amplifiers.
To say that the V2 is a very natural sounding amp is beyond question. It portrays a clean, well-balanced, and slightly clinical sound from all the loudspeakers it was auditioned with. It is the type of amplifier that will definitively show up any weakness you may have in your analog system as well as with CDs and live CD-r rips you may make from PCM DVDs as well as digital streaming.
Although the 700i v2 showed off a huge amount of depth and soundstage width with the best recordings, it had such a fine systematic quality to its presentation that at first, some listeners may be taken aback by its unique reception.
Stereo imaging was first-rate as was concert hall ambiance and decay when using some classical, minimally miked orchestral recordings. The Moon produced an open, somewhat full-bodied, slightly bold sound which was able to discern slight differences in upstream cabling as well as with some of the best interconnect cables that were used. This is to say that interconnects and speaker cables should be carefully matched to the amplifier to hear the most pertinent qualities this unit has to offer.
However, the 700iv2 will not be every man’s cup of tea. Its slightly energetic sound quality will not match up to every type of speaker system it is presented to as it is bestowed with a touch less of that seductive midrange response. I eventually obtained the best results with the Living Voice Anniversary, with its sublime mid/treble and top-end naturalness as compared to the Quad and Spendor, both showing a touch of impudence in its midrange and lower treble. That being said, the Moon was quite seductive with the Audio Note AN/ED and was able to truly differentiate some potential pitfalls in certain loudspeakers, although it must be stated that with the Spendor and Quads, this was rather contrary to the rule of thumb, indeed!
Not unexpectedly, the 700i v2 excelled in its huge bass response with the test loudspeakers. The electric guitar was deep and firm while orchestral bass drums had a solidity seldom found on most power amplifiers, no less integrated units. The overall bass response blended seamlessly within the total balance contained in the mids and treble region and some guest listeners were comparing it even more favorably to the Levinson 5805 in its pure, deep, fundamental bass impact.
As far as vocal music was concerned, the 700i v2 was fundamentally accurate with female operatic sopranos as well as some good pop and jazz artists, including Natalie Coles’s 30th Anniversary album, which the Moon exploited with the utmost vocal intimacy and first-rate accuracy. There was no doubt that this is an amplifier that will take the most supremely recorded material and let you hear everything with its pure, systematic sound quality.
The Simaudio 700i v2 is quite an expensive amplifier with a retail price here in America at $16,000. As readers have come to expect, The Moon 700i v2 should inevitably be compared in its subjective sound qualities to a few recently appraised integrated amplifiers I have listened to quite carefully, notwithstanding quality vs. price points.
If we first take its closest rival, the darTZeel CT-8550 II (which is double the price of the 700i v2, we will notice some small but definitively discreet differences in their overall sound reproductive assets. It cannot be denied that the darTZeel is an extraordinary integrated amplifier, though at $32,000 not many audiophiles will be able to afford it. Although the 700i v2 cannot match its spectacular overall balance, detail, elegance, and refinement, its build quality and closely similar neutrality to the latter along with a huge bass response can be compared somewhat favorably to the darTZeel; this cannot be denied.
The Levinson 5805 was found to be the closest sounding amplifier to the Moon with regards to its refined, analytic and open-sounding midrange although the Levinson may…. impart a silkier, more recessed mid-high-end response. As it is about half the price of the Moon, it could easily provide a viable alternative.
The Avid Integra, from England is about half the 700i v2’s price but is a bit more forward sounding although it must be noted that the top to bottom balance of the Avid is very similar to the Moon integrated. I would say the Moon delivers more on its distinct midrange translucency and mitigating overall top to bottom frequency response, though it may be a bit less seductive sounding than the Avid. The Avid is once again, approximately half the price of the 700i v2. On the other hand, the Avid Integra’s build quality may not be quite up to the extreme quality of the Moon.
The relatively new Aavik I 280 has recently come into my listening room for inspection, although it has not been reviewed as of yet. However, some extensive trials of this well-built, Class D integrated amplifier have shown that it may leave a bit to be desired as compared to the 700i v2, though again, we must consider the distinct price differential.
The Simaudio 700i v2 is undoubtedly a fine, exquisite sounding, and exceptionally built integrated amplifier with a pedigree that is to be admired and quite inimitable.
Its strengths lie in its huge power supply and reserve power, as well as its admirably natural and first-rate tonality to almost all program sources that were presented to it. It displays a fundamental naturalness in its sound attributes while also showing its superb lack of grain in its wonderful, but less lush midrange response.
Built to the highest of standards, it will drive all of the best loudspeakers to an enviable standard of quality. Even while acknowledging this amplifier’s hefty price point, it is endowed with a quality of expressiveness and sound that most audiophiles will find very attractive. It is worth auditioning and listening to its laudable qualities; those of which are most definitively enduring. Recommended!
Review system for this product: Loudspeakers: Living Voice R25A loudspeakers, Spendor BC1, Quad ESL 63, Audio Note AN/ED ~ Digital: Border Patrol DAC SE-I ~ Prism Sound “Callia” DAC ~ Innuos Zenith Mk.3 server/streamer ~ Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC ~ Audio Note (UK) CD3.1x/2 Analog: Audio Technica LP-7/ Denon 103R cartridge. Amplification: ~ Pass Lab XP- 12 preamp ~ Pass Labs XA30.8 power amp ~ Cambridge Duo MC/MM ~ Audio Note (UK) I-Zero integrated amplifier ~ PS. Audio M1200 monoblocks / Cables/ Conditioners: Inakustik AC-3500p power station & LS-4004 speaker cables, AC-2404 reference Air Power Cord ~ Silversmith Audio ‘Fidelium’ loudspeaker cables ~ Audience Studio 1 interconnects, Wireworld Electra 7 digital SPDIF/ Audio Art 1 e” AC Power Cord.
Simaudio Moon 700i v2 Integrated Amplifier
Price: $16,000 USD.
Warranty: Ten years parts and labor.
Contact: Angela Dunlevy email@example.com
1345 Newton Road
Boucherville, Quebec J4B 5H2
Phone: (450) 449-2212
WHERE the MUSIC BEAT meets the AUDIOPHILE ELITE !
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