Huge Price Cut!!! New Lower Price! Up for sale is a new open box Simaudio Moon 340i D2PX edition integrated amplifier in black with phono stage, DSD D2 DAC (last version - current is D3), and balanced XLR inputs. This unit is as new but was used as a demo by my dealer. It is a great unit for a really great price. This is a great opportunity to get a great integrated at an amazing price.
At my asking price, Credit Card/Paypal fee is included, below asking price buyer to add 3% for Credit Card/PayPal.
Information From Stereophile on D3PX (Same unit, just new version of DAC):
Description: Solid-state integrated amplifier. Analog inputs: 1 XLR, 4 RCA, 3.5mm Media Player. Optional digital inputs: optical, 2 coaxial, USB. Optional phono inputs: 47k ohms input impedance (moving-magnet), 100 ohms or 47k ohms input impedance (moving-coil). Analog outputs: fixed, variable (both RCA). 1 pair speaker outputs. Headphone output: 0.25" phone plug. Rated output power: 100Wpc into 8 ohms (20dBW), 200Wpc into 4 ohms (17dBW).
Dimensions: 16.7" (429mm) W by 3.5" (89mm) H by 14.7" (376mm) D. Shipping weight: 28.6 lbs (13kg).
Finishes: Black standard; Silver, Two-Tone available via special order.
Serial number of unit reviewed: 07022324.
Price: $4950. Options: MM/MC phono stage, $400; DSD DAC, $900; D3PX edition (all options included), $5800. Approximate number of dealers: 80. Warranty: 10 years.
Manufacturer: Simaudio Ltd., 1345 Newton Road, Boucherville, Quebec J4B 5H2, Canada. Tel: (450) 449-2212. US: Simaudio Ltd., 2002 Ridge Road, Champlain, NY 12919. Web: www.simaudio.com.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/moon-simaudio-neo-340i-integrated-amplifier-specifications#yoPPPfkgdHfIocXb.99
August 26, 1944: The liberation of Paris. Imagine ranks of tattered Canadian soldiers marching past the Moulin Rouge à Paris. The voice of Édith Piaf singing "Ou sont-ils, mes petits copains?" (Where are my boyfriends?). Maurice Chevalier crooning "Ça sent si bon la France" (It smells so good in France). A Canadian army tank with the words Kaput and Finito painted in white above the word Montréal, motoring past the Eiffel Tower. Remember the fresh, celebratory taste of fine Champagne.
This was the place, the mood, the reverie with which I began my examination of Simaudio's Moon Neo 340i integrated amplifier. Why? Because Canada's contributions to the Allied Forces and to perfectionist audio are underappreciated. Because French is the official language of Boucherville, Quebec, where Simaudio Ltd. has its factory. And because Paris and Canada are two of the places I have most visited, most explored, and most loved—in real life, in memories, and in dreams.
The first song I remember playing through the Moon Neo 340i was "Paris," sung by Piaf on Edith Piaf (LP, EMI/Music for Pleasure MFP 5046). The sound of the barrel organ and accordion accompanying The Little Sparrow seemed so tangible and direct that it took my mind immediately to Montmartre: to cobblestones, dancing poodles, and organ grinders. Even before Piaf began singing, I recognized the Neo 340i's exceptional ability to dig straight through to the microphone(s) and recording venue. I knew immediately that listening to the Neo would be like drinking Bollinger Grande Année Brut 2002 ($120/750ml).
Along with the Neo, I was using a Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable with Ortofon 2M Black cartridge, and Magnepan .7 loudspeakers. When la grande Piaf whispered into the mike as a drum tap-tap-tapped in the distance behind her, I locked in completely: In my mind, the dark space between the édith and the drum was charged—with dim light, dust, and smoke. I could sense the height of the drum from the hard floor.
I was listening to a performance recorded in 1949!
That, my dear readers, is the nature of this vivid French studio recording, the diminutive French songbird, and the sparkling brut clarity provided by the Moon Neo 340i driving the Magnepan .7s.
One reason the Magnepan .7s played so well with the Simaudio integrated is that Magnepan speakers prefer amplifiers that double their rated output into 8 ohms when presented with a 4-ohm load—as does the Neo 340i, which is specified as producing 100Wpc into 8 ohms or 200Wpc into 4 ohms. The Maggies' infamous hunger for current was satisfied by the 340i's ability to continuously deliver up to 30V at 12 amps, with 22-amp peaks. The Neo 340i uses four bipolar transistors per channel, operated in class-A for the first 5W, and in class-AB for all subsequent joules per second.
I am a slow-working audio reporter. I need months—sometimes a year—to get a proper feel for a product. This is especially true with integrated amplifiers, because today's models can be heavily laden with features, each of which takes time to appreciate. The Moon Neo 340i has been in and out of my system for more than a year—so long that I had to upgrade its DAC and firmware to finish this review. The basic 340i, without phono stage or DAC module, can be had for $4700. Later, you can add a moving-magnet/moving-coil phono stage ($400) and/or a DSD DAC ($900). That's $6250 for Lune Ö la carte. Or you can buy a 340i that includes all of these options—Simaudio calls the package the D3PX—for $5800. Simaudio sent me the D3PX edition.
The Moon Neo 340i D3PX is a textbook example of a contemporary, top-quality, full-featured integrated amplifier. On its backside are four analog RCA inputs, one of them dedicated to the phono board, and four digital inputs: TosLink, two S/PDIF RCAs, and USB. There are two line-level (RCA) analog outputs: one fixed, the other variable. Standard features on all Neo 340i amps include: SimLink, to provide two-way communication among various Simaudio Moon components, including the MiND streamer; a 12V trigger; a RS-232 port for custom installation, bidirectional feedback, and firmware updates; and an IR port for external control.
On the Neo 340i's classy-looking signature faceplate are a ¼" headphone jack and a 1/8" Media Player (MP) input jack. Just above those are two buttons: Spk Off, which turns off the output signal to the speakers when you're using headphones; and Mute, which switches off the output signal to everything, including the fixed and variable RCA outputs.
To the left of the central, red-lit display is a cluster of five buttons. At the top is Standby, which disengages the input section from the remainder of the 340i's circuitry, though all circuits remain powered up. Just below that are buttons to engage the MP input and to turn the display off and on, and below those are two more, for toggling between input options.
Page 14 of the Neo 340i's manual is dedicated to the operation of its remote control. At the bottom, it states: "NOTE: The buttons labeled don't affect the operation of the 340i." Immediately, I knew: Simaudio has done this only to annoy me. Boooo! Hiss! Grrrr!
With speakers: Magnepan .7
The more I use the Magnepan .7s ($1400/pair), the more I love them. Their extraordinary imaging, sweetness of tone, and down-to-earth naturalness are the antitheses of all things mechanical and "hi-fi." I believe that they are among the best speakers available today, at any price. The planar-magnetic, flat-panel .7s do what stand-mounted box speakers don't: They move copious amounts of air. Each speaker has 400 square inches of driving surface—eight times more than an 8" woofer, and more than 16 times as much as a 5.5" mid/woofer like the one in KEF's LS50. Moving that much air energizes a small room like mine in a way that lets me really feel the sound. Bass may not go very low, but it's present in the room with me, touching me physically. Little boxes can give the idea of bass—a simulacrum—but never bass that touches your skin. The Magnepan sound is always more tactile, more of the senses, than what I experience with little box speakers, whose sound is always more of the mind.
When I used the Moon and the Maggies to listen to my swamp-blues buddy Slim Harpo sing "I'm a King Bee" and "Rainin' in My Heart," from his first album, Slim Harpo Sings "Raining in My Heart . . ." (LP, Excello LP-8003), my room felt awash with rich, pulsing molecules of bass and midrange energy. The high frequencies were vaporous, but precise and wonderful. The Simaudio's apparent speed and transparency tamed the Magnepans' inherent sweetness to the point where the .7s began to sound like the high-resolution transducers they are. The reverb added to Harpo's seductive voice in this 1961 recording had an enticing presence of its own. Music emerged with such clarity and ease that I became relaxed and happy. This deeply satisfying amp-speaker pairing reproduced all types of music with charm and authority.
With speakers: Technics SB-C700
The fast, neutral sound of the Moon Neo 340i was enhanced by the low-distortion naturalness of Technics' SB-C700 stand-mounted minimonitors that I reviewed in January. I played Claude Debussy playing Claude Debussy, with soprano Mary Garden, from Claude Debussy: The Composer as Pianist: 18 selections recorded for M. Welte & Sons in Paris, in 1904 and 1913 (CD, Pierian 0001). I have revered this disc, and Debussy's unusual pianism, ever since its release, in 2000. The Moon and Technics have now made it my new religion.
This supremely crafted Welte-Mignon piano-roll recording was made using a finely tuned and restored Feurich-Welte piano playing laboriously rerecorded rolls from the collection of Dick and Helena Simonton, recorded in stereo using two Neumann KM 83 microphones. The results of all this love and labor are a stupefyingly real AAD recording that appears to capture every nuance of the French master's touch, pedaling, and expression. Debussy's deliberateness, hesitancy, and eccentric tempos in his La cathédrale engloutie seem more flesh-and-blood soulful than most pianists now living can muster on their best day at the keyboard. The Welte-Mignon recording piano even captured Debussy's half-pedaling!
This was another deeply satisfying combination of amplifier and speakers.
Phono Stage: Moving-magnet
If I could revive Josef Hofmann or Ignace Jan Paderewski, how close to their pianos would I like to sit? After a lifetime of wondering, I have concluded that I like close: front-row close. I want to see the pianist's knees move as he works the pedals. I want to hear the felts and keys returning to rest. I enjoy the affective reality of the player working the whole instrument. Which is exactly what I experienced listening to and watching, from the second row, Keith Jarrett at Carnegie Hall. I was staring up at Jarrett's knees and the bottom of the soundboard. I watched his feet stomp from about 30' away. This intimacy let me experience his playing with my entire body. His wayward affectations drew me in much better than if I'd been sitting in a balcony box.
Listening at home, I desire that same intensity and artistic presence. Happily, I received a nice measure of it when listening to Jarrett's Concerts Bregenz München (3 LPs, ECM-3-1227). I couldn't see Jarrett's knees, but I could hear his head and voice moving above the keyboard. I could hear his shoes on the pedals.
Vicissitudes of Power
The aspect of recorded music that is most affected by preamplifiers and power amplifiers is its viscosity—ie, how thick or thin or transparent the music sounds. This in turn affects grain, contrast structure, and, especially, musical flow. The perceived viscosity or plasticity of an audio amplifier's sound lies typically in its internal impedances, time constants, bandwidth, and voltage plus current capabilities. Musical viscosity also depends on the designer's choice of resistors, capacitors, regulators, and transformers
I mention all this because it sounded to me that the Simaudio design team has made some sophisticated viscosity-oriented design choices that have resulted in audio products, like the Moon Neo 340i, of unique transparency and fluidity.
Phono Stage: Moving-coil
I change phono cartridges often. Therefore, I'm always happy when an integrated amplifier includes choices of gain (40 or 60dB) and loading (100 ohms or 47k ohms plus 0pF or 100pF), as does the Moon Neo 340i D3PX. Simaudio uses active circuitry—as opposed to transformers—for the extra gain.
Unlike most phono stages, in which choices of amplifier gain and cartridge loading are made with little switches or buttons, the Neo 340i's phono stage requires that you (or your dealer) remove the amp's top plate and reposition separate right- and left-channel jumper blocks for each choice. I know, it sounds tricky, maybe even dangerous—but it's not. It's simple, almost foolproof, and explained very clearly in the manual. The whole procedure took me less than 10 minutes, and its simplicity gave me the opportunity to experiment and be fickle.
Most important, the results were worth the effort: The sound quality of the 340i's $400 phono-stage option (less, of course, if it's ordered as part of the entire D3PX package) is so ridiculously good that I doubt most users will ever want further upgrades. If they do, Simaudio's Moon Evolution line offers three standalone phono stages, the 310LP ($1800), 610LP ($7500), and 810LP ($13,000).
My only complaint: My Zu Denon DL-103 cartridge was not perfectly happy with the Neo 340i. The Zu's 40-ohm impedance plays more naturally and in a more relaxed manner into 470 or 1000 ohms than into either of the 340i's choices of 100 ohms or 47k ohms. Into 47k, the Zu was too uptight.
Meanwhile, the 6-ohm internal resistance of my Jasmine Turtle cartridge was more than happy with the Neo 340i's 100-ohm setting. It played stronger, cleaner, and with more detailed bass than it had with any other phono stage I have in the bunker. (My review of the Turtle moves slowly forward . . . )
Last July, Simaudio introduced an upgrade for the Moon Neo 340i's DAC that improved on what I'd already felt was the 340i's strongest asset. My review sample's original DAC was fast and sure, open and clear, with bass that played exactly as it should. But compared to my reference D/A converter—Halide's DAC HD ($495), which always sounds warmly detailed, juicy, and alive—the Neo 340i's original DAC sounded a bit brisk and chilly, like a cloudless November day. The new DSD DAC demonstrated increases in neutrality and materiality, and felt a bit bolder, yet more at ease.
I believe strongly in the importance of high-end audio dealers. The future and quality of our sacred hobby rests squarely on their shoulders. If you buy an amp or speaker on the Internet and it sounds bad in your listening room, you have no one to blame but yourself. Worse, you have no one who cares, or wants to help you. But high-end audio salespersons are there to be exploited as teachers, oracles, lifestyle consultants—and maybe even friends.
I mention this because I did not feel confident in my ability to install the 340i's new DAC board and do the necessary firmware upgrade. So I took my review sample to the charming and knowledgeable Michael Toto, of New York's famous Stereo Exchange. The upgrade process began with his welcoming smile, included a lot of impassioned jabber about headphones, amps, and speakers, and ended with my satisfied grin and a handshake. Dealers rule!
Like a hooded monk with an inkwell, I spend my days sitting at a desk, writing and imagining. My hood is a pair of headphones—I listen to Tidal, and play my diverse collection of files downloaded from HDtracks. I enjoy the LSD intensity of listening through high-quality earspeakers. I find that headphones force my ADHD mind to focus—and remain focused—better than do speakers en l'air ouvert. For several months now, Simaudio's Moon Neo 230HAD headphone amplifier ($1500 with DAC) has been firmly ensconced in my desktop reference system. While the 230HAD plays with a tighter, breathier, and punchier authority than the 340i's headphone output, the 340i exhibits a similar (but more softly-focused) clarity that flatters the female voice more than the male.
Through the 340i and AudioQuest NightHawk headphones, I'm now listening to "High on a Mountain," from the New Appalachians' From the Mountaintop (24-bit/192kHz, Chesky). This bluegrass standard by Ola Belle Reed is such a mournful lament—"High on a mountain standing all alone / wondering where the years of my life have gone"—that it chokes me up every time I play it. The luminous recording of this group—which features the girl I want to run away with, singer Noah Wall—is a potent mix of musical and recording artistry. With the 340i headphone stage, I felt like Noah Wall was standing directly in front of me; I could have reached out and touched the mandolin and violin players with my left and right hands respectively. Chesky's binaural imaging was accurately described, but the roadhouse punch was missing.
With the Audeze EL-8s, the plucked bass was soft and overly warm. Wall's vocals were nicely textured but less "in-the-room" than with the 230HD. The highs were sometimes quite attractive and non-fatiguing—but neither precise nor extended.
Unlike the 340i's phono stage and DAC, which are extraordinary enough to satisfy over the long haul, I suspect most high-end headphone junkies will feel the need for a better-quality headphone stage. If so, Simaudio is ready: the 230HD ($1500 w/DAC) and 430HA ($3500–$4300) would be natural choices.
Comparison: Rogue Audio Sphinx
As I have with the Magnepan .7s, I've been constantly rediscovering how just how much I love Rogue Audio's Sphinx integrated amplifier, the very first product I reviewed for Stereophile in August 2014. Folks, this baby jumps, thumps, and sings as it has no right to for $1295. But the Moon Neo 340i showed me exactly what I should expect for not quite four times the Sphinx's price: The Neo 340i delivered levels of microdetail, refined transparency, and mercuric nimbleness the Rogue can only hint at. The Moon described a recorded soundspace with the kind of tactile precision delivered by only the most expensive amplifiers. While the Sphinx plays the lowest octaves with masterful ease, the Neo showed me bass notes in full—unblurred and ungeneralized, from start to finish.
Comparison: Hegel Music Systems H160 and Line Magnetic LM-518IA
The Hegel Music Systems H160 ($3500) is a bold mountain climber of an integrated amplifier. Well trained and strong, it conquers your speakers with adolescent eagerness. But! The H160 plays music with a kind of bourgeois moderation that makes me yearn for a more bohemian libidinousness. Similarly, the Simaudio Moon Neo 340i's well-manicured precision made me wish for an occasional taste of slutty voluptuousness. On those days, I switched to the Line Magnetic LM-518 IA ($4400). Neither the Hegel nor the Simaudio could match my Line Magnetic for brilliant Van Gogh colors, verdant textures, or riotous debauchery.
60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay
While it plays music beautifully, it's unlikely that the Simaudio Moon Neo 340i integrated amplifier was created for the inexperienced audiophile. Its virtues are substantial and varied, but much of its wonderfulness is subtler than my descriptions suggest. The character of its lively sound was strong—but a quiet strength. None of its charms jumped out and mugged me. It danced and sang well, but at its core, the Neo 340i was really about refinement and consistency. Through it, music sounded fresh and subtly articulated, always in good balance and proportion. Like Marantz's classic tube gear, which it resembled in sound and appearance, this integrated amplifier was created for audio cognoscenti—those who know how rare a really well-engineered amp actually is. For these reasons, I believe the Moon by Simaudio Neo 340i will hold its value: The way it satisfied this listener with its Champagne Brut audio aesthetic should never go out of fashion. Confidently recommended.