Experience with Moon by Simaudio amps & preamps

My system 
  • McIntosh C2600 preamp and MC 302 stereo amplifier (replaced NAD C375BEE integrated amp)
  • Rega P8 Turntable
  • Moon by Simaudio 280D DAC (replaced Node 2i)
  • Sonus faber Olympica Nova V (replaced Sonus faber Venere 3.0)
I listen to music a little loader than most - and I want more volume.

I enjoy the sound I have and recognize each system can sound different.  I've been impressed with Moon for the value and the cost.

My initial view point was explore upgrading to the MC 462 and also listen to the Moon 330A - with the intent of determining if buying Moon 400M (monoblock version of the 330A) would be an alternative to the MC 462.  

Anyone have experience with Moon amps and preamps?  

I was impressed with the Moon 330A straight up against the MC 462 
  • I liked the improved details with delicate sounds in the mids and highs of the Moon.
  • My concern is the potential for harshness from the Moon
I'm open to suggestions, my budget is ~$10k.  The value of the replaced equipment is not to be added to the budget - any value from a trade-in or sale after the fact gets will be reallocated elsewhere.

Thanks for your thoughts and consideration.

I owned a Sim Moon 650D DAC/CD for many years. I added a 820 power supply which doubled the cost, but also significantly improved the noise floor and overall presentation. I did not buy the 750D because it was clear it would be too revealing and harsh. Most of this time I owned Sonus Faber Olympica 3. My amp was a Pass x350.. with a Audio Reseach REF 5SE preamp. I did lots of analysis of my system and realized while it was very detailed, it was too harsh and not musical enough.

I ended up moving piece by piece to all tube gear. Each step moved me towards a more musical system with much better bass and details in a natural balance... like live music.

If you like Mac… and many people do. The fact that you like music loud (I listen at ~70db)… especially if it is rock, then MacIntosh may be your solution. Personally I am not a MAC fan. Too little detail and too bass heavy. But that is a personal preference. So, maybe look at upgrading in the MacIntosh family. Although you are looking for more detail… so Mac might not be your ticket.

You seem to be looking for higher resolution and very natural sound across the spectrum, maybe look at a used high end Audio Research preamp… then save up for a ARC amp. There are two camps that are strong with the Sonus Faber speaker… Mac and Audio Research. They are completely different camps. I would recommend finding a dealer that carries these and listen to an all Mac system and an all Audio Research system… see which one moves you. If none are nearby… take a trip… call up a couple dealers, make appointments, have them set up a system for you.

Looking at your system and post… you are at a crossroads… the next step is really important. You need a clear vision of where you want to go. I really doubt Sim Moon is it.
@ghdprentice Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective.

I was listening to an all Mac system and did an A/B comparison starting with Moon amp and then preamp using my sources.  
  • I preferred the sound of the Moon amp to the MC 462 with the Mac preamp because of the additional details.
  • I preferred the Moon preamp/amp combo to the Mac preamp with Moon amps because of the lower sound floor.  
I wasn't expecting to hear such a big difference in sound characteristics - it was like a veil was lifted.

Audio Research makes some great gear at significant increase in price as well as necessitating a separate phono stage.
Moon harsh? First time I have ever heard those two words in the same sentence when discussing Simaudio.
Get the 390, 330 and be done or just go valves.
Had the 390 and 330 for a couple of years and loved it but went to valves.

jerryg123 - Thanks for sharing you experience.  Interesting how the decision I didn't articulate keeps coming up.  Go full tubes with Audio Research or transition to solid state.  Very helpful input.  

arcticdeth - I appreciate your brevity and enthusiam.
Moon harsh? First time I have ever heard those two words in the same sentence when discussing Simaudio.

Yea, my experiences with owning Simaudio also wouldn't have me consider it harsh or bright.
I personally would use the term very detailed and potentially forward compared to some other brands based on the pieces I've owned.

I owned a 600i integrated and thought it was amazing; I found it very detailed, but sweet and smooth.   I then purchased Magico S1s and found I wanted a little more power plus a little warmth so went to a Pass Labs X250.8 + Pass Preamp.   I found I lost some resolution compared to 600i (but did gain power and warmth) so switched to a SimAudio 740P preamp and it paired with the Pass amp was excellent; my system was very detailed again with a massive soundstage and still that hint of warmth from the big Pass.   

I've also owned a 380DSD DAC and I found that not as detailed/forward sounding as a Berkeley and a Bricasti, a more organic meat on the bones type of sound.

I personally think Moon would be generally a great match for Sonus Faber speakers; I could see where some folks may find it too forward with the ultra detailed loudspeakers, but to me that is a matter of taste.   My high resolution Magicos didn't reveal any harshness to my ears with my 600i and I still own the 740P.


@ddafoe Thanks for sharing.

Perhaps I should have asked if the Moon sound was ever fatiguing - I enjoyed the sound and its much more detailed than my McIntosh gear. 
Although I didn’t own the Nova V, I had the pleasure of owning Olympica 3s last year. I agree with ghdprentice that they are a superb match with ARC. Another contender is Luxman 590AXII. It has the sweet class A sound but enough juice to drive the hell out of those woofers. 
Perhaps I should explain my use if the word harsh in conjunction with the Moon. I chose the wrong word… I just should have said analytical / details highlighted. It was not fatiguing at all. Fatigue is caused by copious quantities of distortion and noise. I am talking about very high end gear here… so the degree is small. The sound was very detailed but a touch analytical in the upper reaches, with good space in the soundstage between images. The overall impression of each sound is natural, but less so on the edges and particularly to me when taken together. I found the treble to not be as pure and sweet as the real thing and definitely a bit forward. This to me is a bit hard (better word than harsh)… I am very sensitive to this. The leanness in the midrange did not help offset this. This was complemented by a similar leanness in the Pass. But these are the things that can be seen as small but add up to the overall gestalt of a system.

So while the differences in details can be small the overall result can be large and easily discernible. I can tell a Mac system within a few seconds… lack of detail, good midrange and a preponderance of bass. An Audio Research system, highly detailed, well defined and articulated bass, rich midrange boom… details not glaring. By process of elimination (if I knew there were these three systems as a possibility) I could within 30 seconds determine which was the Sim system… highly detailed, balanced across the spectrum, natural sounding, quiet background, but with details highlighted a bit. The Sim would be a bit harder to pick out as it sounds a bit like a number of good high end solid state manufacturers. 

All of these companies produce outstanding products. Each with there own character. The important thing is to match your own tastes to the appropriate company.
@ghdprentice Very helpful comments - thank you.

@arafiq I appreciate your suggestion.