About 6 months ago Michael Fremer reviewed the 650D in Stereophile and apparently preferred it to his Playback Designs player. Yet the 650D is placed in the B category in Stereophile's most recent rankings, while the Playback Designs is in the A listings. Very strange....has anyone heard the 650D and compared it to some of the elite players?
I haven't but there's a recent review at soundstage hifi, take a look: http://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=382:simaudio-moon-evolution-650d-dac-transport&catid=55:full-length-reviews&Itemid=4
I have a 650D but didn't do a lot of comparisons with other high end players. Compared to my previous Marantz 11s1 player, which was very good, the 650D retains the warmth and musicality of the Marantz but is significantly more detailed and revealing at the same time. The 650D sound is really magical in that it somehow gives you the best of both worlds in terms of detail and musicality, rather than sacrificing a little bit of one to get a bit more of the other. Great recordings sound great but poor recordings remain enjoyable as the 650D adds no grain or harshness to the high frequencies (conversely, it sweetens the high frequencies a little without sacrificing any extension or air). Some reviewers describe it as having an "analogue" sound. I think it's the distinct lack of digital grain and glare that gives this impression - the sound is smooth and natural like analogue but does retain the high frequency extension of digital.
I tried the 750D briefly as well. It is even more detailed, leaning a little more towards the "ruthlessly revealing" category. Great recordings sound FANTASTIC but poor recordings sound like poor recordings. It is not a night and day difference from the 650D but there is a difference and I think a lot of listeners would prefer the sound of one over the other based on personal taste and their music library moreso than an outright preference for the more expensive 750D. In fact, in one of the articles the reviewer mentions that Simaudio told him they purposefully "tuned" the 650D to sound more analogue-like than the 750D so they could cater to different tastes with the two models.
Maybe Stereophile felt that they couldn't put both the 650D and 750D in Class A for some reason and that's why the 650D is in Class B? I can't see it having anything to do with performance - it is a top notch player and dac.
Camb, Stereophile has not reviewed the 750D....it's not in the rankings at all. I actually erred in that the 650D is in the A Class, while the Playback is A+ which still doesn't make sense according to Fremer's review, unless the lack of SACD capability of the former is the culprit. I noticed that the Sony 5400 SACD player as stock is ranked A+.....does this mean the Modwright version would be AAA+++??? I tried out the 750D at home and found it a little over-the-top, kinda hi-fi sounding.
Yeah, the 750D is very "analytical" and almost hyper detailed. The 650D is much smoother and "analogue sounding", as Fremer found and mentioned in his review.
I'm curious to see how much the addition of outboard power supplies for the 650D and750D (to be offered by Simaudio soon, I believe) will improve the sound of these units. I'm sure Stereophile will do a follow up review at that point.
Thea 650D does handle high resolution files. Initially its USB input didn't handle high res files but it now does and older units can have the USB updated to the high res version. All other inputs have always handled high res files.
Notice that all players on category A+ have SACD capability.
Also see the editor's note, just before the A+ equipment list: "SACD and DVD-A player ratings are based on how they sound sound with their respective hi-res media, not CD." I believe this explains why they are all listed ahead of the 650D and some other fine players on category A.
Has any one compared the 650D with dCS Debussy? Besides the differences in features (which I am well awere), I am interested on how they compare sonically. Heard both at a dealer demo system (all Simaudio top of the line gear), but have no chance to do it at home (McIntosh pre-power).
The Debussy and 650D were very close performers, with a slight edge to the 650D, being it a tad more dynamic and more engaging.
Both were very detailed with no digital glare, at least to my ears. Bass performance was quite good on both. With hi-res material the 650D excelled with fantastic sound stage. The Debussy again was very close but with a presentation somehow more distant.
Need to consider the context though: A full Simaudio system might have favored the 650D. The 650D served as a transport to the Debussy during this audition. Speakers were the Raidhos 1.1.
That is why I would like to know other opinions about this comparison on systems other than full Siamaudio gear.
I am also considering the dCS reputation for firmware upgrades, including the already announced capability for DSD over USB (soon to be available on the Debussy).
Thanks Llcan. If the dealer was comparing cd playback on the 650D to the digital input of the Debussy then for sure that's not "apples to apples". I've found different digital coax cables to influence the sound so the cable between the 650D and Debussy would have been a factor in your evaluation of the Debussy. Too bad you couldn't have compared them both solely as DACs with some sort of computer audio serving as your source...
Simaudio will say that the greatest sonic potential of the 650D is as a stand alone dac for a quality computer hard drive source but it's taken me a lot of trial and error to get the sound from my Sooloos MC200/Simaudio 650D combination to equal and surpass the sound of just using the 650D as a traditional CD player!
I have heard the 650D and thought it was one sweet machine. Forget about Stereophile ratings- they are meaningless. Everything gets recommended and are distinguished between different classes based on price. Trust your ears! FWIW, I also think Sim's lower priced digital gear is also tops. In the old days if something wasn't so good, Stereophile just said so. Now you have to read between the lines.
Stereophile and the other mags. have always been that way. One has to hear the gear with their own ears. Just go to any trade show and compare notes to what they say and to what you hear. If you do, you probably will not read another mag. again.
FYI, in doing some experimenting I've found that there may be a bit of an issue when feeding the 650D with a Sooloos.
I've got a Sooloos MC200 and have been struggling since I bought it to try and recreate the (fantastic) sound I get out of the 650D's CD player from the Sooloos. No success. It sounds very good but it has always lacked some of the "body" I hear when playing CDs through the 650D. Finally went into a dealer to compare the 650D to Sooloos' Media Source 600 dac and we both realized that the Sooloos MC200/Simaudio 650D combo has a mid/upper bass frequency dip that robs the music of some warmth.
I tried feeding the 650D's S/PDIF coax input from an Arcam CD player to see if there may be a problem with my 650D's input. The sound was perfect - pretty much identical to the 650D's internal transport.
I know the Stereophile review says the 650D sounds pretty much identical across all of it's inputs, including the CD. This may be true for some sources, but NOT for the Sooloos. I'm kind of surprised that this issue wasn't reported on in the Stereophile review as I believe Sooloos was listed as a source used for the review.
If you have a Sooloos and are looking to purchase the 650D (or vice versa), I suggest you try them out together to see if the sound is what you're hoping for. Don't get me wrong, it's still very good sound but it is not as good as some other digital sources or the 650D's CD player.
CAVEAT - my 650D does not have the updated high resolution asynchronous USB board. Simaudio mentioned the new board leads to some minor improvements across the non-USB inputs, so maybe Sooloos will work better with the newer board? (the Stereophile review was a unit with the original board that is the same as in my unit, though...)
I compared the S/PDIF output of a Sooloos Ensemble with the MC200 into my Simaudio 650D dac yesterday. I got the best results with the Ensemble, which was basically on par with, if not a little better than, CD play through the 650D. Wondering why that might be - you would think that since Meridian took over the company and started to integrate their digital technology the sound would improve. Maybe the Meridian gear is designed to work best with other Meridian gear to the detriment of the sound through non-Meridian gear?