Interesting and entertaining review. In other equipment, you mentioned the Plinius 8200. Did you own this amp and have a chance to audition with your JM Renaud's?
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I must say I am not in agreement with the review by Mgwatt. I own both the i3 and the i5. The i3 is merely the older ''budget'' Celeste line of Sim products with a new ''Moon'' faceplate. Parts quality and above all sound quality is nowhere near the i5, although the i5 itself is good - but not great - integrated. Anyone doing comparative listening with a Plinius 8200 will immediately notice the musical superiority of the Plinius, especially in the midband and above. For lower bass, sim is pretty well untouchable although it has a dryer, more synthetic low end, if you like your music that way. The i3 is a nice little integrated that is more in line with upper mid-fi such as Creek and Rega amps. But to compare the i-3 to naim, even the naim 5, is a non-issue. Too bad Sim feels the need to put a pretty face ( but it does look pretty!) on their economy design to make it pass for the upper I-5 class. I am not disappointed in my i-3 don't get me wrong, its a nice little integrated, but way overpriced for what it can do, as the i-5 is also overpriced.
I got the I-3 almost by accident. The dealer lent it to me, and I didn't have anthing else to do. I've had it about a week, and while i believe it is still breaking in, I agree that it is one of the finest amps I have heard. I had momentary thoughts about taking it back and getting the bigger brother, but this one is so darn good, I don't see the point.
I'm driving Aerial 6's in a 16x23 room that is open to an adjacent room, and i've also had Magnepans (1.6's and MMG) which i found as hard to drive as the 6's in this space. Prior to the Moon, Audio Research gear was the only thing that seemed to work. I had a Roksan Kandy that had the power, but ouch, the sound. Can the Aerials drain the little Moon? Sure, but at a point where i would rarely listen. I've also tried Linn, AVG, Jolida, and a Cary V-12 on these speakers. Actually the Underwood Jolida 502B wasn't bad.
I was about to trash everything and start over.
I'm currently using QED bi-wire and a consonnance 120 for the front end. (The moon remote also operates the consonance!).
I'm not really using very many tricks or kinks other than careful placement of the Aerials. This I-3 just sounds good. It keeps surprising me. I only have three problems with this amp. One is the goofy little rubber feet, but they must be the ticket. Two is that the remote is a little hard to operate. I find myself overshooting volume adjustments, etc. Three is that I really like upgrading. I love buying amplifiers especially. I really wanted to get back into tubes again. I want something more expensive! This amp has no right to sound this good. And now every time I think about getting something else, I just don't see the point.