Simaudio I7 vs P5.3/W5.3

Hi has any one tried the i7 against the P5.3/W5.3 separates. I think the i7 is rated 150W as is the W5.3.

Also has anyone tried the new W5.3 against the old W5 (pre 2007 model), as I can get the old one quite a bit cheaper ex-demo.

Also if you know of any other brands in that price range and how it would compare to say the Sim W5 or W5.3

Thanks and much appreciated
I used to have a P-5 pre and switched to the 5.3 pre which was sonically better than the P-5. I used both pre's with a W-5 amp, which I still have but now mated with a Evolution P-7 pre.

I had read somewhere, I beleive where Simaudio said the sound of the new W5.3 is better than the W-5 amp it replaced.Given my experience between both the P-5 pre and the P-5.3, I would beleive the same holds true for the new W5.3 amp. The W-5 is still an excellent amp and sounds excellent. Class A stereophile every year while in production with $$ signs beside it meaning it provided performance way beyond it's price point.
Thanks - I have a Simaudio I3RS Integrated that is 100W into 8/170W into 4ohms. My speakers are PSB Synchrony Twos (maybe moving up to Ones) that dip below 3 ohms in the bass. My I3RS handles the bass exceptionally well considering this.

So I am thinking using the I3RS as the pre-amp, buy the W5 (depends on an ex-demo discount I get), then eventually buy a P5.3 maybe.
I think that is a great idea of getting the W-5 and the 5.3 pre. They do sound great together.Make sure you get the 190 watt W-5 with the square emblem on the front with the word moon.

The older W-5 has an oval emblem which says celeste on it and is 175 watts. There were many other improvements other than wattage on the newer 190 watt model.
I've got the i7 and first auditioned the P5.3 pre/power whilst waiting for the i7 to arrive at the dealers. Not much in it, but the P5.3 definitely had more control with greater dynamic headroom. Very similar overall sound though and if you are working to a budget or like the simplicity of an integrated the i7 does most of what the pre/power 5.3 does.
You may not be happy with the results of using the I3 for a preamp with the W5 amp. In the past I tried for a short time using the pre out of an I5 with a w5 amp. The soundstage was virtually nonexistent. The W5 is a wonderful amp. Anything less than a dedicated preamp may very well lead to disappointing results.
I second Valinar's comments. I've used the I5 as an integrated, and then bypassed its internal pre so that it was used as an amp-only. The improvements were dramatic.

I've read other post(s) in the past from users who have been disappointed with the I5's pre section compared to stand-alone pre-amps.

I say this meaning no disrespect to the I5, which I enjoyed greatly for several years.
Do any W5/W5.3 users find the poweramp bass heavy at all?

Niravp -

You mention that you bypassed the internal pre of the 5.3. How did you do that? Did you use the input that bypasses the stage gain (A4)?

I own a 5.3, and I'd be curious to use it as an amp, with a separate pre, just for fun .


Hi Patrick,

Yes I bypassed the gain stage using the A4 input. I used an Aesthetix Calypso to bypass the Sim's pre - it was a pretty huge improvement (though I suppose that it should be, for the price difference).

Thanks for the info, Nirav! I'll try something similar soon.

I too will mention the calypso but will go further and say that my w-5 never sounded this good. If it was me I would get the w-5 and a calypso preamp it's that good, I think I am done searching for a very long time. I also would like to add if you have an analog rig go for the JLTI phono stage it synergizes with the calypso very well too.
Where I live the market is very limited, so no niche products like Calypso here!!

Interestingly Simaudio emailed me this about the W5 and W5.3

"P-5 and W-5 was the top of the line, a few years ago.
If we can compare P-5 and P-5.3 (sonically speaking) we cannot compare W-5 and W-5.3. The W-3 will be more as the W-5.3. The W-5 is a fully dual mono power amplifier; both part are separate, from the power supply -you can see on my picture 2 huge transformers- to the output. The W-5.3 is a stereo power amplifier with the power supply sheared by both channel."

as well as "I never said P-5 is better than P-5.3 or W-5 is better than W-5.3, but the power supply inside the W-5 is more sophisticated."

Although I found a forum message posted by a Simaudio person a few years ago saying this:
"With the exception of the W-5/10 (and the W-5 LE), none of the past Classic Series models was ever dual-mono in terms of power supply design. Assuming you are speaking of the W-5 (which was our most popular amplifier at the time), you do not know enough about the new W5.3 to make such a statement as "cheaper build". Furthermore, the W5.3 is considerably less expensive, therefore negating what you said that we "did not drop the price". In addition, the W5.3 is less expensive because the power has been reduced to 150Wrms/ch. With one very large transformer containing separate windings for each channel, it actually has the ability to operate more efficiently into difficult loads than the W-5 when amplifying music, because each channel can draw more than its share of current when needed - unlike the W-5 which could not. Finally, the W5.3 has all of the W-5 LE's circuit updates and tweaks, making it sound more refined and musical than the W-5. At a price of $5300 (compared to $6900 and $7800 for the old W-5 and the W-5 LE respectively), the W5.3 is, in our opinion, the better deal. "
They strongly recommend I try the 600i before going down the pre/power path...anyone had a listen yet?