Thoughts on my Sim Moon 260D CD player
My first 'hi-end' CD player was a CAL Icon which later was upgraded to a Power Boss HDCD player. Bought the Icon in 1990 and serious considered an Adcom as a rival. Mind you I was coming from a first gen Technics CD spinner. The CAL was miles better and very dynamic. But one thing that still bugged me was that female vocals were not quite right. By 2000 I had the chance to buy a Meridian 508.24 which is its day was very highly regarded. Playing discs on the 508.24 was a revelation as it was the first cd plater which made musical sense. What i mean is that it took complex passages presenting it in cleanly and not smeared. This machine brought real sense to CD playback and presented vocals stunningly. Stereophile gushed and gave it an A rating, but the machine had an Achilles heal. The low end was lean, tight but lacked dynamics contrasts, whether in a micro or macro sense. I guess as ultra clean as the Meridian was (and without being bright) , I needed, for my tastes, something that had more visceral impact. I tried numerous cables but remained less than thrilled. I became intrigued by the Rega Apollo, and thought it brought back the dynamics impact in my system, not quite the refinement of the Meridian, but damned, it was more fun to listen to. But something was still not quite right. Sold the Rega, with nothing exactly in my sights. I considered using a laptop and a USB dac. also started to listen to cd players. I was shocked how good a current $500 cd plater from NAD could me. I also listened to two Sim Moon Audio cd players- a 650D and a 260D. Heard the 260D first through Sim electronics and B&W speakers. My impression was wow- great sound. I then tried the 650D using same electronics and speakers. Clearly the 2 are cut from the same cloth, with the 650 being a little cleaner, a little more dynamic, and a little more palpable. These were hardly night and day differences, but at best the 650 offered subjectively 5-10%improvement (and this disregards the 650's added flexibility to be a full fledged DAC)! Clearly diminishing marginal returns from a purely sonic perspective.. What this little demo did was to show me the state of digital, circa, 20012, and if money were no object, the 650 was a great choice but if you are not dropping a million a month on entertainment, then the 260d is An overwhelmingly great choice, assuming you like the Sim sound, which I found I do. So here I am with my 260D. Dynamics of the CAL? Check. Midrange purity of the meridian? Chech Glarec free high end.? Chech. Polished enough to portray musically complex music without confusion? Check. Adequate soundstage depth, width and height? Check - but there are better. Throw into the mix it's price- less than half of what my 508.24 cost. This CDP has gotten precious little press, but that's OK. It has fabulously passed the most important review I know of - mine! The only non-bone stock issue is a- I use a Pangea power cord and b- changed from a Rega Couple to an Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Over ICs for the CDP. Unless I come into some fabulous amount of change I see the 260d as a long term keeper. It in fact is everything I could want in how a CDP should sound. . But is does everything so right my quibbles are de minimus. As I see it now this should be my last CDP.