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Article: MOON by Simaudio Neo 380D DSD Review

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Looking at the rear panel photo made me dizzy, is Simaudio trying too hard? Makes me long for the simplicity of something like the Ayre QB-9!

 

In the list of music auditioned you have links to files and include the bit rates, is this the resolution you auditioned at? It is reported that DAC's can have a sweet spot, did you find anything listening to higher resolution PCM or DSD?

 

I have a Simaudio phono preamp for those rare times when I play vinyl and can attest to the quality of their products, it is a nice piece.


Jim

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Pretty unit, as usual for this company. Their stuff is always just a bit out of my price/comfort level, but always beautiful, great sounding stuff.

 

Nice DAC. Now if they converted the fixed outputs to an input for a phono stage, you could replace a lot of my system. Plug the ethernet in, put a digital input from the DVD player, and Cable box, input from the phone, and get the volume control.

 

Thanks for the review. I have one more DAC to build, then I will decide if I want to dump my DIY and get a commercial DAC like this one.


[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > McIntosh MC60 > Zu Druid V + Undertone (BHSE + Voce)

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > K&K Audio Phono Amp (Zu DL-103/Benz Glider-SL/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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Would have been nice to hear a comparison of the internal renderer connected via wired Ethernet, VS USB using the same server computer. In the sonic impressions section, I don't even know which input was used, from which server, or what kind of cables ETC.

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What do the C.A.S.H. list DACs offer that the 380D DSD does not?


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Lumin X1, Furutech Reference III XLR, Marantz SC-7S2, 2x Marantz MA-9S2, MIT Magnum 1.3 Bi-Wire, Tannoy Kensington SE. MasterBuilt and Triode Wire Labs power cords.

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What do the C.A.S.H. list DACs offer that the 380D DSD does not?

 

The C.A.S.H list needs some serious work, editing, pruning, archiving. There is a portion that is just not particularly relevant any more due mostly to age. Heck, even Stereophile takes items off their Recommended Components list due to not auditioning the equipment recently or the equipment having been updated or replaced.

 

Is it me or are the equipment reviews becoming more general with a lack of detail, not as in depth they used to be.


Jim

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Let's all chill a bit here and give Chris a break. He is only one person and this is not a magazine with a staff and all the other resources a full fledged magazine would have.

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Guys, I suspect you have here an excellent DAC that functions well whether the incoming stream is ethernet, SPDIF, or USB. I wouldn't be surprised if jitter is no different between whatever input Chris uses and the noise floor bests any human hearing.

 

To expect him to be able to discern the different inputs would be unreasonable since ultimately the DAC circuitry is the same. And I bet to differentiate the small differences between inputs would require objective measurements.

 

Seriously guys, there is only so much a subjective reviewer can say about something as complex and (I bet) high quality as this device (based on previous experience with Simaudio equipment). To expect more is IMO unfair to Chris (or any subjective reviewer).

 

My feeling is that high quality equipment these days sound remarkably accurate. What's more important from a subjective perspective is to grasp the gestalt of the device's sound rather than nit-pick slight differences that will be unlikely of any benefit when it comes to the ability to enjoy the music. Usability, completeness of features (for the intended purpose), reliability, difficulty in setup, ergonomic quirks, esthetic appeal are probably much more important areas that a subjective reviewer can comment on...


Archimago's Musings... A "more objective" audiophile blog.

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Guys, I suspect you have here an excellent DAC that functions well whether the incoming stream is ethernet, SPDIF, or USB. I wouldn't be surprised if jitter is no different between whatever input Chris uses and the noise floor bests any human hearing.

 

To expect him to be able to discern the different inputs would be unreasonable since ultimately the DAC circuitry is the same. And I bet to differentiate the small differences between inputs would require objective measurements.

 

Seriously guys, there is only so much a subjective reviewer can say about something as complex and (I bet) high quality as this device (based on previous experience with Simaudio equipment). To expect more is IMO unfair to Chris (or any subjective reviewer).

 

My feeling is that high quality equipment these days sound remarkably accurate. What's more important from a subjective perspective is to grasp the gestalt of the device's sound rather than nit-pick slight differences that will be unlikely of any benefit when it comes to the ability to enjoy the music. Usability, completeness of features (for the intended purpose), reliability, difficulty in setup, ergonomic quirks, esthetic appeal are probably much more important areas that a subjective reviewer can comment on...

 

There can actually be huge differences in sound between the different interfaces. The Ethernet renderer option is an expensive add on. So I don't think it's unreasonable to be curious of how it sounds vs the USB interface.

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Chris

 

How would you compare/rate the sound of the Simaudio to the Naim you recently reviewed, whose price is about the same without the power supply?

 

Thanks

Scott

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Guys, I suspect you have here an excellent DAC that functions well whether the incoming stream is ethernet, SPDIF, or USB. I wouldn't be surprised if jitter is no different between whatever input Chris uses and the noise floor bests any human hearing.

 

To expect him to be able to discern the different inputs would be unreasonable since ultimately the DAC circuitry is the same. And I bet to differentiate the small differences between inputs would require objective measurements.

 

Seriously guys, there is only so much a subjective reviewer can say about something as complex and (I bet) high quality as this device (based on previous experience with Simaudio equipment). To expect more is IMO unfair to Chris (or any subjective reviewer).

 

My feeling is that high quality equipment these days sound remarkably accurate. What's more important from a subjective perspective is to grasp the gestalt of the device's sound rather than nit-pick slight differences that will be unlikely of any benefit when it comes to the ability to enjoy the music. Usability, completeness of features (for the intended purpose), reliability, difficulty in setup, ergonomic quirks, esthetic appeal are probably much more important areas that a subjective reviewer can comment on...

I couldn't agree more apart from the resolution limitations of Spif usb is good enough to gauge the performance a dac. So long as the cable is short I don't think a reviewer needs to do any more. I think it is more important to if the sources sonic performance still holds true through various speakers and amp combos

Edited by garyfrancis100
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The 380 is now on the CASH List :~)

 

How would you compare its performance as a streaming platform to the Naim? With integration to Spotify, internet radio, etc., it seems that Naim is a bit ahead of Simaudio on Internet-based services. Or am I misunderstanding?

 

Thanks

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How would you compare its performance as a streaming platform to the Naim? With integration to Spotify, internet radio, etc., it seems that Naim is a bit ahead of Simaudio on Internet-based services. Or am I misunderstanding?

 

Thanks

Hi shp - I just received a beta version of the Moon iOS app. It has TIDAL integrated now for lossless streaming.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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The 380 is now on the CASH List :~)

Chris ... can I make a suggestion as a way to change the CASH list around and make something more useful (at least more useful to me).

 

Instead of a CASH list, have a list of ALL your reviews you have published in categories (DACs, Speakers, Software, Etc). Then within that highlight those items that are given CASH status. In addition leave anything which is no longer available as many people are interested in second hand equipment.

 

In the past I've seen people ask about products you've reviewed, but the search engine never makes it easy to search for specific reviews (IME).


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Great review and it's nice to see a Simaudio product on these pages. I'm a very happy owner of a i3.3 amplifier and I feed its built-in DAC (v.2) with a stand-alone MiND unit. Great sound and functionality. What I really don't agree with though is that the new MiND app for iOS is superior to the last version. The truth is it has some very blatant issues, borderline bugs, that the last version did not have. In fact, the last version was just as stable and easy to use as the new one but had better functinality. I know Simaudio is working to fix it though.

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Any plans to review the new Simaudio 780D Chris? It's in the same price range as the Berkeley and EMM flagship products and I'd love to get your perspective on whether or not it performs up to snuff in a category with some really strong competition.

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Any plans to review the new Simaudio 780D Chris? It's in the same price range as the Berkeley and EMM flagship products and I'd love to get your perspective on whether or not it performs up to snuff in a category with some really strong competition.

Yes, I'll be reviewing it after CES.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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if one has a really good pe-amp (eg Simaudio Evolution P8), would it be advisable to pay extra for the volume control and go straight to the amp, or would the sound be just as good (or better) to go through the pre-amp? The Simaudio Simlink feature would still allow one to control the volume on the P8 through the MiND app, I believe.

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if one has a really good pe-amp (eg Simaudio Evolution P8), would it be advisable to pay extra for the volume control and go straight to the amp, or would the sound be just as good (or better) to go through the pre-amp? The Simaudio Simlink feature would still allow one to control the volume on the P8 through the MiND app, I believe.

 

Try to find a dealer who will allow you a home demo of the DAC with vol control.

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Would have been nice to hear a comparison of the internal renderer connected via wired Ethernet, VS USB using the same server computer. In the sonic impressions section, I don't even know which input was used, from which server, or what kind of cables ETC.

 

I am interested in this as well. I've heard the theory that you can get improved sonics by having the renderer inside the DAC and avoiding the S/PDIF or other external connections. True?

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I am interested in this as well. I've heard the theory that you can get improved sonics by having the renderer inside the DAC and avoiding the S/PDIF or other external connections. True?

 

I had a 280D on loan that included the MiND option (the MiND is standard on the 380D). The MiND was initially more transparent than my Aries, which was connected via an Audience Au24 SE cable plus a REGEN and a pair of Jitterbugs. That's about $1000 worth of products just to make USB sound great.

 

Swapping the solid adapter between REGEN and my DAC for a Curious Cable link allowed the Aries to match the MiND's transparency.

 

My takeaway was that there's definitely a BIG advantage to having the renderer inside the DAC as one needs to spend a lot to match the transparency with an external streamer.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Anaconda interconnect, MIT Oracle speaker cables, GIK bass traps

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My take is that it depends on the renderer and the DAC. For example, even for S/PDIF, it depends how much jitter the renderer produces in the signal and how good the DAC is at dealing with the jitter. Moreover, ground noise and RF noise can get through from S/PDIF into the DAC so once again, it depends on how much the renderer is producing and how much the DAC can deal with. My take is that most of the time, there's no free lunch so the more crap the DAC has to deal with, the more opportunities the sound will be compromised, no matter how good the DAC design. So best to have a good renderer. However, whether a renderer is internal or external, the issues are the same. What I've found is that some companies cheat (or just didn't care). So for DACs with built-in renderers, they still have a digital output but they did not put as much care on the output in terms of jitter, RF and ground noise so if you're to hook up an external DAC to the renderer/DAC, it won't sound as good as the internal DAC.


ultraRendu > Chord Blu Mk. 2 > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature + Sunfire TS-EQ10 subwoofers

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