Written by Doug Schneider Doug Schneider
Parent Category: BloggingOnAudio BloggingOnAudio
Created: 31 May 2013 31 May 2013
I make it a point to visit as many companies as I can to see what's brand new, and to report it to our readers whenever I can. So on Thursday, May 30, I drove to the east side of Montreal, Canada, to a place called Boucherville, in order to visit Simaudio's factory. It was there that I met with Simaudio's VP of marketing, Lionel Goodfield, who guided me through the assembly area where they were making their new Moon Neo-series products.
The Moon Neo series debuted at High End 2013 in Munich earlier this month. The line comprises two power amplifiers (400M mono and 330A stereo), one preamplifier (350P), three integrated amplifiers (340i, 250i, and 220i), and one DAC (380D). Style-wise, the Moon Neos take some cues from Simaudio's top-of-the-line Evolution series; most notable are the "cheeks" on the faceplates. Moon Neo also incorporates some technology that's trickled down from Evolution, and even uses some of the same parts.
The base prices for the 340i and 250i in the United States are $4600 and $2400, respectively, while the 350P preamplifier starts at $3650 (the 220i's price is TBA). The 400M (you need two for stereo) is priced at $4300, as is the 330A. The 380D DAC is $4350. Depending on the model, options are available, which will increase the prices.
Those prices put the Neo products squarely in the middle ground of high-end hi-fi -- not budget territory, but certainly not priced to the extreme the way some items are today. When I asked Lionel whom the intended market for them is, he said serious enthusiasts who want great sound, ease of use, high quality, and an exceptional warranty (ten years!). Given the current state of the audio market, which has seen its share of ups and downs over the last few years, Moon Neo seems a wise move, both for the company and for serious audiophiles wanting performance and value.
The photo gallery below shows the making of some of the Neo products on the day I was there.
Publisher, The SoundStage! Network
The entryway to Simaudio's main manufacturing area
Simaudio's onsite machine shop
"Raw" amplifier heatsinks
The first stage of assembly
Faceplates for the 340i integrated amplifier
Faceplates with the controller board and volume circuit mounted
Black-anodized volume knobs ready for mounting
Inserting pushbuttons into a 340i faceplate
A 340i awaiting the next stage of assembly
Mounting a 340i's rear panel to the heatsinks
A 350P preamp awaits testing
Testing, testing, and more testing!
250i integrated amps being burned in (for up to three days!) to weed out premature parts failure
250i integrated amps after all quality-control tests waiting for final preparation