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Simaudio Moon High End Audiophile Amplifiers and Sound

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Old 02-28-2018, 03:14 PM
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jdandy jdandy is offline
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Default Simaudio MOON Neo 260D Transport Review




Ding dong the CD’s dead, or so goes the incessant chant of the magazine pundits who need to fill their pages with endless dribble about one prediction after another. Those magazine pages need to be filled with something. The fact is CD sales have been declining for years as high-res downloads and CD quality streaming entered the audio scene, but by no means are CD sales dead, nor are there any shortages of CD players and CD transports being introduced by respected audio manufacturers. I guess they must have missed the memo that CD’s died. One such respected audio manufacture, Simaudio in Quebec, Canada, isn’t influenced by the CD naysayers. They continue to offer the MOON Neo 260D Transport/DAC for those compact disc connoisseurs who reject the media’s herd mentality, and continue to embrace the impressive audio performance delivered by compact discs.

Simaudio’s MOON Neo 260D can be purchased in two forms, as a transport only ($2000) and as a transport/DAC ($3000) with the optional factory installed 32Bit DAC. Since my choice is to use an external DAC, I purchased the MOON Neo 260D transport only version. It is a robust CD transport with an oversized power supply that provides 13 stages of voltage regulation, five of which are dedicated to the transport. For an owner who may wish to add the DAC at a later date the MOON Neo 260D can be factory retrofitted with the DAC. The proprietary CD transport hardware and software are developed in-house. The CD drive is mounted on Simaudio’s M-Quattro gel-based 4-point floating suspension for vibration damping. This is said to allow ambient and spatial cues in recordings to come to life like never before. The 260D provides two SPDIF digital outputs, coaxial and AES/EBU balanced. With over 30 years of experience manufacturing audio components, Simaudio’s know-how is clearly represented in the MOON Neo 260D.

It is suggested in the 260D owner’s manual that performance will improve through 400 hours of break-in required for the numerous high quality electronic parts. I have played one CD after another continuously since unpacking the 260D transport, and when not listening to the transport I engaged the Repeat feature that allows uninterrupted playback until manually stopped. The MOON Neo 260D now has 414 hours of break-in completed. In addition, I changed the digital cable from a Wireworld Silver Starlight coaxial interconnect to a Wireworld Gold AES/EBU digital interconnect at 129 hours of break-in, so the AES/EBU cable now has 285 hours of break-in on it as well. From day one the Neo 260D has been powered with a two meter Wireworld Silver Electra power cable.

The MOON Neo 260D transport is feeding a digital stream to a Schiit Audio Yggdrasil DAC. The Yggdrasil has 1471 hours logged on it. From the very first CD I played on the 260D I have remained very impressed with the musical quality this combination delivers. In fact, once past 100 hours of break-in on the 260D I was unable to detect any difference in the playback performance versus the initial hours. The 260D transport performs disc spinning tasks and digital signal delivery invisibly. Its disc tray functions are silky smooth, gliding in and out in near silence. The various control buttons, all of which are duplicated on the slim remote control, have excellent tactile feel and immediate response. The red LED display is striking and the digits are large enough to read from across the room. Should you choose, the display can be turned off, but will momentarily illuminate to show command changes, then returns to display off. The transport allows for a single repeat of the CD or continuous repeat, as well as programmed playback. The layout of the MOON Neo 260D transport controls is intuitive and takes no more than a few minutes to become second nature.

Listening to the 260D transport through the Yggdrasil DAC is pure joy. There is nothing about the playback quality from the transport that makes it readily identifiable from the Aurender N100H music server. In fact, the Gen5 USB input on the latest Yggdrasil DAC is so transparent it duplicates the same high degree of musicality as a CD playing in the 260D transport. I made direct comparisons of several CD’s against their FLAC file versions on the N100H and discovered both to be extremely close in sonic integrity, although on occasion CD playback from the 260D did manage a slightly more convincing sound stage, but for the most part the Aurender N100H music server and the MOON Neo 260D transport remained kissing cousins on one recording after another.

Some may question the need for a transport when a high-end music server is part of a sound system. I can understand the quizzical interest, but in my situation a transport provides one more useful source component that allows me to spin CD’s at will without having to first rip them on a computer, then drag and drop them on the server’s hard drive before being able to enjoy the recording. I have friends who visit and often bring a handful of CD’s they want to hear on my systems. Without a transport I would not be able to accommodate that request. In addition, sometimes I just feel like spinning CD’s, kind of like how I enjoy the ritual of playing LP’s. Handling the CD case, reading the CD booklet, placing the CD in the transport, and controlling it via the remote are all part of the fun. Some may see a transport in my sound system as redundant, but in the end I am the only one who has to be satisfied with the build and capabilities of my sound system, so I say to each their own.

I have not discovered a single thing about the Simaudio MOON Neo 260D transport that doesn’t please me. It is well constructed, simple and intuitive to operate, and performs its tasks silently. Playback quality is superb, although the DAC in use will always impact the final audible results. The combination of the MOON Neo 260D transport, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil DAC, and Wireworld Gold Starlight AES/EBU digital interconnect make for a formidable digital playback package that comes in under $5K. That is an incredibly attractive price point for a level of digital performance that easily stands toe to toe with competitors costing three times that price or more. I would not hesitate to recommend the Simaudio MOON Neo 260D transport to anyone looking to add CD playback to their DAC. If that DAC is the new Yggdrasil, all the better. This component combination provides consistently amazing digital performance.


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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 03-01-2018 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:54 PM
PHC1 PHC1 is offline
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Dan, I am saving your review for this evening when I can sit down and read it carefully. Thanks and looking forward to savoring the detailed review.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:50 PM
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jdandy jdandy is offline
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Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
Dan, I am saving your review for this evening when I can sit down and read it carefully. Thanks and looking forward to savoring the detailed review.
Serge.......If memory serves me right, you already have the Simaudio MOON Neo 260D transport. You are only waiting for the Yggdrasil DAC to put the 260D into service. I think you will be impressed with this combination. I certainly am.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:53 PM
PHC1 PHC1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Serge.......If memory serves me right, you already have the Simaudio MOON Neo 260D transport. You are only waiting for the Yggdrasil DAC to put the 260D into service. I think you will be impressed with this combination. I certainly am.
Yes, have not heard a peep out of it yet. The Oppo which by the way is doing a very fine job of spinning my SACDs as we speak, does not offer a digital in. Once the Yggy arrives, the transport will be tested and evaluated but based on your feedback, I have nothing to worry about but which CD to spin next.
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:46 AM
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Dan, excellent review!!

I've heard a couple of Moon products so far.
I've always been surprised by their excellent build quality and very good price/performance ratio.
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bart View Post
Dan, excellent review!!



I've heard a couple of Moon products so far.

I've always been surprised by their excellent build quality and very good price/performance ratio.


Bart... why surprised? [emoji2]
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:35 AM
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jdandy jdandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bart View Post
Dan, excellent review!!

I've heard a couple of Moon products so far.
I've always been surprised by their excellent build quality and very good price/performance ratio.
Bart.......Thank you. MOON by Simaudio has a well stocked catalog of attractive audio components. The MOON Neo 260D transport/DAC is not their only disc player. The MOON 650D digital to analog converter is their top level CD player/DAC. Since I only need a transport, the MOON Neo 260D transport fit my needs perfectly.

For your interest, here are the current MOON product offerings.

http://www.simaudio.com/products/0-.html
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 06-07-2018 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:33 PM
cleeds cleeds is offline
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Great review, Dan. I think Moon makes some great products and I've been very pleased with my Moon headphone amp.

I also agree that having a good disc spinner is important. The CD is far from dead, but of course that's an opinion from guys who still keep a good FM tuner in our systems!
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:45 PM
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jdandy jdandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleeds View Post
Great review, Dan. I think Moon makes some great products and I've been very pleased with my Moon headphone amp.

I also agree that having a good disc spinner is important. The CD is far from dead, but of course that's an opinion from guys who still keep a good FM tuner in our systems!
Curtis.......Yes, that's right. Us CD spinners and FM tuner listeners are a special breed of audio enthusiast. Long live both. .
__________________
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 03-01-2018 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:49 PM
PHC1 PHC1 is offline
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Dan, I think the transport is actually called 260 with the "260D" moniker being the transport with the added DAC module. Pretty sure I read that somewhere recently and just thought I'd mention it for clarification.
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