RMAF 2015: To the MOON with Simaudio, AudioQuest, Bowers and Wilkins


rmaf-2015-200x200I must have been 30 when I first ran across B&W’s 800 Series loudspeakers. It was at a beach house, of all things. A rental. My new father-in-law had invited all the kids/spouses/grand-kids to the Outer Banks. The house was this oceanfront monster, with a dozen bedrooms and an elevator (for handicapped use). He wasn’t in great health and this turned out to be his last hurrah, so he went a little bananas on the whole thing. It was a blast.

I remember that, in the middle of the house, there was a “listening room”. At the beach! There were detailed instructions on how to turn on this or that, and in what order. Simaudio gear was in the rack. The speakers were 800 Series from Bowers & Wilkins.

I have no idea what I played on that system that week. Not much, probably, because it was family and I was at the beach. But play in there I did. It was the first time I’d ever had free rein over an audio system more expensive than the car I drove — more expensive than anyone in the family drove.

It was glorious.

So, finding the Simaudio gear here, with the B&W 802 Diamond ($15,000/pair, but have been updated recently) all a-gloss in piano-black, was a bit of déjà vu for me. Of course, all of this gear was far newer than the (forgotten) models at OBX, but no matter.

What was here? Well, lemme tell you. Everywhere? Audioquest cabling. I also found the Moon Evolution Series 780D Streaming DSD DAC ($15,000) network player. The 780D can handle up to quad-rate DSD and 32-bit / 384kHz PCM formats, and can also stream Tidal HiFi directly (score!). The unit features nine (!) digital inputs include USB (hi-res audio), AES/EBU, SPDIF, Optical, aptX Bluetooth®, Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Also on the rack, the Moon Evolution 700i 175wpc integrated amplifier ($14,000).

New technologies include (i) the M-eVOL2 volume control, with a phenomenal 530 steps, allowing for an extremely precise level adjustment just like the MOON 850P Preamplifier; (ii) MOON output transistors, specifically designed for use in our amplifiers, provide tighter and more visceral bass performance, as well as unprecedented linearity thoughout the entire frequency spectrum; (iii) An input stage circuit which reduces noise, preserving image focus and integrity like never before.

Of course, key features you’d expect in a MOON Evolution Series product are present such as our “no overall feedback” amplification circuitry, SimLink™ and M-Lock, just to name a few, as well as both RS-232 and IR ports for custom-install environments.

The sound here was full-bore audiophile — power & grace, tone & detail. I’ve always felt that the big 800 series speakers need some real muscle to move them around, and when given that, you’re in for it. This was a great pairing in 2000. In 2015, things have only gotten bigger and ballsier.

On the way in/out, I passed by a small headphone-based listening station, featuring the new 230HAD headphone amplifier, wired up with some AudioQuest Nighthawk headphones. The sound? Pow! Talk about grip — enough so that when I found Simaudio’s Lionel Goodfield after the show, I was very happy to ask for the big guy, the new 430HA … “just to see what’s what”. Ha! That’s gonna be a hoot.

My favorite thing about Simaudio? After all these years, these guys are still making chunky, dead-sexy audio toys. This stuff is instantly recognizable. That tall, LED display that even us don’t-need-no-stinkin’-glasses types can easily read is like coming home.

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About Scot Hull 1062 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.

1 Comment

  1. I was probaly in my late teens or early 20s whenn I heard my first B&W 800s at the NYAS. My mind was blown! I knew that one day I would own a pair or 2. The big Nautilus almost made me walk away from the hobby because I had a hunch I would never be able to afford them.
    I’m loving my 804s though!

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