SimAudio Moon Neo 340i X: Advanced feature-packed amplifier

SimAudio Moon Neo 340i X
SimAudio Moon Neo 340i X

The name of the line MOON (“moon”) has nothing to do with the natural satellite of our planet. This is an abbreviation, and it stands for this: the first letter is taken from the word “music”, the second is the Greek letter “omega”, symbolizing infinity, then comes the number 0, indicating the highest quality, and ends with the letter N – “note” (musical sign ). That’s it, no more, no less – a very serious application.

Advanced amplifiers of its own design once brought Simaudio worldwide fame in High End Audio. However, all the company’s attempts to “lower” the proprietary super sound into components accessible to poor audiophiles have so far looked either too timid or not very convincing. Maybe this model will change the balance of power?


Currently, Simaudio offers two initial integrated models: 240i and 250i. The first is a stripped-down version of the Moon Neo Ace network stereo receiver (savings achieved by removing the MiND streaming card). The second device is based on the same chassis, but the implementation is even simpler – it does not have a display and a digital-to-analog conversion section (it provides the possibility of control via the SimLink bus and integration into “smart homes”), but analog switching is more developed. All of the amplifiers listed use almost the same terminals, and the 250th is even assembled in a proprietary way – using selected bipolar transistors. However, the power performance of all initial models, including the Ace combo system, cannot be called outstanding. Well, what is 50 watts at 8 ohms? This amount is only enough for light floor-standing speakers with a sensitivity of 90 dB and above, but for ordinary “towers” ​​or for monitors with a response of less than 87 dB, at least twice as much is needed.


And just such an integrated circuit with a power of 100 and 200 watts (for a load of 8 and 4 Ohms, respectively) has been in the Simaudio amplifier line for a long time. This is the Moon Neo 340i, which has already collected more than a dozen awards from the specialized press and contains a lot of proprietary circuit chips. It was conceived ten years ago as a modular device that allows the installation of optional boards (MM/MS phono preamplifier, balanced input block, digital-to-analog converter, depending on the customer’s wishes). This explains why the price of the model varies from one dealer to another and sometimes looks quite high – “three hundred and forty” are on sale not only in three different types of finishes, but also with different equipment.


But if you focus on the basic Neo 340i X, where, as you can see, the only “goodies” are XLR inputs, then a high-quality and quite “high-end” Canadian amplifier with a pure analog linear path, microprocessor control and an LED matrix for indicating inputs, you You won’t get it for that much money.

This model is interesting in the following ways. One of the RCA inputs on the rear panel (namely A2) can be bypassed by the internal volume control, allowing the end section of the integrated circuit to be used in conjunction with a theater processor. In addition to the balanced input, the device also has a 3.5 mm jack for connecting to the front side of any portable device. Some will consider this an anachronism, because smartphone manufacturers have begun to abandon such a connector, but it will certainly serve the owners of a serious audiophile portable.


By the way, the USB-DAC board that is missing here is implemented on an excellent chip that can already be called a classic – the PCM1793 from Burr-Brown. And for vinyl lovers, we’ll add that the optional phonostage has excellent characteristics and allows for adjustment of the load parameters for different MM/MS heads. Overall, if you’re looking to build a minimalist yet advanced stereo setup, the Neo 340i X will allow you to do it without wasting money on separate components.


At the same time, I’ll briefly note the circuit features typical for top-end Simaudio amplifiers, which are also used here. So, the number of interstage capacitors in the path has been reduced to a minimum – this is already a traditional practice for Moon. Printed circuit boards and all wiring are made from high quality materials, and almost the entire element base is of audiophile grade. The power supply with a toroidal transformer is taken with sufficient power reserve and has low losses. In combination with a rather complex stabilization system, it ensures extremely low voltage sag even under the maximum rated current load.


Finally, the output transistors themselves are high-current bipolars of their “own” series (manufactured to special order, presumably from Motorola), selected according to their characteristics into matched pairs. By the way, the output stages in the Neo 340i X, as well as in the much more expensive integrated Moon 600i (an improved version 600i V2 is now being produced), also operate in pure class A at output powers of up to five watts.


A comparison of the RCA and XLR inputs on the amplifier showed that there are no differences when connected with cables of the same series (if you use the same source and reduce the differences in signal levels at its outputs to zero). Naturally, we attributed the different nature of the sound through the MP input (more boom in the bass, brightness in the mids and sharper highs) not to the amplifier, but to the cheaper cable that was used in the test. By the way, through the front input, even through a cheap adapter from the Neo 340i X smartphone, it gave a very audiophile presentation – open, intelligible, with an orderly and stable scene. In addition, with this connection, the “three hundred and fortieth” proved to be an excellent booster amplifier for headphones, giving an obvious gain in transparency and detail.


Features of the Moon NEO 340i amplifier:


Power supply with a large power reserve and a custom-made toroidal transformer
5 line inputs, including a front 1/8″ mini-jack for connecting media players
1/4″ headphone jack on the front panel
One of Audio inputs act as a ‘pass-through’, allowing you to bypass the gain stage and connect components such as a theater processor with its own volume control
Simaudio’s proprietary MOON Bipolar output transistors technology with exceptionally linear gain response for enhanced bass reproduction and more accurate sound
Class A operation at up to 5 Watts
12V trigger output
RS-232 port for two-way communication and firmware updates
IR input for external control
SimLink controller input for two-way communication with compatible MOON components
Rigid chassis design for minimal external vibrations
Carefully selected audiophile-grade components
Low operating temperature for a very long service life
CRM-2 remote control included


Moon NEO 340i amplifier specifications:


Output power at 8 ohms 100 W per channel
Output power at 4 ohms 200 W per channel
Input sensitivity 400 mV – 3.0 V RMS
Input impedance 11,000 ohms
Gain 37 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio 110 dB at full power
Frequency response (full range) 2 Hz – 90 kHz + 0 / -3 dB
Crosstalk -88 dB
THD (20 Hz – 20 kHz at 1 W) 0.015%
THD (20 Hz – 20 kHz at 100 W) 0.05%
Intermodulation distortion 0.03%
Package weight 13 kg
Dimensions (width x height x depth) 42.9 x 8.9 x 37 .6 cm.


Characteristics of the integrated DAC Moon NEO 340i:


Types of digital inputs S / PDIF (RCA) x 2 USB x 1 TosLink x 1
Digital Input Impedance (S/PDIF) 75 Ohm @ 0.5V
DAC/Digital Filter ESS9018K2M
Data Rate DSD (2.8224MHz), Double (5.6448MHz) & Quadruple (11.2896)
DSD Sampling Rate DSD 64, DSD 128 and DSD256 only via USB
PCM Bit depth range 16 – 32 bit (32 bit only)
PCM sampling rate 44.1 – 384 kHz (352.8 and 384 kHz via USB only)
Frequency response (audible) 20 Hz – 20 kHz + 0 / -0 .2dB
Frequency Response (Full Range) 2Hz – 72kHz + 0/-3dB
THD @ 1kHz, 0dBFS (A-weighted) 0.001%
IMD 0.004%
Dynamic Range 116dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 115dB @ Full Power
Channel Separation 115 dB
Internal jitter <25 ps RMS


Moon NEO 340i Integrated Phono Preamplifier Board Specifications:


Input Impedance – adjustable 100 ohms and 47 kohms
Input Capacitance – adjustable 0pF and 100pF
Gain – adjustable 40 dB and 60 dB
Input Overload @ 40 dB / 60 dB Gain 58 mV RMS / 3 mV RMS
Signal to noise ratio (full scale at 40 dB / 60 dB gain) 107 dBr / 85 dBr
Frequency response 20 Hz – 20 kHz (±0.5 dB)
Crosstalk @ 1 kHz -97 dB
IMD 0.009%
THD (20 Hz – 20 kHz) 0.001%

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