This review is for the moon w-5 dual mono power amplifier. I purchased this unit 3 months ago and would first like to say the build quality of this unit is first class period. Before I made the decision to purchase this unit i was considering a bryston 14b st but it was out if my price range. I am very impressed with the sound of the w-5 the mid range and high range are extremely detailed, I here notes with recording that I am very familiar with that i have never heard before, the bottom end is very tight and excellent in bass definition but lacks in the lower octaves, over all I would have to say the sound is the best you can get on the used market for this price, but the mid and highs are slightly over emphasized and and low end slam is slightly under the levels I would like to hear. I have to say the sound relay varies on the recordings of the album, if it is a poor recording forget it the amp will pick apart the bad recording and it sounds horrible, with Micheal Jackson thriller sacd the sound is beyond outstanding its perfect, but some other albums is was harsh sounding at high volumes. I have this unit hooked up to a bryston bp 25 preamp, sony scd-1, b&w 804 and it sounds wonderful I am in audiophile heaven except for a few very minor details on the low low end, the only other amps I would have taken over the w-5 was a bryston 14bst or dna 500 and was $1000 more, in this price range nothing even comes close I auditioned a 4bsst but no comparison also a dna-225 the w-5 eats them both and spits them out.
Best build quality period
best midrange & high in any price range
very very musical and detailed sound
If it had the low end of a 14b it would be the worlds best power amp.
This review is for the W-5 LE (Limited Edition) dual-mono amplifier. I recently purchased the fully balanced Simaudio Moon LE system From Archive Audio, including the W-5 LE dual-mono amplifier; Eclipse LE CD player; and P-5 LE preamplifier. Speakers: Induction Dynamics ID1. Cables: Signal Cable Silver Resolution balanced interconnects, and a "double run" set of Signal Cable Silver Resolution speaker cables.
Prior to discovering the Moon LE gear, I was seriously considering vacuum tube gear. However, upon hearing the Moon LE products I immediately fell in love. The reference grade, fully balanced, fully differential Moon LE components sound neither like tubes nor solid-state. It is so transparent as to have no sound of its own-- it sounds better than "solid state" and better than "tubes". Simply put, it just sounds RIGHT.
Imaging and soundstaging are precise, natural, and stable. The attack and DECAY of musical notes is as good or better than many tube designs. In addition, the P-5 LE and associated LE gear (along with the Signal Cable Silver Resolution cables) reveal a level of sonic detail through the Induction Dynamics ID1's that one might normally expect only from electrostatic headphones.
The fully balanced Moon LE gear is completely free of any hint of solid state edginess, grain, hardness, brightness, sibilance, etc. Rather, the sound of this reference gear is perhaps best described as fast and accurate, yet smooth and full-bodied, never fatiguing. Indeed, this gear is highly inviting, and I find it hard to get to bed on time these days!
Driving the Induction Dynamics ID1's, bass extension is concert-like and extremely articulate. Mid-range? Total bliss. Upper registers? Extraordinarily detailed, delicate, and graceful.
Construction, build-quality, appearance, and the "feel" of the controls (etc.) is reference grade. These products are overbuilt to very high tolerances. Completing the warranty registration entitles the original owner to a full, 10 year warranty.
I've previously auditioned a variety of high-end electronics, most noteably Spectral and Edge; as well as Audio Research, VTL, Rogue, Bryston, and McCormack. Among all of these, the Moon LE gear sounded the best to my ears. (My second choice would be Spectral, although this gear can tend to sound over-analytical and "clinical" at times.)
It is a fairly common practice among many audiophiles to spend a considerable amount of time and money extensively experimenting with the mixing-and-matching of a variety of components from different manufacturers, searching and hoping for optimal system "synergy". That said, I would note that the sonic performance of the fully balanced, fully differential Moon LE *system* delivers the full measure of seamless "intra-system" synergy that its designers intended. In terms of sonic and technical performance, the sum is seemingly greater than its parts.
A few comments on the W-5 LE dual-mono amplifier: Describing this amplifier as like the proverbial "iron fist in a silk glove" would be a gross oversimplification, but generally true! The W-5 LE sounds RIGHT at most any volume level. Its prodigious power (and power reserves) exert a highly firm and controlling grip on my Induction Dynamics ID's drivers, particularly the speakers' integral subwoofers. The sound of this magnificent amplifier might best be described as oh-so powerful; yet precise, detailed, nuanced, delicate, transparent, elegant, fast, well mannered, utterly quiet, and extraordinarily musical. Unlike any other amplifiers I've heard, the W-5 LE casts a soundstage, imaging, and dynamics that (I'll say again) just sound right. I will also mention that despite the W-5 LE's prodigious power capabilities and reserves, it runs quite cool, even when driven vigorously for many hours at a stretch.
In summary, the Moon W-5 LE dual-mono amplifier is surely one of Simaudio's crowning achievements. It is an amplifier that lays to rest the tubes vs. solid-state dichotomy, because (like the other products in the fully differential series of Moon products) it defies categorization-- it sounds neither like tubes nor solid-state. Instead (here I go again) it just sounds RIGHT.
Thanks to the comments posted I joined the "W-5" Club! What a piece of enjoyable equipment! I traded for a Meridian pre-amp and I will never look back. I have been using a Krell 300iL with an Audio Research LS-15 plugged into the pre section, bypassing the Krell's pre. I don't want to equipment bash because all units have their own unique qualities. The W5 seems to be in the front of the line. It just plays music and it does it very well! I can sit and enjoy the sound without having to critic the rest of my system. In the past I have owned Krell, Plinius, Bryston, Aragon, J.Rowland, Threshold, Linn, McCormack, and a host of other units that don't come to mind right away. I am always chasing the "stereo carrot" that is in front of my face. I think I can finally relax now. I have my Krell in trade mode for a Meridian 508.24 cd player which should be a good combination with the Sim Audio.
I am using the Sim Audio, Audio Research LS-15, Krell 280cd, Panamax stabilizer, PSB Gold speakers, Oval Nine wires, and Signal Cable xlr's.
The sound is smooth, detailed, liquid with great resonance. I thought that the Krell produced a great soundstage, and it does, but nothing like the W5. It is rich and makes the music come to life. I would like to thank you guys for posting your comments and pointing me in that direction. Thanks...
A rock solid, tell it like it is, stable, exceptionally well constructed piece of gear. This amp reveals every change you make in your system, and drives my current speakers effortlessly. I've listened to it through Celestion 300's, Energy veritas V1.8's and V2.8's, and its revealing nature has shown me the virtues of all of those speakers. It has won me over with its reliability, smooth, YBA like sound, and steadfast resolution in the lower octaves. This amp will drive what you own, and anything you would care to own. Volume is not an issue; the louder you play it, the louder it gets - no compression or weakening of the loweer octaves. Works fabulously with smaller woofers - and makes them sound much biggger! I've used some serious gear over the years, and this piece has proven itself over and over again.