100W x 2 into 8 ohms, 160W x 2 into 4 ohms, 200W x 2 into 2 ohms, preamp section operates in Class A, amp section operates in Class A up to 5 watts then switches to Class AB, J-FET preamp input devices, bipolar amp output devices, capacitor-free signal path, no overall feedback, 6 inputs, 1 tape output, 1 preamp output, remote control.
I've been involved in this hobby for well over 30 years now and I've been fortunate enough to have owned and experienced a fair number of systems and components of first rate quality. I've had a number of memorable components over these many years and there have been a few (very few) that have been pleasant surprises and true standouts. This little integrated amplifier from Simaudio is, in fact, at the top of this list. It is such an accomplised little performer that I am currently torn as to whether I will be keeping it in my main system rather than my reference seperates. I will be retiring soon and will be forced to downsize as we no longer need a large home. My seperates are exemplary performers but since getting the i3 for a smaller secondary system I've often switched it in and out of my main rig with simply stunning results. In fact, it has spent considerable amounts of time in that main rig and it's attributes, while different from my reference amp and pre are just as compelling. It sounds neutral which for me is a very important attribute for reproduction of music. I am quite certain that this is to the credit of the preamplifier section as their seems to be very little coloration throughout the frequency band. This neutrality doesn't come at the cost of rendering the sound as thin or sterile and in fact provides what I think is a very natural, organic and full sound paticularly in the midrange. It ability to retrieve low level detail, especially at it's price point is truly amazing and adds to its ability to present spatial qeues accurately. I'm also extremely impressed by it's versatility. I've used it with several speaker systems of high to low efficiency from my Reference 3a MM Decapo i's to Totem Model Ones to Maggies (yes planars!) and have had very, very impressive results. It has also been very accepting of any and all source components I've matched it with. My reference cables are from Transparent Audio which also mate very well with the little Moon. I have to make a decision fairly soon as to what I keep and what I let go. Perhaps some of my dilemma is psychological in that I've spent considerably more money on my main systems front end and therefore may be swayed into maintaining the larger (and much more depreciated) investment. I think that often we as audiophiles / music lovers we tend to view less expensive compact packages as less than. This little integrated has certainly left me with some serious thinking to do. I'm aware we all have different tastes however if you are in the market for an integrated amp with a serious value for dollar quotient I strongly encourage you to audition this amp if you can. I know that it is a discontinued model in the Simaudio line up however I am of the understanding that some Sim dealers may still be clearring out some of the few remaining units. If not you wouldn't be taking much of a chance in seeking out a unit on the used market. I think this was Simaudios forgotten little integrated as often is the case with "the middle child". It really is a "sleeper"!! PS - I am not a believer in rating things at the top i.e.a 5 out of 5, however as I said earlier on I've had enough componentry in my life to give me a contrast to judge this little "diamond in the rough" and it is most definitely a "5" !!
This model is no longer produced by the manufacturer. The unit I purchased was the demo model of an authorized Moon dealer who specializes in Home Theater. He used the unit as his 2 channel demo model. The dealer has extensive Moon expertise. I am a critical listener and a professional musican. This is a great, great product. It has enough power to master difficult loads so speaker selection should not stress you out. The bass is plentiful and very lively. It delivers clean rather than tubby sound throughout the spectrum of sound. The top range is very clean and non-fatiging. The preamp is quite good at allowing detail which is delivered from the CD to be clearly presented. Instruments are well separated from each other. Voices sound natural. Depending on the imaging delivered from your CD or Transport, you should should get remarkably lifelike playback on the unit.
I decided for this unit after listening tests using the Moon CD-1 and the i-1 at a local dealer in the country where I live. I wanted insurance that I would have absolute freedom to choose a broad range of speakers and that is what swung me to the i-3. I ended up purchasing inside the EU but not in my home country, at least the integrated. I did purchase the CD-1 as well. I agree with the reviewers on this page. The unit is really stupendous.
For those purchasing now, the i.3.3 is a killer product too. The newer i-3.3 is one of the most innovative products on the market today. Those purchasing either the i-.5 or i-1 will have excellent units that simply have less input or output flexibilites. The differnce between i-3 vs the i3.3 is the following. The i-3.3 is newer and as such reflects the move toward new input devices like the ipod and has an option for an on board DAC within the Amp. New technology for new types of customers.
I can not recommed the gear highly enough. Built to last in Canada. This is not Chinese product. These units are made in the true high end tradtion of North America. The work done on the units is done by workers who take pride in their work. Perhaps in Quebec they have a bit more class in more ways than one.
It is really difficult for me to not start this out buy just saying the Moon i-3 is stupendous. It is.
I hooked it up into my system, let it warm up for half a day, played two songs and turned around to find every member of my family dancing in the kitchen! And for months has continued to do so. (This does not normally happen in my house.)
This is the highest praise any piece of audio equipment can receive (IMHO). The i-3 motivates and inspires.
It clearly conveys emotion, pace, timing and detail like nothing I have ever had in my house before. The clarity and detail are of particular note. I could analyze and go on about how it sounds but I highly recommend having a listen/audition for yourself.
Like most, I have owned all the usual suspects over the years; NAD, Cambridge Audio, Audio Refinement, Rotel, Bottlehead, Antique Sound Lab, Sonic Impact (T-Amp), Luxman, Rega, Bel Canto…and have auditioned many, many more.
Just as I am doing now, I have posted my opinion on some of these. The i-3 showed me just how ignorant I was in regards to the meaning of High Fidelity. (Guess I should just leave reviews to the professionals) Not that some of these amps were not great pieces of equipment. (Like the Bel Canto.) The i-3 however is just in a different and parallel world compared to anything else. (Try listening to a good SET tube system.)
Build and design is all top notch. The only gripes I have are 1) The feet leave a little to be desired but this can be upgraded. 2) I would put the remote’s mute button in a different location. I keep hitting it instead of the volume up or down button. But I will get used to it someday.
So, is the i-3 the end-all-be-all of amplifiers? No. Within the first couple hours of listening the thought crossed my mind to sell it. ‘Why?’ You may ask. To upgrade in the Moon product line, that’s why. You start reasoning to yourself “Wow, if I was to sell the amp then spend another $1000.00, I could get more of this!” I am Sim/Moon audio disciple now. (Guess the designers at Sim Audio have done their job.)
If you do get one I recommend some nice ProAc speakers to go with it. You will be a happy
Hi-Fi person/Audiophile for a little while at least.
The simaudio I3 is quite the amp. Great bass, tight dynamic, easier to follow bass lines than the rotel ra 1062 or roksan caspian I had previously. Instruments sound much more natural, piano, strings, are standouts. Drums sound more natural and cymbals decay like they should. (go into any music store and give the cymbals a few strikes and you get an ideal of how they should decay).
Definetly leave the main power on all the time as it takes a few days if you do not for the amp to reach it's peak performace again. Don't know how well it was broken in before as I bought it used but I have played the heck out of it for the past 2 weeks and it just seems to get better and better. I use the simaudio in a 2 channel stereo music and home theatre setup, running my cd player, tv, and dvd player and I couldn't be happier.
Listening fatigue is now a thing of the past as the simaudio never gets too bright or harsh in anyway yet is still very detailed throughout the frequency range.
check out the simaudio website for more details on this terrific integrated amp, and the design philosophy behind it.
I bought this i3 a few days ago and i can tell you, i am VERY surprised about what this integrated can give you... Let say that a few years ago i had a very big audio system and i had to sell it. i had a w3, P3 and paradigm reference speakers. So i finally decided in the last weeks to buy myself something that could give me the kick that i had with my old system. One day, i found someone who was seeling his i3 and i went to ear it. The first song he made me listen to was a song from zztop. I was so surprised of what i was earing, boy... The integrated was at 40/50 and the sound was terrific! loud, clear... The bass was solid, deep... I was seriously wondering if he wasnt fooling me by hiding a W5 behind the wall that would be driving the i3! After that, he made me listen to jewel, wow... I thought she was beside me... her voice was so present... Of course, its not a P3 and W3, but its around 1500$ instead of 6000$... But seriously, for 1500$. wow, you can't miss it...