Simaudio Moon W-10 Amplifiers

Simaudio Moon W-10 Amplifiers 


700 watts into 8 ohms 1350 watts into 4 ohms


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[Aug 06, 2001]
Marcus Slade


Seemingly unlimited power to drive virtually any load. No sacrifice of nuance and subtlety in combination with this much power.


Two chassis now, not one. Two power cords, not one. Two amp stands, not one. Cost. Musically? None uncovered yet.

Considering the near unanimous favourable reviews of the Moon W5 as a phenomenal power amp, one might wonder where a monoblock (at double the price) from the same company would find its home in the market. The W10s came to find their place in my system quite serendipitously. My W5 developed a minor fault and I returned it to the shop for repair under its 10 year warranty. The lads at A & B Sound, being astute salesmen, spotted an opportunity and made me an offer on an upgrade that I couldn't decline. Having served time in the shop driving Dynaudio's massive Evidence loudspeaker, and other floor models, the W10s came to me already well broken in. Many other reviews of Moon W5s have sited the need for extensive break-in before critical listening, and I would assume the same to be true for this pair of monoblocks. If you're going to shell out this kind of green make sure that everything is just right before forming critical opinions. On the other hand, if you're spending money like this for amplification, your expectations of performance should be sky high. Mine were.

To my ears and wallet Sim Audio have created some remarkable products over the past decade and none more so than their power amplifiers. I have been using a W5 for nearly two years prior to the last couple of months and that succeeded my 4070SEs, biamped. Each change has been a worthwhile upgrade and not just a change for change's sake. However, despite expectations on the W10s being so high, I have been stunned at what these components have contributed to my sense of musical enjoyment. At a nominal (and I use the word loosely) 700 watts a side you expect the presentation to be solid, confident and authoritative. It is. Similarly, you expect a monoblock of this prodigious power output to manifest a foundation in the bass frequencies that is unrivalled in your listening experience. It should commandingly take hold of any loudspeaker with which it is mated. This it did for me too. Those are the positive attributes that I would have been significantly disappointed in had they been missing.

On the darker side, high powered amps can frequently be shrill, etched in the all-important musical mid range and downright offensive in the higher treble frequencies. Many of the subtle musical cues, the "air" around instruments, the spatial cues of the recording venue or the dynamic contrasts between loud and soft can be lost or not faithfully conveyed. It was on these criteria that I was apprehensive about auditioning (purchasing) the W10s. Consequently, my musical selections were intended to ruthlessly reveal any potential flaws. Listening to Oscar Peterson's solo piano on "Give Me The Simple Life" from the album, Tracks (MPS 523 498-2) I felt as if I was almost inside the body of the piano. Never an easy instrument to record, this performance of Oscar's playing conveys an enormous mellifluous tone from his left-hand runs. You can virtually "see" him arching over the keys and the scat vocalizing later in the piece was beautifully conveyed. Subtlety and power in one virtuoso performance. This was the best rendition I'd ever heard. Shirley Horn's wonderful new recording, "You're My Thrill" (Verve 3145494172), reproduced with silky sweetness the string accompaniments throughout much of the album. The W10s lost none of the character of that breathy vocal immediately identifiable with Ms. Horn. A long time favourite recording of mine is by Canadian folk singer, Stephen Fearing, called Out To Sea. My copy is on vinyl (ATR 301) and sees lots of time on the turntable. The instrumental "Carsten" features just acoustic guitar and bass and, though a wonderful piece of music, is a deceptively exacting workout for a stereo system. It will reveal a system's ability to resolve detail (the finger movements on Fearing's fretboard), the transient snap and rap on the body of the guitar and the gentle but firm brooding presence of the bass accompaniment. Wonderful stuff. The W10s only heightened my enjoyment of a very familiar piece. At a different point on the musical spectrum, I listened to Stevie Ray Vaughan's Little Wing from The Sky Is Crying (my copy is vinyl) and felt as if I was listening to a personal performance of Stevie directly connected to his guitar amp. The piece is very "raw" from the days of the Texas Flood sessions, essentially live in the studio, replete with buzzing amps in the background.

Therein lies my fascination with these monoblocks. Music that I have always enjoyed has simply become more enjoyable: orchestral and rock power delivered with a top-to-bottom authority and yet all the fine gradations in-between faithfully preserved and communicated to listener.
As noted earlier, I exchanged as a very happy W5 owner to Sim Audio's current statement in amplification. I expect other potential customers to be similar in nature. With the digital source wars raging at this point in our history, I would not want to commit big bucks to an expensive fledgling technology. This is a great time to be turning your attention to power amplification. I can't imagine anyone being displeased with their W5 and would recommend it heartily to many seeking a top-notch power amp. Conversely, I'm enjoying the W10s so much that I would not want to go back to the W5 and I feel almost guilty for saying that. I feel more connected to the music than ever before. If you're a W5 owner in pursuit of audio nirvana, cozy up to your Sim Audio retailer and start discussing terms.

Though not cheap, in the rarefied world of high-end power amps, this is a significant accomplishment and warrants a hearty endorsement.

Associated components:
Linn LP12 (Cirkus, Alphason HR100MCS, Linn Troika)
Linn Karik (used as transport)
Perpetual Technologies P1A/P3A/P3 monolith power supply
Linto phono pre-amp
Sim Audio Moon P5 pre amp
Revel Ultima Studio
Assorted Harmonic Technology power cords, interconnects and speaker cable

Similar Products Used:

Sim Audio Moon W5, 2 x Celeste 4070SE biamped.

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