Simaudio Moon W-5 Amplifiers

Simaudio Moon W-5 Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

175 Watt Power Amplifier

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 23  
[Jul 20, 2014]
gino
Audio Enthusiast

it sound like the mark levinson 335 power amp used to have with little less power The sound is smooth relaxation sound is so Natural . the best amp you can get at this price for about .2200$ used

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 14, 2009]
Paul@audiophileheven
AudioPhile

Price Paid $2200 used @ audiogon

Summary
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.

Strengths:
Best build quality period
best midrange & high in any price range
very very musical and detailed sound

Weakness
If it had the low end of a 14b it would be the worlds best power amp.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 31, 2004]
K512
AudioPhile

Strength:

As above.

Weakness:

None, although one should note that this dual-mono amplifier is rather massive and weighs ~75 lbs.

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.

Similar Products Used:

As above.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 30, 2003]
Alex
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Everything. Build, quality, highs, mids, bass, soundstage, detail. Female voices, i.e. Diana Krall-breathtaking with fantastic 3d imaging. Can you tell I like this puppy?

Weakness:

I didn't come across it earlier!

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...

Similar Products Used:

Krell, Plinius, Conrad Johnson, Bryston, Jeff Rowland, McCormack, Linn, Threshold, Classe'

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 11, 2002]
Rudeman
AudioPhile

Strength:

Rock solid imaging, effortless, huge sound, balance and inner detail

Weakness:

It''s still transistor - but only barely

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.

Similar Products Used:

Cary CAD80M monoblocks, Adcom(!), Bryston and Conrad Johnson

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 22, 2000]
Chad
Audiophile

Strength:

Looks(www.Simaudio.com),Transparency,Build Quality(Like a tank 72 pounds),Powerful,Articulate yet Smooth(oxymoron)

Weakness:

Takes a long time for unit to break in...

So your in the market for a world class amp. One that doesn't require a second mortgage. Look no further, you have found it. Don't get me wrong here. This amp is not cheap. However, it's a value compared to others such as Levinson, Krell, Classe' etc.. The Moon W-5 is a overachiever on the power rating spec.(175x2@8ohms) It will play loud without sounding strained or losing focus. There is no grain or glare in the sound.(typical of solid state amps) Allowing you to listen for hours without fatigue. Imaging front to back and left to right is amazing. Tonally how does the W-5 sound? Bass is powerful, deep and extremely tight. If you have speakers that won't behave in the lower frequencies. They will with this amp. The midrange is relaxed, smooth maybe slightly laidback. Treble has just the right amount of detail, spaciousness and luster. This is one of the best amps money can buy.(In my opinion of course)
There are a handful of really great amps on the market currently. All of them 5 star pruducts, but each has their own signature sound to suit different musical tastes. One shouldn't buy based on any one review alone. I could go on all day about how much I love this amp. The best advice I can Give is. "listen to this amp." You will be happy you did.

Similar Products Used:

Krell,Levinson,Classe',Bryston,AR

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 09, 2001]
Steve Herrala
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Speed, Build quality, dynamics, tight bottomend.

Weakness:

Bright Blue LED (for some)

I have been meaning to do a write-up on my favorite amplifier to let others know of its capabilities. Had to jump in with all of this flaming going on.. What's up with this?? I think I might have the answer why in my write-up below why the difference in opinion.
If a someone rates this amp a 1 star (and they did below) it is personal. You may not prefer its "flavor" but you have to admit it is an exceptional amp. Let me use an analogy, you may prefer a Porshe 911 over Corvette but you sure cannot say a Corvette gets a 1 star if you are honest. Saying this, if a person TRUELY thought this amp was any less than 4 stars (especially 1 star), Nothing personal, but you are "Sonically-Challenged"!!! I would not want ot sell you anything as the glass is always 1/2 full in your world. I diverge...
The Moon W-5 should be on every ones short list if you are seeking ultra high performance (at a reasonable $$). Independent of cost, this is my favorite. I have not heard every solid state amp but and I have heard a few dozen in my home system including most of the bigger names (that I have taken in on a trade for the Sim). I am a dealer so I have the pleasure of listening to many different high end products and I must tell you this is one of the special Gems. No, I did not write this about Class'e, Aragon, Bryston etc eventhough I am a dealer.
If any of you have had the pleasure to go to a CES or HiFi show you will know how AVERAGE (3 stars) many of the "high end lines sound" at nutty price points. What always amazes me is that nine out of ten of these expensive products are nothing special. More Jewelry than performance.

Over the years I have found that just because you spend a lot more for an audio product does not mean you get better equipment. At a certain point I think is around $5K-$6K list, the manufacture should have enough dollars to have the very best in components inside the amp. If you spend more, I believe you are buying b.s., not performance. The Canadian manufactures have an advantage because of the US dollar/Canadian exchange rate. As the story goes in Canada, you can put a $20 (US) on the bar, get a beer and $22 back in Canadian change.
So what does it sound like? The Sim is fast, articulate, and detailed. Definately not laid back to my ear as some mentioned. It shows no Krell-like graininess that is the normal trade-off to spead and detail. Tube fans hate this upper-midrange graininess with a passion and this amp does not exhibit any grain. It has a powerful TIGHT bottomend without the Bryston-like fatter sound (which some speakers like), warm without loosing the depth and detail as Class'e does. Even more holographic and layered than the Plinius SA-250mkIV ($8500 list). The amp does just about everything right; Layered, holographic, fast, tons of well controlled current for difficult loads (Maggies, Thiel, Logans, Aerials).

If your system is lacking the low volume dynamics and airiness, this amp will solve your problems. If you need to crank up the volume to hear it open-up, this will fix it. If your system is lacking detail, you will wonder where all the information came from. No amp I know will exhibit more.

So will it work perfect with every speaker? No. The Sim is a neutral sounding product that some may describe as a slightly forward. It reveals ALL of the detail so bright speaker owners need-not-apply. It would be the only concern I have with speaker synergy. Works fantastic w/ Maggies, Aerial, Gershman, Thiel, Martin Logan, PSB to mention a few.

An important thing to note: leave the amp on all times. The reason is the amp has components with tight temperature coefficients. The amp was designed and listened to when it was warm and stable. You will notice a pattern when you turn your amp off (and let it cool. A cool amp is darker sounding and you lose detail which could explain why some call it layed back. For a day as it warms up and reaches equilibrium, it goes through a bright stage and remains grainy sounding (harsh and forward) till the end of the 2nd day when the sound warms again with a lot more (well controlled) detail (which is why SOME could call it Bright). This is NOT subtle but obvious. For the record, the amp is 190 watts per channel, not 175 as the amp was redesigned midstream. Only other thing to mention is it is gorgeous in the flesh. The owner is a Mechanical Engineer and it reeks of quality and style. I have owned mine for 2 years running which is rare for me. If I find something better I will switch.
I did not mean to be a "Moon W-5 Bigot", I just love the amp. If you own a Krell or Levinson (or thinking of buying one). Save some money and buy better sound. The Sim won't loose against these products in any category. One last point, I know their sales are growing at 30%+ per year (someone mentioned this as a concern in a lower thread). Since some other 2 channel companies are slowing in sales as the market is dropping, the sales are coming directly from the shrinking vendors. Good info to know when you are considering a product for resale value and long term support.
In summary, a heck of an amp that will sure to light up your system. With the right speakers (plenty to brands work exceptional), I cannot think of a better amp.
Please feel free to email me or call me with any questions. Always trying to save the world from bad audio and "reviewers" with a beef.
Steve (Owner) of Sound Video 763-753-9349 email: herra001@tc.umn.edu
Sound Video
Audio & Custom Home Theater
Authorized Dealer Featuring: Aerial, Acurus, Aragon, Bryston, B&K, Class'e, Cinepro, Denon, Dynaudio, EAD, Gershman Acoustics, Gallo, Harmonic Tech, Kimber Kable, Lexicon, Marantz, Meridian (within 1 month), Monitor Audio, M&K, NHT, Parasound, Pioneer, Plinius, PMC, Runco, Speaker Craft, Sherwood NewCastle, Sim Audio, Stewart
Filmscreen, TacT Audio, Toshiba & Velodyne

Similar Products Used:

Class'e, Bryston, Pass, Jeff Roland, Aragon,Plinius

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 07, 2000]
John
Audiophile

Strength:

Wide deep soundstage, detail and low frequency timbre and speed, effortless power.

Weakness:

None that I have noticed.

I have just upgraded my system with this amp and am amazed at the difference it has made. My loudspeakers(B&W 801 Seies 2) are now presenting a panoramic soudstage in what can't be described as an ideal room. The Moon drives them with ease giving me higher volume levels and incredible soundstage depth. On the Stereophile Test CD everything is exactly as it shoud be, both in position and tonality. You can tell how a recording was miked, as well as the size of the original venue.

This amplifier allows you to see deep into a recording and follow evey nuance of a performance whether a symphony or a jazz trio. You can follow a bass line, drum pacing, guitar licks or better yet listen to the whole, which is perhaps its forte. The W-5 has the finesse to paint a detailed canvas of sound along with startling power. I can honestly say there is no type of music where it is less than superb.

I have heard amps from the ranks of Conrad Johnson, Krell, Levinson, AR, Aragon etc and all are excellent and special in their own way. The W-5 however equals the best sound of each of these. It is the best all around amp I have heard, which represents a great number of home auditions over last few years.

At a cost of 4-5K this amp, in my experience has to be considered an all out bargain. It is a no compromise unit and at this price point in high end audio should probably be selling for in excess of 15K. I wouldn't be surpised if prices do not begin to escalate after a short time.

WHO SHOULD CONSIDER THIS AMP? ANYONE WHO IS LOOKING FROM THE 3.5K OR HIGHER PRICE POINT SHOULD ABSOLUTELY AUDITION THIS AMP!! IN FACT IF YOUR AT THE 3.5 RANGE DON'T LET THIS SLIP AWAY!

Finally Ted at Audible Difference based in CT was very helpful, professional and more than fair with pricing!

SYSTEM EQUIPMENT:

Audible Illusions Modulus 3A
B&W 801 Seies 2 with Arcici Sand filled stands
Onkyo T-9090 II Tuner
Michell Gyrodec SE, Rega RB600 arm
Clearaudio Aurum Beta Cartridge
Wadia 860x
DIY SIlver cables(interconnects and speaker wire)
ESP power cords, Vibrapods, Standesign Stand, Black Diamond Racing cones
Surge Pro surge protector

Similar Products Used:

Adcom, Aragon, Krell

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 09, 2001]
TheEAR(s) Hearing Aids
Audiophile

Strength:

Great construction quality,grip,speed,liquid midrange,will drive just about any load.

Weakness:

NONE at this price.

Outstanding product,my first ever high quality amp was the Celeste 4070.Since then I am sold to Celeste amps.

The W5 has plenty of power to drive just about any speaker on the market with ease.I use the W5 to drive a pair of Monitor Audio Studio GR20's.

The sound is simply great,fast,dynamic,no boominess,no harshness.Musical and involving.You can listen for hours with no fatigue.

The W5 compares well to amps like the impressive Krell FPB600.The Krell has more power and is more efortless.

In its price range I doubt there is an amp made that sounds better.

Similar Products Used:

Bryston 4B,Classe 300,Krell FPB600,ATI 2505(a five chanel amp)and some others

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 01, 2001]
Arek
Audiophile

Strength:

Vice-like grip on music, extremely smooth, effortless sound at any sound level

Weakness:

None, I literally spend more time listening to music than ever before, amazing.

This is a dynamic amp. Just fantastic. It holds the music, especially bass with such clarity its startling. No reverberation at all. Mids and highs are so smooth and grainless it lets you see right into the music. The slightest detail in music is presented so clearly and musically, it has me listening to CDs time and time again because I swear I hear stuff that was just not there with my other amps. And it does this so effortlessly, no strain, nothing but music as dynamically as I'm certain the original artist wanted to portray. One of the best amps I have ever heard. I run mine with a Wadia 830, all Cardas GC cabling into some Ref Paradigms, soon to be replaced with Revels or Coincidents, still have to do some auditioning to see best speaker match. I would say that balanced cables make the sound a bit more refined and I replaced the stock chord with a Mamba, which makes for a even better bass response, (if thats possible).

This amp also looks great and the construction is top notch. Sim Audio might be a small Canadian company but this is a reference amp that sounds every bit as good if not better than some of the other reputable gear around today, and I have owned and auditioned plenty.

I think I may have truly found the amp that will be in my system for a very long time.

Good listening:)

Similar Products Used:

Levinson, Plinius, Bryston

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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