In his February 2017 SoundStage! Hi-Fi editorial, “The Best of the Worst CES in Decades: 2017,” Doug Schneider named Simaudio’s Moon 888 mono power amplifier one of the best new products of CES 2017 -- and it’s easy to see why. Weighing in at more than 250 pounds and rated by the manufacturer to deliver 888W into 8 ohms or 1776W into 4 ohms, this massive $59,444 USD behemoth monoblock ($118,888/pair) is an all-out assault on the state-of-the-art in amplifier design. It also just happens to be one of the most gorgeous solid-state amplifiers that I have ever seen, with a shining machined-aluminum faceplate offset by the matte-black, cast-aluminum heatsinks and a swooping top cover with an inset Moon logo.
Roger Kanno at the Simaudio main door
When Simaudio’s affable vice president of customer experience, Costa Koulisakis, visited local Vancouver dealer The Sound Room last summer and brought with him a pair of Moon 888s, I was disappointed to have not been able to join him for a demonstration. So when I found myself in Montreal on business this past January, the week after CES 2018, which I attended, I gladly accepted an invitation from Costa to visit the company’s facility, which is located in nearby Boucherville, Quebec. Doug Schneider joined me.
Costa Koulisakis and Roger on the floor
On Simaudio’s first floor alone, we saw the company’s impressive engineering and design departments, as well as an equally impressive assembly area where they do everything from populating their own circuit boards and silk-screening the faceplates to using CNC machines to form the various external parts of their components. Just as noteworthy was the second floor of the building, which, besides having massive warehouse space, also includes a large, attractively decorated lounge area, complete with a grand piano. It’s in this lounge where the company often hosts social gatherings and has two well-equipped listening rooms. After speaking with Costa and Dominique Poupart, an engineer who also helps lead product design, about all things audio and seeing how they design and manufacture their products up close, I couldn’t help being even more enthralled by this innovative company.
Roger lounging around
Although I was briefly able to hear the Moon 888 amplifiers in the factory listening room, I also visited fellow SoundStage! Network reviewer Aron Garrecht, who lives close to my home and has a pair of Moon 888s in for review. There I was better able to listen to the 888s within the confines of his formidable audio system, housed in his custom-built listening room. I don’t want to take anything away from Aron’s review, but suffice it to say that I was completely taken by the Moon 888s’ sound in his system. And did I mention how attractive they are? With an ultra-clean circuit-board layout, a bank of twelve massive capacitors, dual chromed transformers, and a super high level of fit and finish, each mono amplifier is as attractive on the inside as it is on the outside. To let me see their inner workings, Aron was kind enough to pop the top off one of the amps, which is relatively easy to do.
An 888 with the top off
In addition to the Moon 888s, Simaudio also sent Aron its best preamp, the $32,000 Moon Evolution 850P, a two-box design that has an outboard power supply. He also received the $15,000 Moon Evolution 780D streaming DAC, complete with the optional $8000 820S power supply. They sent all this so that he has Simaudio’s very best electronics to match the company’s state-of-the-art power amplifier. Also in-house were Aron’s own reference Moon Evolution W-7M monoblock power amplifiers and Moon Evolution P-8 preamplifier, which are now discontinued.
At that time, Aron also had in for review a pair of Tidal’s Piano G2 loudspeakers, which retail for $39,900/pair. These gorgeous German floorstanding speakers looked absolutely stunning in their gloss-black finishes and with their diamond tweeters, high-tech ceramic-diaphragm midrange-bass drivers, and polished stainless-steel outrigger feet. Honestly, I couldn’t help being a little envious of all of the cool gear that Aron currently has on loan in his system -- it looked and sounded great. Yet what I’m really looking forward to is reading his review of the Moon 888 power amplifiers so I can know the answer to this question: are they that much better than his W-7M mono amps? Look for his review on our SoundStage! Ultra site in the next couple of months.
Senior Contributor, SoundStage!