by Roy Harris
[Originally published in 2005, the Equinox was replaced recently with the Andromeda - Ed]
“Fly me to the moon”, the poet said. I replied, “I’ll take you to the moon”. I brought him to my listening room and he saw and heard the “moon”– the Sim Moon Equinox, that is. While not a heavenly body, it was a “moon”, nonetheless. Sim Audio Ltd, a Canadian based company has a predilection for naming components after celestial objects and events.
The CD player has an internal upsampling rate featuring 24bit/352.8KHZ processing. There are separate digital and analog power supplies, with 7 stages of regulation. The transport is a Phillips LS 1210. The DAC chips are Burr Brown 1730E. There is a proprietary 6DB/octave analog filter and an 8X oversampling digital filter. There are no capacitors in the signal path. There are two Burr Brown op amps per channel.
My first selection was “One for my Baby”, from FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY, Capitol 94756. The pitch of the piano seemed slightly elevated and tape hiss and sibilance were more pronounced compared to my reference CD player. Yet, Frank Sinatra’s voice still had a natural timbral quality. There was a perceptible sense of spaciousness, as the piano was located well behind and to the left of the left speaker. Miles Davis’ classic recording of “So What” from the CD KIND OF BLUE, Columbia CK 64935 was my second selection. Tape hiss was more noticeable, as was the case in the first selection. Paul Chambers’ bass line was very easy to follow. However, there seemed to be a slight loss of upper bass energy. The cymbal was a bit forward and slightly elevated in pitch. The trumpet was not aggressive in its presentation and its timbre was realistic. John Coltrane’s tenor sax solo over-emphasized the upper register of the instrument, creating an impression that one was listening to an alto rather than a tenor sax.
The next selection was “I Can See Clearly Now”, from the CD DON’T SMOKE IN BED, Alert Z2 81020. Holly Cole’s voice was clearer and slightly more sibilant than what I heard using my reference CD player, but not irritating, strident or objectionable. The acoustic bass was punchy, the vibration of the wood body was evident, but again, there was a slight loss of upper bass energy. The last selection from the popular genre was “Deacon Blues”, from the CD Steely Dan AJA, MCA 37214. Cymbal and voice were slightly elevated in pitch. Pete Christlieb’s tenor sax solo sounded more like an alto than a tenor, as the upper registers of the instrument were over-emphasized.
The last two sources were taken from the orchestral repertory. Von Wessanaer, “Concerti Armonici #2″, Naxos 8.55538, is performed by a small original instrument ensemble. String tone was a bit steely. The sound of the harpsichord was clear but slightly forward. A definitive rendition of Ravel’s “Alborado del Gracioso”, conducted by Ernest Ansermet, London 416046, was my last selection. A very brief clarinet solo was located toward the rear of the hall. Its perceived timbre left no doubt as to the identity of the instrument. Shortly thereafter, there are two cymbal crashes - a good test of soundstage width, depth and treble response. The cymbal was positioned behind the left edge of the left speaker, slightly higher in pitch than I observed using the Audio Note CD2. The orchestra rests for about a minute and a bassoon solo ensues. Although the placement of the bassoon seemed slightly forward, relative to the Audio Note CD2, much of the hall ambience was preserved.
The Simaudio Moon Equinox was quiet, free of grain, highly resolving with convincing soundstage width and realistic dynamics. There were some consistent frequency response errors, such as dips in the upper bass range region and extra emphasis in the upper midrange/lower treble region. In addition, several instances of forwardness were observed. These departures from neutrality, although minor and not interfering with my enjoyment of the music, should be considered in the context of one’s stereo system spectral balance and personal preference. I believe that the sonic characteristics of the CD player described above are representative of the current generation of solid state upsampling CD players.
Speakers: Quad 63
Amplifier: VTL Deluxe 120 Monoblocks
Preamplifier: Conrad Johnson Premier 3
CD Player: Audio Note Cd2
Interconnects: Sound String and Legenburg
Speaker Cable: Legenburg
AC Cords: Synergistic Research, Clarity Audio and Legenburg
Accessories: PS Audio 300, PS Audio Ultimate Outlets, PS Audio Juice Bar Enacom Filters, Sound Boosters and Blue Circle Audio Sound Pillows Mk III
The Simaudio Moon Equinox CD Player
Manufactured by Simaudio Ltd.
100 Walnut Street, Door 13, Champlain, NY 12919 USA
Tel :  708.7805
Fax :  476.1577