Moon 600i v2 – Review

Moon 600i v2 – Review


This is my review of the Moon 600i v2, a blockbuster 125W per channel integrated amplifier from Canada. Things are always really, really good when they appear effortless, Federer, Ferrari and Fabulous Messi spring to mind. And so it is here with this Moon 600i v2. Power delivery is without strain, volume control is un-paralleled and the low end frequency delivery is without comparison for me.

Design

The Moon 600i v2 builds on the 600i from 2008, itself updating the award-winning Moon i-7. Although the look is very similar to the i-7, still, internally much has changed with custom made capacitor design, lifted from the astonishing Moon 888 mono-block power amplifiers. The output transistors are reportedly more precise and offer a more in depth bass performance, one of the more noticeable impressions I have of this fabulous piece of equipment.

The Moon 600i v2 features an oversized dual mono power supply, which you can see here.

Moon 600i v2

The custom toroidal transformers suffer less thermal, magnetic and electrical losses by design. This improvement combines to deliver increased current speeds and better dynamics. The Moon 600i v2 delivers 125W per channel into 8 Ohms.

One of the very nicest features of this Moon 600i v2 is the volume control knob, crazy, I know. The M-eVol2 volume control circuit has 530 steps, ridiculous, but this is easily the very nicest volume knob I’ve had the fortune to turn, to the point where the very nice, heavy FRM-3 remote control is superfluous!

There are a few features worth mentioning here, that I have not looked at or needed, if I’m honest. There is a gain offset option for each input, I guess for those with differing and varying input sources, I don’t need to do this but I get it. Also included is the option to use the amplifier ‘home theatre ready’ where the gain section of the Moon 600i v2 is by-passed.

Finally, my briefing sheet here talks of an ultra rigid chassis, which it is. Weighing in at 22kg, the Moon 600i v2 is very heavy and awkward to move, given it is an oversized unit compared to the ‘standard’ box size. The four feet are adjustable, I have not needed to move the feet as I have the 600i on a piece of granite with a few 10 pence pieces in situ (I’ve upgraded from 2 pence pieces for this review!).

Inputs and outputs

There are four RCA inputs and one XLR input. Each of the inputs can be named in the menu system in the 600i. There is a single RCA out if required to a power amplifier (or two).

Specifications

Output Power at 8Ω 125 Watts per channel

Output Power at 4Ω 250 Watts per channel

Moon 600i v2Input Sensitivity 490mV – 6.0V RMS

Input Impedance 23,700Ω

Inputs (RCA / XLR) 4 pairs / 1 pair

Gain 37dB

Frequency response (full range) 10Hz – 100kHz +0/-0.1dB

Crosstalk @ 1kHz -100dB THD (20Hz – 20kHz @ 1 watt) 0.015%

THD (20Hz – 20kHz @ 125 watts) 0.04%

Intermodulation distortion 0.02%

Shipping weight 48 lbs / 21 Kgs

Dimensions (width x height x depth) 18.75 x 4.0 x 18.1 in. 47,6 x 10,2 x 46,0 cm.

Quality

Moon 600i v2

The Moon 600i v2 is built like a Rolls Royce, machined precisely like a cylinder block but with the soft touch of brushed steel on a dashboard

The Moon 600i v2 is built like a Rolls Royce, machined precisely like a cylinder block but with the soft touch of brushed steel on a dashboard and it purrs like a…. well…. a Rolls Royce engine.

The chassis is machined beautifully with a soft touch finish and as I’ve described, the volume control knob is the best I’ve ever seen or turned, with the tiny increments reducing my NAC N-272 to tears.

There is a very heavy, backlit programmable, remote control.  Fitting for such a huge and beautiful machine.  Volume control goes in small increments until you lean on the button, when it skips along.  There is an easy to find mute button for use when the phone rings.

Performance

Set-up

For the review I have used an Oppo BDP-205 CD player with QED balanced input cables, an Oppo Sonica streaming DAC with unbalanced Atlas Mavros interconnects into the Moon 600i v2 and QED Supremus speaker cables into my trusty KEF R700 speakers. Whilst the KEFs may slightly compromise the outstanding Moon 600i v2 they are at least good enough to reveal the Moons subtleties, if not the nuances, of such a fabulous amplifier. I have tried to get some slightly more appropriate speakers without success.

Oppo BDP-205 CD player

The BDP-205 is a Blu-ray disc player but it is easily the best CD player I have and with balanced analogue output the source music arrives at the Moon 600i v2 in as good a fettle as it can. It also plays SACDs, I have the obligatory Linn SACD collection!

Oppo Sonica streaming DAC

Although this review is only about the Moon 600i v2 I am going to point you to Yo Yo Ma’s ‘Inspired by Bach’ recently remastered album. On Tidal, it is as beautiful a piece of art as you could wish for. The Oppo streaming DAC with its up to date Sabre processing presents the analogue output perfectly to the Moon 600i v2. The output is amazing, the Moon delivers the depth and passion from the cello bow as though you were just sat watching the master in action.

Then I made an error, putting on Radiohead’s ‘The Pyramid Song’ as I then lost a good hour following that with ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’, ‘The Numbers’, ‘Decks Dark’, then the whole of ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ followed by ‘In Rainbows’. When I re-emerged I had a listen to the resolution from Omer Klein’s beautiful pianos onthe Sleepwalker album.

Then it was time to listen to the low end delivery generated by this piece of equipment by playing the track ‘2049’ from the Blade Runner soundtrack, wow. The rumble spat the bungs out of the back of my KEFs and a room filling grumble was generated, penetrating my sternum, an absolutely tremendous delivery as the dot matrix display showed volume was set to just 48.7!

Resolution

At this point it was increasingly clear the KEFs were out of their depth, however their strength is in the mid range and vocal (in my view) as well as delivering wonderful detail so it was time for a bit of ‘Ryan Time’, with Ryan Adams. ‘Ryan Time’, if you listen to the Carnegie Hall recordings, frequently results in lateness and loss of time and sure enough this happened to me. The 17th November 2014 version of New York, New York is piano led and detail from the pedals, the melancholy from the voice and the wonderful key change towards the end are just simply so crisp and clear, I could really have been there.

Whilst I’m thinking about resolution, Amy Winehouse’s Lioness CD demands playing with the snares laid forward so bare in the production, it really is a rhythmic and joyous sound. Listen in particular to ‘Half Time’ and ‘Wake Up Alone’.

Soundstage

Amy Winehouse is very nice for a bit of sound stage listening but for a bit of high production sound stage listening with the KEFs a bit of Jack Garret’s ‘Love You’re Given’, always works for me. The sound stage is deep here, indeed depth is a recurring theme, be it sound stage or bass delivery.

Dynamically, channel separation is perfectly delivered by the remastered version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’. With separated power channels, I guess this presentation was a given.

Jern 14 DS Speakers

Straight to ‘Sylvia Plath’ by Ryan Adams and the resolution is stunning, the soundstage wide, deep and fantastic

I just had a short time to listen to the 600i with the still incredibly detailed Jern 14 DS speakers, they are fantastic. Driven by the 600i they offer an amazing insight into resolution given their design. Straight to ‘Sylvia Plath’ by Ryan Adams and the resolution is stunning, the soundstage wide, deep and fantastic. Next up a quick listen to the soundstage from ‘House of Cards’; boy this sounds good and gives me a hint to how a decent pair of speakers would complement this amplifier. I hope to see the Focal Kanta in the coming weeks, it is a shame I couldn’t synchronise them.

Overall

I’ve been through the Naim cycle of all in one box (Naim Uniti2) and moved to the bit where you feel you get better quality from individual boxes doing one job really well so now my main system is separate sources (CD, turntable, etc) pre-amplifier and power. But now I wonder can a pre and power sound better than this? Of course, this is an expensive piece of equipment and a trial run is necessary at this price level but you cannot beat the thrill of sheer horse power and controlled delivery that you feel here.

In conclusion, if you’re looking at this sort of price range, you’ll be insisting on a trial run for a period of time.  I was unable, in the end, to get the PMC twenty5 series speakers that may have delivered an ultimate experience but I would suggest that finding the right speakers for this amazing piece of equipment is at least as important.

I Love

Soundstage

Weight

530 step volume control!

Pure analogue

I Like

FRM-3 remote control

I Wish

It was mine

 

 

More details here with Renaissance audio – http://www.renaissanceaudio.co.uk/moon/600iv2-integrated-amplifier/

The retail price is £7,300

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