To Philip Beaudette,
I really enjoyed your review of the Simaudio Moon Evolution 600i. I currently own a Simaudio Moon Evolution i-7 and was wondering if it was worth it to upgrade to the 600i. If the units are very similar and only a slight improvement, I would rather save the money.
My other choices are the Pass Labs INT-30A and Luxman L-590A II integrateds. Both are class-A designs and put out 30W. Any suggestions are appreciated since I don't have any dealers to demo these units.
Thank you in advance!
Unfortunately, I haven't heard the Simaudio i-7 in a very long time, and since I didn't have a chance to listen to it alongside the 600i, it's impossible for me to say how the two would compare. However, given that the Simaudio 600i evolved from the i-7, my guess is that there is at least some similarity in how they sound.
Since you're obviously thinking about upgrading/changing your integrated amplifier, it's clear that you want to experiment with a different sound. In my experience, your best chance of finding that is to switch to another brand. You mention the Pass Labs and Luxman integrateds, two companies that I know enjoy solid reputations and which would probably both be very good candidates. I've found that products coming from the same company will sometimes have a “house sound,” and you might find that moving from the i-7 to the 600i doesn't offer quite the change you were hoping for. Changing to a different company's products might.
You indicated that you aren't able to audition the 600i since you don't have any dealers around that carry it. I hope this is not the case for the Pass Labs and Luxman products. You really need to hear these products to make sure that you make the right purchase (preferably on loan from a dealer so you can hear them in your own system and room). The last thing you would want to do is get rid of an outstanding product like the i-7 and replace it with something that you didn't really love. . . . Philip Beaudette