Simaudio Moon or Audio Research?

To Doug Schneider,

I have been very impressed by the quality and detail of your reviews.

I have just purchased Sonus Faber Elipsa SE Red Violin speakers and am about to purchase the Moon 400M monoblocks and Moon 350P preamp that you tested. I have been offered Audio Research DS450 monoblocks with a DS Pre for a bit more money. Should I be tempted? Or, just buy the Moons? Thanks for your assistance.

All the best,

Of course you should be tempted -- Audio Research makes really good stuff! But so does Simaudio, so that’s the dilemma you face.

Here’s the thing: Some reviewers might tell you to buy this or that based on the very little information you’ve provided, but I’m not going to do that because the answer isn't that easy. The fact of the matter is that I liked the 400M amps a lot, and I was also quite impressed by the 350P. Given that the 400Ms can deliver 400Wpc into 8 ohms, there’s no reason to think that they wouldn’t partner well with a pair of Elipsa SEs. More than likely, if you bought the Moon gear and didn’t look back, you’d be quite happy with it. But, as I said, there’s no easy answer because what I know of the Audio Research gear you’ve mentioned is that it’s also quite good. Would it be better? Not sure. Is it worth the extra money? Definitely don’t know that. Is it worth checking out? Perhaps -- or perhaps not if you just buy the Moon stuff and call it a day. That might not have been the answer you were looking for, but I hope it helps somewhat. . . . Doug Schneider