To Philip Beaudette,
I enjoyed your review of the Simaudio Moon 600i integrated amplifier. I still use the Simaudio 4070SE amp (a little gem). Just a further question: Some amps are a bit analytical, perhaps just on the side of slightly cool. Others may sound, to my ear, a bit warmer, perhaps with a bit more of the harmonics. Would you say the 600i is more emotionally involving, so to speak, or more neutral? This is tricky, but I've always liked the harmonic richness of single-ended triodes, but can't live with tubes. But I do remember the solid-state Luxmans of the mid-to-late '70s. There was something lushly compelling about those old amps. I haven't heard the newer Luxmans, but that is a sound I really enjoyed. It was very organic. Cheers, and continued success.
Your question is a good one and I understand where you're coming from. Before I give my answer, keep in mind what I said in my review: I'm a big fan of solid-state amplification and most of my experience comes from listening to transistors, not tubes.
With that in mind, let me say that the 600i definitely sounds neutral. However, that doesn't mean that it isn't emotionally involving. In the case of the 600i (as well as a lot of the other solid-state integrated amps I've enjoyed) this neutrality doesn't imply that it's analytical. Tube aficionados might disagree with me, but I don't think that just because a component lets you hear music the way it was recorded means that it can't also be emotionally engaging. If this were the case I would never have been so impressed with the 600i. I've heard integrated amplifiers that were very analytical and I've found that I spent more time dissecting the music rather than really appreciating it on an emotional level, but this doesn't apply here. It's true that the 600i will let you hear deep into a recording while exhibiting an exceptional level of detail, but it will also get your toe tapping while carrying you away with the music.
I've never heard any of the old Luxman amps that you mention (nor the newer ones for that matter), but I think the word organic that you used to describe them can be applied to the 600i as well. If a recording itself is a little on the cool side, the 600i won't mask it. But play something well recorded and you might find yourself in awe of what you're hearing. At this moment in time, the 600i sits perched on the shoulders of every integrated I've reviewed. It's that good. My advice: seek one out and hear it for yourself. If you do, please send me an email to let me know what you think. I'd like to hear your impressions of it. . . . Philip Beaudette