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To Hans Wetzel,

Thank you for the review I’ve read about the [Simaudio] Moon 700i v2 [integrated amplifier]. You must be a serious audio professional. That’s why I try to ask your opinion between the Moon and the McIntosh [Laboratory] MA9000 [integrated amplifier-DAC]. In July, I’ll do a demo, but before then I need opinions from professionals, so if it is possible . . .

Kind regards,
Franco Gravina
Belgium

What cool amplifiers to which you’ve narrowed down your search! Each has its own unique personality and sonic flavor, so here is what I’d expect you might hear. The Simaudio Moon 700i v2 is a fantastic example of just how good a class-AB amplifier can sound. Its transparency, fleetness of foot, and extended, airy treble make for a sound that ticks all of my personal boxes. The McIntosh MA9000, by contrast, will likely sound a little fuller and more robust through the midrange, with plenty of power and drive in the bass, and a slightly subdued top end. These should not be night-and-day differences, but should reveal themselves through extended listening, so please do line that up with your own listening preferences and how such a sonic profile would match with your reference loudspeakers. Performance aside, the McIntosh sports far more power than the Sim -- 300Wpc vs. 175Wpc into 8 ohms -- and also includes a built-in DAC, while also retailing for notably less money here in the United States. I don’t know what they cost there. As for looks, you’re balancing the Mac’s signature blue VU meters with Simaudio’s more modern-looking chassis.

On pure sonics, the Simaudio edges it for me, as I favor that wide-open, hyper-transparent sound more than midrange body and presence. As a package, though, the McIntosh is super cool and a total hammer of an amp. You have a tough decision ahead of you. . . . Hans Wetzel