Simaudio MOON 780D v2 Network Attached DAC

hfnoutstandingThis flagship DAC from Canada, complete with a raft of in-house digital and power supply technologies, and very slick control app, is a complete network music solution

When is a DAC not a DAC? When it turns into a multifunctional network-connected music player, that's when! Increasingly, the lines between products that exist to convert digital inputs into analogue audio and full-blown network players are becoming blurred. So, just as there are players provided only with digital outputs – network transports or bridges to be paired with an outboard DAC – so we now have DACs with network capability built-in. Add an app running suitable UPnP control software, and you have a complete streaming solution.

For the network neophyte, all that can be a bit confusing, but a 'DAC with benefits' perfectly describes Simaudio's MOON 780D v2. Available in black, silver or two-tone black/silver, this £13,500 unit is the Canadian company's reference DAC, complete with a built-in streaming section developed in-house.

Neither is this the only streaming DAC in the company's range. For those with more restricted budgets, there's also the lower-spec 680D, yours for £8900, and the entry-level 280D MiND2, at £2950. Oh, and the digital-output-only MiND2 'network transport' at just £1950, and the 390, which combines streamer, DAC and analogue preamp. You pays yer money, and takes yer choice…


All In The Mind
With so many network products in the range, you can see the sense of Simaudio developing its own streaming solution, unsurprising called MiND2. The acronym stands for 'MOON intelligent Network Device', and this provides not only access to music stored on network computers and NAS drives, but also a range of online services. The second generation of MiND – older models using the original version can be upgraded to MiND2 – adds access to Tidal Masters with MQA, Qobuz Sublime+ and Deezer Hi-Fi, and also allows synchronised multiroom playback using multiple MiND2-equipped devices, as well as Roon-ready certification.

The 780D v2 comes with a conventional FRM-3 system remote handset, which is a hefty, backlit and stylish metal affair or, if you were feeling particularly masochistic, you could operate the unit using the octet of little front panel buttons straddling the prominent display. However, to access the streaming services on offer, you're really going to need the company's MOON MIND2 Controller app.


As well as its Ethernet connectivity, the 780D v2 also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with aptX, but I'd still swerve the former if you're streaming high-bitrate audio, and the latter on the grounds of sound quality. A decent network or USB hook-up always wins the day. To that end, the 780D v2 will accept audio from a computer via its asynchronous USB-B port, handling files at up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD256, the latter in native form. MQA decoding is included and it also has two optical, three coaxial and an AES/EBU input. All of these are limited to 192kHz/24-bit.

Analogue outputs are on RCAs and balanced XLRs, and there's also another pair of XLR sockets – one four-pin, one five – to allow the 780D v2 to be used with the company's 820S offboard power supply, which will set you back a further £7200.

Speaking Clock
The 820S uses two custom toroidal transformers to feed separate supplies to the digital and analogue circuitry, and is designed as a universal upgrade for a range of MOON units. Not that the 780D v2 stints on the power supply front as standard, using the company's own 'MOON Hybrid Power' to supply the juice. The latter combines high-speed switching and linear PSUs with 'M-LoVo' (Moon Low Voltage) regulators, I2DCf (Independent Inductive DC filtering) and conductive polymer capacitors, with the whole thing being designed for extremely low noise.

Meanwhile the dual-mono balanced design uses a pair of ESS9018S Sabre DACs governed by a 'femtosecond-grade' master clock by way of tackling jitter. Incidentally, the dual DACs and high-accuracy (and rather expensive) clock set this flagship model apart from the somewhat more affordable 680D, which uses one DAC chip in stereo and a 'picosecond-accurate' clock – otherwise just about everything is the same.

Simaudio Ltd
Quebec, Canada
Supplied by: Renaissance Audio, Scotland
0131 555 3922