Simaudio Moon Cd.5 (£1350)

A sophisticated design with many likeable features

Although the most affordable player in this Canadian specialist’s Moon range of components, the CD.5 nevertheless is a solidly built machine with a sculpted front panel and sturdy metal casework enhanced by fluted detailing in the side cheeks.
   Its PCB has pure copper tracings and gold plating, and while the digital and analogue audio circuits are mounted on a single circuit board the company is at pains to point out that is in order to minimise signal path lengths – and each has its own respective ground plane to reduce interference and signal degradation. Simaudio claims its proprietary CD drive system comprises hardware and software developed in-house, while the DAC employed is a 24-bit/192kHz-capable Burr-Brown PCM1793 with 8x oversampling digital filter.
   The CD.5 sports an oversized display window with bold red legends that are wonderfully easy to read across a room. But it is quite bright (what a pity it can’t be dimmed – it can however be turned off via the handset). The disc loading tray operates in a satisfyingly smooth manner but is alarmingly flimsy. The accompanying CRM remote control handset is a modest plastic affair of generic design that operates Simaudio’s Moon amplifiers as well, using Philips’ RC-5 communication protocol. While uninspiring, its buttons are clearly labelled and have positive action.

Demonstrating a ‘cultured’ demeanour, the CD.5 sounded comfortable and refined in its recreation of The Helicon Ensemble’s performance of Vivaldi’s Sinfonia. Like the Densen B-440XS its tonal balance is noticeably on the warm side of neutral, but not so syrupy that it clouds detail. The recording’s acoustic space remained abundantly clear, with a deep and solid image.
   Patricia Barber’s ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ sounded particularly relaxed and luscious. I could almost smell the atmosphere of the recording, the sound of the brushes tickling the cymbals, and caressing the snare drum, appearing silky smooth. Bass delivery was also full-bodied and seemed well-controlled with this piece, the rich balance adding sonority to the sound of the piano, However the bass subsequently proved a little slow and bloated when delivering the shuddering ‘wallops’ in Pink Floyd’s ‘The Happiest Days Of Our Lives’.
   Listening to the ‘hot’ recording of Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ revealed further that the CD.5 is noticeably easy-on-the-ear, if a little lacking in incisiveness. The leading edges of the drum strokes were softened. Still, here’s a player with which you could listen to CDs for hours on end without any fatigue.

Download Lab Results Online Now!

Originally published in the July 2011 issue