Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

In the first variant, for example, the amplifier has enough power and current to piss off even patient acoustics with a complex character. With the second option, everything is much more complicated, since it most often goes hand in hand with the taste preferences of the listener: such experiments do not end with a technical report, but with a banal “like or dislike”. But both of these points of view are inseparable and are always considered together if the task is to choose a stereo system. 

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

Of course, dodgy marketers could not lose sight of this dualism. At their apogee, they came to the fact that some brands began to join forces, creating strictly defined multi-brand systems - I must say, many of them turned out to be really successful. Other companies have taken a different path, setting up their own production of both components and acoustic systems.

The arguments here are more weighty, since a single technical base allows you to really coordinate the components according to both criteria described above. The only moment that no one can curb is the very different taste preferences of listeners, which is simply pointless to fight. But if you can’t fight, you need to lead.

Simaudio: Moon

In this chapter, according to the canons, we must go through the history of the brand, the founders, and the main chips with the ideas that lie at the source. Of course, this should not be neglected, since the solution to the ideas of today is often hidden somewhere deep in history. It would be possible to designate the main, most breakthrough products in different years, but the Canadian company Simaudio has accumulated a lot of them since 1980.

These were all outstanding amplifiers and other components that always teetered on the highest frontiers of Hi-Fi and won over the public with their new industry outlook and signature sound. Then, just before the turn of the millennium, Simaudio took a timeout that they said was entirely dedicated to developing new products. You can take their word for it because as soon as one century replaced another, they presented not just a new line, but almost a whole sub-brand, whose name is Moon. It all started with a power amplifier and an integrated circuit, and the subsequent history is not so far away as not to remember the continuation. 

At the same time, Moon remained true to the heart of Simaudio, and sound ideology, and design remained practically unchanged. Of course, small corrections were made here and there, but the concept remained very similar. The only thing missing from Simaudio to complete the image of a serious player in the hi-fi arena was the acoustics of its own production.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

And yes, the Canadians chose this path of development, although they were well aware of the situation and probably knew which speakers their amplifiers recommended listening to. Nothing prevented them from arranging a high-profile collaboration with some other well-known brand, but the ideology still prevailed.

While heated discussions were going on behind the scenes about the company's future speakers, the era of streaming was gaining momentum in the world of audio. Simaudio did not stand aside and introduced Moon Ace, an all-in-one component, the network part of which runs on a second-generation platform of its own design called MIND (Moon Intelligent Network Device). It was he who became both the starting point and the support for matching the Moon Voice 22 shelf speakers. After all, there is nothing better than a high-end combine supported by shelf speakers with a common DNA.

Moon by Simaudio: Ace

The head of the system: an amplifier, it is also a streamer, it is also, if necessary, a DAC, a preamplifier, a power amplifier, a headphone amplifier, and a phono stage. Ascetically cute, just at the level not to be boring. The inflated elements on the sides of the front panel can hardly be called the peak of design decisions, but in general, they do not cause any negative.

In the center there is a small, not color, but surprisingly informative display, the messages of which are hardly visible even from a couple of meters away. By and large, it would be possible to do without it at all, but then we would be left without information about the volume level, which is displayed here in decibels, in half steps. And if you want to dig into the settings, the display also sometimes helps out. In the end, it can be turned off if required. The rest of the place here is occupied by small buttons, on which the most basic functionality is rendered. Naturally, all this is duplicated on the control panel.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

There is a lot of ventilation on the case: one would assume that we are expecting some kind of exorbitant power indicators, but Ace was not initially positioned as the most powerful multimedia combine - 50 W at 8 Ohms in the AB class. He obviously has other tasks, which we will certainly describe a little later. In the meantime, let's take a look at the rear panel - there is something to see.

The all-in-one status puts forward certain criteria for a component, and the first glance from the back makes it clear: this is exactly it. The three analog inputs have some variability: the MM phono stage always remains by itself, the second RCA does not change either, and the first can be reconfigured so that the Moon Ace signal goes around the preamp. The output from the pre, which is also the output for one or a pair of subwoofers, is also a certain variability.

There are seven different ways the Ace can receive a digital signal: coax, optical, USB B, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2. In principle, this is normal practice for such devices. But here, too, variability lurks, since the MIND streaming platform is able to work both as an independent component control point using a smartphone application, and as an access point for UPnP / DLNA, Roon, Tidal Connect (MQA) and Spotify Connect. Bluetooth is implemented at the Aptx HD level, and this is quite enough, given the previous functionality.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

In general, the entire network infrastructure is implemented quite competently. The Moon Mind Controller application is quite simple to use, only a couple of functions in it are implemented not quite as usual. But after a few minutes of use, you get used to it, so we will not focus on this. The important thing here is that the application works adequately, without crashes and freezes, with a clear architecture, which takes very little time to master.

A couple of terminals for acoustics and trigger connectors with a control bus remained for a snack - so there will be work for integrators here.

Moon by Simaudio: Voice 22

Completely new, completely fresh, and long-awaited - reports from Munich 2022 will not let you lie. Perhaps someone was waiting for some extraordinary acoustics in a futuristic design from Simaudio - if such expectations took place, then these people obviously do not know Canadians well. The Voice 22 is an extension of the brand's elegance, with a simple, clean design backed up by a fair amount of tech.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review: "Moon" in all its glory

Of the main interesting points, we can single out a bass-reflex cabinet made of MDF, the side walls of which have wavy asymmetric recesses on the inside. They are filled with a damping elastic mass, which, according to engineers, successfully fights internal resonances. This technology got its name - Curved Groove Damping (CGD), and even a patent for it has already been registered. Everything is serious! At least Dominique Poupart (Project Manager Simaudio Moon Voice) in no interview could hide his delight when it came to this development.

The silk dome of the tweeter has a diameter of 29 mm, and the driver itself is set deep enough in the waveguide. This technique made it possible to combine the acoustic centers of the tweeter and woofer - experiments in the anechoic chamber of the Canadian National Research Council were not in vain. It is also curious that the crossover frequency between the drivers is unusually low, at 1.5 kHz. A rather risky undertaking, since not every tweeter is able to digest such a load. But the Canadians probably knew what they were getting into: in this topic, the first pancake is either perfect, or it’s not worth approaching the oven at all.

Woofer - 155 mm in diameter, with a cast aluminum basket, reinforced polypropylene cone and a fairly wide elastic suspension. From this, you usually expect serious amplitudes, which are accompanied by the corresponding bass rumbles. But the passport data promises us 45 Hz, which is quite standard for bookshelves of this size. 

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

The case comes in two colors - black and white, both are varnished. There are no complaints about the quality of the finish, everything is done at the highest level. The highlight here is the bottom panel, which is equipped with its own vibration decoupling. This is a separate structural element, which is made of aluminum and microporous polyurethane, and gives the Voice 22 an interesting visual illusion: they even got a nickname on the net - “floating bookshelves”. 

Otherwise, everything is according to the classical canons: a rear phase inverter, a pair of terminals, and at first glance it is difficult to say that we have new high-class shelf speakers from a well-known brand. The only thing is that the “Moon” inscription on the front panel gives a hint that something interesting is about to begin.

something interesting

Today is the case when you don’t have to describe the system - everything is clear anyway. The only unclear hitherto moment is at what stage of technical and humanitarian consistency the tested stereo system is.

Let's start with something simple, in the spirit of the old piano - the track "In a Notebook" performed by Goldmund. From the first seconds of the composition, the piano seems to hang in the air in the manner of a densely transparent cast in old films. The effect is obvious, impressive, and alarming: what will happen next?

A little less simple, but interesting live from Doc & Merle Watson, in the style of romantic country - "Miss The Mississippi And You". Here a lot falls into place and it becomes clear why these bookshelves got the name Voice: vocals are transmitted absolutely transparent and at the same time dense, rich, with the right balance of Doc's slightly nasal voice.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review

At peak moments, when Doc takes it high, there is no tension, all the same lightness and complete naturalness. Although raising the volume, I expected the effect of "squinting my eyes" from such a manner of acoustics. After all, this is a typical phenomenon for human physiology: if speakers pay close attention to vocals at low volume, then with increasing decibels, this effect turns almost into a defect. It is not pleasing that the voice of your favorite performer begins to “cut” at high volume.

It turns out that the Moon Voice 22 are not typical shelf speakers at all, and their mannerism, although initially, gives reason for comparison with something similar, in fact, lies somewhere deeper. They are completely devoid of such an effect! So much for technical and humanitarian coherence.

The life sounded exceptionally good, with an obvious presence effect. This also applies to the general atmosphere that the microphone managed to record, and the slightest fluctuations in the voice, and the alternation of the distances of the vocalist from the microphone. The uniqueness here is that this micro-contrast is completely natural. So much so that it's not just nice to hear - it's nice to watch.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review: "Moon" in all its glory

At this stage, there may be concerns about the remaining bands, because most often such attention to one of them does not pass without harming other frequencies.

An example here is "Shadow Journal" performed by Max Richter. Usually, if the acoustics are limited in the bass range, this track becomes simply uninteresting. Hoping for the 45 Hz promised by the manufacturer (albeit at -6 dB), I am waiting for the key moment. Yes, there was no bass revolution, but the way Voice 22 under the control of Ace presented this track deserves a separate test.

Mids are still amazing - it's hard to find another word. The bass part echoes them with natural micro-contrasts and, contrary to expectations, still sounds interesting thanks to the competent design of the phase inverter. Competent - because low parts are indicated by density and attack, the operation of the phase inverter is absolutely inaudible. This character of the bass is more likely to be inherent in acoustics in a closed box - this was exactly the first association.

No grandiosity or attempts to make the bass bigger than you would expect from a cabinet of this size. The only thing worth making a footnote to is approximately 40 m² of the area of ​​​​the room in which the test took place. Obviously, in smaller locations, genres that need fat in the bass part will sound more interesting due to the help of room mods, and the same Korn will sparkle with new colors. But even here, in space, there was something to be surprised at: the effect of presence in such genres is slightly scary, and the bass did well in terms of punch and texture sharpness.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review: "Moon" in all its glory

High frequencies are also not left out. Their character as a whole echoes the style of the acoustics, repeating the micro-contrast, easily drawing the perspective of any depth, and tearing the sound away from the speakers. Here again, we have to resort to the word "naturalness" - otherwise it is difficult to call such a character. Do not "shout", do not dominate, and do not draw too much attention to yourself. They are perceived as an integral whole with the rest of the ranges in any genre, inextricably following the trends for success. 

And one more track, a special one - it looks like it was in the media library waiting for this particular system: Eleonore Oppenheim - "La Isla Magica". What is happening in the track is unreal, but it does not feel like that - the Moon system revived everything and gave charm, smoothness, sharpness, and unity. Like a skilled Canadian chef who cooked a long-known dish in his own way. And this cooking option turned out to be one of the most interesting that I had a chance to try.

Results

The system is a holiday, the system is an ocean, the system is a fresh breeze. Nothing similar has been tested in recent years, which gives one more reason to raise the Moon system in the list of Wishlist to places close to the first.

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Review: "Moon" in all its glory

Everything that not only audiophiles but also music lovers are talking about can be imputed to this system: the ability to show music in detail, at the same time to present it whole, balanced, with underlined elegance. Moreover, this elegance is akin to naturalness - it is difficult to characterize it in direct terms when it is given by nature. But an experienced eye unmistakably distinguishes this aspect from others.

The system is the atmosphere: it inevitably gives rise to the beautiful tuning fork inside the listener to raise the beat a step higher and penetrate even deeper into the music and into the very process of listening. By presenting Voice 22, Simaudio Moon has revealed all the cards: now we can observe the "Moon" in all its glory, and not just the side that has been facing us all these years.

Pros

Moon Ace: sound; connection variability; convenient app Moon Mind Controller; build quality

Moon Voice 22: sound; implementation of a phase inverter; "floating" design thanks to the integrated support; finish quality

Cons

Moon Ace: small power output; no HDMI ARC connector; glossy remote control quickly and inevitably collects fingerprints; 

Moon Voice 22: no flaws identified.

OFFICIAL SITE

Moon Ace, Moon Voice 22

Moon Ace and Voice 22 stereo Specifications

Moon Ace:

Output power: 50W (8 ohms), 85W (4 ohms)

Analog inputs: 2xRCA, Phono (MM), 3.5mm

Analog outputs: RCA (pre-out/sub), 6.3 mm

Digital inputs: USB B, 2xSPDIFl, 2xToslink, Ethernet, Wi-Fi

DAC Chip: ESS9010K2M

Supported formats: PCM 32-bit/384 kHz; DSD256 

Frequency response: 10Hz - 80kHz (+0/-3dB)

Dimensions: 42.9 x 8.9 x 36.6 cm

Weight (with packaging): 11 kg

Moon Voice 22:

Type: bookshelf speakers

Acoustic design: phase inverter

HF driver: 29 mm soft textile dome with waveguide

Bass driver: 155 mm, die-cast aluminum basket, mineral-filled polypropylene cone

Sensitivity: 89dB/2.83V/1m

Rated impedance: 6 ohm 

Recommended Amplifier Power: 50W - 150W 

Frequency range: 45 Hz - 30 kHz (-6 dB)

Crossover Frequency: 1.5KHz 

Dimensions: 20cm x 35cm x 29cm 

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