On a blue Monday, pun intended, we receive a substantial box from the Dutch MOON distributer More Music. We know what’s inside and can’t wait to cut the tape and place the integrated amplifier it contains on our rack. We’ve had an amplifier from the MOON family for a while ourselves and are eager to see how good this updated “entry-level” sounds. Although we should immediately nuance the term entry-level because this amplifier is not budget gear at all. In fact, for many of you this will be an end-game amplifier. And you won’t regret it because, spoiler alert, the Simaudio MOON 250i v2 is a great integrated amplifier. Let’s check it out!
When we see the MOON 250i v2 next to our much more expensive 600i v2, the similarities are especially striking. Same color palette (two-tone), same looks, same design. But, of course, there are also quite a few differences.
The most striking is the difference in size. Although the 250i v2 has full dimensions (429x89x 366mm), it almost fits twice in our hefty 600i v2. Still, it is a beautiful unit with a recognizable look that Simaudio has been swearing by for a while. And it has to be said: that two-tone finish is really special and gives their amplifiers that extra edge.
You can also opt for an all-black or silver version but why would you do that? The MOON 250i v2 does not have those shiny aluminum panels like on the more expensive models, but it is still very well done.
At the front you have the beautiful volume knob. It’s is a pleasure to use and we find the light embedded in it particularly useful. That so-called knob-feel may be a detail, but it is an essential part of the experience of a piece of hi-fi.
The remote control looks good and has a lot of buttons but we would have liked the volume buttons to be a bit larger. Also, controlling the volume could have been a bit more sophisticated. It is not easy to make small volume changes with the remote control.
Next to the volume knob are two small buttons. One to mute the speakers to listen only to headphones. And one to mute the sound. Below is an old-skool MP3 input and a 6.3 mm headphone jack. At the left side on the face panel you can select the inputs (aux, CD, dac, TV, phono, MP3). That totals to six single-ended rca inputs with a fine phono stage on this updated version.
V of innovation
At the back you’ll find the connections for those analog inputs. There’s also a pre-out for those who want to add a power amp later on or for those who want to connect a subwoofer.
Via SimLink, you can have multiple MOON devices boot up at the same time. Of course there are the speaker connections and the connection for the power cord.
The MOON 250i v2 is an analog, integrated amplifier that delivers 2×50 watts in Class A/B into 8 Ohms. This power doubles nicely to 2×100 watts into 4 Ohms indicating a particularly stable power supply.
Inside, you can see the large toroidal transformer through the ventilation holes. The first 5 watts are in Class A but the amplifier, like our 600i v2, never really gets hot. The cooling fins on the side and the holes at the top take care of that.
MOON chooses to offer a basic integrated amplifier without dac, display, streaming or bluetooth. But with a focus on the amplification itself. Within a reasonable budget, they are trying to build the best sounding amplifier possible with the 250i v2. New semi-conductors in the circuit and the fully shielded power supply are two major changes on its predecessor. The redesigned output stage is another important modification. Lastly, the cabinet has now been made completely vibration-free, which again makes a difference. All these small changes make quite a big difference. But as always, the “proof of the pudding is in the eating”. Or at least in the listening…!