To Randall Smith,

I have read and re-read your review of the Boulder Amplifiers 865 integrated amplifier and last week I was able to audition one connected to Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, a revelatory experience. I am looking to upgrade from my 27-year-old system (Tandberg 3012 integrated and KEF 102/3 speakers), possibly with my last major audio purchase. Since I live in the Hinterlands, hours from any credible audio store, I read as much as I can on the Web and then decide where I should travel to audition equipment. This will be a difficult challenge.

My question for you is: How do the Simaudio Moon 600i and 700i compare with the 865? The price point is the same in the case of the 700i. I'll never be able to hear them side-by-side or even through the same speakers, but I noticed that the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review of the 600i was very favorable. Also, are there any other amplifiers no higher than $12k which I should not overlook if I seek neutrality, transparency, and three-dimensionality?

Sincerely,
Michael Mathieu

I found the Boulder 865 to be a cleaner and more precise-sounding integrated versus the Simaudio 600i, which is also a fine unit. I haven't heard the 700i, so I can't really make that comparison. I found the 600i to cast a wider soundstage than the 865, but it wasn't quite as detailed. I also felt the 865 was more controlled in the high frequencies. If money is no issue, I would purchase the 865.

As for other power amplifiers that cost no higher than $12k, I have been extremely impressed by theĀ Coda Technologies 15.0. I have heard more texture and detail in music through this class-A amplifier than I have ever heard before. I am not sure you will be able to hear the 15.0, though, as Coda dealers are pretty rare. Living in a remote area away from good audio stores can really stifle your ability to expand your listening horizons.

Good luck with your search for your "last major audio purchase." . . . Randall Smith