Friends and customers often want us to recommend high performance gear that works into a real world budget and a real world home. They are willing to invest enough to expect something of genuine quality, but there’s not an open checkbook. Yet all the expectations of performance and features are still there.
In that spirit, we’re going to take a look at the MOON Neo ACE All-in-One Music Player.
The ACE is one of a growing group of single box solutions from genuinely high-end manufacturers. Simaudio’s MOON Neo and Evolution series products have garnered awards at every price level and product category, so it’s interesting to see what they can do in a single box…
Hefty construction and trickle-down technology
One of the first things you’ll notice is the sheer heft of the product. Though simple in appearance the entire chassis, case work and face plate are aluminum. This not only helps shed heat, but has no magnetic properties and therefore causes no interference with the electronics inside. This is a solidly built piece of gear, it offers genuine pride of ownership for its construction alone
The MOON ACE follows MOON’s basic philosophy of using as much as they can (parts and design) from their best pieces.
So with the MOON ACE, you don’t just get a Network Music Player, you get the actual award winning MOON Mind. This same device is used in their top systems. The MiND is your link to your on-line music library. It comes from the factory complete with Tidal (the award-winning streaming music service) on board.
High performance for digital and analog
All of your digital sources run through MOON’s on-board DAC. The included DAC decodes whatever the MiND can serve up to it. The ACE also accepts up to 32/384 and DSD 256 through 8 digital inputs (USB, SPDIF, Optical, Qualcomm Aptx Blutooth, Wifi, and Ethernet). Hard to imagine a digital source you can’t hook up.
For those of you with an analog side there are several single-ended inputs. One of which is a moving magnet phono pre-amplifier. The MOON components are famous for their phono pre-amplifiers and this one does not disappoint.
Once you’ve selected your musical source the ACE has plenty of power to drive all but the most demanding speakers to a satisfactory level. MOON is famous for their custom transformers and output devices, so the 50 WPC from the ACE is more than just a number. The current to drive your speakers is there.
There is no doubt when you hear it, this is a MOON product. And that means musical performance. Whatever source you choose, you will hear the forest and the trees. You’ll hear the voices of individual instruments and the rich harmony of the ensemble. Your feet will dance to the clear, powerful, tuneful bass.
One-box solution is more efficient
As you can see, if the MiND, pre-amp, power-amp and phono pre-amp were in separate boxes… that’s a lot of boxes. Which would mean lots of expensive cables (interconnects and power cords can add up)… Which also means more expensive shelves… Right? Hook up the ACE and you’re done.
If MOON’s goal was to provide “high performance gear that works into a real world budget and real world home,” we’d say they have just about done it.
To top it off, should you choose to upgrade, MOON offers a trade up program where you’d get all or most of what you paid for your ACE when you trade up in the MOON range. Ask your salesperson for details.