Front Runners December 2015: Waxing Moon
The HiFiMan HE1000s and other high-quality headphones cannot perform at their intended levels when plugged directly into an iPod or a system with insufficient amplification or signal conversion. The Moon by Simaudio Neo 230HAD (simaudio.com) is a dedicated headphone amplifier, line-stage preamplifier, and digital-to-analog converter all in one, and it delivers premier-quality audio signals with extremely high levels of fidelity. The unit’s converter supports digital files with resolutions as large as 32 bits/384 kHz and studio-grade Direct Stream Digital files. Its amp function outputs 1 watt per channel into 50 ohms, which is sufficient for all but the power-hungriest of headphones. The component is priced at $1,500.