We all want to live in the music, and experience it like it was meant to be heard. Fortunately, here at Moon Audio we have all the necessary tools for the audiophile toolbox. DACs, amps, turntables, DAPs - everything you need to listen to your music the way the recording engineer intended it to be heard, and more importantly, the way you want to listen to it.
There are critical items every music connoisseur needs in their high-fidelity sound system. Digital-to-analog converters help make sure your digital music is processed effectively to an analog signal. Amplifiers power your speakers or headphones so that your music can be listened to optimally. There are many things to consider when making sure your music is sounding its very best. The wonderful thing about the various gear in this section is that you can tailor your system to how you want to listen to your music. Do you travel frequently and like to take your music with you? Do you like to listen to your music in the comfort and privacy of your own home? We got you. We can help you create a personalized audiophile system, because your system should reflect you and the music you love.
These are the top 10 audio gear categories every audiophile needs in their music listening arsenal:
DACs, or Digital to Analog converters, are an essential part of your audiophile setup. They help process your digital music more effectively and efficiently. Most of your electronic devices have built in DACs already, but in the case of a device like your smartphone, it might be able to do a thousand things decently, but not any one thing well. That is why external or standalone DACs will always sound better than the factory or stock internal options on most consumer devices.
DACs fortunately come in many shapes and sizes. Portable variations are smaller than their desktop counterparts, but can provide great performance and either run off an internal battery or USB power supply if connected to a computer or device. Chord Electronics is a very popular brand that specializes in both portable and desktop digital-to-analog converters. The Chord Mojo is one of the best and most versatile portable DACs, and it’s been a top seller since 2018. iBasso is another great brand that makes portable DACs.
There are a number of brands that make some remarkable desktop DAC units. Like the already mentioned Chord Electronics, Matrix Audio and Bricasti Design make some great DACs that we recommend for home audio listening. For more technical information on how digital-to-analog converters work, head over to our “What Is A DAC” page.
DAPs, or Digital Audio Players, are devices that are capable of playing higher-resolution music and various file formats than more consumer-based devices like smartphones and iPods. Popular brands such as Astell&Kern, Sony, and iBasso are high-end brands that make DAPs and include quality digital to analog converters and built-in headphone amplifiers. DAPscome in a number of shapes, sizes and price ranges. Looking to up your game on portable high-resolution music? Look no further.
Music players are a popular choice for audiophiles that like music “on the go” or for portable listening while traveling. Unlike iPods or iPhones, they are able to play various file formats and high-resolution music, and most contain a high-end digital-to-analog converter (sometimes two!) and an amplifier. This combination makes it the perfect companion for the traveling audiophile.
There are some larger DAP options like Astell&Kern’s KANN Cube that include a 5-pin mini-XLR output, which makes it adaptable for home system use. There are a number of recommended DAP brands at Moon Audio: iBasso, Sony and Astell&Kern all have great music players for every budget.
Digital audio players can also come in desktop variants with streaming capabilities. Matrix Audio and the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge make great desktop players that are smaller in form factor. A popular option is to get a digital player that can also stream music from your favorite smartphone music streaming app via remote play; hence a music streamer. Roon integration also allows you to simultaneously access your personal music collection, via attached or internal storage, or accessed through a NAS, compiling a super music library for your listening pleasure. Larger devices that are fitting for the home audio room streamer come from Bryston and Aurender, both great recommendations for their features and functionality.
For more technical information on digital audio players, check out our page “What is a DAP?”
Without an amplifier, your speakers and headphones could not produce sound. So needless to say, it’s a pretty important part of the audiophile equation. Like the plethora of headphone and speaker options on the market, so too are there just as many variations of amplifiers. Amplifiers can be designed specifically for headphones, or built for speakers; some variations even come in all-in-one chassis bundled with a DAC, streaming functionality and more. If you have specific questions on compatibility, feel free to get in touch with our support team HERE.
Amplifiers come in many different shapes and sizes. Portable, desktop, tube, single-ended, balanced: the variations are about as numerous as the stars it seems. Each amplifier also has its own distinct sonic properties that will affect your music, making it warmer, more defined, etc. You can also find units that combine elements like the digital-to-analog converter and amplifier together under one chassis. Varying input and output connections make amplifiers a versatile but necessary item in your system, providing the necessary juice to power your favorite headphones or speakers. It is important to know how much power your speakers or headphones are rated, to know if a particular amplifiers specifications are compatible. Too little power will have poor sonic response and your music will sound less than desirable. Too much power and you could damage your speakers or headphones if used improperly. Finding the right amplifier can make a night and day difference for your high-fidelity system.
Popular portable amplifiers that we recommend are the Chord Mojo, Shure SHA900 and the Astell&Kern SP1000 AMP. Great options for desktop amps include the Chord Hugo TT 2, Dragon Inspire IHA-1 Tube Headphone Amp, and the MyTek Brooklyn Amp.
Materials matter. Some would argue that speakers are the life and soul of a sound system. The lungs that breath; the voice that sings your music. Finding the right speakers for your sound system is a critical component as any, and there are a plethora of options to choose from. Driver types also vary from the more common dynamic drivers to more power-hungry and exotic-looking planar magnetic drivers. The overall sizes and number of drivers per speaker can vary, along with their respective prices. Driver technology and circuitry design have come a long way, and one thing in particular to keep in mind when choosing the right speaker for your setup are the materials used. For instance, Focal uses Beryllium in many of their tweeter designs, lending a transparent and dynamic sound. Materials affect the overall sound signature, so be sure to ask our Moon Audio support team if you have any questions about speakers and how they’ll match up with the rest of your system.
Focal, MK Sound and Bryston have a great range and variety of speakers for all sound situations. Whether you are looking for a pair of desktop speakers, floor speakers, or a full-blown home theater system, Moon Audio has everything you need to find the right speaker for your system.
Streaming media players are becoming more and more popular. As more music collections are becoming digitalized, music lovers are choosing to get streaming devices to consolidate their libraries to access them remotely. The convenience and ease of flipping through your phone to select your music can’t be overstated enough, and to further be able to access your music streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz is just icing on the cake.
Streaming is the latest trend today. Why fill gigabytes upon gigabytes of storage with your music collection when you can take 50 million songs with you via an online streaming library? The other option is setting up your library via a wireless streamer for your home system, allowing you to access your library remotely via an endpoint like Roon. Most streaming media players today allow you to access both your personal library and online subscription services together as one large media library if you have software allowing you to do so. Streaming technology today and overall quality has come a long way, and the emergence of high-resolution audio via paid subscription service and the accessibility of extremely large music libraries will only grow the need and demand for streaming devices in the audiophile world.
Like everything else in the Audio Gear section, music streaming devices also come in a large variety of features and functionality. Devices like the Bryston BDP-3 or Aurender N100H are desktop music players with ethernet and USB ports, allowing you to access your music via local internal or external storage, or NAS. Devices like the Chord Poly connect directly to the Chord Mojo DAC and allow you to stream via bluetooth your high-resolution music collection or other music streaming services. The Matrix Audio Element X is one of our most popular all-in-one devices; including streaming functionality, an amp, DAC and much more. Be assured that if you want to access a digital music file remotely, there is a streaming device that can do it.
It can be argued that vinyl never really went away. Despite making a perceived “comeback” in recent years, the emergence of analog audio sources in general have been a large part of the discussion in audiophilia. There’s a timeless appreciation that goes along with turntables now; a sort of ancient and pure technology that requires some amount of reverence and respect. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know how to put a record down on the platter and place the tone-arm on top to playback your music. Yet for younger generations it might also be looked at as too much effort, when you can simply swipe and tap on your phone’s screen. However you look at it, it is a polarizing medium; a lost art that is fortunately having a resurgence.
Audiophiles have “perfected” this lost art. Turntables today still employ the same mechanics, but with the latest and greatest technology the world has to offer, clarity and fidelity are arguably unmatched compared to the tech of the past. Music Hall has a selection of popular turntables that use a lot of this new technology. Music Hall has developed a cohesive and logical range of turntables. All are designed to extract a musical and satisfying presentation from that fabulous medium we call vinyl. From the least expensive to the flagship, all of Music Hall turntables deliver incredible sound and value. All are fitted with expensive cartridges from Music Hall or Goldring. If you’re looking for an audiophile-grade turntable, then look no further.
A preamplifier is an often forgotten part of the audio system equation, mostly because many products (especially all-in-ones) include them. A preamplifier is an electronic amplifier that converts a weak electrical signal into an output signal strong enough to be noise-tolerant and strong enough for further processing, or for sending to a power amplifier and a loudspeaker or headphone. If an analog signal is not strong enough, then other elements in the line, such as noise and interference can be accentuated and impact the overall fidelity of the audio. This can be especially bad when listening at low volume levels. A preamplifier is also a switch for all of your sources. Some preamps have analog only inputs and some have built in DACs for digital inputs as well.
Preamps can exist as standalone units or be included in a combo unit like the Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2, which is actually an all digital input preamp. Most audiophile-grade preamps like this keep an extremely low signal-to-noise ratio, to maximize overall audio fidelity and quality. The Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, for instance, is primarily a reference USB DAC, but it is also a line and phono analog preamplifier with a reference Balanced headphone amplifier. It integrates digital and vinyl hi-res playback for reference listening on Headphones and via Preamp outputs; teamed up with the Brooklyn Amp will provide reference caliber sound for your speakers.
The Dragon Inspire IHA-1 Tube Headphone Amp can actually be used as a preamp in some cases. We started offering a Preamp output option. We never thought about using the amp as a Preamp until we released the new Dragon Inspire QMB-25 Mono Block Amplifiers as seen here. Just to experiment we used it with the amps and were blown away. Thus we added output RCAs and a switch to mute the headphone amp when switching over to use as a Preamp. All are placed on the back of the unit.
Feel free toget in touch with our support team if you have any further questions about preamps or any questions regarding compatibility with your system.
Power conditioners are certainly not a part that should be overlooked in any high-fidelity audio system. A power conditioner (also known as a line conditioner or power line conditioner) is a device intended to improve the quality of the power that is delivered to electrical load equipment. Conditioners specifically work to smooth the sinusoidal A.C. waveform and maintain a constant voltage over varying loads. One word: Protection.
The Bryston BIT15 Power Conditioner has been designed as a complete power isolation unit which is ideal for protecting your equipment while smoothing out the current running through your home theatre and home audio system. The BIT15 provides true isolation, along with low source impedance, and large enough instantaneous current for today’s most sophisticated and powerful audio amplifiers.
Something as simple as a power strip will also offer a substantial amount of protection over plugging your devices directly into the wall outlet. For a power strip with some of the filtration of the Bryston, consider the Furutech e-TP80. Some offer only the highest grade of distribution with less filtering for unrestricted power and a way to add more outlets to your power conditioner like Cardas. Cardas makes a really solid unit called the Nautilus. The Nautilus is the Cardas approach to pure power distribution. Its elegant design is centered around premium, custom designed connectors. Point-to-Point wiring with heavy gauge, Ultra Pure solid core copper conductors. Passive RFI/EMI protection on every outlet, the same filters found on our flagship power cables. 3D printed wire guides ensure the uniformity of each coil. Capable of delivering clean, high current to all six outlets. An attractive case echoes design features from the original Cardas Golden 6A power strip. This power strip is perfect for anyone who wants their entire system connected to one high-quality device.
We can’t overstate enough the importance of protecting your investment. It’s almost as much if not more important than your gear itself.
Do It Yourself. If you have the know-how, we have the supplies you need; everything you need to get started on your next audiophile or audio project.
Creating your own cable or switching out connectors, this section is for our more experienced and skilled audiophiles. With an assortment of products, be sure you can get what you want here. Are you looking for a specific adapter? We got em’. Looking for cabling? We got em’. Replacement or upgraded tubes? Got em’.
It’s like being a kid in an audiophile candy shop.
Accessories are often thought about as after-thoughts. However, in the world of audiophilia, accessories can protect, expand or even enhance your investments.
Protect Your Investment
You just spent a lot of money on your new gear. It’s pretty, it’s clean, and you want to keep it that way. A protective leather case for your new DAP or rugged travel case for your headphones is a worthwhile consideration, because you want your gear to last and stay looking like new. You know what they say: if you take care of your things they will take care of you.
Enhance Your Investment
Sometimes your gear can be improved. Whether you want a better headband for your Audeze LCD series headphone, improved isolated feet for your floor speakers, or upgrade the factory tubes in your existing headphone amplifier, adjustments can be made to enhance your overall experience and to get even more out of your investment.
Expand Your Investment
After products are released, manufacturers occasionally create additional compatible products that expand on the functionality of the original. The Astell&Kern AK CD-Ripper MKII allows users to rip CDs directly to their DAP without the need for a PC or transfer process. In the same vein, the Bryston BOT-1 adds an optical drive to your BDP-1 or BDP-2 and allows you to not only playback CD audio, but rip directly to local storage as well. The Bryston MR2 Remote includes special function codes which increase performance for Bryston units. Get even more tricks up your music investment’s sleeve.
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