The Neo MiND is a remarkable performer, capable of extracting so much from the digital data it is presented. The usual digital complaints of a thin, flat, and undynamic sound that used to be fired at CD are now passed on to streaming. In fairness, in some systems, not without due justification because they are thin, flat, and undynamic. Here, however, the Neo MiND doesn’t just challenge that perception, it quashes it altogether. I found myself quickly dispensing with the test recordings and the audiophile-approved list, and spending many hours in the company of Bob Dylan. Desire[Columbia] is one of my favourites from the 1970s, but the sound stands or falls on the quality of the orchestration of ‘Hurricane’ (one of his few protest songs of the decade). Far from the thin, undynamic, lacklustre, and distant sound commonly associated with streamed Dylan of this period, the Moon Neo MiND feeds a DAC a more articulate, full-bodied, musically and temporally accurate signal that is also extremely dynamic. The net result is an extraordinarily listenable digital feed, akin to that of a really good CD transport.
The comparison in sound quality between the Uniti Core direct to the Wadia, and through the Neo MiND was fascinating. Notionally at least, I expected the two to either sound the same (implying transparency on the Moon’s part) or to hear the Naim sound better (by virtue of less devices between music and DAC). In fact, the sound of the Neo MiND was markedly better than the Uniti Core in this respect. The on-board BNC link of the Naim sounded listless and shut in by comparison. Granted these differences were relatively subtle, there was no stamping of feet or swearing, but the Moon eclipsed (see what I did there?) the Uniti Core just enough to be noticeable.
The Neo MiND sits in a product category that was effectively invented by Moon, and the company remains damn good at it, with a fine balance of cost and performance that other brands tip in their own direction: you want ultimate performance… go with the dCS Bridge and pay two and a half times as much as the Neo MiND. Or, you want ultimate value… go with the Arcam rPlay (review in the pipeline) that doesn’t reach the same heights, but costs one-quarter the price of the Moon device. The Moon Neo MiND dominates the optimum balance position, and does so beautifully.
The Moon Neo MiND UPnP renderer/ streamer does its job so well, you sometimes wonder if you are being subtly influenced to like it through MiND control. It slots into practically any system with a DAC with ease and brings what could easily be dismissed as a ‘legacy’ system bang up to date. The chances are, if you are exploring this kind of upgrade, the Neo MiND might be your first Moon product, but once you’ve played with it for even the shortest time, you’ll realise it won’t be your last. Outstanding and highly recommended.
Type: UPnP Renderer with CRM-3 remote
Inputs: 100Base-T RJ45 Ethernet interface, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi interface and Bluetooth (aptX)
Digital outputs: SPDIF, TosLink & AES/EBU
Network protocols: DLNA 1.5 Compatibility, Online content from TuneIn and other “Music Services”, Local Playlists, Gapless Playback, Silent track scanning
Supported file formats: Wave, FLAC, FLAC HD, AIF, AAC, ALAC, MP3 (vbr/cbr), WMA-9 ,OGG Vorbis, up to 24-bit/192kHz
Dimensions (W×H×D): 17.8 ×7.6 ×28cm
Manufactured by: Moon by Simaudio Ltd
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Tel: +44 (0)131 555 3922