But the 860A v2s turned their most impressive trick with the diminutive Raidho TD-1.2s. Big amps and little speakers is an old story in audio circles, but this was the most successful pairing I’ve enjoyed since the ARC M300s fell in with the Electa Amators! The MOON’s weight, presence colour and scale seemed to graft effortlessly onto the Raidho’s dynamic discrimination and rhythmic articulation, the speaker’s subtlety and resolution delivering just the structural skeleton that the amps’ meat and two veg demand. Playing the recent Orfeo Sibelius Violin Concerto, where the stereo amp tended to highlight Baiba Skride’s more dramatic and flamboyant aspects, the mono amps brought forth not just her virtuosity but the soul and depth in the playing, the scale of the acoustic and the power at the bottom end in the orchestral climaxes, a natural extension of rather than extruded from the speakers. This was an object lesson in just how much you can coax from a small set of speakers – if you give them the right encouragement.
MOON’s 860A v2 is an exciting and versatile beast, but it also stands apart. On the one hand, it cannot match – even in mono mode – the unforced clarity and lucid communication of an amp like CH Precision’s M1.1. On the other, it doesn’t cost nearly as much. What it does offer is the sort of sheer presence, musical momentum and colour that has become increasingly rare amongst the current generation of solid-state amps – and which works spectacularly well with many of today’s loudspeakers. It might (sensibly) sacrifice ultimate transparency and resolution on the alter of the musical whole, but in one sense it stands astride, with one musical foot in the past and the other equally firmly in the versatile, adaptable future. If the majority of remotely affordable, silicon-based designs have got too clean, too tight and too up themselves, this MOON quietly offers a welcome antidote. The fact that it’s practical, reliable and versatile too is a generous layer of icing on what is, by any measure, a pretty tasty and seriously substantial cake.
Type: Dual mono, user bridgeable, solid-state amplifier
Inputs: 1 pr single-ended RCA
1 pr balanced XLR
Outputs: 1 pr 5-way binding posts/channel
DC Coupling: User switchable
Rated Output: 225W/Ch (8 Ohms); 450W/Ch (4 Ohms); 750W/Ch (8 Ohms bridged)
Input Sensitivity: 1.2V
Input Impedance: 47.5kOhms
S/N Ratio: 110dB/full power output
Dimensions (W×H×D): 476 × 192 × 445mm
Shipping Weight: 40kg
Finishes: Black, Silver, Black/Silver
UK Distributor: Renaissance Audio
Tel: +44 (0) 131 555 3922