Country of Origin


The Simon

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Sonnet Pasithea, Soundaware D30Ref SD card transport & USB bridge; Preamp: icOn 4Pro S w. hi/lo-pass filter; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio Lieutenant w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D-8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl SD-9 transport; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Simon Audio; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: anticipated at ~€7'000

Body parts. Has anyone walked across your spleen lately? Or are you a heel? My foot. A nose is a wine-tasting expert. Demand an arm and a leg? You're high maintenance; or perhaps just a good negotiator. If you foot the bill you're not stepping on any toes. Got lip? You're sassy or brassy. Should you knuckle under, you do as you're told. But you won't if you have cheek. Got some? Today's kit has. Perhaps even two. At least for now, it's called the Simon. We might say that it represents Simon's essence like Dapper Dan, d'Agostino's flagship still on the drawing board; or The Sven, Boenicke's new active speaker even he hasn't heard of yet.

Okay, let's rewind half a turn. Simon Lee, founder of Seoul's April Music now helming Simon Audio, loves AIO. Those aren't artificial intelligence officers but all-in-ones. He had a few for Aura Note shown left and right. Those sold in parallel to his April Music catalog. They were based on a British industrial designer's concept. They combined a top-loading CD transport with a tuner, USB DAC and integrated amp plus 6.3mm headphone jack. Under still SAG for Simon Audio Group—and an unfortunate meaning in English—he bowed the bigger AIO below. In today's lingo we call that a CD receiver with basic streaming functionality and headfi. Physical media remain important to Simon. He treats both CD and vinyl with proper respect. Likewise for FM radio, class AB output stages and stout metal enclosures of fine industrial design and finishing.

AIO was supposed to remain a project name but stuck as you can see with the model designator on its back. The Simon is likewise the in-house nick for the latest AIO. It might still change. I'd simply love if it didn't. The Simon. Not only has that a certain attitude like a well-deserved chip on the shoulder—hey, body parts— but it really does suggest the fullness of a man's vision when he names a component after himself. Should a marketing slickster insert before the due date, the name might be broken out into individual traits like Denafrips do. Give it a try. How about saying that this thing is Sexy, Intelligent, More, On and finally, Neat. It all adds up to Simon. Oy, I can see our man blush. He's quite conservative. But today is no formal review, just an advance notice of something coming down this pike later in the year. He'll have to put up with a bit of teasing. After all, we are teasing the Simon.

Having spotted the opening computer renders, here is one in the full metal jacket. "Built like a tank" Simon sez.

The business end shows all it can do.

Sundry display captures confirm it. BT is obviously Bluetooth, here in v5.0 dual mode specification The twinned binding posts can be used in A+B, A or B settings.

Of course Simon also does separates. Here we get a sideways glimpse at his D1 Reference DAC/pre…

… and an inside and back look below. There's also already a T1 Reference transport and the M1 monos.

"We've developed more than 12 new products over the last 4 years." How come we learn of this only now? Today's advance notice on the Simon attempts to make a dent in that.