What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Sat, 11 Jul 2009, 6:00pm

Moon CD3.3

Tested at £2600
80100
4

The Moon CD3.3 is an entertaining player that works well across a wide range of music and systems

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For

  • An engaging sonic presentation
  • digital input
  • fine build and finish

Against

  • Not the last word in precision or punch

Moon has a great track record when it comes to producing quality hi-fi and the CD3.3 CD player doesn't let the side down.

This is a well-built, fine-sounding machine that delivers a wonderfully listenable sound for sensible money. For a little over two grand you have every right to expect impressive build, and that's what you get.

The CD3.3's casework feels as solid as you like and is finished to a high standard. But all isn't quite perfect. The supplied remote handset is poor: it looks cheap and feels cheaper. We also don't like the player's button layout.

Better ergonomics would help
Once the drawer is open you won't be able to see the close button unless the machine is sited above eye height – a little more thought into design and ergonomics would have been nice.

By CD player standards the feature count is good. There's a digital input, so provided your source has a coaxial output you can use the CD3.3's internal 24bit/192kHz DAC. It's well worth the effort.

If you're keen to have balanced analogue outputs you can have them as an optional extra for a £150 premium.

Used as a conventional integrated player, the CD3.3 performs well.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first. When it comes to leading edge definition and rhythmic precision we've heard better for less money (take a bow the £1100 Cyrus CD8se).

But just because there's better available doesn't mean the Moon is poor in these areas; it's not, and on its own terms we doubt whether anyone would highlight those areas as weaknesses. Accept that and it's all good news from there on.

A wonderfully listenable player
The CD 3.3 is a wonderfully listenable player. Like most Moon products we've heard, the balance between smoothness, refinement and entertainment is spot on. This is an enthusiastic-sounding machine that doesn't prove wearing over long listening sessions.

Much of this is down to a full-bodied tonal balance combined with well-behaved highs. We also like the way the CD 3.3 combines dynamics and agility within such an easy-going presentation – it's a balance that few rival machines strike so well.

It also means the Moon is less fussy about recording quality than most. Rival machines such as those from Cyrus and Bryston are far more picky about production quality.

If you have a wide and varied collection of discs this is something to be aware of. The same traits make the Moon a very easy player to system match.

The CD3.3 may not be the pinnacle of all-round performance at this price level, but it remains a serious contender all the same.

If you're on the lookout for a CD player that has a bit of warmth and no shortage of soul, you should certainly give this machine an audition.

 

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