When a high-end company decides to come downmarket it can all end in tears. Either their engineering principles are diluted to achieve the lower price-point, or the product is uncompetitive because the brand has no experience at that price level. Thankfully, Moon's new CD player side-steps these issues totally.
Until now the company's entry-level products have always hovered around the two grand mark. The introduction of the 1-series – the CD player under test and a matching amp – drops the price of entry to half that, with very little compromise in performance.
Bring on the next act
The CD-1 might lack a little refinement compared to its pricier relatives, but in many ways its more outgoing character and sheer exuberance make it an even more attractive buy. This is a bold-sounding player that searches out the drama in every bit of music.
It's fast, too, making the most of Radiohead's In Rainbows set and delivering rhythms with a sure-footed touch even the likes of Naim and Cyrus would find hard to beat. We also like the CD-1's midrange: it's fluid, articulate and full-bodied. Listen to something vocal-based – Alicia Keys' As I Am is a good example – and the Moon never short-changes on communication or emotional impact.
Solid – apart from that tray
Flaws? The lows are powerful and fast, but could be a little tauter. And, while build is impressive for the money, the impression is tarnished by one of the flimsiest-feeling disc drawers we've seen.
The summary is easy. The CD-1 brings the Moon sound to a lower price level with little compromise in performance. The class leaders have a new rival to worry about...