Moon by Simaudio Voice 22 loudspeaker

I'm picturing a gaggle of cigar-chomping Simaudio execs in an office discussing what to do about the fact that their high-end amplification lines have become so successful that their names have become synonymous with the company. "In the '90s, people thought our company was called Celeste," one floor-pacing exec says, speaking for everyone in the room. "Now they think we're called Moon! How do we fix this?" After much debate, a member shouts: "We add 'by Simaudio' at the end!" The execs hoot, holler, and slap the conference-room table—and thus is born Moon by Simaudio.

A fictional account? Sure, but, as they say in the movies, it's based on a true story. In fact, I intended it as a sort of parable, the message being that we humans always seek balance. The name "Moon by Simaudio" struck a balance, like a see-saw, the two brands pivoting on the word "by."

For those who remain confused about the naming: Simaudio is the company. Moon is a line of products produced by the company. When referring, eg, to the monoblock amplifier we recently reviewed, it's common to write, or say, "Simaudio Moon." That isn't wrong, but "Moon by Simaudio" does a better job of conveying the relationship between the two words, the company name and the name of the line of components.

Another example of the search for balance can be found in the company's decision to stray from its amplification roots into digital sources and enter the all-in-one product category with its ACE: just add speakers. The ACE then became the catalyst for yet another product. To quote the literature for the Moon Voice 22, "The ACE is a popular mid-priced product, and so many times we've been asked if speaker X-Y-Z would be a good match with it. Now, with the 22s, there can be no doubt about the match between speakers and the ACE, whether regarding sensitivity, impedance, or sonic presentation." It's a match—or balance—that earned the ACE/Voice 22 combination the EISA Award for High-End Audio System 2022–2023.

The Voice 22
The Voice 22 is smallish—7.9" (200mm) W, 13.8" (350mm) H, 11.4" (290mm) D. Look at it on a table or stand, and it appears weightless, floating about an inch off the surface. This is not due to any Moondust magic. It's an optical illusion attributable to the speaker's removable "hover" base, a tapered platform magnetically affixed to the speaker. On the underside of the base is Poron—a rubberlike material—which compresses under the weight of the speaker and isolates it mechanically, converting vibrational energy into heat. It also protects the surface under the speaker, keeping it safe from scratches while holding the speaker stably in place.

Like all speakers, though, the Voice 22 sounds best when positioned carefully on an appropriate stand. Moon supplies a stand made by Target Audio especially for the Voice, a steel one in a black powder-coat "Sandtex" finish ($400/pair). When the stand is used, the "hover" base is removed from the bottom of the speaker; some effort is required to pry it off. The top of the stand—also equipped with the damping material—extends up into an indention in the speaker base, forming perhaps the snuggest, most secure speaker/stand integration I've encountered.

The Voice uses a 1.14" (29mm) textile-dome tweeter with a large surround and a waveguide optimized for directivity; the waveguide allows the Voice 22 to cross over to the woofer at a lower-than-usual frequency, which is useful in a two-way. The tweeter employs a saturation-controlled motor system to reduce distortion and a "nonreflective" (footnote 1) rear chamber for improved dynamics. The long-throw woofer's 6.1" (155mm) cone is made of polypropylene that's mineral-filled to increase its stiffness-to-weight. It's equipped with a cast aluminum basket, a soft, low-damping rubber surround for good transient response, and a pole piece that's vented to reduce compression and coated in an extended copper sleeve for low inductance and distortion.

Why not a paper membrane? In one of our several conversations, Moon Product Director Dominique Poupart explained: "Paper works great, but we preferred to use polypropylene because it's a more stable material for various environments, especially humid ones, and quite simply for the sound we managed to get from it. It's a material with highly similar sonics to the textile material used for the tweeter. Achieving good integration of sound from the drivers depends not only on the crossover but also on the similarity of the sonic color of the respective drivers. For example, metal domes typically have a brighter, shinier sound—which you may or may not prefer, but it has a unique timbre. That means that even with the best-designed crossover and tweeter, if the timbre of the separate drivers is not alike, or at least similar enough, the loudspeaker will sound different in different frequency bands, which causes the reproduction to be unnatural, especially noticeable in a two-way loudspeaker. A real piano keeps the same timbre when playing its low notes or its high notes (footnote 2). A loudspeaker should behave the same way. For the Voice 22, we worked to make sure the two drivers were well matched in terms of sonic character."

At 1.5kHz, the Voice 22's crossover frequency is low for a two-way standmount equipped with a 6" woofer. Poupart: "There are several advantages to having a low crossover, especially dispersion-wise. A woofer, by its nature, starts to beam as its frequencies rise. In a lot of loudspeakers, where the crossover frequency is set higher, the woofer will start to beam before the crossover sends the signal to the tweeter, which has a much wider dispersion pattern. This causes a discontinuity in the sound and a global frequency response that'll vary off-axis. In the Voice 22—and this was a design goal—the off-axis dispersion is very good throughout the frequency range.

"Another advantage is [that] a tweeter produces lower distortion than a woofer. Having the tweeter playing lower in the midrange lowers the distortion in the upper midrange and gives the Voice great clarity and definition in that register. Not all tweeters can behave well in such a low frequency range, but we designed our tweeter so it could."

The crossover itself is assembled on a dual-layer PCB using metalized polypropylene film capacitors and air-core inductors. The speakers were designed in Canada but, in contrast to the company's electronics, which are built in Canada, the Voice 22 is built in Indonesia. Poupart said there was simply no way the company could achieve the 22's level of quality, especially when it came to the cabinet's construction and finish, at its intended selling price if it were made in North America.

And that's the catch for these speakers: the playing field. Competition in the 22's price range is fierce. Only one speaker, though, is intended as an ideal companion for the Moon by Simaudio ACE.

During my visit at Moon headquarters, a 30-minute car ride from where I live, Poupart showed me a section view of the cabinet's interior. The outside and inside bracing panels looked chalet-board thick and sturdy. A unique feature is the company's patent-pending CGD (Curved Groove Damping) technology—a squiggly snake-shaped groove, asymmetrical to the other groove, filled with a damping material, on the inside of each side panel. According to Poupart, "The path of the groove makes the lengths between edges different at any point on the surface, limiting panel resonance."

The Voice 22 is a bass-reflex speaker; its port is flared to avoid chuffing. "The aerodynamics of the port matter," Poupart said. "Air velocity can get quite high with bass, and a port without flared ends can create turbulence in the air flow at greater sound pressures." Their nominal impedance is specified at 6 ohms, its sensitivity at 89dB/2.83V at 1m.

The Voice 22 is available in black or white "piano" finishes.

Poupart told me the Voice 22 likes some juice to get going. The manual recommends driving them with a minimum of 50Wpc, but I heard no sign of congestion or clipping using them with my 37Wpc Grandinote Shinai with music played at normal-to-loudish volume. Still, Poupart wasn't blowing smoke. A word about which, later.

The Voices are designed to be positioned facing forward, not toed in, a setup that has always felt counterintuitive to me: If I'm talking to someone, I expect them to face me so that I can hear them better. But audio, thank its crafty little heart, isn't always so obvious.

Using my own trusty stands, provenance unknown, which placed the tweeters roughly 1.5" above ear level, I attempted both straight and angled positions and their subvariants—toward me, straight ahead, and in slivers of angular pie slices in between. Huh. The designers at Moon were right. The counterintuitive, straight-ahead toe-in (or lack of it) was better. The sound was clearer and more incisive that way, yet also bloomier and more open-air breathy.

The Moons seemed to offer a more stable image than other speakers I've tried at home that work best when toed in toward my ears. When I moved my head sideways to outside the sweet spot, with the speakers pointed forward, the image didn't collapse or shift excessively. The manual advises keeping the space between the speakers and surrounding walls to at least twice the dimensions of the cabinet. Position them too close to a wall, the manual cautions, and the bass could become bloated and sluggish. If that happens, advises the manual, insert the included port foams.

The manual was preaching to the choir when it boldly announced, and I'm paraphrasing, "Remove the grilles before you listen to these speakers! They will sound worse with them on!" You don't have to tell this sharp-witted guy twice after my KLH Three fiasco (footnote 3).

Footnote 1: Presumably, this means that the back wave from the driver is absorbed or diffused—a very common feature in loudspeakers.—Jim Austin

Footnote 2: This is true of very good real pianos—not all real pianos.—Jim Austin

Footnote 3: With the volume turned up, the KLH Three's grilles produced quite a racket.

Simaudio Ltd.
1345 Newton Rd.
Québec, J4B 5H2, Canada
(450) 449-2212

remlab's picture

..manufacturing facilities in Indonesia.

kafo's picture

Moon by Simaudio by SB Acoustics :)

John.c's picture

To address your opening to this article...
The brand is MOON. Always upper case (check out the logo on the front and back of the Voice 22)
The manufacturer is Simaudio
Hence, MOON by Simaudio. Pretty simple really!
Simaudio Moon has never existed
Hope this helps your readers readers in some small way.

John Atkinson's picture
John.c wrote:
The brand is MOON. Always upper case (check out the logo on the front and back of the Voice 22)

Noting that for the past 4 decades, Stereophile's style has been to reserve all-uppercase usage for actual acronyms.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor Stereophile

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

High-end audio companies seem on a never-ending quest to draw attention to themselves and their brands by capitalizing entire names or reserving capital letters for "incorrect" places. It grows tiresome. Stereophile's policy allows attention fall on the brands whose sound and technology deserves it, rather on the brands with most creative use of capital letters.

AaronGarrett's picture

Great music choices for your demo!

ok's picture

"moon by simaudio" as a single name? "simaudio" doesn't seem to make anything other than "moon" these days; or is it something like "cyrus" and "mission" of yore?

Anton's picture

He could actually fit them in the back of his Corvette by Chevrolet by General Motors.

We sat and listened while sipping Drangonstooth Stout by Elysian Brewing by Anheuser Busch Brewing by InBev.

JRT's picture

Anybody considering these should also consider and compare to the $2.2k/pair KEF R3 Meta 3way monitors.

KEF claims
87dB at 2.83V RMS at 1m
4 Ohm nom (3.2 min) impedance
<1.0% THD above 70Hz at 90dB at 1m
<0.5% THD above 90Hz at 90dB at 1m
110dB max

The 3way driver array includes a coaxial tweeter/midrange 12th generation "Uni-Q" comprised of a 25mm (1 in) aluminium dome tweeter crossed at 2.3kHz to a 125mm (5 in.) aluminium midrange. The coax is crossed at 420Hz to a 165mm (6.5 in.) woofer in a bass reflex alignment. KEF includes port plugs to convert that to sealed alignment.

That leaves $1k in the budget for a powered subwoofer. The SVS SB3000 is close to that price at $1.1k in black ash or $1.2k in gloss black. That uses a 13 inch woofer in sealed alignment with an 800W amplifier.

There are many other alternatives, and this is just one example.

avanti1960's picture

quality of the graphics? I kept looking for the "First printed on May 3rd 1993" caption.

buybye88's picture

Hello Robert,

I don't know how else to reach you except to post this.
The Graham Audio LS8/1 review I mentioned to you in April in now published. See here.

David Neice

rschryer's picture

...back from you, David.

I'll check it out for sure.

Thank you.