If you’re a listener who favors lushness and warmth in your presentation, note that the 310LP’s tonal balance and presentation hews to the more neutral, perhaps even a tad to the cooler side of the spectrum. I’m splitting hairs here but on the Sinatra disc there was no added warmth to his baritone (or silk to orchestral strings on that recording or the Mahler First). This is more observation than criticism, as in this regard each reader must choose his or her own preference.
One area where the Simaudio clearly excels is bottom-end power and weight. Bowed basses in the Mahler first were thick and powerful, while percussion had terrific physicality and impact. Which of course also came across throughout Jack White’s Blunderbuss [Third Man], reviewed in this issue, or with a chestnut like The Who’s Tommy [Classic Records/Track], where Keith Moon’s kit was conveyed with both weight and dexterity.
Should you like what you hear with the 310LP as a solo player, wait until you add the optional 320S power supply.
Sharing an identical chassis, the $1400 320S takes all the good things heard with the 310LP, and raises the musical bar by more than just a little. As with, say, the addition of one of Naim Audio’s power-supply upgrades, what you’re essentially getting is a whole new component. The 320S not only brings 35,200uF of capacitance to the table, but also far greater levels of power-supply regulation and filtering. Indeed, Simaudio claims that the 320S lowers the noise level of the DC supply to an eye-popping -150dB. But before installation one needs to do some minor surgery by removing a pair of jumpers inside the 310LP. At that point the 320S is wired in via a 1 meter umbilical, and you’re ready to go. At the risk of waxing too rhapsodic, let me say that if your initial budget can’t quite handle both of these units at once, start up a fund for the 320S right away—heck, this might even be an innovative way to use the Internet business-funding site Kickstarter—because it takes everything I’ve already stated about the 310LP up several notches. The already low noise floor is reduced, not in ways, perhaps, where you actually hear less noise, but in ways that make you notice more inner details and turns of phrase, greater depth, and more precise spatial relationships. The stage opens up further, in both width and depth; bass becomes that much more detailed and authoritative; and, yes, if you prefer more warmth, silkiness, and richness, these, too, are benefits heard with the 320S.
Finally, it is worth noting that Simaudio continues to manufacture all of its components in-house, and that these units come with a 10-year warranty. For those who choose to purchase the 310LP either separately or with the 320S power supply, that decade will bring a lot of musical pleasure. Perhaps then it will be time for an upgrade.
SPECS & PRICING
Gain: 40dB, 54dB, 60dB, 66dB (add 6dB for balanced outputs)
Impedance loading: 10 ohms, 100 ohms, 470 ohms, 1k ohms, 47.5k ohms
Capacitance loading: 0, 100, and 470pF
Outputs: RCA, XLR (balanced)
Dimensions: 7.5" x 3.2" x 11.3"
Weight: 7 lbs.
320S Power Supply
Dimensions: 7.5" x 3.2" x 11.3"
Weight: 8 lbs.
2002 Ridge Road
Champlain, New York 12919
TW-Acustic Raven One turntable; Tri-Planar Ultimate VII ‘arm; Benz Gullwing and Transfiguration Phoenix moving-coil cartridges; Rega P3-24 and RP3 turntables and Rega Elys 2 moving-magnet cartridge; Sutherland 20/20 phonostage; Cary Audio SLP 05 linestage preamplifier; T&A A1560 power amplifier; Magnepan 1.7 l and Electrocompaniet PSB1 loudspeakers; Tara Labs Zero interconnects, Omega speaker cables, The One power cords, and BP-10 Power Screen; Finite Elemente Spider equipment racks