Are you passionate about music?

Are you passionate about music and desire a unique personal listening experience, yet don’t have the urge to build a “full blown” music system? Are you searching for the perfect desktop solution for a computer based audio system? Do you already own a high-performance music system and have a craving to listen to headphones without making a compromise? What if you already have a MOON system, then this can be the control center for a secondary system. Or do you simply want to get maximum performance from your reasonably efficient, unbalanced headphones? The possibilities are endless…


The 230HAD Headphone Amplifier is more than capable of doing those tasks, whatever your needs may be. Based heavily on the reference 430HA headphone amp,the 230HAD features a DSD256/32-bit PCM capable Digital to-Analog converter (DAC) that can be used with virtually any digital source such as computer, satellite TV receiver or Blu-Ray player, and offering the same fidelity as your main music system.

exceptional “price to performance” ratio

Ultimately, the 230HAD Headphone Amplifier fills an immense void in the current headphone marketplace, especially when considering its exceptional “price to performance” ratio. Today music lovers need a flexible high quality DAC, capable of both DSD and hi-res PCM. This multi-function product is more about affordable high-performance than minor features.

hand-crafted in Canada

A headphone amplifier, a DAC and a line-stage preamplifier all housed in one very stylish package. What else could you possibly ask for? And did we mention that the Nēo 230HAD is hand-crafted in Canada and comes with a 10 year warranty?

Design features
  • Inputs include 1 single-ended on rear-mounted RCA’s and 1 single-ended on 1/8” jack located on the front panel.
  • Outputs include a ¼” TRS headphone jack, as well as both fixed and variable single-ended line-level RCA stereo pairs.
  • Fully asynchronous DAC with four (4) digital inputs (S/PDIF x 2, TosLink x 1 & USB x 1) allowing for use with virtually any digital source; Supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 (USB input only); Supports PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz (all inputs) and 32-bit/384kHz (USB input only).
  • Pure analog amplifier using a transconductance circuit.
  • An oversized power supply using 1 toroidal transformer in conjunction with 8 stages of DC voltage regulatio



  • Output power per channel @ 600 / 300 / 50Ω
    100mW / 200mW / 1W
  • Headphone Impedance
    20 – 600Ω
  • Frequency Response (audible)
    20Hz – 20kHz ±0.1dB
  • Frequency Response (full range)
    5Hz – 100kHz +0/-3dB
  • THD @ 1kHz, 0dBFS (A-weighted)
  • Intermodulation distortion
  • Signal-to-noise Ratio
  • Crosstalk
  • Input / Output impedance
    22KΩ / 1.25Ω
  • Shipping weight
    6.2 lb / 2.8 kg
  • Dimensions (width x height x depth)
    7.0 x 3.0 x 11.0 in


In terms of overall voicing the 230HAD and 430HAD are very similar, though my instinct is that the 230HAD is perhaps every so slightly warmer sounding and thus just a bit more forgiving when it comes time to play less than ideal recordings (especially ones with a characteristically bright sound). Bass capabilities of the two amps are likewise similar (within the power output constraints of the 230HAD), though when push comes to shove the 430HAD offers perhaps a touch more grip and pitch definition, plus ‘bottomless pit’ reserves of low-end power. In contrast, the low end of the 230HAD consistently sounds energetic, with great pace and drive, but with the constraint that—when pushing very low sensitivity headphones—the 230HAD could potentially reach a point where it might run out of steam. (This never actually happened with the relatively high-sensitivity reference headphones I had on hand, but with low sensitivity headphones such as the Abyss AB-1266 or HiFiMAN’s new Edition 6, I suspect it could be a problem).

All in all, the 230HAD fulfils its mission brilliantly. It is a highly accomplished headphone amp/preamp/DAC that conveys much of the overall sound and feel of Moon by Simaudio’s flagship 430HAD, but for a fraction of the price. For those who want a big taste of what top-tier headphone amp/DACs are all about, yet without paying a full on, top-tier price, the 230HAD is worthy of serious consideration.                                                  READ MORE