For those who want the best, and can afford to have it, the latest in hi-fi equipment has to be high on the list. Even when it comes with a price tag of £125,000.
For that you get an amplifier that will not only reproduce high quality sound, it will provide the equivalent experience of attending a live rock concert.
John Carroll has been selling top of the range audio equipment for 35 years from his base in Edinburgh and says the latest gear – which made its public bow at a presentation in Leith – is the Ferrari of the hi-fi world.
The Moon 888 amplifier, the number reflecting its enormous wattage, comes as a pair of boxes, each the size of a coffee table, and together weighing 300 lbs.
They are made in Canada by SimAudio and the output has to be compared with a normal hi-fi producing 20 to 30 watts.
“It is like being at a rock concert, without the distortion of a live performance,” says Carroll.
The amp was given its first public blast in the generally more genteel surroundings of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Vaults with enough volume to make the collection of bottles shake, rattle and roll.
The manufacturer also turns up the marketing, describing its new baby as “prodigious in power output” and “unrelenting in its musical accuracy”.
It says the 888 “isn’t just another monoblock amplifier; it’s a statement,” adding that the “ineffable clarity unleashes musical detail that was – until now – considered unattainable.”
Costa Koulisakis, consumer experience vice president at SimAudio, flew over for the launch and to demonstrate the Moon amp’s capabilities.
After its debut in Leith it will be on show at a big audio exhibition in Munich before going on sale to the public.
So who would buy such outlandishly expensive kit?
“Of course you would need reasonably deep pockets,” says Carroll, with the sort of understatement that could only come from someone who has become accustomed to dealing with customers able to afford such luxuries.
He predicts about 20 to 30 of the Moon amps will be sold this year around the world. His Newhaven-based Renaissance Audio, which is relocating to Commercial Quay in Leith, is the UK distributor and he is confident that there will be plenty of buyers.
“We have a customer coming up from London, others in Berwick upon Tweed and Aberfoyle. There is a lot of money in Edinburgh.”
He says 45% are repeat customers, trading up to get the latest equipment to hit the market and enjoying the pleasure of exclusivity as well as the sound quality.
“Whether it’s watches, cars, or guitars, manufacturers always sell more top end products than they expect. Very wealthy people usually want the very best of everything.”