We try out the Moon 888 hi-fi amplifier from Simaudio

A photograph of the Moon 888

Many people have pondered over what might be achievable when technical excellence, uninhibited imagination and unlimited funds come together. Opportunities for that to happen are rare, results that justify it even more so. Tipped hats, a bubbly toast, a 21-gun salute and a mighty “Wow!” then, to highly respected Canadian hi-fi ninjas Simaudio for having had the wherewithall – and the balls – to put their money where their vision was and produce the Moon 888: an object of desire that stakes a loud claim to be, in Carlsberg parlance, probably the best hi-fi amplifier in the world. “Get the best components on the planet, spend whatever it takes” said the suits. “Oooh!” said the white lab coats.

There’s no space here for the tech stuff, so if you dream about capacitors and waveforms and stuff then head over to the Simaudio website. What there is space for is to tell you that the Moon 888 is rated at 888 watts, weighs about the same as a small elephant, looks purposeful, eye-catching and delightfully dangerous, and has innards that Starship Enterprise engineer Scotty would want to marry. And the sound? Well, to these ears it sounds amazing, whether it’s delivering hard-hitting heavy metal, spiky punk, lush melodic rock, a featherlight sonata or anything in between. Most importantly, it does a very simple-sounding but phenomenally difficult task – the audio world’s holy grail – superlatively well: putting out exactly what you put in; as with the best health foods, nothing is added, nothing taken away. And in terms of output power, it’ll pin a tank against the wall.

Of course, a system of any kind is only as good as its weakest link, so if your aspirations are high enough and your pockets deep enough (you lucky people) to take a pair of Moon 888s home, they’ll need to be deep enough for you to also take home equally reassuringly expensive speakers and other necessaries; a quarter of a million earth pounds should ensure you’re not selling the Moon short.

RRP £125,000 a pair. More information at www.simaudio.com

The Best Of The Best

Cream were the most super of all supergroups

When it comes to creating something from the very best components around, the band that did it first was Cream (pictured) in 1966, forming what was the very first, and definitive, supergroup. Many so-called supergroups have come and gone since then (Blind Faith, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Asia, Transatlantic, Chickenfoot, the Dead Weather…), but there’s a strong argument that Cream – drummer Ginger Baker, guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce – was the only one where each of the musicians involved really was the very best in their field.

A rock band with pop sensibilities in the studio, an outrageously capable improvisational jazz trio playing live, Cream lasted just three years before they imploded in 1968, leaving behind some classic albums. More importantly, they inspired so many others by showing what is possible when imagination, desire and supreme talent come together.

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Paul Henderson

Classic Rock’s production editor for the past 22 years, ‘resting’ bass player Paul has been writing for magazines and newspapers, mainly about music, since the mid-80s, contributing to titles including Q, The Times, Music Week, Prog, Billboard, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and International Musician. He has also written questions for several BBC TV quiz shows. Of the many people he’s interviewed, his favourite interviewee is former Led Zep manager Peter Grant. If you ever want to talk the night away about Ginger Baker, in particular the sound of his drums (“That fourteen-inch Leedy snare, man!”, etc, etc), he’s your man.