All Those Years Ago – Back To 1992

Since the posting of We Remember Joe Lee article, I received several positive feedback from readers/customers and I thank you all. One particular young audiophile surprised me by painstakingly digging The Straits Times archives (microfilm) in our library to relive The Adelphi scene of 20 years ago.  Here’s a Big thank you to M.T, for your sources and resources to make this article possible.

Back then, the classified ads in The Straits Times were probably the only information center, we, audiophiles got our regular fixes. Every Saturday, we combed through all the latest and greatest gadgetries available locally, the buy/sell columns etc regardless of our hi-fi allegiance or camp. 

To share with all what was contained in this audiophile time capsule,  we set the clock back to 1992-3 period and do some time traveling. I’ve selected a handful of  noteworthy ads and copied snippets of the original here. Certain personal information are masked out for fear of freaking out the advertiser should you decide to contact him now.

SAFE Superstore Sells High-End Speakers
[9 Jan 1993] SAFE Superstore at 601 Sims Drive was promoting weekly for pair ofSoundwave speakers Soundwave speakers. Taking up quite a large ad space,  with quotations from Robert Kreisler, President, New York Audio Society, April 1990 as “THE MOST ACCURATE…”. This speaker was incidentally reviewed by Robert Greene of TAS back in issue 97 August 1994.

LPs Going For A Song
CDs were in fashion then and CD ads easily outnumbered LPs. There were pockets of new HQ 180g Sheffield Labs releases and the Japanese pressings “Girl At Her Volcano” was promoted as “one-track-sold” recording by Hi-Fi Corner. Here were some interesting finds:

[16 Jan 1993] 250 pieces of old LP records. All to go at $280. View: Blk 407 Fajar Road #10-XX S.2367. Tel: 7630xxx
[1 Aug 1992] Orig. Beatles LP set with yellow parlophone & Apple labels. Also whole Still Dreamingsingles set – 52 pcs. Offers tel: 5619XXX

[18 Jul, 1992] 2000 LP Records. Selling at $2.00 each. Blk 223 Bt. Batok East Ave 3, #12-XX. 10-5pm. Sat & Sun.

Hi-Fi Show At High-End Hilton Hotel
Some of us may remember our old Hi-Fi Show was held at Ming Court Hotel (now known as Orchard Parade Hotel) but I didn’t know this…

[17 Oct 1992] High-End Exhibition/Seminar ’92. Date: Oct 24 to 26. Venue: 5th level, Boardroom 3, Hilton International, 581 Orchard Road, Singapore 0923.

Admission was at a pricey $15 (editor: no free CD?) but it promised 24 exhibitors with 29 exhibits occupying 2 floors with over 100 product brands. Featuring brands like Artemis Systems, Forsell, Copland, VPI, Audio Research, Hales etc.

Furthermore, 3 days of audio seminars by distinguished high-end manufacturers (in 2 rooms) were scheduled with 12 hot topics.  A dozen high-end manufacturers in person would be attending including the maker of the world’s most expensive loudspeaker.

Brands That Are No Longer
For old-timers, you would have noticed a few of the defunct old brands just mentioned. Besides that, Sonic Frontiers, Sumo amps and Duntech speakers were buzzing for Pan-Pacific Sound Equipment at #03-54; Sonata Audio-Visual labeled the NRG Model PA-1 as the World’s Most Accurate Preamp.

Chiang Huat Co. Pte Ltd was a CD distributor ($15 for Narada label) and Sembawang Music Centre was still located at Sembawang Shopping Centre. Gramophone’s brick-and-mortar CD Shop was situated at B1-18 Raffles MRT Station.

Vinyl was mainly sold by Musicbox at #03-56 and we found this ad:
[26 Sep 92] LPs Collector: New shipment of audiophile LP: ATR, Klavier, Opus 3, Water Lily etc. are now in stock at #03-56, The Adelphi, Musicbox 3342XXX.

Hi-Fi Corner
Last but not least, who could miss the weekly, mostly long ads placed by Hi-Fi Corner (late Joe Lee)? He was the darling of CDs/Cassettes/Records/Hi-Fi section of the classified. He drummed up lots of interest in audiophiles with his monologue writing.

I didn’t know Hi-Fi Corner was selling some vinyl too as evident here:

[10 Oct 92] Sheffield Lab LPs of new press in 180 grams High Quality now offer more choices including Track Record (Lab 20) … We understand LP collectors like you already have full range of Sheffield Lab, but this super analog pressing is claimed “The New State of the Art”. Besides, price is so much cheaper than those of old press! Hi-Fi Corner, #03-32 The Adelphi. Tel: 3389XXX.

Finally, I’ll leave you with these 2 ads (excerpts) by Joe dated 9 Jan 93:
Happy New Year folks! We wish you all a very prosperous year, earn more money and buy more CDs from us. Thank You!

During 1992 we sold many super CDs to you. Here we would like to list out THE BEST (in terms of sales and content). Check see whether you have all:

Best Vocal: We are caught between Mary Black’s ‘A Woman’s Heart’ (Dara) and Hugo’s 24 Gold “Yellow Children”. In terms of recording, Hugo is far superior! However, Mary Black is very much popular. Since its launch in October we sold over 1,000 pcs. Hard to beat! ….

A week later in the 16 Jan 92 ad, Joe continued…

A: “I totally disagree with their last week’s ranking of The Best! First vocal, how can they miss Carol Kidd? Pick any of her albums such as ‘Nice Work!’, ‘The Night We Called It A Day’ or the latest ‘I’m Glad We Met’ are all better than ‘A Woman’s Heart’! Her voice is just so touching, really melt my heart.”

In the concluding paragraphs:

C: “You should read their ad carefully, what they mean ‘The Best’ is actually ‘The Best Selling’! If you dsagree so much why read their ad every week?”

D: “Because all our CDs are bought from them! How can we miss their ad?”

Yes, how could one miss Hi-Fi Corner’s weekly column? Pure joy even now.


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