The Perfect Sound Vision Chinese magazine interviewed us for their forthcoming issue – Vol. 82 to be published in this quarter. Below is an advance transcript to be published.
The year was 2007, mid-August, Modular Audio (Singapore) was born but plunged straight into the 2008 financial crisis. Started by two passionate audiophiles turned entrepreneurs, Modular Audio, an analogue centric, 2-channel hi-fi specialty shop picked Amara Shopping Centre (Amara Hotel) as base. What happened next was a gruelling business lesson.
Martin Ng, one of the two managing partners recalls calmly now “we were like this little red dot story of Singapore when many people thought that we couldn’t make it”. Back then, nobody knew us, few trusted us, we have no backings and the most frequently asked question from walk-ins was -“Are you part-time?”
With the help of some friends and a bit of luck, they made it through the next two years but not without bruises. “Being small and nimble kept us focus and steadfast in doing what we do best and that is concentrating on the analogue market and by putting ourselves into customer’s shoes when selling systems”, says Oyster, the other managing partner of the business.
“Our vast experience and knowledge in all things related to LP playing certainly helped gained customer’s trust”, says Martin. Looking back, those were the years which saw vinyl coming back in a big way (and still going strong) and this was a crucial factor in ensuring new businesses. With some success as a reseller of Clearaudio and some others, Modular Audio brought in their own brands like Origin Live (UK), Amazon Audio (Germany), Ocellia (Canada) and Whest Audio (UK), riding the momentum.
Fast-forwarding to present day, Modular Audio has now become one of the de facto analogue specialists in the land, a must-visit for one’s analogue needs. It has added distributorship for brands like Rogue Audio (USA), Studio Connections (UK), S.E.A distributorship for Bergmann Audio (Denmark) and Whest Audio (UK) with AER (HK) just added to their arsenal. Besides offering a wide selection for every hi-fi budget, one couldn’t miss the regularly updated 800+ pieces of pre-owned LP titles. Especially interesting is what’s up on their “LP Wall” which features interesting and hard-to-find titles. “Good LP titles don’t come cheap”, according to Martin, as we understand from him that all pre-owned LPs are handpicked and then re-conditioned, from their regional LP sourcing trips.
To coincide with its recent lease renewal, Modular Audio is revamping its showroom at The Adelphi (Singapore’s Hi-Fi hub). As to why the need when the present showroom is not yet due for any major facelift, Oyster replies “We are reinvesting to keep our showroom fresh and giving our customer a renewed, shopping experience. Our showroom shall have a new layout giving emphasis to both our main system and the entry-level one”. From what we saw, this new layout promises to give customers, a new audition experience besides good sound, space and comfort.
It seems odd that in this Internet age where speed, convenience and low-price rules, brick and mortar shops like Modular Audio which champions the fine art of LP playing, not only survive but thrive. It is an undeniable fact that a well setup turntable system could beat a much dearer digital system but it takes a skilful, knowledgeable and experience analogue person to do so. This is where you would find a dedicated hi-fi dealer like Modular Audio would add great value and pleasure to your music enjoyment.