First published on 2 Jan 2013. Updated on 23 Jan 2013.
If the House of Turntables has its way, there might just be a return to using turntables as the preferred method of listening to music at home. According to owner Kevin Pang, the local audiophile set has grown older, and HOT (as it reads on its signboard) hopes to bridge that age gap and introduce the warmer sound of analogue to more youths and young adults – HOT’s sell is primarily aimed at the young listener interested in gaining an appreciation for better sound quality of their favourite genres. It’s a concept that Pang bandied about over time with other industry brains and vinyl manufacturers before taking the plunge; even in this digital age, he’s not alone – global sales of vinyl records have been growing steadily, with acts like the Arctic Monkeys, The Replacements and Keane even releasing vinyl-only singles and EPs to help nudge the trend.
Located in the new annexe of Plaza Singapura, the HOT experience is designed to be approachable while offering the technical expertise one would find at hardware-heavy malls like The Adelphi or Sim Lim Tower. ‘Our new store aims to be the ultimate place for sound lovers to shop, learn and be inspired,’ says Pang.
Though we felt a little wary of walking into a store full of seemingly pricey turntables, HOT has made some efforts to reverse the intimidation factor. While a big wallet is still a basic prerequisite for top-notch sound (with turntables ranging from $550-$8,600), the store still looks inviting even for the novices.
Counters are arranged to mimic the tone arm and platter on a record player spanning across the shop floor, and walls are adorned with cover art from albums like Nirvana’s Nevermind, Foster the People’s Torches and even Adele’s 21. There are also listening stations that use the various turntable models set up around the store, and most of the boxes full of new and second-hand vinyl records in a wide variety of genres are there for customers to pick up and try out on the players.
For a recommended entry-level buy, Pang suggests the award-winning Austrian brand Pro-Ject’s belt-driven Essential turntable ($550), which comes in six attractive colours made with eco-friendly materials for the newbie hobbyist.
Staff are also trained to educate and advise on the various customisation options and the best speaker pairings (from $500 to a whopping $19,000) for your turntable. Pang makes an effort to mention that they’re also trained in his belief of ‘only buying what you need – getting the most expensive and high-end turntable may not be for all kinds of users.’ Vinyls start at $30 for the spruced up second-hand records that date back to the ’70s, which are sourced and shipped over from the United States twice a year, and from $40 for new records.
House of Turntables is at #04-65 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road (6884 4390, www.turntablesolutions.com). MRT: Dhoby Ghaut. Daily 10am-10pm.