Well, I’m back. My absence was due to a family trip, to Bangkok, London, Paris and Singapore. Got home this morning. Many interesting moments, although only some of relevance here.
Way back in 1972 my father was posted for a time in Singapore, back when it was still Third World, but up and coming fast. It was supposed to be a short posting, so the rest of us stayed here in Australia, but I took the opportunity to acquire my first stereo system. I researched the options available, and issued instructions, and my very limited funds from a part-time job, to him: I wanted a 10 watt per channel Kenwood amplifier. It seemed the best value for money.
He wrote back some weeks later that he’d bought me something else. Sucked in, I thought. The amp he’d bought was from a then unknown brand, Rotel. The RA-810 was rated at 40 watts per channel. I didn’t believe it, but later it was reviewed in Australian HI-FI (for which I write these days) and the tests revealed the specification to be conservative. It measured 55 watts per channel. That was incredibly powerful for those days.
Now, of course, Singapore is an economic powerhouse and nobody’s conception of Third World. I explored only a small part of Sim Lim Square, a huge mall full of electronics shops. Many computers, digital still and video cameras, and home entertainment shops. I soon noticed that home theatre receivers were much less expensive than here. All brands. For example, in one high quality shop — Alpha Audio — the Denon AVR-3805 (link to PDF) was priced at $SING1,450, which works out to $AUS1,208. RRP here: $2,499. Guess what. Buy a budget airfare, fly over, buy one, bring it back and you’ll still be ahead (although without warranty support). May have to pay 10% GST on entry, although you can get your 5% Singapore GST back at the airport.
Then all you have to do is change the power plug. Singapore runs on 230 volts.
I made only one significant purchase there: the NAD PP-2 phono preamplifier. $SING150, or $AUS125.