Listening #160 Sophia's Choices

Sidebar: Sophia's Choices

Sophia Singer's office system is built around a vintage Garrard 401 turntable with an SME 3009 tonearm, a Goldring cartridge ("I don't go for very expensive cartridges, because I'm paying to replace the stylus so often"), a "bog-standard" Rotel integrated amplifier, and Heybrook Helios loudspeakers ("I'm a great fan of buying used equipment"). In Singer's front room are a Nottingham Analog turntable (also with SME arm), AcousTech phono preamp, Classé preamplifier, Chord Electronics power amp ("My son had it, but then he moved to the States and couldn't get it adapted for the power over there—so I got a wonderful present!"), and floorstanding loudspeakers from Leema Acoustics. She cleans LPs on an older Keith Monks RCM, lovingly maintained by her assistant.—Art Dudley

monetschemist's picture

for this fine article. I hope that the used record trade can continue to "prosper" albeit in this new form.

volvic's picture

A few years ago I went for the very first time to Paris on my honeymoon. I was hoping by some miracle I would stumble on lots of record stores but only managed to fall on one CD only store. I didn't want to make my honeymoon a record hunting trip but I so wished I had known about La Dame Blanche and Crocojazz. If I can overcome my fear of flying I would love to go again. So enjoyed this article, fact this issue has been quite enjoyable and informative.

adrianwu's picture

I have been a customer of Ms. Singer for many years, and she is indeed an outstanding person. She is always honest and prompt, and many of my Decca and EMI LPs were bought from her.
There is another lady here in Hong Kong who owns a brick and mortar shop right in the Central Business district called Perceval Records. I started buying from her when I was a student back in the late 70s. I remember her holding her baby daughter in her arms, and the daughter now runs the shop. Like most Hong Kongers, they emigrated to Canada during the 90s and I remember feeling a great sense of sadness when I went past the shop, which became a noodle shop. And then one day, as if by magic, the shop reappeared in the same place ! They returned to Hong Kong and started selling records again. Mrs. Siu is a walking database of classical records. You can ask her about any classical record, and she will tell you the artists, the year, and sometimes even the tracks ! Absolutely amazing.
Another amazing place that is still in business is The Record Collector on Melrose in Los Angeles. Sandy Chase was a violinist with the LA Phil, I think, before his retirement. The shop is absolutely stacked top to bottom with LPs. There is no catalogue, as far as I could tell, but you can ask Mr. Chase anything, and he will go straight to a shelf and pull it out. It is like magic. I had heard he was rather haughty, and so I went to the shop in trepidation. A JBL Paragon was playing at the front. I approached Mr. Chase and asked him some questions. After some back and forth, he decided perhaps that I was worth his time, and we started chatting about music, violinists and conductors from the golden age (with anecdotes), sound recording etc. Towards the end, he would not let me leave ! It was quite an experience.