June 4, 2013

Better sounding Clover

IMG_8203

This is going to be a long post. I’ve been thinking for a long time about sound in our restaurants and I’m going to bring you up to date.

At HSQ we spent something like $13k on the sound system, and I just wasn’t that happy with the result. The Sonos is a pain for everybody, but more than that it just didn’t sound right.

At HUB we spent more, something like $16k, tried different speakers. Still didn’t sound right to me.

So I started thinking about 2 years ago about how we could tackle this issue. What’s wrong with our music? I have a theory, and I don’t know if I’m right, it’s just a theory:

What if the issue with the sound is that it’s spread out and distributed? This is what audio installers aim for in an installation, that the music sounds the same wherever you sit. So you use many speakers and spread them out everywhere. Then you adjust each speaker aiming for a uniform sound. We have excellent equipments and very professional installations. They’ve done a terrific job at achieving this same-sound-everywhere goal.

But what if this approach is wrong? How are we built to listen to music? I started thinking about everything that sounds great and it all comes from one place. I think this idea of sound that is the same everywhere might be misled. It’s just not how we’re built to hear stuff. And maybe that’s why it sounds wrong to me. Not technically wrong, but just not natural. The sound field is too spread out, it loses its natural feeling.

So what do we do for Burlington? Brookline? Kendall Square?

I had this idea, what if I got one large speaker and put it at one side of the restaurant. It wouldn’t produce an even sound field, but maybe that’s better. You could sit closer to the music if you wanted to hear louder music, further if you wanted quieter. I thought we might be able to get self-amplified speakers which would greatly simplify our set-up. I was eying old Klipsch speakers, you know those La Scala IIs? I asked Michael to look at other horns.

And then I thought of Genelec. These guys provide the monitors used in sounds studios/ radio stations/ etc. They are based in Finland but the US distribution is in Needham. Michael got in touch with them and they came out for a demo the other day.

We didn’t know how this idea would work, one speaker at the back. Would it work?

When we turned it on for the demo I started walking away from the speaker to hear what it would sound like across the length of the store. So I don’t think anybody could see the enormous smile that erupted. I’m so happy. It felt so good. I think we’re going to mothball our systems at HUB and HSQ and retro-fit with the new system. Which will not be hard because it’s just a single speaker.

Recent Posts

May 14, 2024
About a year and a half ago, at an open-to-the-public food development meeting at Clover, we blind taste-tested a new plant-based pulled pork. This wasn’t a totally new thing for us to do—as a company with a climate mission, we tend to get a lot of samples of plant-based everything, and we love trying all of them. We’ve tried mycelium-based mushroom meats, wheat-and-soy nuggets, and burgers made from kelp. One bite in, and it was clear this pulled pork was special.
May 8, 2024
Squeaky paneer, mint cilantro chutney, chaat, and our first-ever collab with a local chef. Remember when Pushpir came into the kitchen and schooled us on Northern Indian food? That was 2013. A different CloverHSQ than the one you visit today (back then we were at 7 Holyoke St, across the street from where Kevin and his team now serve you). I still remember the smell of the cilantro, mint, jalapeños, and orange juice Pushpir was blending in the Vitamix. We hadn’t smelled that exact combo before…
April 16, 2024
This week has been a flurry of preparations as we kick off the 2024 food truck season. We did an event at Tufts over the weekend, in a few days we’ll be selling breakfast and lunch at a conference at the Media Lab at MIT, and this weekend we’ll be pulling up to a private party with sandwiches and appetizers.
March 27, 2024
Every year, just after Valentine’s Day, we start getting the same question in from customers: Will there be a Passover Box this year? Sometimes the pleas are more direct, sometimes more colorful. The glories of the vegetarian Chopped Liver are a common theme. This year, Sarah, an NYC-based friend of mine said she’s spent so much time thinking about the emails describing last year’s box that she’s DRIVING UP TO BOSTON to claim one!
February 15, 2024
We have a new sandwich out everywhere today. It’s a take on a Buffalo Chicken sandwich. We use celery root, aka celeriac, this nobbly, gnarled joy of a winter vegetable. We cut it into planks, batter it with panko, and fry it. We’re getting ours from Norwich Meadows Farm, a farm in NY state that’s known for creating really flavorful organic veggies using a cool irrigation system. 
February 7, 2024
For the week of Valentine’s Day, we’ll be delivering these Making Whoopie (Pie) Kits 😉. They have everything you need to make whoopie pies — more specifically, Chris’ favorite oatmeal cakes with beet buttercream frosting. You’ll also get a scoop for making the perfect size pie, and a roll of sugar cookie dough for more sweet fun.
January 18, 2024
Pull out your plaid and cue up the bagpipes because it’s Clover’s third-ever celebration of Burns Night, an introduction to Scottish food/drink/music/poetry and a reason to raise a glass during this dark and cold month! You may be asking yourself, what is Burns Night?
January 17, 2024
Chances are you’ve tried the new Clover Bowls. We’ve been running them since the Spring. After a few tweaks, we landed on a roster we love: the Mediterranean Bowl, the Verde Rice and Bean Bowl, and a Rotating Seasonal Bowl. The bowls have transformed our menu – Josh, a Kendall customer, recently wrote to us, “The beet poke bowl is the best new item I’ve tried at Clover in years. I love the freshness and bite of the mix of flavors.” We’ve also heard some very good suggestions about how to make them even better…
January 3, 2024
Meet the Veggie Monster Meal Box! Some of you are subscribers to our Friday newsletter about plant-based cooking. Now… that newsletter has spawned a meal box! Pack your fridge with everything you need to make an entire week of vegetable-based meals. Think hearty pot pies; sweet and spicy maple-roasted squash tacos; bowls packed with…
December 20, 2023
New Year’s Eve is no time to be buried in the kitchen, so we pack our NYE Box with Clover fan favorites that come together fast and encourage a night of Finger-Food Feasting. Can you think of anything better than digging into bubbling hot Brussels Sprout Cheese dip on a freezing cold Boston night? Or scooping up our bright nutty Romesco sauce as the clock ticks to midnight?  And our breakthrough Carrot Lox (probably the best thing to come out of our food dev in 2023) will have you resolving to spare more salmon in the year ahead.
December 19, 2023
Stop by Clover today (Tuesday 12/19) and when you order a Brussels Sandwich on the app, we’ll give you $1 off our new chocolate chip cookie! It’s a gift from King Brussels, on his final day in the Clover Kingdom. Use this link to get yours!
December 16, 2023
Are you looking for the perfect gift for a friend who loves Clover? We have online gift cards! You can specify a time that you’d like the card to hit their inbox – and there’s a new feature that lets multiple people pool money to send a card to one person. Pretty cool!