June 4, 2013

Better sounding Clover



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

January 26, 2023
The Pizza Friday Box gave us an idea: calzones! Ayr has been making these at his house and texting us photos. They’re big and saucy and so good. Basically a stuffed pizza/turnover situation with origins in 17th century Naples.
January 13, 2023
Thanks all who joined for the first public food dev meeting after Covid. Phil did a great job pulling it all together. If you’re a customer, farmer, vendor (or Clover staff member) reading this, you are invited to Food Dev! These happen Thursday afternoons at the HUB and they’re where all new food ideas are born. Just make sure to sign up – spots are limited.
January 5, 2023
House-made carrot lox, hearty vegetable stews with bread and pickles, Tunisian breakfast bowls, a pizza party kit, and a dream of snow, all in one box. Our Snowed In Box is back. This was Greg’s idea back in 2020. He thought it would be cool to make a box that was equally whether eaten after snowboarding or cozied up on the couch watching a movie.
December 21, 2022
We’ve been getting a lot of requests for the ability to gift a friend Clover Meal Boxes. After a lot of late night tech sessions, we have a way to do this! Yay! I’ve been looking and seeing a few of you have started to discover this feature and are starting to gift away. So cool to see.
December 16, 2022
If you’re a weekly meal box subscriber, you may have noticed way fewer plastic containers in your deliveries recently.When we started the program, we were in the pandemic, new to this whole home delivery thing, and a big concern was making sure that nothing spilled inside the boxes. So we relied on post-consumer recycled containers (aka plastic deli containers) for a lot of the items.
December 13, 2022
We’ve been getting back into the merch game. First up: squash shirts. I thought it would be fun to celebrate the diversity of the squash world. Although butternut is probably the squash you see most in the grocery store, there are actually over 100 types of squash, all with their own patterns, colors, and textures.
December 6, 2022
The Bridgewater is back!! This is probably the most requested sandwich on our menu. Michelle who runs our social media says she reliably gets one message per week asking when it will return. In 2015, Paul and Bryan came up with this sandwich as an homage to the jalapeño poppers at The Charlie Horse, a now-closed tavern in their hometown of Bridgewater, MA.
December 6, 2022
I love the holidays. I love the lights, I love the traditions, I love ornaments and pine needles all over the floor.  I love the movies (“Muppet Christmas Carol”) and the books (“A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”) I love the good songs, I love the schlocky songs (if you’ve never heard “Suzy Snowflake” or “Dominic the Donkey”, stop reading right now and click through.)
December 1, 2022
It was inevitable. Our meal box program had to find its way into restaurants at some point. A bunch of you have been asking if we can sell “on demand” meal boxes in our restaurants – for those times when you have last-minute dinner guests or forgot to subscribe by the deadline. So we’ve been easing into the process of combining one part of Clover with another.
November 28, 2022
Brussels Sprouts are extra sweet this time of year, and King Brussels, in his infinite wisdom, has cooked up a Brussels Week in our meal boxes. Every single subscription box will contain a recipe inspired by brussels! This is the first time we’ve explored a seasonal theme across our entire lineup and we’re excited to dive in.
November 19, 2022
This was Jane’s last week at Clover. We’re wishing her the best in her next steps (but also not so secretly hoping she comes back!)
November 11, 2022
Have you ordered your Thanksgiving Box yet? It’s already 50% sold out, so get your orders in this weekend if you can. This box comes with everything from stuffing to porcini-thyme gravy to mashed PEI potatoes to local cranberry sauce to bread to make leftover sandwiches. Most of the items can go from box to oven to table with very minimal prep, and we’ve made multiple sizes whether you’re dining solo or with a crowd.