Restaurants get hip to the importance of sound

Restaurants get hip to the importance of sound

Sound is key for restaurants and diners! “Studies have shown that different sounds and genres of music impact diners’ perception of food and drink, influencing everything from the crunch of potato chips to the flavor of wine.” Click below to read more from the Chicago Tribune …

Sound for restaurants

What makes a restaurant more than a place to grab a meal, but a place you’ll really remember? For a growing number of dining establishments, it’s not just the food, the decor or the dashing wait staff. Increasingly, it’s the music.

At Bohemian House, a River North restaurant that serves European fare, customers dine while listening to a steady soundtrack of indie artists that have “a good beat” but don’t distract from conversation, said co-owner Dan Powell. “Don’t Move” by Phantogram, “We’ll Be Fine” by Lincoln Jesser and “Let’s Go Surfing” by The Drums are among the tunes on the Bohemian House playlist.

“We wanted to make sure that we created a space that not only looked beautiful but sounded beautiful,” said Powell, who added that the restaurant’s music selection has been a key part of the spot’s development since it opened in 2014.

Powell is one of a growing cadre of chefs and restaurant owners who are paying more attention to their establishments’ audial ambience, treating it as an extension of their brands.

Music has multiple purposes in a restaurant, notes Danny Turner, global senior vice president of programming and production at Mood Media, the main music provider for big U.S. retail and restaurant chains. It muffles kitchen or staff noise and drowns out the conversation of the customers sitting next to you. It fills those awkward pauses in the conversation. And it appeals to a customer’s emotions, leading to higher overall satisfaction.

Studies have shown that different sounds and genres of music impact diners’ perception of food and drink, influencing everything from the crunch of potato chips to the flavor of wine.

“I think the smartest restaurants recognize that every meal is a multisensory experience,” said Joel Beckerman, author of the book, “The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.” “But I think the vast majority don’t think enough about it.”

Sound “has a tremendous impact that most people aren’t even aware of,” said Beckerman, a composer of scores of iconic brand sounds for everything from IMAX theaters to the Super Bowl. “We respond emotionally to sound faster than any other sense, even touch.”

Good music can even boost revenue, said Ola Sars, CEO and co-founder of Soundtrack Your Brand, a Swedish Spotify-backed streaming service that launched in the U.S. this month and provides music to McDonald’s worldwide. If customers enjoy the music, they tend to stay longer, which leads to more eating and drinking — and higher checks.

But determining what music strikes a chord with a restaurant’s clientele is something that each establishment must determine.

At Big Star, a Mexican restaurant in Wicker Park, the music is country, rock and loud.

“Like really loud,” said Laurent Lebec, Big Star’s beverage director and the curator of its mix. “You’re just bashing to music.”

Lebec, a musician and former member of the band Pelican, calls being at Big Star, which exclusively plays records, “like being in a musical fishbowl.”

“Sound was always part of the design,” he said. “Everything is dialed up to be beautiful chaos. It’s raucous but welcoming and warm.”

Chris Haisma, a partner at Footman Hospitality, said the restaurant company “really dove into music” at its newest Chicago spots, The Betty and Sparrow.

They use curated playlists — one for day and the other for night — running on a MacBook and supplemented with records brought in by the staff, depending on the mood of the restaurant on a particular night.

The playlists are designed by Chicago-based Uncanned Music, a music curating company. Haisma said 40 percent of the songs on each playlist are swapped out every month.

Uncanned designs playlists for restaurants based on their unique design and feel.

“We think of it as artfully as we can — as equal to food and beverage,” said Scott McNiece, who started Uncanned Music after curating playlists as a side gig while working for famed restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff.

“I think the need is fairly innate — there’s not a single restaurant that hasn’t had to address it, even if they don’t think about it,” McNiece said.

“We pride ourselves at being pretty boutique and developing relationships,” he said. “We try to walk into every new job with a clean slate.”

Beyond selecting the unique playlist for a particular restaurant, Uncanned also adjusts the song mix often to keep it fresh, and adjusts the songs themselves so the volume is consistent — a key difference between new and old music.

“It’s kind of like working with a designer,” Footman Hospitality’s Haisma said. “I always say the host stand is the guest’s first and last impression. The music is the same way.”

Video reviews about the Bose F1 System

Here’s a video showing some top front of house sound engineers talking about their experience and opinions of the new Bose F1 systems. Very much worth watching. Learn why top FOH engineers are so impressed with the new Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker System! You won’t get a more critical group to review a PA system than sound technicians, and these F1 reviews are worth watching.

Bose F1 Systems reviewed by Front Of House Sound Engineers

Click here to learn more or to purchase the Bose F1 systems.

Prosound Network review of the Bose F1 System

Prosound Network review of the Bose F1 System

Review: Bose F1 Flexible Array Portable PA

Strother Bullins, Technology Editor, NewBay Media AV/Pro Audio Group   12/10/2015 1:08:16 PM
logoEarlier this year, I visited Bose HQ to experience the company’s entrée into what I consider pro-grade portable PA (PPA) territory—their new F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker System. While Bose’s L1 is a monumental, super-useful product, it was—as I understand it—the result, first and foremost, of efforts to produce a pure-sounding, user-friendly acoustic instrument amplification system; the concept essentially was that a performer within an ensemble may often need their own individual PA. The L1 fulfills that need quite well and much more, of course; it truly shines in small ensemble applications.The F1 is a completely different beast. It’s a simple, yet very real line array for PPA applications: a front-of-house sound reinforcement rig covering a range of audience sizes and types with proprietary Bose FLEX array technology, as easy to position and carry as any typical “black box” PPA gear.  Over the past two months, I’ve had an F1 rig (two full-range cabinets and two accompanying subwoofers) to use in various live sound applications and am sold on its quality and impressive sound via its unique design, build quality and components.

At first glance, the self-powered 1000W Bose F1 Model 812 Flexible Array Loudspeaker looks much like other similarly sized PPA gear. It measures 26.1” x 13.1” x 14.6” (H x W x D) and weighs 44.5 lbs.; its accompanying self-powered sub, the 1000W F1 Subwoofer, measures 27” x 16.1” x 17.6” (H x W x D) and weighs 57 lbs. Both are easy to carry with built-in ergonomic-friendly handles and are notably scratch and impact-resistant thanks to an obviously proprietary blend of polypropylene ingredients. I simply love the enclosures, as they are unique, rigidly hard, tough and road-worthy yet lightweight compared with similarly strong multiple-ply wooden cabinetry of competing products.

The Model 812’s main appeal, however, lies in its simple-to-use Flexible Array technology, a first for the PPA market. Users can shape coverage patterns by manually moving its top and bottom array; in total, the Model 812 features a vertical line of eight small mid/high frequency drivers plus a 12-inch woofer. The Model 812 has four coverage patterns—Straight (top and bottom array “out”), J pattern (top out, bottom in), Reverse J (top in, bottom out), and C pattern (top and bottom in); not only does each setting aim drivers differently, “each position is held in place by magnets that trigger internal sensors that adjust EQ according to array shape,” explains the Model 812 manual.

Per application, each Flexible Array pattern serves specific settings. The Straight pattern is for performances where the audience is standing, with heads approximately at the same height as the loudspeaker—for example, typical bar/bar band settings. The Reverse J delivers sounds to audiences in raked seating that starts at loudspeaker height and extends above the top of the loudspeaker—or typical theater or concert hall environments. The J pattern is ideal when the loudspeaker and band are on a raised stage and audiences are seated and/or standing on the floor below—such as typical club/music venue environments. And finally, the C pattern is for raked seating when the first row is on the floor with the speaker—for example, most auditorium presentations and performances. In all, the Model 812 allows for the most customizable and flexible live sound coverage I’ve ever personally experienced in portable PA form.

The Model 812 offers two input channels, each with respective Volume knob and Signal/Clip light; its I/O is well chosen for PPA. For Input 1, there is a combo XLR/quarter-inch input accepting TRS balanced or TS unbalanced cables, switchable mic or line level; Input 2 offers a quarter-inch TRS/TS input and two RCA connectors, internally summed to mono. A third section on the rear input panel, labeled System, offers two switches: one is a Front LED selector for power and limit lights; the other switches the Model 812 between Full Range and With Sub settings (engaging an high-pass filter at 100 Hz).

The F1 Subwoofer provides dual inputs and an accompanying line output per channel, thus allowing one or two F1 Subwoofers to be used in conjunction with the full range “top” speakers. Like the Model 812, the F1 Subwoofer also provides switchable Power and Limit front LEDs plus an overall Volume knob, Polarity reversal switch and Line Output EQ switch, the latter offering Thru (no filtering) and HPF (passing input via a high-pass filter at 100 Hz, affecting Line Output signals only).

Together, Model 812 and F1 Subwoofer system conjoin with the sub’s unique built-in speaker stand, creating a sturdier-than-pole-cup, very attractive full-range/subwoofer tower. The stand is enclosed within the back of the F1 Subwoofer; users simply pull the stand from the back of the sub and insert it into stand slots on the top of the sub. The Model 812 fits snugly and securely atop the stand. That said, if a live subwoofer isn’t needed, or if F1 Series users only have one sub—a reasonable setup I used within the span of this review—a standard pole cup is also included on the bottom of the Model 812. Notably, the pole cup on the Model 812 is probably the best I’ve found in PPA; it tapers from a wide opening to the snug 35 mm diameter, reducing common misplacements and “fidgeting for the hole” situations that we PPA users have become so accustomed to.

In use, the Model 812 and F1 Subwoofer sound incredibly full, balanced and powerful. Similar to a tour-grade line array, the system is notably even in its coverage throughout a variety of venue types, as I experienced in my own use and earlier this year, at Bose’s own large venue F1 demonstration at Patriot Place, Mass., where a stage-front Model 812/F1 Subwoofer rig, just like the one I’ve reviewed here, replaced the house world-class line array.

From a musical presentation/keynote address in a large gymnasium (Reverse J pattern), to extensive house-of-worship, auditorium and rock club use (J, Reverse J and Straight patterns), to rehearsals and an outdoor acoustic music performance (Straight pattern), each array adjustment really worked as touted in Bose promotional materials, proving the F1 Series’ mettle as a “real” affordable line array for portable use. In the larger, more reverberant venues, I regularly used both F1 subs, but often ran with just one sub (plus a speaker stand) for convenience, space and weight needs; the Model 812 is in no way dependent on the F1 as it is a truly full-range speaker with plenty of power—right at the now-industry standard of 1000 W for a pro-grade PPA enclosure.

Both the Model 812 and F1 Subwoofer are street priced just under US$1,200 each—a very attractive price point considering flexibility, build quality and time proven Bose pedigree. If nearly US$5k for a complete system is cost prohibitive, Bose has made it easy to employ the Model 812 tops with powered subwoofers of any brand (as I doubt the F1 will be many user’s first PA), getting F1 users up and running while the F1 Subwoofer (one or two) can be added at a future date; while conducting my review, I did use the Model 812 with another manufacturer’s powered subwoofer with predictably good results, too. That said, Model 812 and F1 sub are made for one another and are complimentarily voiced; and aesthetically, a Model 812/F1 “tower” doesn’t really look like portable PA, making it an elegant choice for budget-conscious live music venues, modern houses-of-worship, and other environments where looks truly matter, yet coverage, quality and portability do, too.

With the F1 Series, Bose provides our market with a portable PA that even the most discriminating audio engineer can love with the basic functionalities previously found only within line array systems costing far more (and those certainly don’t fit in the trunk of a typical SUV). As word spreads about the F1 through the communities of discriminating musicians and journeyman audio engineers, I expect to see a lot of F1 Series rigs employed in all sorts of places.

– See more at:


Demand for the new Bose F1 Systems doubles expectations

Demand for the new Bose F1 Systems doubles expectations

Demand outstrips supply of Bose F1 systems!

ShowPro has sold many of the new Bose F1 812 and F1 Subwoofer systems to customers around New Zealand, both directly and through the online shop site. Today (26th November 2015) Bose Australia advised us that they have sold twice as many F1 systems as they had projected, resulting in a backorder situation of the F1 Subwoofers. More stock is due in a couple of weeks, but anyone wanting to get their orders on the next batch would be well advised to get their order in to us through this site very soon, so we can earmark your systems in the next shipment. It’s not a bad problem for a product supplier to have, but it is frustrating for dealers and their customers.

As this post is written, there are 15 of the Bose F1 812 flexible array systems currently in New Zealand and ready for shipment remaining.

Bose F1 812 Flexible Array Loudspeaker and Bose F1 Subwoofer

Bose F1 812 Flexible Array Loudspeaker and Bose F1 Subwoofer