Picture yourself at a Starbucks. Having a delicious cup of coffee and enjoying the ambience. Why? Because everything was perfectly planned. The temperature of the coffee, the lightning and of course, the music.
Coffee shops, restaurants and bars, it’s no secret that music is a crucial element of its ambience and positive customer experience. For some venues, such as karaoke bars and dance clubs, it’s the primary draw of the venue. If you’ve been trying to boost customer dwell time, coffee store reputation and ultimately sales, it may be time to start investing in a quality sound system, which is arguably just as important as the songs being played. Choosing your store’s sound system can come off as daunting, as there are mountains of information on the web about the subject, often written in tangled nets of confusing audiophile jargon. If you’re in the market for a new sound system and need a clear, simple guide to get you started, this article is for you.
Best Amp and Sound System for Coffee Shops and Restaurants
An amplifier is the one of two PA system components that you’ll be spending the bulk of your money on. After your mixer has adjusted the frequency levels of your laptop source’s electric audio signal, your amplifier boosts the signal so that it’s appropriately loud for the type of venue you’re running. Even with the tallest speaker cabinets, if a laptop is plugged directly into the speaker system, without a type of amplification, the music can’t be very loud.
Thus, when shopping for an amplifier, the wattage is your highest priority. The higher the wattage, the louder the music. The rule of thumb when building a PA system is 5 watts per person listening. This is generally how you’ll choose your amp, unless you hope to throw wild rave nights at a club venue, which may require louder music at 10 watts per person listening. If your cafe can’t seat more than 40 people at a time, 200 watts is at most what you’ll need, if that. However, clubs expecting hundreds of people at a time will easily need 500 watts if not thousands.
The speaker is where the music happens, converting the amplifier’s electric signal into actual air compression patterns that become the music that you listen to. Keep in mind at coffee shops, there are coffee makers buzzing and grinders making a lot of noises all the time. The speakers are probably the last priority for someone building a PA system, but they may also demand one of the biggest chunks of the budget. Remember the key take away: great quality audio has to start from the source. Once you’ve secured high quality audio on your PC, and a mixer and amp that do their best to maintain the fidelity of the source signal, then it’s time to make the quality of the speakers your new priority.
When choosing speakers, two factors come into mind: the speakers’ size and weight. Speakers work by pushing air compression waves, depending on the types of frequencies being emitted. Low, bass frequencies require bigger drivers to push waves big enough to match the long wavelengths of the bass signals. High frequencies require the vice versa. Thus, when shopping, be wary of packages that offer small speakers but claim to provide powerful signals that rival bigger, more professional equipment. Ultimately, if you want high quality audio, especially at the bass range, you’ll have to shop for speakers at a decent size.
Beyond speaker size, a basic consideration when choosing between speakers is the weight of the speaker. Generally, a heavier weight will offer a sturdier, higher quality speaker that produces less interference with the music being played. If a player is too light, the music being played will cause the speakers to shake, which will create air compression waves that may cancel out the waves that carry the actual music.