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Klipsch and Chipotle

Peter P.

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Yesterday I wandered across this article about Chipotle restaurants using Klipsch Heresy's for their sound system.


This intrigued me; I'd only visited a Chipotle once, about a month ago, and failed to notice the Heresy installation or the sound. That should be a subtle indication that the sound wasn't impressive, which is contrary to my experience with Heresy's I have in my condo.


Fast forward to today, when a coworker and I were out on a service call and he wanted to eat at Chipotle for lunch. I thought this would be a great chance to revisit the sound system.


It didn't impress me at all. Thank goodness Klipsch didn't demand a logo be placed near the speakers; it wouldn't be good advertising.


I think it's the acoustics of the restaurant and the speaker placement which killed everything about the Heresy that I love. While you could argue that, at background music levels, that you won't hear much to impress, I think otherwise.


One wall was brick; the ceiling was all steel and girder beams. With the speakers mounted away from any boundary walls (the plywood fascia didn't count as a contributor in my eyes),

there was no bass reinforcement. Chipotle could pretty much have tossed the woofer and not affected the sound. I know some people consider the Heresy light in the bass department

but that hasn't been my experience. The live acoustics muddied the sound.


Here was a case of a sound system thrown together without any professional advice as to the application and installation. Taming the live acoustics would be one component of the solution. Since placing the Heresy's at floor level wouldn't be practical and I don't think ceiling placement would improve the bass either, the addition of a subwoofer, hidden behind the plywood architecture is almost mandatory. I wonder if LaScala's replaced the Heresy's in the same location would add that tactile bass at background music levels?


Something needed to be done otherwise the Chipotle/Heresy marriage is nothing to brag about.




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I generally avoid eating at Chipotle as much as I can, but I recognized them right away the first time I saw them at one. I thought it was pretty cool that they were there at all, other than that I wasn't impressed or unimpressed with the sound given the placement and setting. I'm sure the employees like to turn them up after hours.

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Yeah, I saw a similar installation at the Chipotle on south Franklin in Chicago.  


The ceiling is high and the place is huge.  No music was playing during a noisy lunch hour.  But I'd think it would sound poorly.


I've seen some Klipsch at Five Guys on Clark Street which has ceramic tile walls.  Bad sound. There was another speaker in an outdoor doorway and it had cobwebs and bird dropping on it.


These venues are just terrible for any music system.


Years ago I stopped into a swanky fern and brass bar on Division Street on a Sunday afternoon.  Not using Klipsch.  Even though it was fairly empty and the background music was low level, it was annoying.  I caught sight of a closet with a bunch of amps with LED level meters.  They were up in the yellow.  The designers must have missed this aspect and were driving two floors of little speakers with insufficient power.


On a related issue a bunch of us went to an expensive restaurant in Dallas years ago.  With all the clients chatting it was noisy as heck, everyone shouting over each other to be heard across big tables.  The designers obviously have no idea about acoustics.


Restaurants are just no good for music.









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I don't think the speakers can be faulted at all.  High ceilings with exposed rafters, all hard surfaces, and who knows what is powering the HIII's, could all contribute to what you are hearing or not hearing for that matter.


As far as the food, I love it.:wub:



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