Monday, August 17, 2009

The Search for the Ultimate Soundtrip Experience

I remember our first set of speakers when we opened the cafe last year. It was a pair of desktop speakers with a left side mini-component speaker I salvaged from my room during my college days semi-plugged in to the desktop PC's headphone thingy, socket-plug-chorva. Ano ba tawag dun?! Anyway, it was the same set of speakers that I used in my room back in college. When the cafe was still under construction, I would come at night when the workers have gone home then test my speakers at the site. I told myself, "ayos na soundtrip to, ok naman pale e."

Then of course, taste and preference evolve over time. When our former cook, Dan, arrived he let us use his grandpa speakers with a mini subwoofer. It was a little better than mine. Dan argued that mine lacked the bass that his set can offer. I can't argue with that because it's true. So we used that pair for a long, wait, loooooong time.

But during the course of the year, I finally got irritated when one of the speakers lost its sound and the jack connecting the speakers to the laptop got busted. I got an iPod Nano for Christmas and the speakers kept on draining it before the day ended. We needed a solution, fast. I can't work without music.

When I went to Singapore for my barista training the following year, I purchased a JBL On Stage Micro Portable for my iPod and the cafe. I was wandering around this electronics shop and docked my iPod on every speaker I saw. The On Stage really blew me away, it was really small but the sound was very very good, it was excellent, in fact. When I got back, the VERY FIRST thing I did was showoff my speaker and test it at the cafe. I played L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole. Wow, it was so swabe pare!

I kept on raving about the JBL speaker, telling everyone that it's so good and it even chargers your iPod, and all that stuff. Salesman talk. But as usual, it came to a point that groovin' with the On Stage got old. I even got sad when the cafe noise drowns out the music.

Music is my life, you can read it at our high school yearbook. It's a personal truth. I'm not a gamer, I'm not athletic (at least not anymore), I don't drink, I don't go out much, I don't even watch TV anymore. But what I do aside from making coffee is listen to music, read music mags, write and record songs, and play my instruments. That's what I do in my room. I'm always in search for the ultimate soundtrip experience.

Okay so we bought this Ozaki Woofer of Woofers set at ATC yesterday. But there's a good story behind that purchase. Please allow me to blog about it (haha!). So here it goes...

I was on my way to Lady Gaga's concert, and I was trying out my SkullCandy Hesh on Lady Gaga's album, The Fame, on the way to Araneta. I like the way it drowns out the noise then you hear absolutely nothing from the outside world. When we got to the concert, I already had an excess amount of Gaga and I remembered the Walkman days when I used to listen to music album by album. It was during those days that you form a strong bond with an artist and an album. Anyway, it was a perfect jam. I thought that since we have a cafe, I have the perfect venue for people to listen to music and I hope that they too would have a good jam the way I did.

On the way home, Joyce played this really kick-ass playlist on her iTouch. I was reeeally, enthralled (wow, first time I used that word on this blog) by the sequence and selection of songs that includes Tonic classics, Dishwalla, Swirl 360, a new OLP song, 90s post-grunge classics, early 2000 alternative hits, and the works. I have to admit that I had a perfect soundtrip on the way home. Na-high ako (ask Bessy how that feels). Then I thought, "Ang ganda sana magpatugtog ng mga ganyan kung maganda ang mga speakers sa cafe, yung hindi nalulunod yung music, tamang chillax lang, waaah pano kaya..."

Then last week, Manong, Jeg, Bessy, and I hanged out at our "happy place", the Starbucks at Petron, SLEX. As I listened to their soft music playing from their superior Bose speakers, I told the guys, "Tingnan nyo, ang sarap makining ng music pag ganito e! Kahit gano na karami ang tao, rinig mo parin yung tumutugtog!"

Of course, I didn't have the money to buy the superior power of a Bose, so I had to settle my soul for something else. I remembered we saw this 6-piece Edifier speaker set at ATC when we watched GI JOE. I told Retz that we had to buy that, we just HAD TO. I really can't stand seeing my little JBL speaker huffing and puffing from the corner trying its best to sing the music that I like.

When we finally got the chance to come back to ATC I went straight to the speaker section and told the "kuya" stationed over there to test the speakers. Then we found out that that kind of speaker doesn't work with an iPod or a laptop. It needed a desktop PC and a kick-ass sound card to make it all work. Shattered dreams.

But the kind "kuya" showed us their other speakers. All in all we tested 5 sets. It was very crucial, I think we spent about an hour listening to the quality of the speakers. We tried different genres of songs on each. Then when the choices went down to the final two, the 2-piece Edifier speaker and the Ozaki Woofer of Woofers, I had to play and test a single song on the two sets to judge the sound quality. I decided that whichever played the BEST version of Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol would get the final nod. Hands down, the Ozaki won. Plus the "treble" feature beat out the FM radio feature of the Edifier.

It didn't matter how hot it was inside the multicab and how tired and wasted we were from watching Hellboy 2 and Resident Evil: Regeneration prior to our trip to ATC, we went straight to the cafe to test the speakers. Retz and I spent an eternity looking for a connector that would extend the speakers' cables so we could place it on strategic areas. We didn't find any that day. But thanks to Julius and the Eusebio Electronics Shop, we got a pair today. Thank you!

Retz went all OC on trying to find the perfect angles for the speakers. The final test was a good Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. And yeah, it was groovin'! Finally.

Well I never thought telling a story about buying a set of speakers would be this long. But that's how it went.

As you can see, Cafe Antonio is not just a story about coffee, it's also a story about the experiences of the people inside it and how everything falls into place. And now you know how those speakers got pumping at Canton.

One last thing, ang galeng mo pare kung natapos mo tong basahin! haha! God bless! Thanks for the support!


* Blueberry muffins and Apple Cinnamon muffins are available again at the cafe. Now only 15 pesos.