Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TRW: Understanding Speaker Efficiency

Tone Report Weekly: Understanding Speaker Efficiency
Here's a piece I wrote for Tone Report Weekly on speaker efficiency and getting the most (or least) out of your guitar amp.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Session IPAs on the Horizon

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for big hop flavor and aroma in lower alcohol beer. When I homebrew, I typically keep the ABV at 5.5% or below. I just love a "session beer."

This is why I'm totally thrilled that the coming months will bring not one, but three "session IPAs" from three of my favorite breweries.

First, we have Lasso IPA from Great Divide. It's a new year round offering clocking it at 5%. With generous amounts of Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops, I can't wait to give it a try.

Next, we have Go To IPA from Stone. It's slated to be released on 3/3/2014 and is said to have the "fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA" at only 4.5% abv.

And Finally, coming in the Sierra Nevada 4-Way IPA variety pack will be Nooner Session IPA. Nooner is said to be "light in body but high in aroma" and is 4.8% abv. It will also be out in March. Hopefully it will be good enough to make it into year round rotation.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Eminence 820H Speaker

A few months ago, I lucked into a 1965 Fender Vibro Champ at a yard sale. It was in great condition. Heck, it still had the original tubes, caps, and speaker (along with a two-prong plug).

The first thing I did was pull the original tubes and put them away for safe keeping. Next, I sent the amp in for a three-prong plug and cap job. Finally, I put the original speaker away for safe keeping and installed the new Eminence 820H.

Like the Eminence Cannabis Rex (which I loved in my Reverend Goblin 1x12) the 820H features a hemp cone. It also sports a 1” voice coil and a 15 oz. ceramic magnet. I don’t know what the magnet in the stock speaker weighed, but the 820H is significantly more substantial.

I installed the 820H and prepared to rock out. But I was not prepared for the tone that was about to erupt from my little Vibro Champ. The 802H is rockin! This little 8” speaker plays and sounds like a 10. I plugged in my Malden Mozak (think tele) and got lost for about an hour just playing Heartbreakers songs and other “rootsy” stuff. Then I plugged in my Reverend Roundhouse (think LP) and cranked the volume further and had some fun with lead lines. 

With a sensitivity rating of 96.1 dB, I wasn’t expecting a huge jump in volume. But the stock speaker must have been extremely inefficient because I have a ton more volume on tap now. But more than added volume, the tone is much big and bolder. The stock speaker started to fall apart when the volume was pushed beyond 4 and couldn’t handle any fuzz or OD pedals. With the 820H in there, I can crank the amp up all the way and the speaker can handle it. And if I didn’t need cleans, I could probably keep up with a drummer.

Don’t get me wrong, the Vibro Champ sounded pretty good with the original speaker. But with the 820H, it sounds bigger, sweeter, and fuller. It's funny, the 820H made the most difference at low-volume and high-volume. It now sounds richer at low volume and it doesn't fart out and fall apart when it's cranked.
It stands up to pedals much better now as well. I can now slam the Vibro Champ with my Klone or use a Fuzz Face to great effect. It’s crazy how the speaker upgrade transformed the Vibro Champ from my little practice amp into a legitimate “grab and go” combo.

The Eminence 820H is just an all around amazing speaker. It has the warmth and “smoky” highs of the Cannabis Rex, great, rich mids, and amazing low-end for an 8” speaker. Bottom line: if you are looking for an 8” speaker, I can’t imagine a better option.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lovepedal Acquires Hermida Audio?

For those of you that have been following the troubles with Hermida Audio, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lovepedal is now the sole manufacturer, global distributor, and retailer for Hermida Audio Technology products.

"I have known Alfonso for many years. He has always had an ear for great guitar tone and a passion for engineering some of the most sought after products in the guitar industry. His goal is to replicate as close as possible the dynamics and frequency response of the tube sound and then engineer products accessible to everyone from the bedroom player to those playing in front of thousands of fans. His products and engineering chops are legendary: the Zendrive, Zendrive2, Tiki Drive and Reverb to his full set of compact speaker cabinets in both ported and open back configurations. His customer list includes some of the most demanding musicians out there." Sean Michael – LovePedal

You can sign up here to get in line for the first batch. It will be very interesting to see how people feel about the original Zendrives vs. Lovepedal versions. My advice would be to hang onto your original Zendrive. You might have the next Klon-style flip on your hands. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sushi Nari Columbia

Sushi Nari (Kings Contrivance Village Center)

There’s no excuse for why it’s taken me this long to write about Sushi Nari in Kings Contrivance. We eat there at least monthly, if not more often. In fact, last week, we ate there twice in the span of four days. It’s our go-to sushi and it’s my six year-old daughter’s self-proclaimed favorite restaurant (even if she eats only miso soup, avocado rolls, and edamame).

We mostly get carry-out, but we’ve dined in many times as well. The fish is always fresh, the presentation is great, and the service is friendly and efficient. The standard rolls at Nari are great. And we almost always order at least one tuna or tuna/avocado and one spicy tuna roll. But the specialty rolls are also great. Standouts include the Firecracker Roll (white and red tuna, rolled with sushi rice, flash fried and topped with a special sauce), the French Roll (shrimp tempura with real crab), and the Yummy Yummy (shrimp tempura and avocado inside with spicy tuna, tempura flakes, and special sauce).

The lunch special at Nari is the real hit. For $10, you get 10 pieces Nigiri (your choice), a roll of your choice, soup, and a house salad. The Nigiri pieces aren’t huge. If they were, I wouldn’t be able to eat 10 at lunch. But they are always fresh and delicious. And this way, I get a really nice variety of fish. And of course, the meal ends with Nari’s cinnamon tea.

Nari doesn’t have a website. But they have a Facebook page. And you can find their menu (and get delivery) via

It was actually something my daughter said, that prompted this post. We got carry-out with some friends on Saturday and one friend mentioned that he thinks Nari is the best sushi in Columbia and that he will be heartbroken if they close. He says he’s almost always the only person in there when he gets carry-out. I’m always a little surprised at how uncrowded the restaurant is. But they seem to do good lunch business and good evening carry-out.

Either way, my daughter overheard the conversation and in the car on the way home said “I don’t want Sushi Nari to close. It’s my favorite restaurant!” So don’t break a little girl’s heart. Get out there and try Sushi Nari.  hocofood@@@