It has been twenty five years since I began baking bread nightly. Purchasing a very small, established, Eastern-European bakery brought me from a noisy newspaper print-shop to the solitude of bread making during the quietest time of day. Usually in by midnight, I would turn on  music even before starting coffee. That bakery closed for good long ago, and then I worked at three others before my wife and I quit our jobs and opened Village Baker in 2011. 

Our new bakery/cafe had to have a great sound system from the very beginning; it’s in our mission statement. When we opened, there were exactly two zones; the cafe and the production area. We had leased out most of the rest building and had no idea that we would eventually occupy the entire space by putting in a full kitchen with a 19’ make-up air hood, a bar, two patios, and a lot more indoor dining. The sound system has grown right along with it and often with lots of problems. Sometimes network issues would screw up streaming, or wires would get yanked, or our young employees would have no idea how a stereo works, or when me and my wife aren’t there and somebody gets the brilliant idea that our clients might enjoy a little ‘Bon Jovi Radio’ on free-Pandora. Technical challenges have included ground-loops and other vexing power issues, noise inducted by very long runs of single-ended interconnects, and gain-matching. 

Over a year ago it was obvious that the entire audio-system had to be re-done. I made my own interconnects by using low-loss quad-shield coaxial cable which delivers the signal sans noise from my production area to the hostess stand and a twelve channel amp and then on to the kitchen and another 12 channel amp. All of the wiring is now tight across all 28 channels and 11 zones. It includes at least two kilometers of speaker wire and maybe 200 feet of interconnects. Finally, it’s done for now.

My production area has a totally over-the-top stereo, of course! The big Axiom Audio M-80 HP’s are just crazy-fun. The vineyard cafe has a new pair of Martin Logan speakers and they actually do have some bass. Otherwise there are a lot of Axiom Audio bookshelf speakers, three sets of Paradigms, four Focal ceiling speakers, and a great sounding pair of Jamo E-770’s hanging horizontally from chains in the cafe. 

And I finally added my old turntable. It’s an all custom Rega with an Apheta v.2 cart. Customers really love it and I have been enjoying playing records on Fridays and Saturdays. Today I kept it going for eleven hours with no goof-ups and only once when a record played at its end for five minutes while I was loading a batch of sourdough in the oven.

So enjoy the pics, and don’t forget to visit Village Baker next time you’re in west Michigan.


Components Toggle details

    • Rega DIY
    • NAD C355
    • Axiom Audio M80 HP

Comments 8

Hey Paul, good suggestions and I'm on it. I've played Sketches of Spain before and one particular customer was just amazed that I had it on. I'll have to listen to Transformer again, it's been years but Lou Reed has been important to me since high school.


For cafe records good all the way through, how about Pentangle (Basket of Light, or a hits lp) or Steeleye Span (their 2-lp hits record or Commoner's Crown, All Around My Hat, etc. up to 1976), Mozart Symphonies by Christopher Hogwood, anything recorded on l'Oiseau Lyre. Miles, Sketches of Spain; Lee Morgan, The Procrastinator, any of Jimmy Smith's records; Al Green's Greatest Hits V.2, certain records by Bill Callahan and his old band, Smog; Leo Kottke, Greenhouse; Lou Reed's Transformer; Ann Peebles' I Can't Stand the Rain; Sandro Perri's Tiny Mirrors?  Enjoy the music!


What I really need are suggestions. I'm going to start buying vinyl pretty regularly to avoid playing the same music too much. I need titles that I can buy used or new, records stores discogs, etc., that have that great coffee house vibe and that play nice on both sides without too many tracks that are too esoteric or growly.


Well, b_limo, hopefully some of my employees would agree...  Last year I did mention the stereo in my bread area in a national ad I took out in the Bread Bakers Guild of America site for a night shift baker. The baker I hired did mention that with interest. Turns out he's heavily into folk and does enjoy it. Too bad I make him listen to my list of news casts and commentary every Saturday morning for a couple hours.


How cool!  I’ve worked in a few different Kitchens but never one with a sound system.  You Sir, are a good boss!


Hey, thank you for the compliments. Now I just need to keep procuring 'bakery friendly' music.


Oran good to have the Village Bakery system back! I almost asked you in your other system thread if you were the Village Baker looks like I was right. Nice place and nice system and glad you have a "job" you love and tunes to go with it. Cheers!


I think this is what music is about.  Not how expensive or how perfect the tone and sound but enjoying what these amazing artists have created for us, just like your bakery.  Thanks for sharing.


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