Year Established: 2003
Location: Valparaiso, IN
How did EarCandy get started and what got you interested in building gear?
I started playing piano when I was four, and I was doing piano recitals in front of 2,000 people when I was six. I babysat for this lady who couldn’t pay me so she gave me her ex-husband’s Stratocaster and it was love at first sight. After that, nothing else mattered but good grades. I had to have good grades or my dad would yank the guitar. He was a brilliant man, an E-9 Master Chief in the US Navy, a math genius and a very skilled wood worker by hobby. He had me out in the wood shop as soon as I could walk, I was sanding cabinets and shelves. When he passed away he left me all of his wood working tools, which a few are still used in the shop to this very day.
I was in a very loud band and worked at a large music store called Woodwind and Brass Wind. I had access to every speaker cab you could imagine and none of them sounded good to me. Back in 1990- 1992, I attended my first two years of college during the last two years of high school. I went to Old Dominion University for ear training, acoustic reproduction with a BR in blues and jazz improvisation for half a day and then went to Norfolk State University for composition and music theory for the other half. I would get to high school at 8 o’clock, leave at 11 and be in college until 6:30, cram Taco Bell down on the way home and go to band practice until 10:00pm. So skip ahead here a few years and I was unemployed, needed money but had this vision of what guitar tone should look and sound like. I sat on my couch one day and designed & built a BuzzBomb and my drummer said “that’s it! That is the shit!!. I dare you to post one on evil bay!”
I did and I have been behind ever since.
What makes Ear Candy different from other boutique builders?
The word boutique is over cooked. So is the word “vintage.” EarCandy has our set models with color, grill, hardware and speaker options, what sets us apart is our design. We did not copy anything because I tried everything and nothing was working the way I needed it to so the BuzzBomb 2×12 was born. We also have our patent-pending tone jointing process and what I call the “black space porting method /math.” I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to work for a world famous concert pianist. When that individual passed away, I got to work with THE MAN from a very prominent grand piano company and he taught and told me everything about tone woods, sound boards, tensile strength, baffle banding and everything. I learned and expanded on this and applied it to our cab design, which is much like a piano or concert acoustic guitar.
Anything in particular that sets your company apart?
I was born with very tiny narrow ear canals, I can get swimmers ear from showering. When I went in for ear training when I was five or six, the doctor told my parents that I have hearing like a wolf. So I have a God given ability to hear things most people can’t.
Secondly, our eye for design lines and our ear for sound waves. EarCandy is a family of very talented artists and top notch vendors, there is WAYYYYY more to this than just me. I would say the main thing that sets us apart by far is, we don’t duplicate anything that has already been done, our product line is ours, and we aren’t regurgitating stuff that has already been done. We are thinking about where this is all going to be in 2020 and beyond while respecting the bloodlines that got us here in the first place.
What type of user controls do you provide?
Mono, mono with parallel out, stereo, stereo mono combo at required ohm levels, all hand-soldered with silver solder and 14 gauge quad conducted cable.
Are there any particular tonal characteristics that you work toward when building?
Tasteful versatility with the ability to be nice and soft while knowing you have the power to completely blow peoples’ wigs off with massive low-end crunch, thick, juicy harmonic mids that melt into warm buttery highs that cut like a knife without sounding harsh and painful. All loaded with sustain and natural compression with very controllable harmonic under and overtones. You can draw them out, sustain and ride them or hide them back in your mix, it’s all in the dynamic of how you play it. Because of the way our porting works, our cabs are like living breathing animals in your rig.
What was your first impression of Eminence?
I was using Eminence before I cared about speakers back when I was 14 and always just somehow ended up with them in my personal stuff. I always experimented heavily, at the cost of many amps and speakers. I would blow the Peavey and Celestion stuff but the Eminence stuff just took a beating time and time again. Then, years later, thanks to Scott Plackie, a wonderful individual, I got the opportunity to meet and break bread and talk speakers with Mr. Chris Rose and he told me “keep doing what we’re doing, you got this!” Eminence has helped our company grow and taken top-notch care of us ever since. We can’t thank you enough!
Why did you choose Eminence for your cabs?
When I got the first ones back in ‘03 I loved how they were packed with the foam, the way they still are. The amount of choices in voicing through models is staggering. There is no tone we can’t attain with one or a combination of your speakers. 7 year warranty is also nice but we have never really had to use it. We are in Indiana, you are in Kentucky, that’s a 1 day ship time, made in the USA, 7 year warranty, amazing customer service, and it was a no brainer for EarCandy.
Which speakers did you go with and why?
Long story short, we use and offer all four of the guitar lines: Legends, Patriots, Redcoats and Signature series. We can do that because of the way our cabs are designed, they adjust the air around the speaker and give the speakers exactly what they need as far as TSP.
How do you evaluate the speakers you choose?
Depending on the application, it is a pretty radical set of processes. Several guitars, amps, wattage levels, construction and appearance. I then install them on a board that is not installed in a cab. This gives me a true sense of what that speaker is going to sound like on its own merit. Then I have a stethoscope that I wear and tap test every square inch of the cone.