Legendary how-to content
We published content before content was cool
Lots of companies publish how-to articles, but how many can say they've been doing it since 1975? Back then, using costly catalog pages for articles was a risky move. But readers loved the helpful info, and more than 40 year later, we’re still at it.
Meet Crutchfield's writers
Today's Crutchfield writing staff includes a few veterans of the company's early days. They're joined by some passionate newcomers who bring a fresh perspective.
My name is Ken. I seek the Holy Grail of car audio excellence. My favorite color is blue.
Meet Ken Nail
I've written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. I'm an avid music listener, with a real love of classical and film music. I love having a great system in my car, and I'll still match the system in my 98 Ford Ranger (may it rest in peace) up against anything else I've heard for great SQ. Fun facts: I've completed an Ironman triathlon, run the Boston Marathon, and lost on Jeopardy!
My mission in life: cool guitars, Asian food, and helping you build a great car audio system.
Meet Charlie Pastorfield
After a long, beautiful career touring the East Coast from Boston to Atlanta as a professional guitarist (Skip Castro Band, The Believers), I got my first full-time job at Crutchfield, where they actually pay me to write about one of my favorite subjects — car audio gear! I've had a number of vehicles in the last 20 years, and part of the fun of getting a new (to me, anyway) vehicle is installing a radio, speakers, amp, and sub. My addiction now extends to my home audio system, as a new turntable has revived my interest in vinyl. I am actually buying records again! It's my mission in life to make people understand how much fun it is to have a first-rate sound system in your vehicle and in your home. And I'm lucky to work in a place where everyone else feels the same way.
If I can find a way to mention my animals, I will. I always will.
Meet Emily S.
I spent over a decade at a software training company before going semi-pro at dog-wrangling. But as a lifelong music fan, amateur photographer, and avid DIYer, I feel like I've found my true home here at Crutchfield. And before I worked here, I shopped here for the same reason — I love the knowledge and enthusiasm that I've found in every corner of this company. Many corners here also contain dogs, which is nice.
More from Emily S.
I'm a longtime audio/video geek. I love learning about and sharing info on the latest A/V tech.
Meet Steve Kindig
I've been writing about audio/video gear for Crutchfield since 1985. These days, I spend most of my time covering TVs. But I've been an audiophile since high school, and I still often listen to music late into the night. So, whenever I get the chance, I love writing about high-end amps, preamps, and speakers, too.
Over the years, I've found other ways to help people connect with music. I'm a volunteer DJ at community radio station WTJU, where I'm a regular host of the American folk show "Atlantic Weekly," as well as the world music program "Beyond Borders," where I get to share my love of African music.
I'm also a board member of the Prism Coffeehouse, in Charlottesville. We produce a series of concerts featuring traditional and acoustic music. I help out at shows with ticket sales, merch sales for the artists, or anything else that needs doing, and in exchange, I get to hear live music almost every week.
I grew up on a farm in the high desert of Southern California, but have lived in the Charlottesville area over half my life. I love the town and the beautiful surrounding countryside. When the weather's nice, you'll often find me out hiking with my four-legged buddy, Finn the corgi, or biking, or kayaking.
I'm energized by music and reliable directions, so car GPS and audio are my bailiwicks.
Meet Dominic DeVito
I've written about car audio and navigation at Crutchfield since 2006. During that time, I've driven to a lot of concerts in many different cities, so portable navigators have come in quite handy. I've also worked at several record stores and volunteered as a DJ at a community radio station, so I've applied the lessons of listening to music from several sources and in various environments to my own evaluations and writing.
Dreaming up fun ways to share information about the latest gear.
Meet Tara W.
I started working for Crutchfield in 2004. I've written about wireless audio gear, whole-house audio, and photo/video, and I try to talk just about everyone I meet into buying a Sonos system. Currently, I spend my days working with the video and social media teams as they dream up fun ways to share info about the latest gear.
I belong to a culture of fine sights and sounds, and I like spreading the word.
Meet Buck Pomerantz
In the 1950s, I'd take the family television's vacuum tubes down to Willow Grove Radio and TV Repair, check them with the giant tester machine, buy new replacement tubes, and reassemble the repaired television, so my mom and dad could enjoy their precious, respectively, Dean Martin and Red Skelton shows. In the 1960s, I studied radio and electronics at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. After college, in the early 70s, I joined a rock 'n roll band as the soundman, learning how to operate the electronics that make music sound good. Then, I worked in a music store in Austin manufacturing, installing, repairing, and operating sound systems and components for recording studios, nightclubs, and touring bands. I moved back to Charlottesville permanently in 1984 and opened a little demo recording studio. I also attempted to put to practical use the creative writing degree I had picked up along the way. In 2006, I finally came to my senses and got this job at Crutchfield where they actually pay me to ramble on, rant, and explain the things I love about music, electronics, and getting good sound.
A house without music is not a home. And a donut without a hole is a danish.
Meet David Brown
I'm a music nut who's constantly on the lookout for new artists to listen to, and new gear on which to listen. I love old-school receivers, amps, and speakers, but I'm also into newer tech like wireless. When I'm not writing articles for the Crutchfield website, I'm developing and editing content for the Crutchfield catalog, playing guitar, watching baseball, coaching soccer, or diving deep into the recesses of my music collection.
I'll do my best to make videos that are helpful and interesting.
Meet Zak Billmeier
I've been a camera nut since I was a kid. I got really into it around age 12, when I got hold of a Pentax K1000 35mm camera. My father is a photo nut also, and we had access to a darkroom. Ever since then I have delighted in trying out new cameras, lenses, and photo techniques. Working here at Crutchfield, I get to handle all the new and cool camera gear I can get my hands on.
I'm also into audio, from car audio to home audio to headphones. I'm a music lover, and an eye-opening moment for me was discovering just how much more there is to musical recordings when you listen using high-quality gear. It's an experience I try to pass along to others as often as possible. I truly believe that having good quality gear in your car or home can really enrich your life.
I started getting into the video side of things early on in my Crutchfield career while I was a copywriter for car audio products. In those days our video program was just getting started, and many of us pitched in when our writing and editing duties allowed. Today, we have a dedicated team that makes hundreds of videos a year, including spotlights on products and product lines, how-to videos, videos that shine a light on our company, end everything in between. I am proud to be a part of that team and of the work we do.
My job is a lot of fun because I get to play around with all the cool stuff you see on our website while I'm making videos. Getting hands-on with the gear helps me see what I should show you about a product, and I look at our videos as a way of having a conversation with you when you are considering a purchase. If I do my job well, you should come away from a Crutchfield video understanding why you do — or don't — want that product. In the end, it's gotta be something you enjoy.
Why do we write? So you can find gear that makes you jump and shout.
Meet Jim Richardson
I edit the home A/V and pro audio articles on Crutchfield.com. It's a cool gig for a guy who's been seriously into audio since way before 1974.
I started buying records, guitars, and gear with the money I made mowing lawns and delivering newspapers. Now the way I earn my money has changed for the better, but where it goes hasn't changed too much.
More from Jim Richardson
Intro to home stereo systems
Love music? If you're not playing it on a genuine stereo system, chances are you could love it a lot more
Wordsmith for mobile electronics, Demo Days dude, and a generally swell guy.
Meet Dave Delamere
I began my Crutchfield career in 1997 as a Sales Advisor, helping customers find the gear that best fit their needs. Ever since Dad purchased a stereo system from Crutchfield in the '80s, I've been interested in electronics. My passion for movies and music also fueled my desire to get the most out of the gear I hook up. Good gear adds to the impact and emotion.
In 2013, I moved to the Creative department as a copywriter for the mobile electronics division, possibly because of the suggestions I constantly sent them. This great move also let me learn more about the gear we sell. And as part of our Demo Days crew, I get to share this knowledge with Advisors so they can better help you.
More from Dave Delamere
4 tips for upgrading the audio in your hybrid
How to safely install an amp and sub in your hybrid car
I love spicy food and watching movies in surround sound — preferably at the same time.
Meet Kramer Crane
I'm an audio/video enthusiast, so much of my day is joyfully spent researching and writing about home speakers, amplifiers, and A/V components. My goal is to boil technical jargon down to plain language that helps make choosing new gear a smooth experience for you.
I spent the first half of my career designing A/V systems for our customers. I'm proud to be part of a team of industry experts that truly cares about helping people.
Outside of Crutchfield, I own a small business that specializes in landscape photography. My work has been featured by Southern Living Magazine, the University of Virginia, the city of Charlottesville, and the state of Virginia.
- Joined Crutchfield in 2007
- Spent eight years as an advisor helping thousands of Crutchfield customers choose new gear
- Experienced home A/V writer with expertise in home theater and camera equipment
- Published sports and landscape photographer
- Participates in dozens of vendor trainings each year
- Attends industry events like Capital AudioFest and Canon EOS Discovery Day
- Author of dozens of Crutchfield Learn articles and hundreds of product presentations
More from Kramer Crane
5 tips for amazing sunrise photos
How to take great sunrise pictures and have a blast while doing it
I've been to Hollywood, I've been to Redwood, I've crossed the ocean for great music.
Meet Bob Bihlmayer
My years of listening to music, performing, and DJing have taught me a lot about what gives you great sound. I'm here to translate that knowledge into information that will help you choose equipment that helps give you the sound you need.
More from Bob Bihlmayer
I've installed car audio gear in a pumpkin. True or false?
Meet Alexander H.
Alexander Hrabe has owned a '77 Chevy Nova, '86 Toyota Camry, '88 Jeep Cherokee, '92 Ford F-150, '94 Volvo 960, '86 Jaguar XJ6, and made rocking out a priority in every single one. He brings his enthusiasm for freeway fist-pumping and hands-on installation experience to Crutchfield's car speaker category.
Indulging my passion for great car audio, whether by turning a wrench or turning a phrase.
Meet Matt Freeman
I've been a huge fan of car audio ever since I tried (semi-successfully) to build my own custom truck speaker enclosures as a 16-year-old. I joined the Crutchfield car writing team way back in February of the year 2000, and proceeded over the years to write about nearly every product category we carry. In 2007, I assumed my current role of Car A/V Editor for our catalog, a position that helps me channel my passions for both music and driving.
More from Matt Freeman
Thriller novels, loud music, and classic movies. These are a few of my favorite things.
Meet Benn Grant
My dad showed me the beauty of audio. He curated my music collection since the 1990s, starting with a Gin Blossoms tape. Now you can't find me without earbuds in or a speaker on.
Training at Crutchfield has taught me about great sound and the products that make it possible. I've also enjoyed exploring and writing about tech news, pro audio, TV and video.
I have an undergraduate degree from the VCUarts Cinema program, where I studied the great directors, frame by frame. This taught me the importance of perfect picture and gave me an attention to artistic detail that I'm proud to put into practice.
Here at Crutchfield, I have access to the best products the A/V world has to offer. I'm eager to share my experiences and to explore how electronic equipment influences the lives of others.
- Completed specialized in-house training on home audio, TV/video, headphones and pro audio
- Written about consumer products since 2015
- Crutchfield employee since 2018
Eating up the highway with clarity and volume — a champion of car audio sound.
Meet Robert Ferency-Viars
I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I've been with Crutchfield since 1999. My first few years were spent as one of our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. Eventually, I moved to the writing team and spent a decade researching new products and getting even more hands on with car audio gear. As the editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web articles, I couldn't ask for a cooler job. We listen to music and play with car audio gear every day! Outside of work, I love playing board games & RPGs, scouting, and installing new audio systems for my friends.
What's most important about audio tech? Only how close it brings you to your music.
Meet Ralph Graves
As a composer and record producer, I've always been most concerned about sound quality. I know what instruments sound like - and how they should sound through speakers. That's what I listen for when I'm researching and writing about wireless speakers and wireless multi-room audio systems.
While I enjoy many musical genres, my passion - and training - is in classical music. I've hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU since 1984, and I review recordings for their website. I'm credited in Best Music Writing, 2011 (Da Capo Press) and have had some of my compositions recorded on the ERM and Fleur de Son Classics labels.
- Started at Crutchfield in 2003
- Authored the ebook Bluetooth and Beyond: Crutchfield's common-sense guide to wireless audio for your smartphone tablet
- Completed six-week in-house Advisor training, learning the details of every type of product we sell
- Regularly attend manufacturer training sessions on new and soon-to-be released products
- Authored dozens of Crutchfield articles and over a thousand product presentations
Comin' at you like a spider monkey with a thesaurus.
Meet Eric Angevine
Music has always been a huge part of my life. My family is full of singers and instrumentalists, so I grew up listening to recitals, concerts, records, and radio. These days I get to write about turntables, stereo amps and preamps, speakers, and the fascinating world of commercial audio. It's challenging, rewarding, and fun!
When I went to college at the University of Kansas, I got a student job as a sound engineer and announcer at the on-campus radio station, and that got me hooked on great gear. I've continued to share great tunes with my local community, first as a professional, and then a volunteer radio announcer.
My job at Crutchfield has drawn all of my passions together into job I love. I started as an Advisor, which gave me a chance to learn more about home, car, and commercial audio. Directly helping customers choose the gear that makes them happy was an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Becoming a copywriter let me flex the writing chops I've been honing over the past couple of decades - it's a perfect fit.
- Started at Crutchfield in 2013
- Completed our thorough in-house Advisor training, learning the details of every type of product we sell
- Attends dozens of vendor training events each year, including specialized commercial audio training
- Interviewed top home audio designers and engineers to gain insight into high-end audio
- Authored dozens of Crutchfield articles and hundreds of product web pages
- Author of "Hinkle Fieldhouse: Indiana's Basketball Cathedral"
More from Eric Angevine
How to build a great gym sound system
We designed a custom sound system for Charlottesville's Elevate Training Studio
From car racing to car stereos, I've written a lot of words about cars. Different words, even.
Meet Jon Paul
Jon is a veteran automotive writer who has spent a fair portion of his life hanging out at racetracks and talking to amazing people who make extremely loud cars reach ridiculous speeds. Despite all that, he still has enough hearing left to enjoy a stupidly large music collection. A native Virginian, Jon lives in the Charlottesville area, roots for the Nationals and would like a good BBQ sandwich right about now.
More from Jon Paul
Installing a remote start system in a Toyota Sienna
An iDatastart and Code Alarm system makes life easier for this Crutchfield family
I love movies with stunning images & arresting sound... but making people happy is my favorite.
Meet Julie Govan
Today I'm Crutchfield's Brand Manager, but I started out in 2000 as a Crutchfield writer who was super into home theater, surround sound, and all the pieces and parts of it. I kept bringing home ever-better gear to try out, and falling in love. My house became a go-to spot for movie nights (and I can still pop a mean bowl of seasoned popcorn).
Over time, as digital photography became dominant, I also found myself becoming a major resource for my colleagues about digital cameras, as well as an active photographer. I'm on my third DSLR and have three favorite lenses that go everywhere my camera goes.
But it's not just about the gear. The thing that really gave me a reason to come to, and stay at, Crutchfield, was a passion for problem solving. I love figuring out the whats, whys, and what-would-be-betters of a situation. That passion is why I went from being a writer, to an editor, and to my current position as Brand Manager. I love having a chance to look at all the stuff we do, and all the stuff our customers ask for, and help generate ideas for what we can do next!
- Started at Crutchfield in 2000
- Completed our thorough in-house home A/V Advisor training, learning the details of every home A/V and photography product we sell
- Attends vendor training events throughout each year
- Attended CES and other consumer electronics trade shows to meet with manufacturers and review upcoming gear
- Authored dozens of articles and hundreds of product presentations
I work each day to help make it easier for you to shop for consumer electronics.
Meet Michael Sokolowski
I'm Crutchfield's senior creative director for mobile electronics. As a lifelong performing musician and composer, I've released seven albums for Breezeway Records and appeared on many others. My band, Sokoband (formerly "Soko"), was an active part of the Charlottesville's creative music scene in the 1990s, and have continued to record and occasionally perform. Sokoband releases have included contributions from musicians like Leroi Moore, Tim Reynolds, Steve Kimock, David Darling, Nir Z, and Dave Matthews. An avid consumer of non-fiction and a choosier consumer of fiction, I love reading, writing, philosophy, science, technology, and language.
Working on the Crutchfield website every day to bring you the gear that rocks your world.
Meet James Ralston
I'm a drummer and die-hard music nerd with a lifelong interest in audio gear. A bandmate turned me on to Crutchfield in 1994, and I spent the next five years as an advisor, talking to customers directly and helping them put together great-sounding audio systems.
I've been on our writing team since 1999, and over the years I've gotten tons of hands-on experience hearing, seeing, using, and researching our wide-ranging home audio/video products. One thing I've learned: helping other people experience the joy of an amazing A/V system is just as rewarding as experiencing it yourself.
More from James Ralston
International woman of mystery with an eye for composition and an ear for surround sound.
Meet Deia Z.
A lot of people at Crutchfield know me for my photography expertise. I've spent years developing my camera skills and countless hours post-processing photos, so there isn't much I couldn't tell you about how to create amazing images. The cool part is once you have all the techy stuff down (and even if you don't!), you'll only keep improving with practice.
I also happen to know a whole lot about home theater. As the daughter of an extreme movie buff, most of the Saturday afternoons of my childhood were spent getting lost in stories, being immersed in sights and sounds in a dark theater. So I've always had a preference for powerful movie sound. My dad had the first real surround sound system I ever saw, way back in the 90s. (And he got me my first little home theater in a box sometime in the early aughts.)
When I started at Crutchfield, one of the first things I did was buy a big TV and set up a brand new 5.1 surround sound system at home. Not long after that, I got my first DSLR camera.
I spent the first five years of my Crutchfield career as an Advisor in our Spanish/International department helping customers from all over the world (I'm also fluent in Spanish). And I've been happily writing about cameras and awesome audio gear since joining the Crutchfield writing team in 2015.
Another thing about me: I'm an animal nut. I currently have a dog, six cats, and four fish. So I thought it was pretty great when we started carrying Smart Pet products in 2017. I got to be part of the Crutchfield Unleashed launch team. Writing about animals and testing out products to improve their quality of life gives me serious job satisfaction.
- Started at Crutchfield in 2010
- Completed in-house Advisor training, , learning the details of every type of product we sell
- Attends dozens of vendor training events each year
- Authored and edited dozens of Crutchfield articles and hundreds of product presentations
In danger of being trapped under the growing pile of headphones on my desk.
Meet Jeff Miller
How did I earn the nickname "headphone guy" here at Crutchfield? Through extensive training, research, and good old-fashioned hands-on experience. I've spent thousands of hours listening to different models, and thousands more writing about them. My other areas of expertise include voice control, streaming audio and video, and power protection.
My love of headphones started back when I was in elementary school, and my parents gave me a Walkman. I still love the intimate, wonderfully detailed sound you can get from the right headphone setup.
I spent the first eight years of my Crutchfield career in our customer support department. Listening to thousands of customer stories gave me real-world insights into what makes people happy.
- Started at Crutchfield in 2006
- Completed our thorough in-house Advisor training, learning the details of every type of product we sell
- Attends dozens of vendor training events each year
- Travels to industry events like CanJam NYC and the Capital AudioFest
- Interviewed some of the headphone industry's most accomplished engineers and product designers
- Authored dozens of Crutchfield articles and hundreds of product presentations
Jeff's passion for headphones and his commitment to hands-on experience exemplify Crutchfield's mission to exceed our customers' expectations by providing an abundance of helpful information.
More from Jeff Miller
Guide to TVs, speakers, and receivers with Chromecast built-in
Google lets you use your phone or voice as your remote control
Just your typical millennial who spends way too much time on social media. Follow @Crutchfield.
Meet Alexis G
I started out with Crutchfield as an intern after graduating from Radford University. I'm now the social media producer, and spend my days creating content that shares Crutchfield's passion and expertise. I love interacting with customers online every day, and learning about all of the awesome gear we sell through training and hands-on projects! Outside of work I love to travel, so solid road trip playlists and great sound are a must! I might be a recent addition to the team, but as it turns out, my dad bought the stereo I grew up jamming to from Crutchfield before I was born, so you could say I've been connected to the company my whole life.