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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 25

Talking video games and the best gaming gear

In this episode:

J.R. brings in special cohost Colin to assist with a panel discussion about video games and the gear that makes gaming more immersive. J.R. talks to four Crutchfield employees about their console preferences, the A/V gear they use when they game, and the gear they wish they owned!

Some of the gear discussed includes:

For more info about great gear for gaming, check out Colin's guide to the best gaming headsets for 2021, Logitech gaming accessories, and our best TVs for next-gen consoles.

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome everybody to Crutchfield, the podcast. I'm your host, Jr uh and I am joined in studio today, not by my normal co host. ErIC uh he doesn't even know we're recording this. He has no idea this episode is happening. I have somebody else in the studio with me today, technically he's at his house, I'm at mine, we are on Microsoft teams, the magical world of the pandemic and all of the video conferencing software just makes this super easy to do. Uh So with me today is Colin Colin, how are you sir? I'm doing all right. I feel a little funny that I've I've taken Eric's place. I'm sure that he's a little sad about it and I'm sorry if you can hear me, Don't worry, you don't have to be the one to break the news to him. I will be the one to break the news to him. But for our listeners and uh everybody, I thought it would be better to have someone like yourself as my co host because today's topic is all about gaming, video games, right? And ERic is a very casual gamer. I I'm not a gamer at all, which will probably become obvious somewhere throughout this episode, but I wanted somebody in here to sort of be my counterpart to be able to provide some expertise in the world of gaming and you do that, can you tell me a little bit about like how you game, what's your deal with gaming. Uh So I would say that I probably game more than I do like any other kind of media, like I play video games more than I watch, you know, tv shows or stream them or whatnot, or or movies honestly. Um and I play with uh you know, obviously by myself, but also like with my kids and stuff, so like there's there's a lot running down um there's a lot of gaming in the house, I tend to be a console gamer, so I'm rocking that playstation, but I did I do a little bit of pc not a whole lot, but a little bit, it seems like, and you're gonna hear this here a little bit in the episode, we talked to some other gamers that's kind of the the bulk of what we're gonna be doing today is hearing a panel discussion of some of Crutchfield gamers that wanted to be on the podcast and uh seems like pc gaming is all over the place, even from the people like yourself who primarily game on a console, you might also game on your pc. I think realistically, I think a lot of that just has to do with the fact that everybody has a computer, right? Almost everybody, it's just like if you think about the word gaming or gamer, um you got to think that like a huge portion of gaming is at actually mobile. So you talk about like all those people on their phones. I mean they're gaming too. So like if you were to take a like a litmus test of, like what kinds of games do you play? Most people at least do something. Okay, well maybe I am a gamer then, because on my phone every single day I am constantly looking to see if my mother has made a move in our scrabble game or our chess game, we have scrabble and chess going on all the time every day, so in that regard I'm a gamer, so what we've got lined up for you today is a panel discussion. First up we have rob, he's one of our pro audio, commercial audio, corporate sales guys. Next up we have Garrett, he's one of our sales advisors, he is representing the Xbox console, Gamer. Henry is in our customer support department and he recent scored a play station five Hannah is in our creative department, she is a graphic designer and I would call her sort of a casual gamer, she's not super into all the gear, she's way more into the story, the narrative, the graphics, the visuals, the and increasingly the audio. So this is me talking with Garrett, Hannah rob and Henry about all things gaming, let's do it, we're gonna go around and I'm gonna ask you, let's not get into like the crutchfield, a V gear that you've added yet, we're gonna save that for round two, I'm gonna go with rob first, since he's at the top left of my screen uh rob. Talk about it, Talk about your gaming, what do you do? Well, game on pc primarily. Um I use Steam as my network uh for the past year though. Um World of Warcraft Classic had come out and uh during the pandemic, I got back into that sort of as a nostalgia trip, Talk about your rig, Did you like build a Pc with like lights and a plexiglass side so we can all see inside of it? And is it, is it just as beautiful as it is functional? 10 years ago I built a machine and it's lasted me up until about six months ago and six months ago that machine um which was all like a parts computer in a big black box, like intended to look like the monolith from 2001, like, you know, you can't see into it, you don't know what's going on inside of it, it just works. Um when that started having graphic, graphic card issues that we're starting to uh starting to cause it to blue screen pretty regularly. I reached out to one of the people in my online community who actually works for Lenovo and he gave me um a whole bunch of, you know, tips on, like what to get and now, yes, I do have a compact gaming pc with a plexiglass side and a bunch of LED lights and everything inside of it now. So um I went, I went from one extreme to the other like one like black box to now, it's like it's all there. And I've actually had to go over go over it with gaffer tape in some spots because when I I'm a very light sleeper and I and now in the corner of my room it's like this like rainbow world of color so I had to actually cut all that back um quite a bit. But the one thing that would not shut up was the logo, the Lenovo logo on the front would not turn off, like there's no way to shut it down. So I just had to stick some tape over it, tape over the logo, like we used to do with the blinking clock on our vcrs, you're taping over pcs logo. Exactly. Uh Why are you a pc gamer? And I'm assuming you don't have a console, Playstation or Xbox or anything, You're you're just pc why why did you go that route instead of console? Uh I feel like well and I did for a long time play console games. Um And obviously I started on like Nintendo back in the day and um cartridge gaming all the way up through really until uh Playstation uh Three. Um which was still using discs and stuff once it started becoming uh you could download the games like Playstation four and the Xbox really allowed you to just download stuff. I started thinking well then why am I limiting myself to this controller? Um I'd rather have the flexibility of having my PC where I could upgrade pieces parts a lot faster than having to like go with whatever the hardware was that was designed for that Xbox or that PlayStation or whatever. Um so my the reason I've gone back to PC gaming for the past, I don't know since PlayStation three basically, so what is that? 55 years? I don't know. Um Basically since PlayStation three, I was like, it feels like an arms race, I feel like I'm buying something to replace something that is intentionally like designed to be obsolete over a certain amount of time. So with PC gaming um there's a lot more flexibility. I can I can swap parts in and out as necessary and really kind of keep my gaming rig like tight um as you know, over time. So it's like it's a I feel like for an investment side like yeah, I don't get all the same titles as like they don't come out immediately for X for pc typically than Xbox or Playstation, but I would rather have the flexibility and the longevity and not have to keep putting money into a system and getting tied into one system. You're like a you're like a dude that owns a car who also knows how to work on cars compared to the rest of us who don't write, like you can make your car go faster, you can repair things, other people can't repair, you have that level of control of the hardware in your system and your gaming pc do you do other pc related thing on that pc? Or is it just like just gaming? Yeah, audio recording, audio editing, um Some video, you know, Light, light image work and stuff like that, so yeah. Um it's kind of a it's my swiss army knife, but it's it was really bought and designed for for gaming. Cool, thank you, rob. I'm gonna move on to Garrett. Garrett comes to us as our Xbox representative today. You have, is it is that the Xbox one s is that the late, it's not, it is the for whatever reason Microsoft has a really convoluted uh system for naming their their their systems as far as it goes, it is the Xbox one slim model where they have the series X in the series s now, which are there, they're newer versions of that. Um But yeah, that's that's the console that I'm currently using, I was pretty, pretty much using, like I was a Playstation and Xbox guy up until like robson around PS three time. And due to the way their online platforms were designed and as far as that goes, I had a lot of friends that were on Xbox live and it seemed that that was a more stable setup for communication at the time, I ended up sticking with Xbox and ended up getting an Xbox one s there. Um You know, I still do a ton of gaming on that, but I'm pretty agnostic, I go where the games are and as far as it goes and um you know, I've pretty much stuck with the Xbox, says a console uh just due to uh you know, ease of use, like I love my new gaming pc that I got and it lets me do a lot of stuff that I couldn't do on the Xbox and it's an upgrade, but at the same time I like the streamlined use of a console where I don't have to configure extra stuff, I can throw a game in or I can download a game, I do all digital stuff now as it is anyway, I don't buy physical media anymore but um I like being able to just pull a game up and easily connect with friends on there as far as it goes in, one seamless experience now, don't get me wrong with cross platform stuff between Xbox, like I'm sure you've seen like Xbox and Pc and even Playstation can play together on certain games now and that doesn't always go smoothly when trying to talk with other folks across that, but um you know, it's just an easier user experience, I would say from, from what I do. Um you know, I play a lot of different games um as far as that goes, you know, I like first person shooters, I like adventure games, like role playing games. Um I grew up doing this stuff just like rob started all the way back from Atari and Nintendo and been doing it since then. Um But yeah I like there's some certain features that Microsoft has focused on. I'll tell you now exclusive games, PlayStations, killing everybody out there with game exclusives there. Um They really have a great selection of games. Some of those games are slowly making their way to P. C. I don't know if rob's seen that or not. Like I think it was a Was that Horizon zero dawn? But the thing that I like with Microsoft is that they have embraced their council as kind of like APC you know rob said that he used the Steam I use Steam a whole bunch. What's great about that is no matter what rob does and upgrades the pC and stuff like that, his games are always going to be there. You know if he gets a nostalgia bug like Warcraft, anything else that he's bought before it's going to work on his new system. He doesn't have to worry about you know digging out an old piece of hardware, making sure he's got the right connections to hook up to his tv or receiver and and play that game there. Microsoft has basically gone to that point now where they're looking to make everything backward compatible. So if you own digital copies of the original Xbox games from back in the early two thousands 23 60 games, all of that stuff is going to continue playing through their platform, which is really great. That's the only thing I was disappointed with Sony with, with them announcing the PS five as there was rumors of backwards compatibility and Sony has while they have great games, they have the habit of making a repurchase that game on every platform you jump to from them there and I don't need seven copies of Final Fantasy seven in case I want to go back and play it over again. So um that's that's one of the things I've really liked with it with that and I'm sure everyone's probably seen now games as a service is becoming a really huge thing. One of the pluses I get from using my Xbox still is with Game Pass Ultimate. They basically got rid of Xbox Live, which was the kind of normal subscription service for going online and using their servers and everything. Uh Game Pass Ultimate games as a service. So basically they cater a huge list of games for you. You can play them for free and install them and and do that but it supports pc as well. So we'll be doing pc and uh being a Xbox console gamer um I can play certain games for free on Xbox but I can also play those games on pc. So for example, they had a game re release a couple years back called Doom. Real popular game in the nineties, did a new version of that game. Um And I played it on my Xbox look great, ran fantastic everything like that. But then I was able to re downloaded on Pc and like Doom and another game for for Horizon for racing game. Um Playing those through my Pc, I can play for free because I'm a member of that Xbox game pass there but I'm able to play them at four K. With like 60 frames a second, like awesome awesome speed and awesome response and graphical fidelity compared to my older console. Um So I kind of get the best of both worlds in that aspect. Just the only thing I'm missing out on right now and I think everybody is because if you find a PS five hold onto it for for your life as far as it goes. But playstation still has some really great exclusive games that I'm chomping at the bit to play. Speaking of Playstation, Henry is over, they're chomping at the bit Oh he's holding up his playstation. Yeah That's the PS five. Right, Henry? Yes sir. It is, it's how long have you had that for? About two months now, it was very difficult to get a hands on. It took a lot of patience but I was fast enough on my computer and just I bought it and what what are you playing on your Playstation five right now considering the fact that the place is five is still pretty new. Uh There's not too many games out there but I have been replaying a recent PS five upgrade, God of War, which is honestly probably one of my favorite games that was on the PS four, considering it's just absolutely an amazing looking game and it's just amazing story fun to play in nostalgia as well at some point in the game not giving spoilers. And have you always been a PS console gamer? I have, ever since I was about I'd say five or six years old, I believe my brother got a PS one and I didn't know what I was doing at first, but after some time literally I just played that all night at one point, play that every day then just started getting the next one after the next, after the next until now I got this which I never thought I was going to get. And uh talk to us about Garrett mentioned backwards compatibility with older games. Are you having any issues with that? Is it backwards compatible? I don't know, I'm not a gamer, I'll get that out there now. Uh So what's the deal with that? To an extent it is backwards compatible. Not as backwards compatible Xbox, like for example if you want to play some games you have to have the disc version of it, you put it in and it's going to give you a upgrade basically. It's just the PS four version of it, No upgrades really whatsoever. It's just that you can play it on the console so you don't get a modern day version of the game but you can play your old game on the new concept basically. And I mean there are some updates like for example with God of War, there was a recent update to get the PS five upgraded version where the Fidelity and the performance was just improved to insane. This I guess I should say that's a word. But um that's pretty much all there is to it. I mean unfortunately yeah, you can't play like PS three or PS two games which that's actually what I use my pc for. But wait, so both console gamers also have a pc for gaming. Seems like Henry and wait. All right, Hannah, you are here with us today because uh as far as the rest of the gear that goes with your gaming setup, you don't, you have yet to set up a massive surround sound system, sound, audio, video, all that stuff. But you game quite a bit right. Talk to us about how do you game, what do you use, what's going on with your game? Alright, well I grew up mostly playing other people's video game systems because my parents were sort of like hesitant to let me get into video games for a while. Although I found out when I was older that it's because they loved video games and actually that they would be very like obsessed with it if they let me own a gaming system. Um So once they sort of got past that um they let me have a um the Gameboy Advance was my first actual gaming system beyond my dad's really, really old um you know, large manila colored computer that he would sometimes play video games on. Um and after that we finally upgraded to a PS two and we got a we and played family games together for a long time. Um but beyond that, those were still, you know, the family gaming systems. So when I grew up and moved out, I was sort of left with my mac, which is because I'm a graphic designer and just like in the video game world, if you own a mac, you're sort of like laughed at a little bit, which I understand um in the graphic design, well sometimes it depends on who you're talking to um In the graphic design world max are definitely more common than Pcs, so that's what I have. Um But I have recently in the past couple of years gotten a switch and also an Oculus quest because VR is very, very fun. Um So my experience with video gaming systems is less about the systems and it's more about the games themselves, so if a game is something that has a story that I can really get into. Um And or and is better uh and or the game play is really, really fun to do. I love those types of games, puzzle games or something that I also really like because they keep me really engaged games that I can play socially with other people are things that I also really like, although it doesn't mean that it's technically a genre social game. Um My sisters and I grew up playing games while watching the others play games. So it's, you know, my sister's playing Skyrim right now, she's playing it for the first time and I'll just sit in the room with her and be like, oh yeah, you're getting to this part. Oh yeah, this is really exciting. Oh, I'm so excited for you, you know? Um so it's like, it's like when I go to watch old movies with my daughter, it's like you're experiencing this, you have no idea what's coming. I know, I can't wait. I'm not watching the movie, I'm watching your face as you see that scene. But of course experiencing a game for the first time with each other while one person is sort of at the wheel controlling the game and the other is just watching is also very fun. So, um so it's always been more about the experience of the game itself as opposed to the system that I'm using. But I think after working at Crutchfield, I'm realizing more and more that things like having good lighting, good audio, good visuals really do help to up that game experience. So even if a story is well told and the gameplay, it's really fun. You can up the emotions and the interactivity with the game. If what you're surrounded with is high quality, I just do not have the knowledge to know, you know, what things should I beginning, what is the best, what is within, what is good, but within my budget because, you know, a several $1000 audio system is not within my budget as nice as it would be. Um, so yeah, that's kind of where I am now. I love games, but more for the games themselves and the stories and things like that. And I'd have much less knowledge about the technical side of things. So what do you use for your audio and video? I mean, the video I presume is just you, your, your Mac's screen. Yes. Yeah. And for the, for the, for the audio, is it just the headphones you're wearing today that I can see on your head or it's either it's either the headphones that I'm wearing or I just play the audio through my computer system, which is not the best. But you know, it works. Yeah. And those look that looks like a fairly decent set of headphones. You get, you get those from Crutchfield. Yeah. These are technically ones that are still on loan. I was in a catalog article a couple of articles a couple of catalogs ago and I'm just still sort of like playing with these, but they're very nice headphones. The JBL JBL gaming headphones. I got to see those a year or so ago at the Consumer electronics show. They're making a big push to get into this, this, this arena, this world of headphones and so they, I would imagine that's the way that's a pretty big upgrade over what your computer speakers. So for sure. Yeah, especially with surround sound and, and being able to sort of hear the directionality of things that are happening, it's way better. Nice. Alright, we're gonna go back around now to the other three guys and uh, and see what it is you're using for your A. V setup and let's go in reverse order, Henry, who I forgot to mention earlier is our current employee of the month, by the way, Congratulations on that. So tell me, what do you have your PS five connected to? Like what they talked about the tv, the sound, whatever you've got going on there. So I do have it hooked up to an old four K. Samsung tv. But the big thing here, the thing that makes the magic mainly happen is that jbl 5.1 surround sound sound bar that I got from Crutchfield and honestly, that's probably one of my favorite things I've ever bought before because I had originally 2.1 Samsung. The audio is significantly clear when I'm playing like story driven games like God of War and Red the redemption for example and the symbol for that comes with it. It just it's so deep and it's so clean and it just makes me feel like I'm right there and just in the action with it all, what size is your Samsung tv? It's a 55 inch tv. 55 inch and how close to it are you typically when you're gaming? Um probably 10 ish feet away from my tv. So Colin uh let's break in here for a second and talk about the size of a tv and what is the right size for gaming and all the things you might do on a T. V. And over the years we've had various charts that sort of explain your seating distance from the T. V. Should help you understand what size Tv you need. Of course that changes when you go from standard definition to high definition to four K. And beyond possibly going into the future. Right? So uh we used to get really scientific with it but it's less scientific now because you could basically summarize it as just get the biggest tv, you can physically fit in your room. Uh and one of your jobs, if I'm not mistaken is to write a lot about our TVs on our website, would you say I'm accurate in saying. Absolutely. So I think um like yeah if you had to boil it down to like one quick, you know, hard fast rule like absolutely, you just look at your space, see how much room you are you are you have and then just get the the biggest thing that's gonna fit there because that's gonna give you, I think the most immersive experience like the bigger it is, the more the screen you're seeing, the more you're not seeing everything else around it. Uh and it's just I just it's just like a feast for the eyes. Like it would be hard for me at this point to go back to watching movies or TV shows or especially gaming to a TV smaller than 55. Like that feels painful to me like yeah if you know like little tiny because I grew up with this you know like little, you know 20 inch, you know, tube tv or something playing a super Nintendo, you know like doing that now, it feels like you're scrunched up, you know and you have to get closer to it but if it's bigger you've got more room you can step further back and it's just it's just the better I guess once you say it it sounds just like so common sense like of course a bigger tv is better. Um And I really get it when you're sitting back on a couch with a game console controller in your hand, you're looking at your T. V. 10 or 15 ft away. Clearly you need a bigger tv to feel like that gaming experience is immersive at all. But what about if you are sitting at a desk pc gaming, do you need that big of a T. V. What do you, how do you kind of feel about? So if your pc gaming having kind of a larger, like you can use some TVs as uh as monitors or just have like a really big, especially ultra wide monitor and especially when you're right up close to it, that can give you a competitive advantage, especially if you're playing like a first person shooter. The idea is that it's easier for you to recognize visual cues the closer you are to like that big screen or in some cases like if you have ultra wide view capability, like some of the TVs that we carry, there's uh some Samsung's that we carry specifically that have like an ultra wide mode for pc, you can actually see more on your peripheral um on your on your left and right, so you can see things that would otherwise like flank you, you know, like catch you off guard. Um so that's that's like a little in the weeds, but in general, you know, if your tv is farther away and it's smaller, it's harder for you to see fine detail and that means that that could be the sniper on the roof, you know, you're saying the size of your tv being bigger, it's actually it's a matter of life and death. Yeah. Virtual life and death. Absolutely virtual life and death. That's of course what I'm talking about. Yes. All right. Here we go. Let's go back to the, let's go back to the panel, we've interrupted enough. So we've got a Samsung four K Tv and a JBl sound bar and your PS five just connected to that and that's pretty much it. Do you also set use headphones or pretty much just just the JBL sound bar. I only ever use headphones on my Pc just because like it's mainly I'm competitive on PC and play like different games like Apex legends and whatnot. Um but um on my PS five like games like Red Dead Redemption given story driven all that just feels nice to just sit down on the couch um have like a whole entire system like that playing and also just feeling the control vibration, everything like that's just a lot better I should say with an actual sound system on a console. Yeah, that makes sense. Garrett you're not in your head. I know you have a massive set up please uh tell us about your a V setup to go with your gaming gear. So my tv set up is a home theater system. My gift to myself when I started here Crutchfield six years ago. Um but I've got a older Dennen receiver, uh a LG oled tv 55 inch and I've got some of the RP 2 80 speakers that we've got a good price on right now there from my front left and rights I have a R. C. 64 to center channel speaker and I have a set of the I think they're the 2 40 s now. They might have been used to be the four of us. It's the bidirectional clips surround speakers for that there. And then I've also got that awesome stuff that we have right now. The 1 12 S. W. From clips as well from my whole sound set up there. Um So it's a multipurpose set up for for you know home theater for watching movies and stuff like that as well as my gaming setup there. Um absolutely love it as far as it goes. Uh as far as distance for me sitting and stuff like that. Like my couch is probably around somewhere between eight and 10 ft away from the screen there. And I typically sit there when I'm playing xbox Games can lay back be relaxed with a controller and everything like that. Um With my Pc. Unfortunately with Pc and latency and things of that nature my keyboard is still tethered to my Pc there which is also ran through the tv. So when I play on pc I have a handy shelf board that I got from lows that my keyboard and my mouse sit on there with a mouse pad and sit in a chair a little bit closer there. Um As far as it goes um you mentioned about the size of the screen. I am trying to convince my wife at this point that I need that Sony 900 series 85 inch tv to go up to and then I can see you know with that. I mean the thing is is that the L. G. Is fantastic but it's limited at 60 frames a second. Nothing wrong with that. Very smooth, very fast. However those newer TVs have that variable refresh rate like monitors and up to 120 hertz at four K. Is and 85 inches. Of course that's a little bit more real estate than the 55 as well. So I mean it's it's an option I'm looking at that I'm very interested in for for upgrading for everything for home theater and for the video game console stuff there. Alright Colin I wanna break in here and talk a little bit about TVs and the features that our newest TVs have specifically to enhance the gaming experience. Right? Yeah we've been we've you've been able to game on TVs for years. Uh TVs have had gaming mode on them for years but the newest TVs have there's actually four very specific features designed to make gaming with the newest consoles smooth seamless better. They look better, they sound better. Uh And let's break them down really quick. We don't need to spend an hour here but I want people to understand what's going on in the tv world specifically for gaming. One of those things is called V. R. R. Or variable refresh rate and as I understand it this is needed to keep the screen from tearing right from one scene in a game to another scene. There might be a funky thing that is not like an an edit. It's like obviously something's wrong and it's called screen tearing. Can you talk about that? Have you seen that? And how do these things how does variable refresh rate fix that? Yeah so the basics of it or that the the output of your your video game source. Um It has like frames per second. Right? And that's at a specific speed. And the T. V. Has a refresh rate uh you know 60 hertz or 100 20 hertz or whatever. Similar uh similar sorts of things but different same but different. Um And when they don't match when they're not the same it wigs your tv out and you get the tearing like artifact. You know you get weird stuff happening with your screen which is obviously distracting and disruptive and just not pretty to look at. And so the variable refresh rate, it basically adjusts the performance to match. So specifically your your refresh rate they automatically adjusted to match your frames per second. Um So that it stays smooth. Um Which is which is nice. It's it's especially a thing for for for pc gamers um it's important and uh for console games and using them on TVs now it's entirely possible to have gaming content on these newest machines that is four K. Resolution at 100 and 20 frames per second. Right so four K. 1 20 that's a lot of data that's a lot of picture information that is smooth motion and it takes an amazing tv to be able to deal with that. And that's another one of those next generation gaming features. Right. Yeah which to get that in order to take advantage of it you have to have uh an H. D. M. I. 2.1 uh cable and import both ways. Um So it's it's gonna give you like that four K. That ultra high def you know chris picture quality and because it's got 100 20 hertz like you said it's gonna be super smooth if you don't have HD my 2.1 like if that's if that feature isn't supported in your H. D. M. I. Ports which is still common for a lot of T. V. S. You know there's still rolling you know 2.0. B. Then um you just you just won't get that benefit so it's not gonna look terrible or anything but you're just not gonna be able to take it that next step over and really if you're getting the next gen console like you like if you want to actually benefit from it to get the most from it. Like you kind of need that. I mean at that point, I don't know why you pick it up except to get the newest fanciest games, right? Because that's why I wanted to bring this up because these newer consoles are really pushing the limits of the performance of TVs that people own currently and if they're looking to get the most out of it, a new tv might be necessary. And on our website, on the filters on the left side of all the pages of TVs that we sell is a whole section where you can filter out all the TVs that don't have these next generation gaming features were specifically trying to help people get the most out of their gaming gaming experience. Uh And speaking of H D M I enhanced audio return channel is now an important thing for a tv to have for gaming. I understand why you'd want it for movies, Right? So you can get Dolby at most when you're streaming off of like netflix and amazon, but that's a thing in video games as well. So, absolutely. So if you're thinking about surround sound for a movie, you're talking about immersion. Right? So any single player game that you're playing is in many ways an interactive movie. Right? So especially like narrative games, you're like playing in an experience and it draws you in to have sound cues that can be behind you below you, above you, It makes you feel like you're there and that's great for for narrative games for for single player stuff. But it's even more important for competitive games because if you were in a competitive space and you have, you know, potential other competitors or enemies right in in other places where you cannot see them than getting sound cues from behind you or above you tip you off to their presence. Like suddenly you know someone's about to get the drop on you because your sound system supports, right? That sort of detailed, you know uh like surround sound like dolby at most. Like that's gonna give you uh Yeah super important. The sound is a big part of the game just like it's a huge part of the any movie or tv show you're watching. All right. The last next gen gaming feature that these uh the newest TVs might have a LLM or auto low latency mode, which to me I think that just means I don't have to go to my remote and tell my tv to go to gaming mode. Now it might automatically do it because it detects over the H. D. M. I. Cable that it's connected to a gaming console. And so it automatically reduces how much processing it has to do, which could add latency or delay, which is probably a problem again a matter of life and death virtually in a first person shooter game if if you're a half second behind you might get taken out. Right. Is that do I have all that right? No, that's perfect. Yeah. So um virtually every tv now has a game mode and what that feature does is you don't have to go in, you don't have to manually switch it, you don't have to think about it. It knows when you're using your PS five or your Xbox series X or S. And it just auto switches it um and those game modes are specifically designed for the kind of performance needs that games have. So like when you talk about like how much information is passing between, you know like your game source and your controller and what's happening on screen um you know like it can be a lot of information so you have to prioritize certain things like input. So like the last thing you want is to press a button on your controller and then to have, you know like just a handful of more, you know, like milliseconds, you know, microsecond in between you pressing that button and the thing happening on screen like you said, like that's the difference between like losing and winning or just a lame experience. It just doesn't feel right. Doesn't feel responsive. It's like being in a nightmare and punching, you know the bad guy and it feeling like a pillow, you know what I mean? Like it's it's just doesn't feel right. It feels disjointed. Cool. Thank you for the explanation on the next generation gaming features back to the interview. Are you guys seeing those artifacts, those issues using these relatively new or brand new consoles with some older TVs? I am, I myself am getting screen tearing like I've got V sync enabled there but I have to limit my frame rate because if my computer tries to go past that frame rate or drops below there, it just does not work well. If anybody here is familiar with cyberpunk, that was my key push to go to finally to get a gaming Pc. And as far as that goes, if I try to uh adjust the frame rate on that too much, it's pretty picky and I can get screen tearing with it there. I'm running at slightly lower than four K. Resolution with it right now at 14 40 to keep that high frame rate because it's more responsive. But yeah um the refresh rate is definitely an important thing with the newer newer equipment coming out and to get your Pc into your home theater system. Is that just as simple as running an H. D. M. I. Cord from your pc? Or is it more more than that? Nope, it is as simple as that. Unfortunately I don't have a four K. Capable receivers so as far as both my Xbox and my pc, I'm running HD my uh audio quest sentiments into it there, into the T. V. And I've got an optical cable going out from the T. V. Into the receiver there as far as it goes. Gotcha. So and up to date receiver will also simplify your connections a little bit too. Most definitely that a new advantage Yamaha receiver is looking very yes as we record this home theater receivers have been hard to come by now during the pandemic even for us making employee purchases. So we're all looking forward to our next next generation home theater receiver. Uh moving, oh you wanted to talk headphones? You use a set of headphones sometimes too. I do uh for for Xbox because I have a home theater. I prefer using just like a half year set of headphones. So I've got one headphone on for for hearing my buddies and chat and stuff like that while still getting my surround sound. I haven't found an exact match for that with my PC yet there I got a wireless headset for my PC company called Corsair. I really like it matches the keyboard I have. There does all the fancy RgB RgB stuff that rob was talking about my keyboard and my headphones light up and I'll have a light show with them there. Um But the thing is when I use that I'm sure there's probably some options on the computer. I can't wait to get my surround sound through the receiver still and my headset but I really just prefer using the headset just for chat. Um You know it's it's okay for immersive surround town. I can see where if you don't have a lot of space it's a fantastic option for that. They've got support for at most on Pc now. Um Maybe they've had it for a while but you can actually pay 15 bucks for an at most decoder and if you have just a regular set of stereo headphones, it does at most through them there when you have it enabled right on rob. What do you have your brand new fancy pc connected to? I use just headphones um when I'm gaming. Um The vast majority of the time like I have my, you can kind of see behind me part of my like home stereo, like home theater set set up. But even that is like super duper stripped down um Similar to hana. Like I play games for the the experience and the immersed the level of immersion. It is useful and and fun but like I'm more into it either for the story or the mechanics of the game. Um Less so like the cinematic experience of it while you know I can still throw in a really good set of headphones and like enjoy it on my Pc and like turn the lights out and like play like alien isolation or something like that where like it's like you're you're in it and like it's a horror movie and you're in it. Um I have really enjoyed um keeping my rig like really simple, like yes, the machine is nice and powerful and it runs a lot of stuff but like all the stuff that that Garrett's into or or even that Henry is benefiting from, like that's just stuff that for me is sort of background noise um to the gaming experience most of the time. Um And that comes just also as a byproduct of the types of games that I tend to play. Like for instance, I was just saying I play recently like World of Warcraft Classic, which is a 15 year old game, I'm not getting the same benefit. Uh you know, playing that on a massive super high speed tv with like, you know, great surround sound versus like Henry playing God of War or Modern Warfare. Um You know, so I tend to retro game a lot. Um Steam is really, really great for um indie developers which tend to be much more like lo fi graphics, much more story driven and mechanic driven and less um like um the triple A. Games that are just huge immersive cinematic experiences. I tend to shy away from those. Also a byproduct of me being a pc gamer versus a console gamer console gamer the triple A console games, like that's what they're going for, they're going for that big cinematic experience whether it's halo God of War, Red Dead, you know, any of these big immersive experiences, I'm much more like shoot what did I play recently that was like um is right my tongue. Um But it's it's basically like it's a puzzle game. It's two D. It's a two D. Platformer where the actual characters that you're playing are like blocks. So it's literally like this the whole thing is like it's almost it's almost like going all the way back to like eight bit gaming. But that's exactly what it is thomas's which is a such a great game and it's so it's super challenging and the story is really funny and the narration is great the attitude of the game but it's not a cinematic experience. You know it's like you're not going into it um fully immersed in the way that um you would with any of the big triple A. Games. Um So I tend to go with a much stripped stripped down um experience. So I throw on the headphones. I've got Sennheiser, GSP 300 which we used to sell. We no longer sell. Um Probably gonna be upgrading soon to the JBl um Like Hannah has um just for comfort and fit. I love the Sennheiser is they sound great but like they I've had it for a few years now it's probably time for me to upgrade a little bit especially because I don't have to upgrade my tv. I don't have to upgrade my atmos. I don't have to grade my um And uh yeah basically just a nice big monitor and a really nice pair of uh comfortable headphones that are high, high quality, that also include high quality talkback mic because a lot of what I do, whether I'm playing thomas's alone by myself or whether I'm playing World of Warcraft, where for the past 67 months I've been a raid leader, which means I've had to communicate and people have to hear me in real time and react to what I'm trying to explain and I have to be able to hear them in real time um and be and and has to be articulate. Um So having, you know, not just a nice pair of headphones, but also like a headset where you've got a really nice talk back mic and really good sound quality coming back to you um is imperative, so um so when you're gaming rob, you're sitting at a desk at a computer, right, rather than sitting comfortably on a couch, like the rest of these guys, right, I'm sitting comfortably at my computer, you have one of those really fancy gaming chairs. I do not. I see Henry every time he moves, I can see his like high speed chair every now and then if you, if you don't know your background, there you go. Yeah, I don't know, it just is it just the pillow or is it, you know, it's a it's a very nice chairs from Secret Labs. Very very nice chair. Yeah, I need to upgrade my chair game. I'm feeling, I'm feeling is that are those chairs? Is that part of the audio visual experience? Does it do anything or is it just a comfortable chair? I think that was just a comfortable chair. Right. I mean like there are some that have like sub subwoofers built into them. Oh that would be fun. Uh rob What size is your monitor that you're using? I'm using 24 right now, but I have been putting some money away to do like a widescreen cinematic. Um So like doing one of the like, you know, the big like letter box where it's the slightly parabolic curved screen to really get into when I'm playing thomas was alone. I really want to feel like I'm in an eight bit. Yeah, I want to feel like I am a triangle, you know what I mean? Like that's right, yeah, that's that seems like a small monitor, but you're sitting two ft or three ft from it right now, not 10 ft away. So it doesn't feel like a 24 inch. And those, those huge widescreen, I've seen at least one of the guys in our video editing department has one of those massive curved widescreen things and it's just incredible. The experience is sitting there at your desk is unlike anything I've seen in Amman and I have three monitors in front of me but that seems way better. Alright. I'm gonna open it up to anybody here. What do you guys think Hannah should do for her next upgrade for, to enhance the story, the experience, the immersion, the, you know, the whole gaming experience, how could Hanna's system be better? I mean from my perspective it sounds like you're you're doing the right thing, headphones, pc game platform, like I'm I'm with you 100% on all of that, I'd agree with rob, I would say like even if it's an entry level gaming pc, I mean you mentioned you had an Oculus quest also that opens up a whole nother world of games for you there because right now you're limited to like what they put through the quest. I've got a quest to myself, but as far as that goes, like you're limited to what they have on the Oculus app store for what you can download for games and if you go with the pc through Steam, there's a ton of other games that you can connect up to using a link cable to your Oculus to play more games. So many. I love Steam, it's so good for finding, finding so many different things to play. Okay, Colin we gotta break in here because I have a question and this is actually the full reason I wanted you on the show today, I need somebody to explain Steam to me, rob mentioned it, Garrett mentioned it that they're all seem to be on Steam and you know, I'm familiar with uh these gaming consoles having their own sort of networks and platforms for downloading games and, you know, communities and all of that stuff. But I'm not familiar with Steam and I imagine anybody out there listening who's a gamer, you probably know this and you're thinking JR is just an idiot, but I'm not an idiot, I'm just not a gamer. And for anybody out there, that's not a gamer, you might be wondering the same thing. So Colin please help me and those out there that need it understand what Steam is. Yeah, no problem. So when you have a uh, like a a container of water and you heat it up the molecular activity, it gets, it gets like hotter and it moves around more and it changes phases. So that's like the opposite of what happens when you put water in the freezer. I get it, I get it. Uh man, I didn't realize you were so smart alec. E uh so, but it's all in addition to being the gaseous form of water, what else is Steam as it relates to gaming? So Steam is um, both a marketplace, so it's a place to, to buy games, basically, it's also an interface with which you um play games and interact with other players. So it's for computers. So on your computer, you would have this marketplace, you'd buy a game and it manages your digital rights to that game, so I can download it through Steam and if I later delete it I can go back to Steam and like re download any game I've ever purchased right? So it manages my digital rights. It also um they have sort of in game voice and video chat so it's through Steam that I'm able to like talk to my buddies while I'm playing um and you know communicate tactical call outs or just you know um just chat. But it's it's also it supports text chats too so like sending messages and then community features like forums and stuff for for gamers to like communicate with each other and sort of digitally hang out. Um But they do even more than that like Steam uh is kind of this cultural cornerstone for for a lot of gamers, especially gamers that that spend a lot of their time on the computer. And it it extends all the way to developers. Like Steam offers like services and specific tools for for for developers, people who make games. And it it's very um it's it's very much geared towards like smaller development companies like indie developers and stuff like that. And so there's a lot of content on Steam um that might not exist without the sort of the support they provide to these these like low level you know like startup gaming companies, you know like 33 dudes, you know three gals or whatever, you know like hanging out in a tiny office somewhere. So it's a community, it's a market place, it's a place that facilitates this, it sounds mainly like a pc gaming thing or is this also applicable to console games? I think it's so it's it's, it's computer based because consoles have their own version of this. So Playstation has the Playstation network and it has you know the Playstation store, you buy stuff again, your digital rights, you can re download stuff, it's what gives you the ability to do live chat and messages and xbox again, same thing Xbox live. So like the consoles, those companies have their own separate sort of marketplace and interface for their games and so esteem is is primarily for for for computer folks. Okay, now that I get like even not being a gamer, I already understood that Playstation Xbox whatever had their own, you know, places to download. Play ways to facilitate chat and all of that stuff. Uh and I assumed you could do that on a pc. I just didn't realize that Steam was the way it was done. Uh That's cool, thank you. Now I am curious about my switch because it is built so that the controllers can come off of the screen and you can dock it and put it onto a larger screen and I have done that when I visited my parents before because they've got like a goodness how big is it? Like a 55 inch um tv in a relatively small living room So the gaming experience on that is really nice. Um But here I don't really have that, I just have to switch in my hands, I use the little switch screen. Um But being able to upgrade something like that would be nice because there are a lot of games on there that do have sort of a cinematic experience, it would be nice to see it um on a larger screen. So do you have any any advice for me there? So more, so what I was just gonna say is the fact that that switch can go up to a 5.1 surround sound system um which that can work perfectly with that jbl sound bar that was mentioning. Um and I actually I have um hooked up a switch before to that surround sound system um and that sounded amazing. So that is definitely my recommendation if you wanted that. If you wanted to upgrade your sound system, if you can hook up before you know first get the TV obviously, but after that definitely the 5.1 surround system, it doesn't sound like you have to spend thousands of dollars on a massive eight set up to have a more immersive meaningful experience. Yeah which is really nice because I think that I I kind of go from 0 to 100 when I want to do something. So when I think oh I want to have a nicer gaming setup, I'm like okay what's the swankiest way that I can do this, How can I basically turn the entire room in my house into just a gaming room and it's not, it's not necessary. You can do a little bit at a time. I'm really curious about your VR experience, I have to follow up with you, especially pc gaming with VR. Um I know that they've made um like Garret said Steam has a lot of titles that they may not be VR design but are portable into VR. Um which again, once you go into that VR thing, like, you don't even need a tv, you don't even need a monitor, right? I mean, everything's already like there, which is uh that's that's pretty slick. Um yeah, when you, when you think about it, having the VR goggles on, it's like having, it's like you're sitting 10 ft from a massive movie theater screen, right? Your screen size relative to how far it is from your face is huge. It's true. I mean, it's, it's complete, it's a complete 3 60 view of everything up down. It's amazing, terrifying. In some instances guilty of Oculus neglect as well. My buddy bought it for me because he wanted me to play VR from so badly and I think we've played mini golf a couple of times and played frisbee golf in there in rec room. But yeah, I've even bought some games where that are supposed to be outstanding, but I just haven't done it. There's a Walking Dead game that gets rave reviews. I don't know how comfortable I am with like trying to pretend to shove a screwdriver into a zombie head, but it's, it's something that's that's there, you know, as a actual disc golfer uh on bad weather days, I have certainly considered, I see others playing disc golf video games. I can't remember what they're called at this point, but I'm thinking, okay, I might, that might be an area of gaming which might motivate me to get into it in some way, shape or form. I'm not a gamer but that might get me into gaming just to be able to play some some form of disc golf on bad weather days. I would warn to be careful with it there. That was my first experience with the Oculus and I have a low ceiling fan in my room and basically I went to throat, I went to throw the disc really, really far and hard and my wife yelled at me as I punch the ceiling fan, fortunately nothing, nothing broke but my hand was sore for a couple of days, so make make sure you have a clear area. I completely agree with that. I'm also guilty of punching the ceiling fan a couple of times you want to be clear and free when you're playing in VR This, this reminds me of all the videos I saw of wii remote getting thrown into tv screen reminds me when I would play the horror game, and I saw a ghost in front of me. I just ran into my dresser, Oh man, you mentioned playing Alien isolation, man, I didn't even finish that. That was too like, I played dead space and other stuff like that, but isolation got so, like, made me so anxious. It's like, I just I can't do anymore, I just step away and I haven't touched anxiety at like 100. It is a I mean, it makes you feel like you're Ripley, like it really puts you in the in the like shoes of somebody who is being hunted. Uh and and and I want to see that in VR like so that I can just be like, you know, I don't know, I'll probably having a heart attack or something. But uh so I know at least two of you probably have to go because you're in the call center and uh and you might have to go take calls or whatever, but I have one last question, if you can stick around. So the last question is, as I've mentioned a couple times, I'm not a gamer, right? So I don't spend time with headphones on talking to other people around the world playing video game playing the same game and that is it? I just want to hear a little bit about that. Like I've heard I've heard horrible things about the world of what goes on in the in the chats and video games, but there's also great things that goes on there, right? So uh tell me talk to me whoever wants to go first is fine. What's that? Like? I'd say it can be pretty random you honestly depending on the game especially um like for example, I'm sure you've heard of the infamous Call of Duty. Um The voice chats on that. The people kind of I guess they're mainly kids. Honestly they're pretty much a lot of um but they are they can be pretty aggressive every now and then. But at the end of the day you can find like a pair and like let's say War Zone which is basic like a battle royal with um you can get up to four people and just trying to eliminate the rest of the entire 100 players there in the lobby. And if you can get to find a good group, I mean it's an absolute joy you meet new friends and it's just like I've met some good friends online, for example who actually live in Virginia. I got to meet them too. So it was a it was a blast. And so you turned an online video game chat into a actual person, you've met and have some sort of relationship. Exactly. And it's actually one of my closest friends to. That's probably one of the best things. I've got games that's awesome, rob, you've got something, I'll take it one step further in playing World of Warcraft the first go around 14, 15 years ago I spent two years um Warcraft you build up guilds, which is a group of people that game together regularly. It's a it's not a competitive game, it's a cooperative game. So you tend to build really deep friendships with these people over time and for about 2.5 years I knew a person online. Uh I ended up going down to Arizona and meeting them face to face. She ended up moving to Virginia and we dated and lived together for almost a year. Um so and she is still a very close friend of mine even, you know, now decades later, you know, decade and half later she, you know, I keep in touch with her through instagram and we're still very very close but it's been, you build those kinds of friendships in, in the virtual space depending on, again, as Henry said, depending on the game, you can build situations, uh build lifelong friendships. Um This second most recent time of going through playing World of Warcraft. Um I again spent about a year and a half again in a guild, cooperative gaming and one of the people in that group now that I'm done with the game and I've moved on, he has kept in touch with me and now we're playing on Steam together. So it's like even going from one gaming environment to a different gaming environment because the internet connects us all, it doesn't matter where you go, like if I wanted to hop on playstation or xbox, I'm sure he's got accounts, you know, and we could just get on and game and play together. Um but you know, I just got messages the other day from somebody that I hadn't spoken to in a while who is going to be a dad soon and like we're all super excited about that for him and I've never met these people, right? So um yeah, it's it's uh it's it's a, it is a bit of a double edged sword, but it really is dependent on the game and um just like real life, you know, if you curate a friend group um it can be an incredibly meaningful and connecting experience um For for everybody who's playing the game together, any thoughts on that? Um I tend to, whenever I play collaborative games, I tend to play them with people that I already know um which is a great way to, to deepen friendships aside from, you know, meeting new people occasionally. I know at the beginning of the pandemic, some of my friends and I, we their friends, their friends from college that I have who we get together at least once a year just to sort of be around each other, even though it's been, I think now math, math is not my strong suit, It's been a while since I graduated from college and we love to go to one heck of a graphic design, it's all about the visuals, forget the numbers, but uh, nine years, that's what it was. But we usually will get together to go to events or to go to each other's houses even though we live in different cities. Um, and sometimes different states, but you know, we couldn't do that for the past year. And so video games have been a really great way for us to keep up with each other. Um, we've been playing, you know, animal crossing. One of the reasons that it blew up so hard at the beginning of 2020 was because of the pandemic and there were so many people missing their friends. And it was a game that allowed them to um, like hang out virtually on their friends islands, give their friends gifts virtually. You know, it feels like a nice little space for you to spend time with people. Um, same thing with what was that among us, but that was another one that was popular for a while. Um my friends and I have been playing on like Tuesday nights, we'll just be like, hey guys, it's time we're gonna play and we'll just go, you know, murder each other in that game because murdering each other virtually in a game is a great way to build friendships with people. That is so strange. You're absolutely right. I didn't think of it in that context until just now, but you're absolutely right. And even aside from video games like tabletop games too, I'm part of a monster of the week group and we it's with the same people, you know, we can't get together physically to play these games so we'll do them online. I use these headphones, I I can hear them, they can hear me. It's great. Very cool. Garrett any thoughts on the world of the video game chat? Oh yeah, I mean it's it's changed a lot like I mean I'm sure the others can relate as well if they've been gaming for a long time. It's like growing up here it was it was you and your friends grouped around on a couch sharing controllers, you know, and 64 goldeneye people running around with jobs slapping each other, you know, as far as that goes. But since then with, you know, the rise of the internet and everything like that and the pandemic, it's changed a lot of things socially and you know, gaming it's always growing but I think with the pandemic it's growing even more as a social aspect, like Hannah said I've got some existing friends as well and co op games games under team based, you tend to find people that you will connect a lot more when it's a team based objective and it's not everybody for themselves. I've been playing Borderlands three for probably the past three months now with one or two of my friends and it's just a great co op experience. You know, one of us can see the other ones playing hop in, you know, run around, shoot some cartoon looking characters and you know, uh catch up with one another. So definitely, definitely a great experience to be able to have. This has really been fantastic talking to you guys. I feel like I've been missing out in my life having not really been a gamer. Uh and that maybe I need to start checking this out and that disc golf might be my way. Uh But yeah, it sounds pretty awesome to hear you guys describe it and I'm so glad you guys took the time to talk with me today. Thank you for being here. And uh yeah, this has been awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Happy to be here. Thanks for inviting me. Alright, Colin I don't know about you but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to that panel discussion, almost as much as uh as much fun as I had actually talking about and learning about video games from four very cool Crutchfield employees. Uh One of the reasons I wanted you here Colin is to talk about uh what you've been doing here in your new job. I happen to know that you were promoted from our customer support department. You did some training. Uh And now you have taken on a completely new role. Uh And you are working in our creative department, which means you get to uh put the pen to paper or the fingers to keyboard and write about some of the coolest products we carry. And the whole point of Crutchfield the podcast is to talk to cool Crutchfield employees about the stuff that they have at home that they like so much, they have it at home, they use it. Uh and you've had the opportunity to bring home some really cool new gaming stuff that we sell and maybe you could tell us a little bit about that. Yeah, so I had the pretty cool opportunity to get uh several swanky pieces of gear from logitech. So we've just picked up several new products from the logitech g logitech gaming line and we have also picked up um Astro Astros headphones. We had one of their headphones I think for a bit, but we've added several more and I've got a, just a metric ton of their stuff in my house still, actually, they'll have to pry it from my dead cold fingers, I think that's the way it works. I mean, to be able to put these pages out to describe accurately what these products are, what they do, why you would want one, You kinda, if you can get some hands on experience with them and you being a gamer made a lot of sense. Uh So uh so we we've had gaming headsets for a while now, right, But there's some new ones uh then and how are they better than the ones we've had in the past. So the new ones that were carrying, so so they're from Astro, the the Astro line is kind of famous in the gaming community. Um They started, it was like the early two thousand's and they created this thing called the Mix amp and it was like the very first version of this is like just wild, it was like this this rather large piece of equipment that multiple players who were in the same room doing what's called uh land party or land competition. Local area network would all have their pcs and or consoles kind of set up together so that they could play with more screens and more people but they would connect their headphones to this device and what it would let them do, which was otherwise, you know, like not a thing at the time is balance the sound of their teammates coming through the voice chat with the sound of the game. Uh And this was like such a huge advantage at the time that they and a lot of tournaments, they actually banned the mixed sand from like teams from using it, They were like no it's too much manage get out of here that provides such a competitive advantage that it was just considered not fair. Yeah, no, exactly because it's when you can customize and balance those uh those two things, the sound of the game soundtrack versus the sound of you, like the other players, you can get two different things. One because you can tweak it live, you can turn down your teammates and that means that you're more likely to get in game call outs, what you were talking about earlier, being able to hear the dude or dude behind you. Um And you can flip it the other way to make sure that you're getting key tactical information from your team. So teamwork. Um like we'll win a game faster than anything if you have several people working together, it's just like basketball, you take a bunch of individuals and you put them against like a well oiled, you know, like teamwork machine and they're gonna crush their opposition right? Because more people working together or more powerful than a bunch of people doing their own thing. That's just that's just like how life works and this like lets you do that easier. And so that technology, they've kind of kept up with it and they've uh produced several headphones that that take advantage of it. So the the big the big fancy one um is the A. 50 and it's a wireless headset that does that and that is built into the into the earphone so you can just tap the side of your head basically and turn the you know like the balance towards game or towards chat basically just like on the fly to adjust as you need um so that's and there, there are other cool things that, that headphone does, but that's that's the basic idea and you've also got a wired version, the astro A 40 there's a version that we carry, that's, that's um super cool. Uh it comes with a mix and pro which is like this little hand whole held dial thingy and it lets you change the master volume and there's a separate dial again for game versus chat and you basically as you're playing, just keep that next to you and you can just dial it as you go. So there's like a wired option, there's a wireless option um and and those, those mics amps, they provide a pretty substantive competitive um advantage. It's also just nice just so like you can focus on the game or hear what your teammate is saying, like even if you're not trying to be the best, you know, like first person shooter kid ever, you know, it's still nice. And did you primarily test these out with your Pc or with your playstation or what? So I primarily a console gamer, So I used all of these on the PS four because I still haven't gotten hold of the PS five and I'm sad about it. Were you jealous when you heard Henry showing uh and in the video for our interview, he was showing us his PS five, were you jealous? No, I mean I'll get it eventually it's okay. Um and the upside is if you can't early adopt is you know, they work out some of the kinks as you go and like in enough time it'll be cheaper to, you know, so I don't, I don't feel that bad, I feel a little left out but I'm gonna get there and we've brought in some other gaming stuff, right? I think is it all from Logitech? Is that what we've got? Like some gas pedals for car driving games and steering wheels and stuff like that? Some flight controllers for flight games, house, all that stuff work. Yeah, so the launch tech gaming gear that we've got, there's I guess you would say two big categories, there's a couple of accessories or components that go with those. So the first and the one that I've spent the most time with is a racing wheel. Um and so that racing wheel, I think it's the G 9 23 it's it's designed for like simulation racing so stuff like Grand Tour is mo um and it has force feedback to help simulate what it feels like to actually be driving. So I I got a little too excited when I was playing and so like that wheel would fight me because I was going too fast and trying to hit these turns and it will like it like, sorry, I'm like doing all these jess that's not coming across the podcast but like it it fights you and you can feel it like rumble and stuff in your hands. Um And it's fairly detailed, so you can, like tell the difference between skidding on pavement or going through gravel, for instance. Yeah, so it's it's super cool. Um and you could just do the wheel, but there's also like you were mentioning, there's um foot pedals and so, you know, down on the floor, you kind of hook, hook the pedals up to the wheel. Um You can like, like you're really driving, you know, put your foot down pedal to the metal, so to speak. Um and and drive that way. And it's cool because those have built in resistance to so it doesn't just like go straight down? It kind of um it kind of gives you like a little bit of forces, you're trying to put it down, especially when you're trying to break. So when you're like trying to break and you're going too fast, it is it's harder to break, basically. Um So that's, it's it's all about like driving immersion for people who really dig, like, detailed racing simulation games, which is not a thing that I knew that I was into until I got a hold of that we and I was like, okay, yeah, so how do you secure these things in place so they don't move away from you if you've got pedals on the floor, you're sitting in your chair, you start to push them. Like what keeps those pedals like velcro on the bottom so it sticks to your carpet. How do they stay in place? Plus the steering wheel do you? How does that stay where you want it? Because to feel that resistance, that steering wheel platform whatever is holding it in place, that's got to be solid. Right? So how does that how does all that work? So basically you kind of have to set up your entertainment space for your gaming space to accommodate for it. Uh And I will say it is super cool. It is definitely wired though so you you can't be that far away from your source so you need to be relatively close to your tv or your monitor and you're gonna need a desk or a table because the the wheel comes with clamps basically. So you put it on the edge of the table or the desk and then you tighten it and clamp it in place. And it's once you've done that you then lock it like you get it as tight as you need it so it's not moving and then you lock it in place. Uh And it's it's pretty sturdy and the feet um they have like the bottoms of them have, it's totally safe for for hardwood floors not like spikes or anything. It's just kind of like a thick, believe it's like rubber. Um It's like just provides enough friction that it doesn't go anywhere. It's just nonslip basically that makes sense. So so this this sounds a lot more fun to me. Like uh in the in the select times when I've ever gone to like an arcade, I was I always gravitated towards the driving games because it felt more like real, something real to me. I liked sitting in, you know, the big huge thing where I'm in a chair and there's a steering wheel and it vibrates when I crash and there's pedals and I would always choose stick shift. So I would have to change gears and manipulate the clutch and all that stuff. And this sounds like you can get really close to that in a home gaming experience. That's that's kind of awesome. Yeah. And so speaking of the clutch there is it's optional, so you don't have to get it. But there is a stick shift basically that you can get that incorporates with the pedals and the wheels so that you can, you know, pretend you're and fast and furious, you know, you know? Um and so that's that's kind of a nifty upgrade. And and I will say that if you're on the website, of course you can buy those things separately, but we we also we have but so that you can just press, you know, one button and get all the stuff that you need. So, so in the show notes for this episode there's gonna be a bunch of stuff, there's gonna be uh links to some of these new gaming uh peripheral devices, steering wheels, headsets, all that kind of stuff, We're gonna put notes to that uh in there. Uh what else should we put in there, Colin notes to, have you written any articles on gaming and stuff like that yet? Yeah, so we we put out an article uh not too long ago at this point, um for the for for our best gaming headsets, basically. So out of all the gaming headsets, we carry kind of the top ones and why? And there's some, so there's a lot of good stuff in there, and there's also some like, alternative picks and stuff, you know, depending on your budget or what you're looking for, so that's pretty helpful if you're looking for, uh you're looking for a sweet new pair of headphones um because it's, it's just like going into high quality, like audio, just for music, it's relatively inexpensive to get really good headphones and that, that can be a really great option for people who don't want to put a full surround sound system in their house and put speakers everywhere, and that's definitely worth the investment, but like, you know, like some people are not about that life and that's cool and it's kind of, it can, it's more of an investment, but if you grab a really sweet pair of headphones, like you can get that full immersive experience and it just sticks straight on your head and the upside for games is that you kind of want a headset to communicate with other players if you're if you're playing anything cooperative or competitive anyway so you kind of already need a pair of headphones so you might as well grab, grab the nice ones. So in the show notes will be a bunch of cool stuff, there'll be links to the T. V. S with the next generation gaming features, there'll be Collins gaming headset article links to the new products that Colin has been testing out at his home steering wheels and gift gear shifters and headsets and all that stuff. A lot of really cool stuff in the show notes, we may not carry games and gaming consoles but we do carry some pretty cool stuff to make gaming that much more fun. Right, Colin? Oh for sure yeah it's uh it's all about the sweet peripherals so I think that's that's kind of um our expertise in a lot of areas right? You know we're we're kind of about this this especially for for for home audio which is the world that I deal with, it's you know kind of this whole experience and there are a lot of bits and pieces to that, you know if you're talking about building a suite system, there are a lot of components, you know from your speakers to you know having a receiver what tv you're picking up and we've got everything and everything around right the process of gaming and movies and it's more similar than you think. Like if you've got a system that works really well for movies it's probably gonna kick some tail for games too. Sure. Yeah that makes sense. If it's a good home theater it's probably also a good gaming system Colin it has been a pleasure having you on the show today. I may just keep you as my permanent co host. Uh but I don't know what ERic's gonna do with the rest of his free time. Uh I don't know, I'm kidding. We'll let ERic back on the show. Uh He's already mad at me for not letting him in on this show but uh we already we already had so many cool people on the show. Thanks to the panel of guests that were able to talk to me Colin for hanging out and guest hosting today. I'm your host Jr for Crutchfield the podcast. Please listen to the show like it, follow it. Subscribe to it, Tell your friends about it. Put links to it on your social media. We think we've got some pretty cool stuff going on here. We'll be back in a few weeks with another episode uh Colin any final words. One last. I'm super sorry to eric I guess next episode you guys can see how emotionally hurt he was being left out. I happen to know eric like myself, we both have thick skin, we can take it. He can take it. He'll be back. And so will I. Thanks again for listening to Crutchfield, the podcast JR over and out.

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