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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 3

Jess and her home theater system

In this episode:

Jess, a Crutchfield Advisor who's a serious classic rock fan, talks to J.R. about the resurgence of cassettes, her mega-sized home theater system, and listening to vinyl on her days off. J.R. also references our handy TV sizes and viewing distances article.

Some of the gear discussed includes:

After the interview, J.R. and Eric answer a question from the customer comments on our Intro to home theater speakers. They dig into finding an alternative to in-ceiling speakers for enjoying Dolby Atmos®.

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome to Crutchfield the podcast. Thank you so much for coming back and checking us out. I am your host, JR with me in studio today, my good friend erIC, another bald guy. Thank you for having me glad to be here. Absolutely man. Wouldn't want to do the show without you. I mean at some point I probably will. That's okay. I'll forgive you also in the room today, my dog. In fact, he's here every time. If you ever hear like a weird jingling sound in the background, that's him scratching his neck, that's his collar and his little tag. We are very pro pet here. Yeah, we love there's dogs everywhere. Alright, this is the show where we talk to Crutchfield employees about the employee purchases they made because as you may have seen on the Crutchfield website, we sell some pretty cool gear. The only, the only complicating factor is just how much stuff there is to choose from. There's a lot, there's a, there's a ton of stuff, There's so many speakers and receivers and TVs talking about, there's terminology, that's weird, so much jargon alphabet soup to dissect and we, you and me and all of our advisors here have to know all of that stuff that not everybody needs to know all that stuff, you know, um, that's one of the reasons Crutchfield is here, we try to make this stuff as clear and as plain as day in whatever way we can. That's why we write articles. That's why we do videos. That's why we train our sales advisors for 14 weeks on how to talk about this stuff in a way that isn't super complex how to make it easily understood by the common man and that's why we're doing this podcast because we here at Crutchfield have access to all this stuff. We looked at our, so 600 employees and we thought with, with 16,000 products to choose from what products are our employees choosing to purchase for themselves to bring home to their families and have as a part of their lives and why we might be talking to you on one of these episodes coming up because you're going to put a new stereo in your car? Yes, I am in the near future. That's, that's the plan. Have you chosen your new stereo yet? I have, what's it going to be? It's going to be a JVC. JBc has nine in the, you're making this up. It has a nine, it's the one in my back seat. Right? You already have, Oh, I have it. So it's a JBC with apple carplay. Carplay. We're upgrading. We're going from another JBc. I wanted to make sure I got carplay. I figured to be an easy transition. Maybe even the wiring harnesses stay the same. I have to dig into that a little bit, but excellent. And we're going to have the sales training class, probably do the installation to put it into your Honda original Honda Ridgeline truck ish, the truck ish. And so now you'll be able to do ways on your own personal car, stereo and not just have to look at your phone or drive someone else's car. All those cool carplay features, definitely looking forward to it. But we digress. Let's talk about jay. Let's talk about jess. I went down to Norton, Norton Virginia. It's in southwest Virginia six hours from where I'm sitting right now to talk to her about the home theater receiver and speakers and stuff that she put in her home, what she's listening to on and what she does on her days off with her vinyl record collection. Uh, and how much she's enjoying the stuff she bought. So as we get rolling with jess. Here you are going to hear eric and I cut in from time to time just to maybe expand on some of the things jess is telling us about, that we didn't get a chance to talk to or maybe fully dive into. So we're gonna rudely rudely interrupt this conversation with hopefully some really helpful cool information that might help it, make make it even more useful for you. That's what we do. And without further ado my conversation with jess in high school going to school I had, I think 15 jesse's and Jessica's that graduated in my graduating class, it was a popular name in the eighties. And how long have you been at Crutchfield for almost two years so far. Love it. Love it. Love it. What's your favorite stuff to talk about? Home audio? Home audio. My passion. Do you have a home theater setup? I do. We have monitor, audio silvers for surround front channels are center channel, everything is monitor audio silver and our Yamaha 30 80. Yeah, you went serious, serious. Yeah, that's a big deal. Yeah, definitely. Um we have the Dennen turntable, A 70 inch LG. Oh my goodness, we went, we went hardcore. If you're gonna go hard, go all the way, 70 inch tv eric, That sounds pretty big. Is it too big? Is it bigger than she needs? No, well probably not with the higher resolution that our TVs are capable of today. You know, if you're doing four K, she mentioned that 70 inch tv, you can actually see six ft away from that tv. So my mom always said not to sit too close to the tv. six ft away. Sounds too close. Yeah, it might actually be too close for some people, but as far as the resolution goes, you're fine. So if there's print on the screen, you're gonna read it, you're not gonna have to squint. Uh it's going to be comfortable viewing from that distance now whether or not you want to sit six ft away from a 70 inch tv is a whole another story. I think tv should be appropriate for the room and it's hard for us to pick four people what that means. However, with a higher resolution today, you know that we have a lot more options than we had in the past. And you know jess has a family. So there's there's other people in the room often when they're watching T. V. Or watching a movie. And so not everybody is sitting in that perfect home theater spot or as close to the tv as they might want to got to accommodate three or four or five people. And there's a range there, you know six ft would be, you know that's exactly that's as close. So certainly you could be further back from that. nine ft would be a great viewing distance for a 70 inch tv. But you know you're capable of getting pretty close to these big sets these days, we do have an article that is all about choosing the right tv. Getting the right T. V. For your room for how far you'll be sitting from your tv. There's even a chart in there and the charts broken up into two sections. So if you're watching 10 80 P content we'll call that high definition uh there's a chart for how far away you should be able to sit and not have it, have the resolution reveal itself. You know have it look great. And if you're getting a if you're able to get four K content with a four K blu ray player, that sort of thing. You can even sit a little closer. The chart goes into detail there as well. So it gives you a nice range. What size tv you should have for how far away you're sitting from it. That article will be in the show notes for this episode. Let's start with the monitor, audio speakers. How'd you, how'd you zone in on those the type of music that we listen to? We looked for the warmth and the efficiency of the low end. So those were super efficient. They can take some heavy duty power power and we could really crank them. So it was between those and martin Logan And we went with monitor just because they were so incredibly perfect. And the Yamaha receiver, the Yamaha my dad growing up had a massive system and he used jBl tower speakers and he had a Yamaha receiver and he loved it and I carried that over into our tradition decided to go Yamaha. So a V. And gear and electronics and music has been in your family for a long time for as long as I can remember. What kind of music did your dad like to play? He liked David Bowie. Um and he, so he was on every end of the spectrum. It would go from David Bowie to creedence Clearwater to Leonard's Kinnard and to the Beatles. Yeah he he was all over the place and that's the same situation with me And he was probably playing everything on vinyl. Everything on vinyl and you have, you set a denon turntable. Yes. And how often are you actually playing vinyl? Um I'm off every Wednesday. Every Wednesday I'm cranking it. My kids for the most part have control during after school hours. So any time that I've got time to turn something on like yesterday I was dire straits all day. So jess went with a Yamaha receiver, partly due to the legacy of her father. Having always had Yamaha receivers. Yeah, we get that from time to time. Absolutely. What what receiver brand did your dad have? Do you even know? Oh it was a ken would actually, it's funny you say that my dad when he came back from being stationed over in the western pacific during the Vietnam war. He did some shopping while he was there. He went to many different ports in that area including china and japan and the Philippines. And he came back with a motorcycle and a stereo and some kenwood's speakers And those kenwood speakers were the speakers in my family's home the entire time I grew up when I moved out I was allowed to take them with me all the way up until the surrounds rotted out. But man, they, we loved those speakers, those speakers sounded great and if ken would made home speakers today I'd probably be an owner of them because I've always loved their sound. It was a great speaker which plays into this jess it knows how to use a Yamaha receiver. It's intuitive. It's it's part of her life since she was a kid. So it just makes sense to stay with Yamaha. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me. If you were to change brands it's not the end of the world. I mean there's plenty of other great receivers out there but this is where you're comfortable. You're familiar. And of course in the case of this Yamaha, it's amazing. It's the Yamaha Rx a 30 80. How many channels? Nine channels channels at 100 and 50 watts per channel. That's serious power. And when Yamaha says it's 100 50 watts, they kind of mean it. Right. I mean they really have packed a punch here so that you can put almost any speaker you want with this receiver except maybe the most power hungry speakers on planet earth. Right? But most everything else is going to be fine with this amount of power. Right? This is the most power you can get from them without going into a separates. Exactly. You know, separate surround sound processor versus power games. Yeah, I can do that with them. But this is, I currently have a Yamaha receiver. It is many steps below this. 38. It's a simple five channel receiver. It's not really connected to the internet at all. It does most of what I needed to do. Yeah. When I heard her say that she had that I I got a little jealous to be honest. It's pretty simple and easy to use. That's right. That's right. Including streaming music, Yamaha has their own uh, wireless music system. Multi zone, multi room music system. It's built into this receiver so it can become a zone in a bigger system. That's right. You can do wireless speakers integrated with this using the receivers, audio, the audio that's coming from that receiver. Maybe it's from a tv or something and you can play those in speakers in other rooms without having to run a bunch of speaker wire. So that that flexibility is built into this along with having nine channels of power which gives you ability to do Dolby Atmos or extra effect speakers or maybe even power some speakers in a 2nd 2nd zone. You could even buy amp a nice tall pair of floor standing front speakers to really give them. I mean you're talking 300 watts into the upper section of a floor standing speaker. 150 watts for the tweeter in the mid range, 150 watts for the bass section of a floor standing speaker. That is one way to get amazed using two channel left and right audio out of your front, left and right floor standing speakers. And of course it benefits you when you're playing home theater as well. When customers tell us that they're using this, their setups for both movie and for music. This is the type of receiver we like to show them because it excels at both. And Yamaha knows music is certainly one of the first names you think of. When you think of pianos, drums, guitars, all that stuff. Check out that logo. It's tuning forks. Your kids though. They're into vinyl. My oldest one is in the final, she is almost 17. Yeah. When we first got the turntable and my youngest kids were seeing the vinyl they didn't understand and she was able to listen to it and hear the warmth and the detail and the popping and cracking the vinyl and she she loves it. So that's awesome for me. It's like an idiot. I sold all my vinyl at a yard sale. Oh I thought vinyl was dead. I thought it was dead before I worked at Crutchfield. This was probably 1990 for uh and vinyl had been just gone. Like it was, nobody had a turntable cds were ruling the world of listening to music. We weren't on the internet yet, vinyl was gone. Eight tracks were gone, cassettes. We're going away because that's where annoying. Yeah, cassettes are coming back. I get a lot of phone calls looking for cassette players for their car and it's coming back with a vengeance. I mean people really want to get a hold of those and I feel bad because they just can't access. They didn't sound great. No vinyl sounded better. Cds sounded better. Radio sounded better but tapes were the only one at the time. But the only way to get the music out into your car. Yeah absolutely so that's why I still don't quite understand why people want them today. I don't either they missed the tactile feeling of winding the tape. So eric we actually currently sell cassette decks. There was a few years there there was kind of a low if you will of of Crutchfield just not carrying anything that played a cassette. Just nothing. We were digital digital happened digital happened vinyl came back cassettes. I don't know that they're going to make the same level of comeback that vinyl is making. But they are back enough that we've got to cassette decks that currently are available at Crutchfield you can buy one that records a cd to a cassette you can buy another one that's just your typical traditional dual well cassette deck you can record two tapes at once. You can play one to the other. It's it's it's everything you remember about a cassette deck at home. It's still available. Yeah I've heard some folks with bands here talking about making some recordings on a cassette and handing them out. You're probably going to sell more cassettes at your live show at your merch table then you are C. D. S. And if you have vinyl even better that's right so you set up the complete home theater system as well. Yes so let's switch gears and talk about how much you're enjoying that with the movies tv shows and stuff like that. I absolutely love it. Um we added on an audio engine sub and the way that our home is laid out, our ceilings upstairs, which is where our theater room is, our pitched way high, like 20 ft. And it really at first everything kind of sounded super spacious and we didn't get a lot of the detail, especially in movies that we were looking for. Right. Exactly. And so we added that sub and if I'm downstairs it's right, you know, a small eight inch sub is really rattling everything. So you know, I have, I might have a solution for that uh in my house, I have a clip, 10 inch sub and it's uh it's it's the second there's a basement, corrugated metal cement and hardwood on top of that. And you would think with all of that, that the subwoofer vibrations wouldn't rattle my windows, but it does, especially at the volumes, I like to listen to stuff. Umm. So uh I was just looking through stuff on our website with a customer and I realized we carry something that is designed to solve that problem uh or Alexe subdued and I got the bigger one, put it under my sub, instantly, those vibrations are gone. I always wonder with sound damping products, Sound deadening products, how well they can really do what they do. Uh this thing perfect and it and it made the bass sound better, right? I don't know when listening to music. I do two channel audio. I don't, I don't at all. You don't need to. Exactly, absolutely. They're so efficient. But um, we had looked into even the S. zero ft, but the way the audio engine is laid out, I don't believe that they would work in that kind of situation. So the RLX, we may have just a platform just said any sub right on top of it. And with that smaller sub you can probably go with the smaller one. Just thank you so much. So 70 in TV big old receiver with lots of power, big old monitor, audio floor, standing speakers. She has a large room yet the base, it was kind of missing. Yeah. Even from plenty of power on a big floor standing speaker, a large room will take your base and throw it away. So you don't get to really fully enjoy it. And uh a powered subwoofer which is a speaker designed simply to give you that sound of dinosaurs exploding. That's right. That impact. Yeah. When something blows up, you want to feel it uh, in your bones, in your floor, you want the neighbors to know something just blew up and in a big room you're gonna definitely and and almost any home theater situation, you're going to need a powered sub to take care of that real big time low end. So that was my interview with jess. A sales advisor in our southwest Virginia contact center. I really enjoyed talking to her even though we were in the middle of the contact center surrounded by people on the phones, that was all the background noise you heard. I do also want to mention you heard me talk to jess about the relax subdued and that same day I went and realized that we actually had a subdued sitting in the corner uh in what we call our lending libraries where our advisors get to borrow products, take them home, experience them so that they can speak to customers. From that experience. She took it home, she put it under her sub. She loved the results, took care of it so much so that if we didn't ask for it back, she might have tried to just keep it, she wouldn't do that. No of course not. I joke. She brought it back and what she did was then purchased her own and told me that it absolutely solved her rattling problem. Her room sounds significantly better. You didn't, she didn't lose base because of this. The base got better and more accurate. So considering all the other stuff she has, this is a minor uh minor upgrade from a financial standpoint but paid big dividends at the end of the day with performance. Exactly. All right now is the point in the show where we answer a real customers real question, we have an article on our website called intro to home theater speakers, it's all about home theater speaker placement when you can you should put your speakers in the proper places in relation to your television, in relation to your seating position. And of course you have to take in the design of your room. Uh and whether or not you can do anything to that room, like cut holes in walls and things like that. Uh and so uh it's kind of a big deal because not everybody's room is perfect. Sometimes you have to compromise on the perfect speaker placement because of certain factors. And that leads us to our question from BRian from Lake City, BRian wants to do Dolby Atmos or DTs X uh in his home theater, which is when you have speakers kind of mounted above you or sounds coming down from above you to give you that three dimensional sound. It's it's a really neat advancement in the world of home theater, It's very popular. Most of our home theater receivers do it. We have speakers designed to be your at most speakers, but brian has a complication. He says he can't afford upward firing speakers, which what does that mean? So those are reflective speakers. Typically you would position those uh either in front of you or behind you. They're kind of angled and the sound reflects off your ceiling, back down into your ear holes. And typically you would sit, sit them on the top of your, your front left and right speakers your floor standing speakers aiming up at the ceiling like you said bouncing the sound back at you, he can't afford to do those and he rents his home and cannot install ceiling speakers meaning this landlord might not be happy if he were to cut eight inch round holes in the ceiling and put speakers and run wires. Right. Uh Maybe he would but probably shouldn't give it a try. Probably not the best idea. So he's got a he's got a question about something he can do instead which is can I mount small surround speakers on the ceiling, not in the ceiling but on the ceiling and point them down. Will that provide at most or DTs X. So the simple answer there is yes definitely can certainly do that. You do want to get your at most or DTs X. Speakers up as high as you can on the ceiling if possible. Uh The tilt them at you if possible, maybe a little in front of your seating position. Yeah so usually positions would either be slightly in front or slightly behind if you're going to do a pair I'd recommend uh in front of you start with those. Uh And this would not involve cutting big holes in the ceiling but maybe just screwing a bracket to the ceiling. Hopefully you want to screw it into the studs or the ceiling joists to make sure there's speakers are mounted securely. It sounds like fall and hit you in the head. It sounds like brian probably already has these speakers based on this. And if this gets him the sound that he's looking for, you can save a couple dollars uh you know, until he gets his own place and he can hack up the room however he wants then yeah, by all means have at it. So certainly getting those speakers up there. Another thing that's going to help, even if this isn't the perfect speaker location for Dolby atmos or DTs X. Is most home theater receivers have a built in room calibration software. So you're gonna put a mic in your a microphone in your seating position and once all your speakers are connected, including those two, he's gonna bolt to his ceiling. You run that room calibration software, it plays all these sounds out of the speakers, it measures the distances and the location and the acoustics of your room and it does everything it can to account for any time. You can't put a speaker in that perfect location for home theater. So if your placement is compromised does not necessarily mean your sound has to be. Exactly. There's many things that can be done in the digital signal processing world of the home theater receiver to fix imperfect speaker placement. So yeah, brian put some speakers on your ceiling. Run the auto calibration software in your, in your home theater, receive, throw in a DTs X. Or at most blu ray and have a good time. So that just about does it visit crutchfield dot com slash podcast to submit questions that maybe we can answer here on the show to read our show notes, links to articles and other things that we think you'll find helpful or entertaining or both. So if you're enjoying Crutchfield the podcast as much as we are enjoying making it for you, we'd love to know about it. Please write us a review radius five stars, probably the best rating. I think that's the one you should do. Subscribe to the podcast. Thank you so much for listening. We're open seven days a week. There's Crutchfield advisers standing by like jess right and many others, they're ready to take your phone call. You can chat with them online, You can even just send them an email, you'll get a response much faster than we can do it here on the podcast. So if you're looking for help now, give us a call, that's what we're here for.

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