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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 39

Rodell, his wireless gear, and how not to "reject the projector"

In this episode:

Cohosts J.R. and Eric are back in the studio to discuss a recent interview with Advisor Rodell, who's really into wireless gear. They chat about all kinds of topics, from similarities between Crutchfield and a fine dining experience, specialized short throw projector screens, covering songs by Katy Perry, and JBL's recent visit to our HQ. 

Check out some of the gear they talk about:

Eton Aqualite solar powered lantern and water bottle

NAD D 3020 V2 integrated amp and DAC

Sony WH-1000XM5 over-ear noise-cancelling headphones

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 portable Bluetooth speaker

Portable chargers

Studio monitors

Plus, don't forget to check out what's happening on our livestream show, Crutchfield LIVE.

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome to Crutchfield the podcast. We are back. Yes, we are. Eric and I are right here in the studio together in person. The way it should be. We haven't actually done a podcast like this in a while. We've been repurposing Crutchfield live shows as podcast. We've done a couple where I didn't even tell ERic we were, we were doing it. I just did an intro without him. That hurts my feelings. Like I don't know if you heard we had Andrew jones got interviewed by our own Jeff miller at expo now in Chicago a month or so ago and that's now on the podcast. You weren't involved at all. I was gonna ask how you, how do you feel? How does it make you feel when I do that? You know, I think I was the one that broke some Andrew jones news to you originally and then you pay me back that way. So um yeah, looking forward to hearing it. It's already out there. You could yeah, you might want to try listening to this sometimes I'll get to it. No, this one, I'll listen to you right away. Yeah, this one's a good one. As soon as it pops up in your feed. Absolutely, yeah. And you're probably not even going to do that thing where you, you speed it up. Oh, you mean like one and a quarter speed. Right like you do, you do that, You're not from my own voice now. It's just you then. Absolutely. But if it's me. No, that would be annoying. I don't do that with my podcast when I listen, I want to hear the podcast, you know the way the artist intended it, uh, does it. So I don't know the answer to the question when you speed up a podcast, does it change the pitch of the voice? Is the software these days is a pretty good job of maintaining that pitch. Yeah, yeah, it does a really good job. So, um, some words come across quite a bit quicker, but at one and a quarter I think I can just be a little bit more efficient listening to most podcast people have told me, however, that I talk fast enough already, a couple coffees in the morning and I'm just just, you know, spitting it out quick. So I don't think I want to hear myself sped up at all. So the, what, the proper speed for this podcast? For those of you out there listening is one times like the regular speed. Yeah, that's the right on your second or third. Listen, if you want to go ahead and then go a little bit quicker, I totally get it. That's a good point. Yeah, yeah, efficiency. You're gonna be, you're gonna be one thing, be efficient. So here's the deal. Today. We've got an interview. I had rodel one of our sales team leaders sitting in that very chair. So rodell is, is a sales team leader and he recently got promoted to sales team leader and uh, and that's a remarkable thing because he's been at Crutchfield for just over a year now. He's one of our newest employees and we've done quite a bit of hiring during the pandemic as business has been booming. All of you out there are looking to buy more and more car stereos and home theaters and all of that. Uh, and so we've needed more people to help our customers and rodell is one of them. And uh, he was a shining star, pretty much right from the beginning, absolutely was a leader in his sales class, uh, when we both helped train him to get him up to speed and not that much was needed, but, you know, as we were teaching him about Crutchfield and he quickly set himself apart from uh, from everybody as far as being a leader of that group and we knew there was a big, big things, it's a good group, you know, for the other people in the group that are listening to this uh, excellent group. But uh Riddell, we could definitely tell early on, uh, you know, had a, had a great future here. So, and you know, he's got a lot of experience that he brought to the job that has really helped him apply that previous experience to the job of helping our customers. And it's, and it's stuff we've seen time and time again that lends itself well to being a really good advisor at Crutchfield as well as in Randall's case, a really good coach, leader, manager of people? Uh, he's a musician, he's actually a multi instrumentalist, but he did learn to play the flute so you could call rodell a flautist, I wouldn't call him that, but he's also a percussionist, that's really his specialty. He was a bartender. And to be a good bartender, you got to be able to talk to people and and deal with people, you know, in various states of sobriety, so you gotta have patience, you gotta be able to listen, you got to be understanding right? Sometimes you have to be firm with people. Not only was the bartender, he also worked higher up in restaurants, he helped open restaurants. He's sir has been a server, uh sort of a manager of types. So he knows a lot about running restaurants. Again, a service industry and rodell brings that level of expertise of dealing with people uh, to this job, which is fantastic. We have always found many of our best advisors have been musicians and, or servers. So that's who we're gonna be talking to here in just a little bit. And uh he's gonna talk about a bunch of different stuff that Randall has purchased in his short time at Crutchfield, he's made a remarkable number of purchases of some very interesting stuff, we love, that's what we do here on this show is we like to find out what gear our employees purchase with their employee discount. What do they take advantage of? You know, they have access to some of the coolest stuff on the planet. What do they buy? Uh rodell has purchased some stuff we, I've never talked about some interesting little gadgets and stuff so we're gonna get into that. So eric and I will be back to rudely interrupt this interview that I had with rodell and try to explain some things when, when needed. It's what we do. We're not gonna overdo it and uh so yeah, I think we should just play the tape man. Here you go. This is Randall and me. So you bought the torn, is that how you say it? And there's an accent over the accent over the O so let's go with that tone tone. The aqua light which is their solar powered USB portable charging water bottle. That's right. Water bottle, yeah. Not your typical Crutchfield purchase, Not your typical cultural purchase. I was digging deep going through the backlog seeing seeing what was out there. And I was curious. I figured worst case scenario I know something not to get but then ended up really enjoying it. Really. The best part about it is the solar panel with the light and the USB charger that seems like a great way to keep your phone charged while camping you and you have you put that to the test. I have went camping up in Maryland a few months ago and mainly brought it along to test it out, see how how well it would work and was really impressed. I made no effort to actually charge it leave it out in the sun. Uh As soon as it got dark around seven o'clock out there in the woods uh turned it on and it stayed on well past midnight. Bright full lighting and I was I was quite impressed weight. So it lights up. Oh it lights up J. R. I didn't know it light lit up. I see this I'm looking at a picture of it and you brought yours here. I see the solar panel, the power button and the USB thing. What lights up? Is that? The water bottle itself? Like kind of lights up the lid has an led light in it which faces downward into the bottle and illuminates the bottle and sort of functions as a lantern. Yeah a couple different lighting settings. I believe you even have an S. O. S. Pattern. So what I do now is I actually ever since I took it camping I just keep it in my trunk. Uh in case I ever was in an emergency and somehow needed for some reason needed S. O. S. Lighting, solar panel charger to charge my phone. Put that out behind your car on the next next to the road or something and make it blink S. O. S. Exactly yeah I was I was more than anything. The light and the larger are by far the best, the best features of it, but well worth the 25 bucks right there. Exactly. And there, but there's other, is there other stuff that comes in the bottle? There is. So in addition to the water bottle itself, by the way, I should mention, the water bottle is actually a silicone based water bottle. So it's collapsible. It's a silicone based water doesn't take up a ton of space in your camping gear. Exactly. But along with this nifty little water bottle with the cool charger and the cool light, it also came with some general outdoor gear, some a flint, an emergency whistle, even a water purification straw as well as some general first aid, you know, anti sting, anti burn pads as well. An emergency whistle I'm looking at. Yeah, it did come with an emergency whistle. Uh, it's not my favorite whistle, but again it is more than anything. It was worth it for the light. And I've not been in a position where I've needed to use an emergency whistle. So that's nice. Also had not been in a situation where I need to purify any water yet. What kind of whistle is it? Is like a, like a basketball referee whistle or is it more like sound of music whistle? You know when he was calling the kids. Nice reference. Uh, unfortunately neither. It's, it's a little tube with a slit on the top. So, you know, flute rules basically you blow air over it. And the fraction of air causes the whistle, but it doesn't have, if it had, it was a basketball whistle. I'd use it nonstop to the annoyance of all of my friends with a little inside. I love that. Unfortunately not quite that fun, but it's not about fun. Jr it's an emergency whistle. Not a fun. It's not a play whistle. It's not a toy. Is this only in case of emergencies eric you want to talk a little bit about this gadget? This Ethan aqua light. Yeah, I love little gadgets like this. I have yet to actually go purchase mine, but I think I need one. I think I need one of these sitting in the back of my car, in my, in the back seat of my truck just to have on hand for emergency use. It's one of those things that uh, you wish you had it at like the worst possible time, right? The electricity goes out for a couple of days. It's a good gadget to have around, Right? That's and that's exactly what we have to customer reviews on this product. And both of them say they don't have never used it and they love it. I haven't, Here's the first one. This is from uh, is this from, you know, this is from some guy named ERic in Charlottesville. It's not you. This is not this eric some other eric, I haven't actually used any of the items in the set because it's a peace of mind thing I am keeping in my car but it does give me so many useful things. And one reasonably priced package, it feels like a real no brainer to have as a backup for road trips. So five star review never used the product. Another person from riva Maryland. No instructions, but there is an attached tag so far. So good. Have not had a chance to make use and that person only gave it four out of five stars. I think they I guess they wanted some instructions in the box Star ratings have always just really kind of four out of five is pretty good. But I mean I do want the product that hasn't been used. You know what else I want? I want pictures on reviews for those of you out there that looked through customer reviews. The customer's ability to upload pictures of the products they bought from us, took them home installed them are using them and uploading pictures when they write a review has become my favorite thing about Crutchfield. Every single product I look are their customer review pictures and when there are, it's just so it's eye opening to see how these products are being used out there in the wild. And did you like use it to keep your phone charged? I did charge my phone a little bit. Uh this might lead into something else that I actually got from crutchfield, but I actually have a portable charger from nimble that I use much more than I, I used this. But I did test it just to make sure I saw those on your purchase history. I thought that's not interesting enough to talk about. But like you're like, yeah, I got an awesome phone charger. It's one of my, it's one of the things that I used the most and probably get the most utility out of, especially for, I mean it's a great price too. But those things are great. They charge really fast. They're small, They just fit in your pocket and especially when, you know, if you're traveling, you're in a new city, you're using your maps on your phone all the time, You're calling people to coordinate getting drain down the battery pretty quickly. And uh, so it's always great to keep it in my back pocket whenever I travel and it has bailed me out on more than one occasion. So I don't have to go around, you know, knocking on doors. Hey, can I charge my phone at your bar or store whatever. Yeah, that's a great way to lose a phone and or annoy people by asking for their charger or their outlet or anything like that because then they feel like they got to be responsible for your phone. Yeah. You bought two different ones, right? I did. So I bought the the light and the standard, the nimble champ light charger. So that one's 25 bucks. And then the champ portable charger for 50 bucks. Uh And which one do you use more? I find myself using the smaller one more. It just fits in my pocket a little bit better. But if I was on a trip where I had a bag, drawstring bag or Fannie pack, I would definitely use the larger one charges faster storage more power. Um And that one, I don't feel bad about letting my friends use as well because I know there's plenty of juice for all of us. Yeah. Yeah those these things are great, like I don't know how people don't have these. Uh my girlfriend and I between us probably have about four or five different, you know, portable chargers, You gotta have one to keep on you and three to charge. Yes she she works out in uh on farms and with horses. Uh You know there's not much cell phone charging going on out there. She's out in the country, so the phone is always kind of looking for service. So she her phone will die super fast. So she if she doesn't keep these with her and charged up and ready to go, she's dead in the water. Uh So yeah that's awesome. Uh And uh let's see, looking through your purchase history. I've got web pages open for everything I could find uh we've covered the tone tone. I don't want to know how to say that they are you Jack reacher. Is that what J. R. Stands for? That's right. This is how about these Sony headphones? Did you get a set of the 1000 XM four's? I did I did I used them all the time. They're a great pair of headphones. Probably my favorite pair of non true wireless with the band. My favorite pair of wireless headphones that I use. That our emphasis on wireless. So for those not familiar, these are a pair of like over the ear, traditional looking headphones but they are wireless so they connect to your phone with bluetooth and they're the X. M. Four's which are noise canceling, correct? Do you use that all the time? Yeah and it's it's great. It is. I'm always impressed by. It's almost sometimes too good if I'm if by myself and I have it turned on and I'm thinking about it, start hearing my body. That's right. That's the it's a freaky experience listening to noise canceling headphones. If you like don't have music playing. It's just on shutting out the world like yeah you can hear yourself like the inside parts breathing. I think like every breath every every time you swallow every breath you take, you're gonna you're gonna do it. I think if we start singing it then we'll get into copyright issues. I didn't know what kind of licensing agreement. We'll have to cut that part of the show too much. Good information. I can't afford that. No no no. So rodell has Sony XM four wired wireless, bluetooth headphones which is kind of an interesting time for us to be talking about this because literally as we're recording this, it's july 1st, it's gonna this episode's gonna drop real soon, but that's the day we're sitting here in the studio july 1st 2022 yesterday we had Crutchfield Live, we featured the new X. M. Five's on the show, we had a review, Abby talked about them, she did she took him home, she had them on her head for a couple of hours. She really put them through their paces and was able to give a real world firsthand review of what the new X. M. Five, which is actually exactly what we live for the first time at Crutchfield. So by the way, if you're not watching Crutchfield live it's every other thursday on Youtube and on facebook, follow our channels on either one to watch us live. I'm usually there. Eric is often there and it's good. Anyways uh So yeah, so Crutchfield Live is a great place is where we first showed these off and you're you're a big fan of the X. M. Four's yourself. Right, you have a pair of them. Yeah, I've got I've got the earbuds and I've got multiple pair of the X. M. I think someone's XM threes and I think there's one pair of X. M. Four's that my wife has. So we've kind of I've been following Sony and these these X. M. Series headphones for quite some time now and uh alright so I've got a game to play then and if you were if you said you were watching Crutchfield live yesterday and I know you have your computer in front of you but don't look this up, not looking this up. I want to see how well you remember or what do you know about what are the differences? What did Sony change about the X. M. To go to the from the X. M. Four to the X. M. Five. How How is it improved or different compared to the previous model? So I got them all I've got 12345 bullet points. What do you got? Well so first off um I remember from the live episode that you pointed out all the differences and at that point that point I wasn't listening because it was you talking instead of abby. Um so there was that but um I do know the main joint has definitely changed. Um The padding I think has gotten softer bullet point says it's only changed the joint that's it the like you talked about how the ear cups sort of the old X. M. Four's they sort of turned in and fold it up into themselves and the new ones don't do that. It's a redesigned thing that they lay flat but they don't fold up into themselves. So that's changed both, you know, the functionality of it. And also aesthetically, I mean, I think they look better than they have ever looked. They do look more elegant than ever. They're sly slightly lighter weight. Um and I believe the padding on the headband has gotten a little bit softer. That's bullet point number one is the plush ear softer padding that not only is more comfortable but also does a better job of noise isolation. Okay, so it helps improve the actual, like, noise canceling noise isolation. I mean, I missed that part. Um um Well, the case is different. Does that count? I'm just kind of did mention that on the show and that some people might actually be annoyed by the change because they don't fold up into themselves. The cases physically a little larger, so it might be more difficult to throw them in your backpack, but they lay flat so it's a low profile case but still a little bulkier, Still worth the extra space. Nitpicky Yeah, exactly. Um Yeah, I remember lighter weight, softer, the noise canceling, I'm assuming it hasn't gone backwards and it was amazing before. Even better now. So now there's two processing chips in there listening for noise that it can cancel and specifically it's better at attacking high frequency noise. So if people are around you talking, that's always been tough for a noise canceling headphone to actually cancel conversation right now. These will be better as a result of that that coupled with eight microphones to listen to the noise, All of the noise canceling stuff improve big time. So that's that's two. You got two of the bullet points. Yeah, I think I'm doing pretty awesome. Um, so wait, they look different and they operate different. Can I assume that there was something different about the charge? I don't have a bullet point about we're gonna scratch that. Okay, can I assume that there's something better about the frequency response? There's a change for sure that depending on how you look at it is considered an improvement or it's a problem. It really depends on what you want out of your headphones so they change the size of the driver. So the X. M. Four's have 40 millimeter drivers, that's the diameter of the speaker in the headphone. Right? The new ones do downsized to 30 millimeter drivers. Now, I'm suspicious that makes you excited or worried. You know, I think I I know the manufacturers like to point out the size of those drivers and it kind of feels like in doing so it's implied that bigger is better, bigger is better. That's the general consensus. However you and I've worked in this industry long enough to know that smaller drivers sometimes are more efficient, uh, can be more accurate. There's benefits to smaller drivers as well. So really I think it depends on how they're handling those lower frequencies that would kind of sway my opinion on whether or not this is a good thing or a bad, you're right on it man, that's it. So they are specifically going for more clarity, more definition, more precision performance from the 30 millimeter drivers and specifically they don't want to over emphasize base. So they're trying to give you a flat response. It's not like they don't have base, they sound full, but some headphones out there on the world today seem to have extra base. Sony has ones called extra base. Another line. These are not that, these are, these are trying to be closer to a flat Eq without adding extra base. That's not really supposed to be there. So that's why they're doing that. I personally have not spent any time listening to these headphones yet. I know you haven't, I haven't, I've had them on my head, but I have not had a chance to listen to them. They are that new here. Uh, and you know, we're talking about these headphones a lot, but I mean there's a real buzz around here and in the industry, these, these things have been huge sellers. Um, you know, Sony and Bose have been going back and forth and there's some other really good headphone manufacturers out there. But really from my perspective, the Sony and, and the bows for at this price point and to do, you know, portable over that, your noise canceling headphones have really been knocking it out of the park. There's just tons of Youtube videos where youtubers are comparing the Sony's to the bows, even though there's 20 other brands that have noise canceling headphones. These are the kings of that market. Alright. To other bullet point to other differences from X. M. 42 X. M. Five are you tapped out? You want to give them to, you know, I'm gonna let you talk a little bit. I don't feel like I'm letting you talk enough today. I don't usually have a problem with that but okay thank you. So the new ones have Bluetooth 5.2 so that the X. M. Four's had 5.11 point one better on the bluetooth specifically uh fewer audio dropouts. You shouldn't have had a bunch on the X. M. Four but even fewer on the X. M. Five's. But it should also make connecting these two multiple devices like say your computer and your phone at the same time should work smoother and seamlessly and uh you know much better. So if you're listening to music from your computer and you get a call on your phone it's it just happens, it just works so the latest and greatest of bluetooth protocols and last but not least the X. M. Four's had google assistant and Alexa amazon Alexa built in and to access them, you had to touch the headphone to activate it right? You don't have to touch it anymore. Yeah, you can set a wake up word for your smart assistant of your preference. So whether it's google or Alexa computer. Exactly. So you can say what you want to wake them up and you don't have to touch your headphones anymore. And that makes that feature way more usable for you. Can you just shout out to Jeff Bezos just to unlock it? That could be your yeah, let's not pick a fight. Hey Jeff. Right. Mr Bezos, sir. So those are the main differences. Right, So bluetooth hands free access to smart assistants, 30 millimeter drivers. That should be more precise and clear uh stronger noise canceling and roomier plush ear ear cups. That's a lot of things. New headphones, which they took great headphones and made them even even better is the, is the idea here. So X M five is kind of a big deal around here right now they're in stock as we record this. They might not be when you go to buy him, I can't tell you how quickly they're going to sell out and we'll have to get another shipment of them in, but we will believe me. Um so yeah, I think we should probably get back to Randall now he's patiently waiting for us to shut up and get back to him. So let's do it when we do headphone training. That's one of the things we talk about is, you know, how that's changed over the years. Headphones used to be something you used for, you know critical listening to channel listening. Uh maybe you got a walkman or a discman. So you could use them in a portable situation. Right? But the smartphone and bluetooth working well, which it didn't at first. Right? But once Bluetooth sort of got going and was reliable, How many pairs of headphones do we need now? Like one for every different life situation? Right. One for the car, one for your bedroom, One for the garage, one that you take on trips. Yeah, yeah. I want to keep in your backpack. So you just have it just in case, just in case. Right? So what's your go to? I mean you said these are your favorite uh is that because of sound quality or like between sound quality and comfort? The X. M. Four's are are my favorite. I would say the ones that I find myself using the most often are actually the true momentum's from Sennheiser, Sennheiser momentum true wireless to to correct. Uh so those I find have the, my favorite feature are incredibly easy to use. The pass through for audio is really nice. So when I tap my left ear bud, the microphones that are normally responsible, active noise canceling will then transmit that exterior sound through the headphones while I'm listening to music. So if I had them in right now and you called my name, Hit the buttons, not pause my music and still be able to hear everything you're saying nice and clearly it's not just turning noise cancelation off. It's using the noise cancelation mix to pipe in the sound of the outside world. JR so because those, those headphones will do a nice job of isolating all by themselves. Even if you just put them in and never turn them on, they make a good seal in your ear, right? So you already are not hearing a lot of what's going on around you and then you turn noise cancelation on and the world disappears. And if you're walking down the street in a city or anywhere where, you know, you want to hear animals, you want to hear other people, cars, busses uh and or people talking to you, that's a pretty cool feature to be able to really, you know, have them work either way, haven't worked either way, not ever have to remove them from your ears to be all of a sudden aware from your environment and it's just as simple as a single tap on the left of your. But to make that to make that happen. Uh the quality I was shocked at for a true wireless headset, I was, I was really shocked at the quality of Bluetooth transmission and they feel comfortable. They're great for long listening. So if I'm watching tv or if I'm making a phone call, if I'm listening to music, they're really sort of all purpose like that and perform really well. Uh I am saving up and waiting on the audio engine B one to come back in so we can take advantage of the Apt X. HD. That's built into those Sennheiser as well. Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. What kind of phone do you use with the with the with the headphones now it is an iphone I believe this is an 11. So with an iphone you can't use Apotex, that's a that's an android only sort of a thing. But it does have Bluetooth 5.1. So I mean the bluetooth should be like as solid as bluetooth gets. It. Is it is very very reliable, very strong signal from a surprisingly far distance. If I leave my phone in the other room or have a connected device and walk across my home pretty well past 30 ft and we're still getting pretty clear. Well, great clear signal and I've been really been impressed with that aspect of it and I'm curious to see what the Apt X. HD will do for fidelity. So in addition to those you've also bought, you said you like bluetooth stuff, You got the ultimate ears wonder boom too, is that something? Yeah, so that is a portable speaker. Great for outdoors. Uh That was I play soccer with some friends, a fair amount outside and uh it's great to just have it fits right in my drawstring bag pairs to the phone and make some serious sound generally whenever you have speakers outside, you know you're you're working against the environment especially for those bass frequencies and such. The wonder boom actually has an outdoor mode if you will that really sort of boost those bass frequencies and it's pretty impressive for for a lot of sound in a small package there you can't call yourself a wonder boom without having good base emphasis on the boom for sure. Uh And so yeah that makes sense for a queuing it for outside, right? Because I mean you can take a bluetooth speaker that doesn't even have a ton of base and put it near a wall or something in a room. And that will help sort of amplify the base and give you extra sound. But if you're out next to a soccer field there's no walls. There's nothing to help it really. So it's all on its own and you can tell it it's outside and it knows. All right I need to do the heavy lifting here and give you plenty of bass, what's what's good soccer playing music for you. Anything that gets me feeling aggressive and up tempo. So a lot of a lot of hip hop a lot a lot of rack a lot of a lot of aggressive sort of metal and maybe even some some E. D. M. Stuff some up tempo. ADM stuff to keep your heart rate up. Exactly yeah you just gotta here's the thing I am not. I was a football player and a basketball player not a soccer player. So so when I play soccer I I've got my size and that's about it. What did you do before you worked here before I worked at Crutchfield? I so right after college I went to the V. A. Here. I helped open a restaurant in town Sedona Taphouse. That's right. Uh And was there for a few years until I took the next logical step of course. Which is being a band director at the University of Virginia. That's what you do, right? Let's get, I want to come back to band director. But what what did you learn in the world of you know uh serving wait staff working in restaurants that helps you help our customers. Uh So one of the things that and especially in a market like food service where there are countless restaurants and especially in a sound like Charlottesville if you don't have a good time, there's no reason to ever go back to that restaurant. There are hundreds of other choices. We are very very lucky here in Charlottesville with the restaurant scene. So the thing that's going to set us apart in addition to the quality food, you've got to have great food. But the thing that's really gonna set us apart is the quality of service is that making people feel like they're welcome, making people feel like they're at home. Uh really cultivating that experience, and that's the most important thing, uh, not the bottom line, not chasing the dollar, not selling the most this or the highest, most expensive. That it's making sure that the person comes in feels welcome, has a good time and knows that when they come back they're gonna feel the same way. Uh, all the other stuff will come, that is the most important thing. I cannot stress that enough. And I found at Crutchfield the same attitude, the advisers who are helping you, the customer service reps the tech, the headquarters, everybody is here to make sure that our clients and ourselves are having the emotionally enriching experience that sets us apart. Uh, and that's where that parallel sort of was drawn pretty much from day one to me, it's always made a lot of sense. And I think that that attitude helped me be pretty successful here so far. Yeah, I think we found out a long time ago that uh, if you hire good people and uh, you're reasonably sure that they can do the job, even though they may not have the technical expertise coming in, technical expertise and stuff we can teach, being a fun person to work with and talk to. Uh, it's not something we can teach your either that or you're not. Uh and so you're that, for example, and that's, you know, we try to hire people like that. So, yeah, that, that's been a pretty good strategy for us so far it works. It makes sense why, you know why has been around since 1970 for a quick aside jr I grew up in Harrisonburg Virginia. Okay and so Crutchfield was always you know I saw the commercials, the retail store was down the street from me basically and then came to Charlottesville back in 08 to go to the V. A. And there was a Crutchfield store right up 29 saw the commercials. I always just assumed that Crutchfield was had retail stores everywhere and and come to find out turns out nope only two and they just happened to be in the two places that I've lived the longest. There you go. So yeah every town you've lived in has a crutch. So don't all towns have a crutchfield. No. Alright so Harrisonburg to Charlottesville. Uh to go to U. V. A. You open Sedona Taphouse. And then you said the next logical step was Assistant Band director, Associate Band director at U. V. A. So I was an associate band director there at U. V. A. They have a very unique young marching band program uh that helped take the place of the pep band Which was here for decades before us but we made it a little more formal, got a little more funding. Uh and then put out a you know a 320 person full sized pretty great sounding marching band with all new equipment of course. While I was a student I was a member of the band uh took every opportunity that they would let me have, whether it was playing football games, basketball games when ensemble percussion ensemble. I remember once we played at a cross country meet out there in the middle of a field. Again when I say I took every opportunity, I mean every opportunity. Um and that paid off. They were looking for somebody to work with the drum line in the percussionist specifically. Uh And so I joined a team of four directors that were responsible for the football, marching band, the basketball bands, both for men's and women's games. What we called our olympic sports band which would play lacrosse games, soccer games basically any other collegiate sport that would have us. We would also do the wind ensemble and our concert band at U. V. A. That puts on a concert every semester. And then in addition to that we taught a two classes, one history of wind ensemble. Um And then I also taught a percussion techniques class which was a smaller class where we sort of gave specific instruction to to whoever is interested. Are you a multi instrumentalist? I am, I can play a lot of instruments very badly and I'm a pretty decent percussionist. So the music theory helps me get through what my muscle memory doesn't have. I can play a little bit of keyboard and piano. Uh was originally a flute player jr back in uh back in middle school, that was the first instrument they started me on. Uh And so I still got a little bit of woodwind shops but it would take me a little bit to shake the rust off. But really all things percussion is where I spend most of my time these days. So uh have you taken these music skills and applied them outside of like the marching band style? Like do you play any bands or anything like that? Like are you, could you be a rock and roll drummer if you wanted to like, what do you do with it? What do you do with this musical ability? Now? I like to believe I could be a rock and roll drummer if I wanted to be. Um The thing about being in a band that I don't have right now is time. I I I certainly would jump on opportunities to play. And I'm very fortunate that I've got a lot of good friends who are very talented and willing to play. I haven't played in Charlottesville really for quite some time outside of one featured appearance with with a band called Aaron The Wildfire. Yeah, if you're anywhere near Charlottesville, you've heard of Aaron in the Wildfire, Aaron Aaron Hansford went, we went to U. V. A. Together. Still one of my very good friends band is chock full of talent if you have not listened to them. I cannot recommend them enough. I think they just dropped a new single so I'll plug the on Spotify. Um But I didn't join them as a drummer. Jr it was mock stars at one of the local venues which is a Halloween show where local bands do covers and Aaron Lansford and the Wildfire went as Katy Perry and her backup band and yours truly of course performed as Dancing Sharks. The bass player was Dancing Shark. I would look I'm very talented but I would dane to attempt to be dancing Okay. They had me do Snoop Dogg, juicy jay and Kanye for the show. So that was that was a fun step in a different direction for me. That was a blast. So like the songs where they might be featured or something. Yeah. That's fun. It was a blast. A lot of cupcakes on my outfit. So so that's pretty cool. I I have here two more bullet points. I went back, I went back to the notes that we took on day one of your training class. Like what did I write down about you when you introduced yourself? Uh and uh one of them was that you majored in Child psychology? Child psychology and early education. Yeah. Have you found that the information you gathered at getting that degree? Have you found that to be useful in your life? Absolutely. I Child psychology is similar to regular psychology in a lot of ways with just a specialization. But in general, the whole, the whole field really helps you, makes it a lot easier to empathize and relate with people, which so many of my jobs have been customer facing or public facing in one way or another. And so that appreciation of really just the importance of human empathy I think is hopefully undercurrent to everything that I do. And I think in a lot of situations has helped me be successful where might otherwise not be. Uh, and, but the last thing I wrote down was that you, you have traveled a lot. Um, I've traveled a lot domestically. I feel like uh, being a band director sort of took me to places that I wouldn't go to otherwise, some pretty exotic places. I've put Puerto rico Costa rica, been to Niagara Falls a few times, but also places like Ames Iowa, I've been to Omaha Nebraska a few times as well, traveling with the basketball team. And uh, it really, I will say that especially working for, for the band, I really sort of got an itch to travel and I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of it, especially as travel regulations ease up a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so you've been here less than a year at this point, which I'm thinking that along with, uh, the lack of supply. Is that why you don't have any kind of like home theater gear yet because when I start looking through people's purchasing history, usually you don't have to look very far to find, you know, 57 speakers powered subwoofers, home theater receivers, big tv, all that kind of stuff. I didn't really see that on your purchase history unless I just missed it. No, you didn't. I uh I'm lucky right now that I have already some, some pretty a pretty decent speaker set up at home with an older receiver and it's one of those things where if I'm going to swap them out, I need to, I'm making a pretty substantial upgrade and I want to also upgrade the receiver that I'm using to be a little more intelligent about the cabling and really sort of probably start from the ground up. And so I'm lucky that I have something to get me through until I've both saved up the money for what I want and also everything that I want is immediately available. Um so don't worry, I'm always looking what, what is, what do you have your eye on for the future? Like what is the next big thing you're thinking about getting? Oh, that's a good question. Uh I am really, really uh enjoying both. What I'm reading seeing and hearing from Wharf dale. Uh, the evo four point four's are, I think really my ideal speaker, uh great bottom end response rich, robust sound with a really clear high uh those, those ribbon tweeters, really sort of give you a natural articulate clarity that I think would really be the next step up. Of course I want to make sure I've got a receiver that powers them appropriately. Um, and then also want to make sure my source work is going to match the speakers as well. They're a little bit of an investment, but I'm, I'm very eager. Yeah. For a pair of those, you're looking at, you know what, what customers would pay, you'll pay less because you work here. Uh, but $2200 pair of speakers. Uh, and they look beautiful, but I own a pair of wharf dales, not those. Uh, I own a pair of the bookshelf speakers, like a $900 pair of wharf dale bookshelves therefore home. Uh, and those things just crush, I have them on my desk at home. So when I do work from home or if I'm editing video or audio or anything like that at home. Uh, and those things just sound amazing. Uh, yeah. So I am all about some more deals. Can't wait. Uh Yeah, we've had some set up in the training room a few weeks ago and I got to hear him in person again. I had heard him, I heard him elsewhere before and was just like, all right, these are the, this is the next big purchase I'm making for sure. Absolutely. Have you been primarily working from home since you started. I have. So yeah, when we started in March it was vaccines were just rolling out. So I've been, I've worked in office maybe two or three times trying to make it in whatever I can to meet some people put some faces every super friendly. But primarily I'm working from home. So they're doing more and more of those demo days now now that we can start to have people more in the office and do some training type things, right? We're still not having, having big gathered big groups of people training, but you know, a couple speakers set up in a room where anybody can go in on their own and listen and that stuff is happening more and more. Yeah, I think there's still a pair of Wharf dales and some L ax set up in there right now as we're recording this, there's also like two turntables and one of them has a separate phono pre amp. The other one we're using the built in phono pre amp so we can kind of hear the difference on that. Uh, lots of cool demos going on. So that's a great way because you know, we, we want, we want you guys advisors to be able to hear our speakers and not only make educated decisions for yourself, but help customers know what they're gonna sound like too. So yeah, I'm not surprised you feel that way about Wharf dales. That's awesome. And yeah, you guys have, you know, and the training program you do a great job of giving us a lot of information and specifically the resources to find more information. So we can spend a lot of time and energy researching and that gets us pretty far. But there's no, there's no uh, replacing the actual hearing and experiencing it for yourself and really being able to relate to the content and really make sure that when you're giving that feedback to clients. Yeah, that's, that's been one of the biggest costs from my perspective of the pandemic for Crutchfield for the advisors is uh, not so much in person training. You know, we're still filling you guys with info. The vendors are still doing their presentations, but it's all over zoom or teams. It's just all remote. So there's no in room listening or at least not much. Uh, and that's, that's all slowly trickling back. So hopefully next year we get back to vendors coming to see us and play their speakers and that's when and it's so much fun doing that. Like I'm very eager, I will say kudos to all the vendors who've been coming through. I've been really impressed at how creatively they've gotten around the obstacle of only zoom training. I still feel like I come away from those, uh, from a lot of those trainings with a lot of really useful good information, great anecdotes. Uh, and some and some thoughtful comments to really sort of process and then helped pass along to our clients as well. So shout out to the vendors to come through and do the trainings. Yeah. You know, it was for for so many years we had, you know, two vendor trainings a week every week for most of the year, right? So by the end of the year you're like oh gosh, another vendor training, I mean and to go two years without an in person vendor training, we're all just like I can't wait can't wait for that to happen again. Uh Man, that's all the stuff I had on my list. Is there anything we should be talking about that? I'm not thinking of you. I saw you had a list on your phone. What did you want to talk about? A lot of stuff and I just wanted to make sure I remembered everything. The only things we didn't talk about, you did mention sort of the bookshelf speakers that you have. Uh I have a set of monitors that I got Crutchfield, the Maki, I think that the crx yes, I did see that. I forgot to open the web page on them. Those are the like the powered computer speakers, like like studio monitor. Exactly. And I use those, their bluetooth compatible and I use those in my bedroom because they're small. They don't take up a lot of space, but they've they've they've got a decent sound, it's not necessarily what I would use for critical listening, but they're super convenient hair right to my phone. They're black with just a little green outlines and they fit the decor perfectly. Uh and they sound great, you know, it's a really great way to just play some music in the morning as you're waking up. So Randall just mentioned that he's got some Maki powered monitors at home. Yeah, I've got two pair of home myself. Is there anything you don't have? Yes, I'm working on that though. Do you have the Khitan Aqua light yet? Not yet, luckily I haven't needed it. Alright, so what is a powered monitor? These Mackey's, our Mac is a pro audio brand, right? They're known for making mixers and stuff that you would use like for your band if you're gonna play in a bar or whatever. Uh So uh powered monitors, you might find those in like a recording studio and the recording engineer might use a powered monitor as the speaker that they use when they're mixing and mastering your music. And the reason they use them is because they are skewed flat meaning they don't color the sound with any additional noise. They don't boost the bass or anything like that. They don't over accentuate anyone frequency over another. They want you to be able to be in control of that as you're making music. So compared to maybe computer speakers um or some of the other computer speakers we carry because they're flat. Some people might consider them a little boring um I like the design of the Mac, you speak. That's why we ended up with those in our house. Um, Honestly, at the price point, they are, they're pretty good value. Um, aesthetically, I love them. Um and uh actually we've got them at two different workstations in my house, You know, when everybody had to go home to work and my kids were at home working, everybody needed some computer speakers. So, you know, we were able to uh luckily we carried Maki at that point already and we were able to get some of those in my house. I've been very, very happy with them. And so when you see powered monitors on a pair of speakers, like these Makis and we have other ones. That's the, that's what makes them what they are, is that they're usually good for hooking up to a computer or to a pro audio mixer system and they're a flat EQ, which a lot of just, you know, average joe's might find boring for real because there were all used to hearing speakers that are designed for use in our homes. Uh and those speakers are designed not boring. Exactly. So they do, they might, they might accentuate the base or give you extra this or be brighter or lot is bright and they're not necessarily going for perfectly flat eq. They're going for engaging and emotional. So powered monitors versus most other speakers, that's a big difference. Something to be aware of, Just didn't want you guys to, you know, by the wrong speakers. That's why we're here to help you guys get the right stuff. So I'm a big fan of those and then the N A. D integrated and I have, that was the main thing. I calculate you can call myself the host of a show. That was the main thing I wanted to ask you about. Don't worry. I got you. Thank you. We got so many, we got down so many little side roads. But yeah, the N A D D 30 20 V two, it's like a sort of a desktop form factor integrated and big volume knob, headphone output powers a pair of speakers. It's normally like 500 bucks ish. Right. And why did you choose that? I've got a pair of passive speakers that I've had for a while that are the perfect size for my desk. Uh, and passive speakers of that size aren't super common. And I wanted to get something that was going to push a little more energy to them. You know, they just had a thin old little, I wouldn't be surprised like a 15 watt cheapo and was still impressed at how well they sounded. So I wanted to give them a little more respect if you will and the N A D. It looked perfect based on the specs and everything. I took a little bit of a leap of faith there, but I could not be happy with it. It I run it probably 8 to 10 hours a day right there on my desk. Uh It never gets warmer than my hand is um it sounds great. Clear, it's really got those mike is really shining um super easy to connect to via bluetooth. The controls are right there on the top, touch screen controls, right on the top there. Of course the headphone output sounds great as well. I've got some, I believe their audio Technica headphones are like 28 or maybe 32 ohm headphones that go right in and sound great when I need to dial in and push the world out a little bit. Yeah, and it's just not like your run of the mill headphone output, it's a headphone amplifier so it can drive some serious headphones. I could definitely invest in some in some nicer headphones. And I would be ecstatic to use that thing for critical listening, hook it back up to it and just be we'd be golden. Uh And is this like on your desk where you do your work from home? Uh It is on a separate desk. So I don't have it on my my work state my crutchfield workstation? I've got a separate desk with like my personal computer and stuff so that's where those passive speakers are and uh it is in the same room and so I still use it with those passive speakers a fair amount every time I get into chat. Just flip the turn the amp up, crank it up and start blasting. So what do you use as a music sources? It's Spotify mostly I find myself using Spotify primarily for the variety that's available and especially when I'm not like really sort of critically listening, I find the discover weekly is really great and I find that even if I'm not listening to discover weekly playlist ends, it'll build a radio based off of that playlist and find some gems that way. I'm always super excited to find a new, a new jam if you will a new, a new tune that just like hits the spot. It's so exciting. There's nothing like it. Um and so I use Spotify primarily. I do use Cobos a bit, I imagine when I get that audio engine B one, I'll probably use the cobras a bit more. Get that 16 bit high five because Cobalt streaming app decks and when Spotify finally pulls the trigger and does hi res music, I guess I'm gonna have to invest in a deck and and some new stuff as well. So uh cool. So the N A. D. Is desktop integrated amp and that things are uh things a little beast man. It's got a bunch of really great reviews. Uh, I think you, you said you took a leap of faith on it, you hadn't had a chance to hear it before you bought it. Uh and it's not an insignificant purchase. Uh, so that's, and it's paid out, paid off paid off and I would have happily paid full, I would have expected to pay full price and more for the, the quality, the utility. It is just a really solid piece that I know I'm going to have for a long time. Yeah man, well, thank you so much for coming in, man. This has been a lot of fun. Hey jr, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity. It's always good to see you don't get to see you as much these days and it's, it's always good to catch up you as well man, maybe at some point soon we'll both be working in the contact center more often. So that'd be fun. Looking forward to it. Excellent man. Thanks for coming in. All right brother, take care. So that's Rodell and me talking, we were in here in the studio a couple of months ago and absolutely love that guy. I'm super excited that he is now coaching and leading a team of sales advisors and he can influence them to be more like, like him. Really? That's what we want. Absolutely, yeah, he was super fun to talk to and I'm so glad he's here. Um, so we're almost done with the show, but Randall and I were talking there at the end about how we, you know, we kind of miss in person vendor trainings and uh, as of right now we've just kind of slowly dipped our toes in the water of getting back to some in person trainings. Some folks are still around right, like we have people in our call center, we have a lot of people working from home as well, but for the folks that are here every day, we were starting to do demo days again, you know, it's something that we've always done in the past where, you know, just opportunities to get different gear on display and pull it down and put different gear on display and kind of, you know, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. And it's been fun, it's fun to get our hands on the gear again, so we can make, could happen and we do, we, sir, we circulate new products into our demo days every couple of weeks and for anybody that doesn't work from home, they're here, they get to really experience that some people come in just to experience that. And even for the folks that are working from home, you know, there's a nice write up that, you know, usually uh, uh, goes along with the demo days, so, you know, they're getting a little bit out of it, but it's, it's awesome for the folks that are here in person for sure. And as far as actual vendors train coming in, you know, the companies that make the products that we sell. We are very much looking forward to seeing those vendor trainers come back to crutchfield again, We had one not too long ago, Big one, big one. Uh, and so this was jBl and infinity. Both of those guys all you know, harman International, uh, owned by Samsung is a big deal. They spent a lot of money making this happen. They sent an RV, they had a fiat outfitted with a bunch of great speakers, a ford F 1 50. It was super awesome. Pulling a trailer that was just nothing but a trailer full of speakers was brought jBL party boxes and bluetooth speaker. I mean it was, it was a full day of training outside food trucks. I was about to say in free lunch, free food. Uh, and because we did it outside so people could feel more socially distanced. We didn't want to force everybody back into a building if they weren't comfortable with it, but everybody got to hear a ton of stuff and get some hands on and really experience some really cool stuff. I think my favorite part of that was the, on the side of the RV was the Dolby at most demo really got me pumped for Top Gun. If you know what Dolby Atmos is, it's like home theater with height speakers. Yes, but, and we made that happen outdoors on the side on the side of an RV and actually compelling at most demo with tom gun. We were tom gun, Tommy gun. Top crews were watching top the original Top gun and sitting in lawn chairs sitting in lawn chairs next to a fire pit next to an RV. And it sounds like there's airplanes above us. Yeah, now I think of it. We are in a tough day at work. That was a fun day at work. I think of it. We are next to the airport. So uh, we are kind of airplanes that sounds like it's right above us. Yeah, that was a jet. Uh, so that, that was a great day of vendor training demo days, all of that stuff. And let's talk right now about something pretty new that you guys have just set up as a demo this week. Yeah, this week's demo is uh short throw projectors. Yeah, yeah. Those have uh, you know, we've actually loaned out a lot of those two employees here recently. That's one of the cool things we can do is send products to our employees houses so they, they can demo them in person. Even, you know, if they're not having an opportunity to come into demo days and you know, I've seen that these short throw projectors have been really requested by our employees. Everybody wants to get their hands on it. It makes sense. I mean a projector is arguably the coolest way to watch movies at home, right? But it takes a dark room. It takes mounting the projector somewhere a big screen uh, calibri, the whole thing, right? Long H. D. M. I. Cables that run through your wall and up into your ceiling. I mean installation of a projector system is you know challenging at best and a short throw projector. The whole like the reason you might want one is because you don't have to do most of that stuff. You just put it on the floor or on a table just yeah right up there in the front, right by where the screen will be right And it shows and it shoots the projector image directly up at the wall from that that angle right below the wall. So you don't have to mount it. It's not on the ceiling, you don't need a long cables. All your other components are right there. So regular length H. D. M. I. Cables. And so you guys have set one up in one of our break rooms and we've had a bunch of people actually borrow them and take them home to try them at their house. Uh And they're available in different flavors. Some come with a screen that's specifically for a short throw projector. Some don't so you can get your own screen right? Can you you were part of setting up this short throw projector in the demo day can you? I haven't seen it yet so I'm gonna go over there later but can you tell me what was it like and what were your thoughts on it? Yeah we actually tried in uh three different rooms, so we, you know, different lighting situations and whatnot. And uh you know, one of the things that is very obvious uh in this situation is you got to be able to control the light in the room. I mean that's the same for projectors and I think that's one of the maybe misconceptions out there, you know, movie projectors aren't necessarily as bright as PowerPoint projectors. So, you know, if you've ever been in a business presentation where you're looking at a spreadsheet or a PowerPoint presentation up on a screen in a well lit room, it can work fine with fluorescent lights and windows, but there's no uh what you don't get in those situations as color saturation and depth of feel and and movement, you know, I prefer pictures that move when I'm watching movies, contrast and things like that. And really the way to do that is a being able to control the light. Um to some extent and uh also having reflective material involved and you know, that proved true with our demo. So right now, I've got to say when you come over, I think you'll see that uh you know, this is very nice projector that it's set up. Um but right now it's not demoing, its its best foot isn't forward, but that's part of the learning process. I want our advisors to see that so that we can make sure that we're recommending the complete package so that our customers are happy when they get it all. We don't want to oversell or set an expectation that the product itself can't at least meet if not exceed. And if you're thinking it's just gonna look great, just throw it on the floor and aim it at the wall and you're good to go, it's not that simple, nope. Uh and there are special screens that are highly recommended for a short throw projector and they're different from the other projector screens, right? Many projector screens are designed to reject ambient light from your windows and you do not want one of those for a short throw projector, which is literally coming at an extreme angle. So the screen would see that as a ambient light you don't want to project or reject the projector. Don't reject the projector. So yeah, so you need a screen that is not going to reject the projectors projection as ambient light. That's good. No, so those are some pro tips and those are the kind of things are advisors are learning. So if you have any questions literally about anything we sell uh definitely call and just talk to one of our advisors. I trained them, Randall's coaching them. You know, I mean it's it's a pretty good situation, they're in the contact center while you train them right. ErIC sits there in the contact center bothering our advisors and so uh so yeah, that's what's going on here. That's what we got going on. I think, I think we've just completed another episode of Crutchfield the podcast. I think you know what, There's a bunch of links in the show notes on this show to a lot of the stuff that we talked about in this show. So if you want to go see the Eaton aqua light, that N A. D. Integrated amp that rodel mentioned the X. M five's from Sony and bunches, bunch more stuff. It's all, there's links to it in the show notes. Uh, and wherever you listen to podcasts, of course, you can just go to crutchfield dot com slash podcast to see the entire page. There's usually pictures and links and better descriptions and all that. It's the perfect place to go find our podcast, Right? And uh, and you should also be checking out Crutchfield live. We're giving stuff away on Crutchfield. Like I just said it out loud. We should maybe I'll just buy it and send it to somebody. It's $25 and that's not even my price. Can I sign up for that one, then? I know how nice would it be if we could sign up and win our own sweepstakes? Yeah, that'd be great. Now we get our employee discount. Yeah, yeah. Job. Yes. So thank you so much for listening to Crutchfield, the podcast. We'll be back with another episode shortly. Uh, and we'll see you next time.

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