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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 8

Gary Yacoubian, his history at SVS, and his Dolby Atmos® home theater system

In this episode:

In this episode SVS president Gary Yacoubian talks with J.R. about how he started in the electronics industry, his history at Beats, and how he transitioned SVS from being all about that bass to being all about great sound (and that bass). He also reveals his Top 6 favorite movies to enjoy on his Dolby Atmos-equipped home theater system. Plus, Gary talks 2-channel audio and the fun of his Linn Sondek turntable and Mark Levinson amplifier.

Some of the gear discussed includes:

And here's a peek at some of the gear Gary mentions in the interview...

Gary Y's components

The ability to swap out components for testing is a must for Gary

Prime Elevation

SVS designed Prime Elevation speakers as the ideal solution for challenging rooms

Prime Elevation

Sound where there was no sound before

SVS Ultra Surround

SVS Ultra Surround speakers offer bipole, dipole, and SVS's Duet Mode

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome to Crutchfield the podcast. This is episode number eight. I am your host. J. R. Thank you so much for joining me. I am so excited to bring you today's episode. It is going to be a little different than what you have heard so far on Crutchfield the podcast. Typically we're talking to Crutchfield employees that made an employee purchase and love it so much that they bought it and they wanted to talk about it with me. We're gonna do that except that we're gonna change it up a little bit instead of a Crutchfield employee. Today we will be talking to Gary Jacobi and he is the head honcho over at S. V. S. If you know anything about home theater and especially subwoofers as they relate to a home theater and home stereo systems. You've certainly heard of SVS. They first got on my radar screen when we were when we brought them into Crutchfield a few years back now when I when I showed up to their first vendor training when they introduced their products to us I was first blown away by just how huge their subwoofers can be. Uh And they make humongous big big sounding home subwoofers as you will hear throughout this interview today with Gary. They are way more than just a subwoofer company. They make lots and lots of different speakers of different sizes and shapes. They make wireless systems. They make floor standing center channels surround speakers, Dolby Atmos speakers and uh and and a whole lot you can have a whole house full of SVS speakers and you won't be sorry if you do. Uh And we've had a lot of fun with SVS over the years. They do a lot of cool stuff using social media. They do an audio file, happy hour. They get together on facebook and Youtube and they hang out and talk about their stuff and music and what they they like to listen to and it's a whole lot of fun. I recommend you check that out. We've done a bunch of cool giveaways with them, we've done a sweepstakes with them which is like a sort of a virtual version of an old school shopping spree basically they're creative. They like to have fun with their products and so do we. So it's a pretty good match for Crutchfield and SVS. Gary for those that don't know. In addition to being the president and Ceo of SVS, he, it is also the head of the audio division of the C. T. A. Or the Consumer Technology Association. This is the organization that puts on C. E. S, the consumer electronics show in Vegas in january every year and obviously I had some questions. I go I go to C. E. S every january, we do videos and we talk to our vendors about their new products and we have a really good relationship with SVS. We always see them when we're out there, But I think everybody's kind of wondering what's gonna be the deal with c. e. s. for 2021. Hopefully in the aftermath of this pandemic. But who knows, It could still be going on. Uh this covid 19 thing might last a good long time and we might not get to do si es um however they are a technology organization and I'm pretty confident they're going to be able to find ways to get the word out about technology one way or another and Gary does talk about that a little bit. So if you're at all interested in developments at C. E. S and of course with what's going on with the with sbs, you really should take a listen to this interview. We're gonna hear about Gerry's system. He's got some pretty sweet speakers, some nice preempts and amplifiers. A turntable that is amazing. He's using an LG Oleds, Denon receiver, summon kio stuff. I'm spoiling it all for you now. I know and I'm sorry you wanted to get to the interview. Let me just shut up and get out of the way And without further ado here is my interview with Gary, Yagoobian President and Ceo of SVS. Good morning Gary. How are you? Can you see and hear me? I can see and hear you. You're looking good and sounding good. How long have you been with SVS since the beginning or did you come along after? So I bought the company with two partners now it will be almost to the day nine years ago. Ok. They were only they were kind of a garage sort of company building massive subwoofers and we had an idea that maybe this concept could be taken to price ranges that are a little bit more affordable and two subwoofer form factors that work in more theaters. I mean, I guess the question we asked ourselves is can you bring extreme performance to smaller subwoofers than these massive ones? We still have the massive ones, but I think our compact sealed subwoofers are actually far and away. Our most popular because they totally kick rear end and they are accurate and they fit in pretty much any room. So we evolved to a more maybe broadly appealing kind of product when I came on board your life experience, up until SVS talk to me about that, you sold retail, you've made stuff like how did you get to where you start? You thought you should you should take the reins at sbs. Well, like a lot of us, I bet you j r even though I don't know this, I stumbled into this business because I loved it and thought I'll do this until I get a real job and it ended up being my career. Um in fact, I've always been super passionate about audio. I come at it from music, but I would say everybody at SPS comes at it from either music or movies or some some passion that they had, and I'm super passionate about music and I'm super always have been super passionate about great sounds. So it seemed like a great fit for me to when I wanted to go to business school, get work as a audio salesman back in the day in a basically something similar to the brick and mortar Crutchfield stores, an audio specialty audio store where we um, had the best stuff and I thought I'll get my M. B. A. I'll have a business degree and I'll be ready to roll and get a real job. Well, guess what? This ended up being my career. I worked, um, and actually got to know the folks at crutchfield very well because I was in the Washington area and retail got to know Bill Crutchfield rick sadder and others from Crutchfield who um, I think it's a phenomenal company and we were sort of similar in our approach putting the customer first. Then I ended up working at monster and beats where I learned a lot from the manufacturing side. That was really fun beats especially was really interesting because what I learned at beats was, and I brought that to SVS. I think a lot of the audio industry is sort of predicated on a belief that nobody cares about great sound anymore, that there's only a very few narrow band of people that care about great sound. And we discovered that beats that there's a whole generation of people that just need to be shown about great sound. Um, and they might go for it. Um and that's a lot of what we do at SPS, we try to tell more people that they can have great sound in their lives and if they love music or if they love movies or even gaming or sports or whatever thing that they like to enjoy in their living space, you can have a better sound experience if you, you know, look at that, you know, I don't want to make this an SPS infomercial that we're doing together, but you know, it definitely is an infomercial for great sound and it speaks to that you talk about the beat generation. I think a lot of those younger people grew up in a world where the transition for music was to one of convenience and not necessarily with a focus on sound quality, right? With the whole mp three and napster, uh those are the people that evolved into the beat generation with ipods and iphones and to be able to show them that you don't have to sacrifice quality for convenience. That's hopefully that's pretty eye opening. And I think we have a lot of evidence of that with the success of the beats, headphones on the brand and how how much money apple paid for that. So I think there's a lot of, a lot of merit to that idea, I would agree and, and you know, I mean a lot of people say, well, you know beats, they were more about fashion or celebrities or whatever, but I guarantee you, those kids that were coming up with 300 bucks for a headphone. Um, they thought and felt and that they were getting the best sounding headphone on the planet and remember the competition to beat was essentially free, what comes free in the box with your phone and then they come up with that 300 bucks for that beach studio, which is what it was at the time when it started. It was really a phenomenal thing and it taught a whole younger generation of people that there is a possibility of great sound, which we totally believe and those same people probably went from their apple ear pods to the beats and those that really appreciate the quality have probably moved on. I would think if you get the bug, you get the bug and it's really hard to not want to learn more about it. And you know, I mean I would say two thirds three quarters of humanity loves music or loves movies or love something content wise. Maybe not every single person on the planet, but, but a lot. And so to tell them, hey, you, you have great sound with that thing you love is a cool thing at the risk of going into an area of your life that is maybe less exciting from a podcast, music, movies, perspective, I'm curious about what led you to be on the board of the C. T. A. Well, that's easy. I mean I got to know them and it's it's a phenomenal organization. They do so much for our industry. I mean even now, you know, so much of our industry is small businesses and 80% of C. T. A. Is small businesses right now in the middle of a, of a coronavirus pandemic and they're helping small businesses figure out how to navigate through that. So I was super honored when they asked me to be on the executive board at this point. Um, I am on, I'm chairman of the audio division board, which is really cool because I get to work with all people from all walks of life, everything audio, whether it's speakers or components or even um, the content providers, the pipeline providers, um, for example, the guy in charge of all audio at netflix and I work together to create a demo disc of netflix content so that retail stores can show netflix and how great it sounds to people that are in the store. It's really hard to stream in a retail store as you know there because there's never enough bandwidth or whatever. And so now people start to realize that it's a shame if you're watching Stranger Things on your phone when the production values, the sound, everything is so awesome in a home theater. So we, we work together to create a demo disc to show that when I think of the sea to I think of si es definitely si es is our super bowl. I love C E S. C E S is 100 and 60,000 people who are, you know excited about technology want to see the latest and greatest. It's awesome. So it's very cool to be a part of the association that that that puts on C E S. Finally, I'm now a regular attendee of C E S. I go with our video team and we go, go, we go around and visit a lot of our vendors. We've been to the we've been to the sweet SVS or the sweets that SVS has, Yeah, at the venetian, right. Which is uh, if I remember correctly, you guys get three suites at the venetian and the one in the middle is where you put your most powerful sound system so that you don't annoy the other vendors around you guys as much with them, but not as badly. That should be a point of pride for you guys for sure. And by the way, C E s not to be more than happy to be an infomercial about C. E. S. It's the largest trade show in the world of any kind. Really cool. Yeah. Regardless of topic of industry of anything, it is, it is. And yeah, it's pretty amazing. Any, any thoughts on, have you guys made a plan for what's going to happen with si. Es or are we waiting to see how this pandemic sort of pans out. Well they're actively talking about it C. T. A. Has announced that they're going to put the safety of their attendees and every stakeholder that is involved with C. T. A. As the first consideration. Obviously everyone is hopeful that by january of 2021 which is when the C. E. S. Is scheduled, that pandemic will be under control enough that they'll be able to have a normal CS. But I would predict that there will be ways to enjoy Si es virtually as well which will be a really cool thing. I don't know any inside information but other than to say I know that that seti is looking at all the possibilities to make sure that safety is observed but that the industry has also served so many people are embracing this whole idea of you know zoom and Microsoft teams and video audio video meetings that can we can really actually we're finding out we can do a lot using this medium for exam. This is how we are recording today's podcast and it's working great. I mean there's there's probably a lot of room for us to do this even once the pandemic sort of subsides. We're learning a lot about that too. We're doing every other week. We do uh an SVS virtual audiophile happy hour. We do it using uh it's facebook live and youtube and basically get to talk to the SVS community. They're incredibly well attended. The first one we did was more than 25,000 people attended it. And I guarantee you, I've said this to our team after the pandemic subsides it will one day we'll still do those. And so we're learning a lot of ways to touch people that don't necessarily need to be in the same physical place with them. I think it's probably time to get into what the Crutchfield podcast is actually all about, which we haven't touched on yet. With that in mind. I asked you, what do you have at home? I would imagine it's a home full of SVS speakers, but I'm not just interested in that. And I'm like, I'm looking to talk to you about why you've chosen a lot of the things you've chosen. So before we get to the SVS, I'm gonna start somewhere else. You've chosen a 65 inch LG Oleds tv as your main home theater. Tv Talk to me about why you went there and I'm the first one to say despite the fact that I've been in this industry for a long time. I'm not the expert on TVs. Um I will say that just a little bit of research and a few phone calls to my friends. And that tv at that time it's about three years old. That tv at that time was the one, it's a phenomenal, beautiful tv LG does a great job with O L E D. And I'm a big believer in O L E D. And I'm a big believer obviously in four K TVs. Yeah. Well, I mean they do own the patent on the old technology so they've got a leg up on that for sure are, yeah, it's being that it's three years old and that it's 65 inch, which kind of by today's standards, feels a little small. Would you, would your room support a slightly larger tv? Are you considering an upgrade? It totally would. And I'm sitting here at home, I'm tempted. But so far I'm resisting the temptation because it's such a beautiful tv. And frankly, you know, as you guys know the quality of LG, Sony Samsung, which you guys deal with all three of those and I have all three of those brands, they don't tend to break. So I would have to sort of sacrifice something or find a friend who would want to take one off my hands. And so right now I'm not in that place. But, but I see that you guys have TVs as big as 85 inches and they look amazing. Yeah. And nobody ever calls back to tell us that their tv is too large. So no, that's right. And you are experiencing life and the movies and tv shows that you watch as much as possible in four K. Right? Like you have a Sony four K blu ray player. So yeah, so I have Sony Four K Blu ray which I'm very happy with. I also have and I'm a big fan of apple Tv four K. So I can stream some services in four K. I am direct Tv and my direct T. V box does limited four K. So I sometimes watch on four K. In fact there was um there was a World Series game. I'm a big Nationals fan because I'm from the D. C. Area. There was a World Series game that was done in four K. Which was really cool on direct T. V. Oh that's fantastic. Go nats. You brought up something. I didn't even think of asking you this ahead of time. But what you just said maybe want to know because I have, I have yet to do four K disks. I don't really like dealing with blue rays and disks and the display. I just want to stream everything. I'm definitely into the convenience and I don't quite have the internet bandwidth to get four K. At my house. I'm so I'm curious, do you see a difference in the four K. That you can stream like say from netflix versus the four K. That you would get on a blue ray? I would imagine there's a difference just due to compression and things like that. But maybe you can speak to that a little bit. Well I've heard from experts that there is a bit more compression. So I will take their word for it. But from my point of view, streaming netflix or apple Tv in four K is a really great experience and the way they do it, even if you don't have mega internet they buffer to some extent. And so you really do get a great experience and um I am finding that hi res streaming services like cobras and high res um uh movie and tv streaming like netflix or what you can, you can rent a movie from apple tv. It's pretty satisfying. I normally would on a movie that I know I'm gonna wanna demo. I'll buy the disc. Um so normally I'll start with the disk but that's more from a work point of view because I know I'm going to be going out to the world and meeting people and I want to show them really great demos. Um but for example ford versus Ferrari, I still don't have on disk. I, we rented that on blue, not blue, we rented that on apple tv in four K. It was full on Dolby Atmos. It sounded amazing in my theater. Yeah, so looks good and more importantly, especially with that movie. Those cars sound amazing. I saw it in the theater. I have yet to watch it at home but I would hesitate to even watch that on a system that didn't have a full array of speakers and let's let's get into it now from what I hear from what the paper that I was sent, you've got a full SVS system. Right? So let me summarize what I what I know about it. You've got SVS ultra floor standing speakers as your front left and right. The SVS ultra center channel that your front three, then you've got a pair of SVS bookshelf speakers as surround left and right, is that correct? So surround back, I have what's called our ultra surrounds which are bipolar or die pole surround speakers. I have them in by poll mode. Your surround side speakers are the SVS prime elevation speakers mounted on the sidewalk, right. I've never been able to have side surround speakers in that room until prime elevation. I'd like to say they developed it for me but they didn't. But what it does, one thing I often say is there is literally, I mean I have never seen a totally perfect room in someone's house and so um there's always a problem to solve and the cool thing about prime elevation is it's so versatile and I don't know, I don't know if you'll show some of the pictures we sent you but there's one kind of a bulkhead, the looking wall where nothing literally but a prime elevation would work and that allowed us to finally have sight surround speakers have been in this house 20 years and never was able to have side surround speakers until we launched prime elevation. Yeah, with your permission. By the way we do plan to post those pictures on the, on the show notes on the podcast on crutchfield dot com slash podcast. So let me say to people, if they do see those pictures you're gonna be like, wow, he's a president of a company and nothing is built in there. Let me explain because this is what I do for a living. I am constantly swapping things in and out of my theater or my two, I have 22 channel systems to full on home theaters, multiple zones of our prime wireless and it's yes, it's a little bit entitled and I apologize in advance. It's what I do and I am passionate about it. But it's also my way of evaluating products really living with them comparing going back and forth because we are all about the best possible sound and that starts right with me and goes all the way through our whole organization and so for that reason the system doesn't look very built in and it isn't because I can, I just you know with being home for six weeks, you better believe I've been swapping things in and out almost constantly just out of if nothing else boredom And is there like a Gary test like when you guys are coming up with a new product, does it have to like are you the final say in whether or not this thing goes out to the public and what is the Gary test look like, Is it? How good does it sound in your living room? No, I mean I would say it's very rigorous. That's definitely part of it, how it sounds in my living room. But the way you do it is extremely rigorous and it's very tedious and it's myself and several of our acoustic engineers and speaker designers were sitting in a room and very likely you're only listening to one speaker for a lot of it because one speaker is is way easier to evaluate than a pair. So you're sitting there listening to one speaker and you're putting it through a torture test of difficult music, acoustic music, electric music base, human voice, cello, uh female voice mail voice. All we're doing all kinds of things and we're having extensive conversations about what we're hearing. I think maybe what separates SVS from some companies is maybe the Ceo wouldn't be doing that in a lot of companies. Maybe that would be something that would be quote unquote below his pay grade. And that is super. Not what I I am all about great sound. And so they know that I'm going to be very actively involved in making sure the products sound their best. And by the way, we even sit there and listen to a subwoofer without anything else because, and that is one thing close to torture, but you want to make sure you want to make sure it goes deep, which can be measured and you want to make sure it plays loud and that can be measured. Um, but there's a whole lot of other stuff going on with a subwoofer, the accuracy of it, the speed and transience, its ability to reproduce uh low frequencies faithfully. It's a bill and then ultimately its ability to integrate into the total system and not sound like a subway friend speakers. These are all subtle things that you have to spend a lot of time to evaluating. Some of it can be measured, some of it not so much. And you really have to listen. Let's move on to the ceiling of your room where you have four of the prime elevation speakers mounted literally facing down at the, at two different angles because that's a sort of an angled baffle on that speaker angled at your listening position for your four at most speakers. Right? So if I have it right, your system is a 7.1.4 system. Uh and I was looking in the owner's manual with the brackets and stuff that are included in those prime elevation speakers. It didn't say anything about mounting them on the ceiling. Uh is was that a challenge at all? Is that a good idea? How has that worked out for you? So, very important question. Um Prime elevation is the world's most versatile home theater speaker we supply you with a template so that you can drill the holes and then all you do is drill the holes and attach the bracket and then the bracket, the speaker snaps onto the brackets. Really easy when you're hanging it high on a side wall, which was our original intention. You don't need anything extra. If you want to hang it on a ceiling, then you need our ceiling mount kit, which we supply free of charge. So you know, it's not included in the box, but we do supply it free of charge. And all it does is gravity holds it on the back on the bracket when it's on a wall. The ceiling mount kit holds it onto the bracket when it's on a ceiling and gravity won't hold it on gravity just keeps it attached to the bracket. Um, but it's a great ceiling mount speaker as long as you don't mind seeing speakers hanging down from your ceiling. We had originally envisioned it as a high up on a side wall kind of speaker, but it's probably 50% of the time being mounted on ceiling. So it's definitely a great ceiling mount speaker and that's, you know, I use it actually three pairs of prime elevations in that theater. Two of them are on high up on the side wall and one, I should say one pair and then two pairs as you mentioned on the ceiling. You know, I've heard many different Dolby at most home theater systems and it's pretty hard to beat having actual speakers mounted on the ceiling for at most performance for that sort of object based surround sound where it really adds the height to it. Uh, and so having them mounted as speaker tops is good if you can't put things in the ceiling, but actual speakers on the ceiling. And we do have a picture where all four of your speakers are in the one picture where you can kind of see. Yeah, of course things are going to sound amazing with speakers mounted up there like that. I mean I think an important point I know that there's there's this idea of setting the speaker on sitting the speaker that aims up to the ceiling and then down to your ears bouncing off the ceiling. That's in a perfect room. It works for some seating positions but it's difficult and we're big fans of direct radiating if you can possibly do it and you direct radiate the sound down to the listener that experiences that much more convincing. So any particular movies that you've noticed where the at most and you're set up in particular have really enhanced the movie watching and listening experience, any specific movies you wanna talk about? Yeah. Um I can, we have lots of, we do this all the time. We're always listening for stuff like this. I think one of my favorites is Mad max Fury Road. It's been around a while and that's a really good movie. It's exciting, but it has phenomenal dolby atmos. It really uses dolby Atmos to draw you in. Um Ready Player One is another really good one. Baby Driver is another really good one. I think ford V. Ferrari is phenomenal. Um I also thought that this is not for everybody because it's a pretty intense movie. But 1917 that just came out on Blu ray is really riveting and really good Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Um So and then I know this sounds crazy and I was not a fan of Tiger King but um that thing is in Dolby Atmos and the one thing that's tolerable for me on that is that because my family made me watch it is that it's in Dolby at most. Uh Which is weird but true I had no idea. I only have a 5.1 at my house. I haven't gone at most. What what were you hearing coming out of the at most speakers on Tiger King? And do you remember anything specific people's the sound of people's voices. I don't know why they did it that way but it was kind of like wow this really makes a difference. They definitely used the at most uh you know height speakers to enhance the experience which I don't know why but they did. Is that an experience you want enhanced? Maybe? Maybe not. I don't know I was not a particular fan of that show but I know a lot of people are you've chosen a den on nine channel receiver. The A. V. R. X. 7200 W. A. How did you choose that receiver? I see a kitty cat. I know I'm sorry about that. That's quite all right. Everybody everybody's working and living with their pets these days. I've got my dog by the way. You'll love my dog's name. His name is sure he's yeah he's part schnauzer. And when we adopted him that's all that's all we got as far as information on his genealogy. And so we think that the previous owners may have been either they were huge Nationals fans and they like the name Scherzer and they named their dog that or they like the idea of calling him share the schnauzer which is kind of fun to say. He does not he does not have two different colored eyes. He's not that much max Scherzer. But yeah. Yeah. I saw absolutely zero reason to change the name from the cy young multiple cy young award winning pictures for my favorite team, the Washington nationals world champions for maybe one or two years. So you don't know how long longer than usual. So we were talking about the Denon home theater receiver. Why'd you choose that particular one? You know I play with all of them? I try to be as agnostic as possible but I definitely am a fan of the Denon and Marantz family of receivers. Um and they have full on 11 reason is they have full on odyssey. uh, which is the room correction software. That's my favorite one. But I'm trying, I'm trying to restrain myself from advocating too strongly because that's not what we do. But that is a great receiver that top of the line down on is a phenomenal receiver. I'll say that say good things about that. Yeah, well they are, they're not the only company making great receivers. I know because we spoke earlier that you happen to have an an kio receiver laying around the house and which by the way, did not shock me at all because I have to old and ceos that I'm still using in various systems in my house. I think most crutchfield employees that have been here any length of time have an old okeyo laying around because those things just won't die. They are just great little sort of bulletproof. Yeah, they sound good and they just work forever. So one reason why I picked that receiver, I bought it on clearance for a couple 100 bucks on purpose because we want to make sure our stuff works with normal people stuff. I mean it's maybe I could load it up with a bunch of expensive gear that most people wouldn't be able to afford. But is that really the best test for our products. So I actually have with that and a receiver that I got on clearance are ultra towers on top of the line speakers and I want to make sure they can play loud and sound great with an affordable receiver, which they do. I got a technical question on how you set the system up. That Denon receiver is only, it only has nine channels of amplification and so you have a dedicated to channel system in in the same room if I understand correctly. And so how do you have the home theater playing on? 11 speaker, 7.1 point four with a nine channel receiver? You integrated it with the two channel. Can you talk about that a little bit? So um, this is a tip if you, a lot of times people talk about, oh you know, I want to have a two channel system. I want to have the pristine sound of two channel but I also want to have a home theater. Do I have to have two different rooms? Do I have to have two different systems? Guess what? You don't? Um the way I've done it is I have a pristine, perfect, beautiful two channel system. It's actually based around some, some gear that I've assembled over the years. It's very top of the line. But you know, I've done it piece by piece. Mark Levinson stuff. Mark Levinson pre amp and Mark Levinson power amplifier. It really is. But most preempts and higher performing products have what's called a tape loop usually says tape monitor. So you can use that tape loop as a way to have both. A perfect pristine two channel system and a home theater. And the way you do it is you set up your two channel system and then you use the quote unquote tape monitor out as a source into the home theater. And by doing that, the home theater kind of lives in the tape monitor loop of the of the two channel system. And you can use the amplifier of your two channel system to be the front of your home theater. And that way for me, I have a nine channel receiver but 11 channels of home theater because my two channel system supplies the power for my front two channels. That was explained that well, I think so. So the Denon receiver has pre amp outputs for all the all the channels, the subwoofer and all the rest of the channels including the at most so front, left and right center. So and you're running the pre outputs from the Denon receiver to the tape monitor, loop on the Mark Levinson pre amp. So when so when you choose tape monitor as the source on the pre amp, you're listening to whatever is coming out of the front, left and right. Pre amp outputs on your Denon receiver. Cool. So if you are just listening to music, you can do of course just the Mark Levinson system without the Denon even being turned on and you can play stuff from your turntable, which we're gonna talk about here in a second. Or if you want to listen to home theater or music from a streaming service, you can turn on the Denon and pipe out the whatever you're playing into the Mark Levinson. And when you go home theater, it's simply your front left and right out of all your speakers that happen to be getting Mark Levinson power instead of down on power. That's right. And one little trick is you want to remember what volume you set the pre amp at for the home theater. So when you set it up, I always set it up straight up and down. So that was easy to remember. The volume is always straight up and down. And then when I, when I calibrate the home theater, I know what the volume is going to be for, for um, for playing the home theater within the calibration that I did. Yeah, I was going to ask about that because that Mark Levinson is about 300 watts, whereas the den is more like a 150 watts. So that would be uh, be quite a difference in the way those speakers might sound. And so if you don't factor that into your calibration, you could, you might not be thrilled with the results. All right, let's talk about that turntable. I have a picture of your rack of equipment where your Mark Levinson preempt and amplifier are, by the way, it was the 5 32 H Amplifier in case anybody at home is wondering which pumps out like 300 watts into eight homes. That's some serious, serious power. And those SVS prime ultra speakers that you have front left, they're totally able to handle that make a lot of sound, pinnacle, pinnacle in the front left and right. Right. Now I've, I've had ultra there. So it may be that you have an older picture too. I've had our ultra towers there and our prime pinnacles and uh, and then at the top of that rack of equipment is a pretty sweet looking turntable that I think that's the Lynn Sandack LP 12, Right? Yeah, beautiful turntable. I love it. And it's got that echoes arm and I just upgraded the power supply. So I just got to kind of re re, It's an older turntables probably, I'm gonna say 20 years old. I was gonna ask how long you had had it and that's been a modular design since the beginning. Right? Where you can, you can, you can, when you buy it, you can customize it from the word go. Actually, I just upgraded the cartridge. I got a friend hooked me up with what's called a cool Etsu cartridge. It's really cool high end hand wound thingy. Anyway, it sounds really, really good just to say, I love to channel. I love home theater. I have no like and I like vinyl. I enjoy vinyl. I'm not one of those people that says only vinyl sounds good or anything silly like that. But I do love the sound of it with a great turntable. I also am a huge fan of Hi Rez Audio. Hi res streaming. I really enjoy it. I'm really excited that Amazon has a high red service and my favorite one is Cohibas, which I know you guys know about. Yeah, there's no reason you have to be one or the other. And there are plenty of there are plenty of people that are one or the other and they have very strong opinions about it. But there's pros and cons with both. There's incredible sounding music available either way and I've certainly had some great vinyl experiences. Tell me about some, some records you like to play on this system. I have case that go all over the map. I mean I could probably shock some people with the different things. I listen, I might listen to metal, I might listen to classical music. Yesterday I know this is gonna sound like I'm I'm a maniac. But yesterday I listened to I did use, I don't use it every single day. But I did happen to yesterday I listened to grateful dead american Beauty, which is a great sounding vinyl record and then I listened to Beethoven late string quartet. So I mean I'm all over the map. I I really am and I don't, I'm one of these people that music first sounds second meaning I want it to be a great music, but if it's great music, that also sounds great. That's that's, you know, having your cake and eating it too. And in fact, some guys from Crutchfield are meeting me this because you know, Crutchfield Charlottesville is a short drive from D. C. Where I live. I live in Maryland actually suburbs of Dc. Um and we're going to go to presumably wolf trap will still be on this summer. We're going to go see steely dan at wolf trap. And I'm hanging out with some Crutchfield guys. So you're you're a big concert. Go right, you don't just sit at home listening to music. You go out and see the real thing. I'm yeah, I'm going through withdrawal through the pandemic. I'm definitely I love going to live music. Are there any specific concerts you were going to go to? That you that you now cannot go to? I just missed tool in Baltimore and it's breaking my heart. So don't get me started. But yeah, yeah, I had two concerts that I was scheduled to go to that have now been hopefully not lost forever to the pandemic. I was going to go see Sturgill Simpson in D. C. I like country I the last country show I saw was Miranda Lambert, which we we totally loved. I thought it was awesome. Yeah, she's awesome. Absolutely. And then the other concert I lost was the dropkick Murphys. I was going to go see those guys in Richmond and I know there for a fact there was going to be a mosh pit there, that that opportunity to run into other sweaty dudes while we listen to some Celtic punk rock is lost and I hope we get it back someday totally. Well, I think we will, but I, I'm not a patient person when it comes to a lot of things and that's one of them. I'm not patient, I hope it comes back soon. Yeah, me too. Absolutely man, this has been a lot of fun. Is there anything we need to talk about that? We haven't, Oh, I know you've mentioned the grateful dead Beethoven and tool. I'm not so sure that people would say expect that a fan of those types of music would also be a fan of Billie Eilish. Can we talk about Billie Eilish for a second here? I mean I'll say this, um, I think she gives me hope for today's youth. All these twins, I think it's phenomenal music. I would encourage anyone my age to listen to it. It's, it's the real deal and The fact that they made it in a bedroom is just astonishing. And the other thing I will say about Billie Eilish is it's very good music to listen. I think probably it's 99% of the time people are listening to it with headphones, but there is a phenomenal amount of synthetic base that he sticks into that. Um, and so when you listen to it in a in a real home theater or a real a sound system with a subwoofer, it will shake your house. But I think she's a game changer. I think she's the real deal. And it makes me happy to think that young people are listening to her because I think it's a real music that base in bad guy towards the end of bad guy. I saw an interview where how that was created and uh billy in her bedroom was playing around with her keyboard and her sound system and she had a subwoofer that was vibrating so much that the stuff she had on the shelves in her room and sitting on top of the subwoofer were vibrating every time she would hit the base key. And that was the sound she wanted was not just the sound of the sub, but the sound of the stuff in her room vibrating with the sub. And she didn't even realize that's what was happening. She took the sound over to Phineas bedroom, had him play it and it sounded wrong because he didn't have the same stuff in his bedroom vibrating the same way. And so he, you talk about adding base uh digitally, that's what he had to do to sort of recreate the sound that she heard in her bedroom, physically in her room. And to get that it took him a lot of Eq and processing and all that stuff and so that's the base and that's the kind of base it sounds distorted but it's very much on purpose, that's what they were going for. And it all came from Billy's bedroom. Well first of all it sounds like you're a fan to J. R. Just to say and uh so you know, I'm not the only one. And then secondly, Zanny, one of the songs on that album was a demo, we played for everyone at C. E. S. Literally everyone and that it's a very slow song where she's singing that she doesn't want to take drugs which is a cool cool message for you know youth and and she's not doing it to preach, but she's just saying I don't need to and and it's not for me. And then uh there's a shocking amount of bass in that in that that kind of kicks in about a minute in. And so it's and I always have to explain to people this is not distorted, this is on purpose. Um because it's so intense. I think that's a great place to end this interview. Gary, this has been a ton of fun talking to you about all the stuff you have in your system, we didn't even get to the system that you have in your workout room and you have another two channel system uh you're worried about people thinking you sound pretentious with all these different systems, nobody's gonna think that you're the president of SVS, of course, you have systems all over your house and uh, it's been a pleasure to hear you talk. It's clear that you're passionate, not just about selling speakers but about making speakers and subs that sound amazing and you can't do that without having that stuff all around your house. So, thank you so much for talking to me about all that stuff. Gary. Hey, this has been a blast JR it's been fun and I'm honored that you invited me onto this. So, thank you for that man. I did not know Gary before we did that interview. So, uh, that's saying a lot about just how down to earth and uh, and how much of a cool guy that dude is so thoroughly enjoyed that discussion. I do want to take a moment to clarify something that you might be wondering about. He talked about a tape monitor loop on his mark. Levinson pre amp and a tape monitor loop is something that existed years ago on home stereos. Home receivers, integrated amps and separates and the purpose of a tape monitor. It was so that you could monitor a recording that you were doing onto a tape deck. That was the purpose that's why it's named a tape monitor loop. Obviously that functionality really isn't needed anymore. Tape monitor loops were also used to connect things like equalizers into a system and not many people are doing that anymore. So the existence of a tape monitor loop is pretty much nil now on most of the gear, you can buy a Crutchfield home theater receivers, stereo receivers, things like that, you might find them here and there. But for the most part, manufacturers have stopped putting tape monitor loops on their equipment, which is not that big a deal for most people. However, if you happen to be a, uh, the owner of a set of Bose 901 speakers, they actually come with an equalizer that does need to be hooked up either through a tape monitor loop or through a pre out main in loop. Another thing that's hard to find on these on these products or if you have separate, it's pretty easy to hook them up. It's just not something that's too common. So I wanted to just put that into context so you knew what's going on there and how Gary's using the tape monitor loop on his Mark Levinson. Uh, so we've got some more episodes coming up for you. Episode nine, we're gonna be talking to another sales advisor named Carter. He's got some Bose frames. These are sunglasses that play music. Episode 10. We'll be talking to Marissa, she's gonna talk all about cameras and her experience with her new camera and then we'll be talking in our next episode to chris, he he's a trainer, just like I do, he helps train new sales advisors here at Crutchfield and he does a whole bunch of really nice audio demo setups in our training room in one of our call centers and he's got a pretty neat jeep with a pretty sweet system and he's gonna tell us all about that stuff. All three of these episodes were recorded before the covid 19 pandemic and so which is why you're gonna hear us, We're obviously close together, we're in the same room as we're recording these episodes. Don't worry, it was all done before. Social distancing became the norm. Plus the benefit of that is you'll get to hear eric again for those devotees to Crutchfield the podcast you might have noticed. We didn't get to hear from eric at all today. In this episode, he will be back in episodes 9, 10, 11 and we've got something pretty special cooked up for you for episode 12. So thank you so much for listening to Crutchfield the podcast. If you've made it this far, you are a pro a champ and we love you. Maybe if you could also take the time to rate the podcast wherever you happen to get your podcast, Apple Spotify, we're on all of them, write a review. If you could, that really helps us out quite a bit and of course tell your friends about it, send out links on your social media and let people know how much of a fun podcast this was so thank you so much again for listening all the way to the end. I'm your host, JR This is Crutchfield, the podcast. Over and out. We'll see you next time.

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