Solutions for the Sleepless


We’ve all been there. It’s bed time and you look at the clock and 15 minutes have passed but you’re still wide awake. Tick-tock, tick- tock, you look at the clock again…..10 minutes have passed and you’re no closer to sleep. Now you’re getting frustrated and anxious. You need to fall asleep and the more you think about it the less likely you are to nod off . You know your partner is unknowingly rubbing it in by being sound asleep, but you decide to start World War Three by turning on your radio (or Kindle or iPhone) so you can distract your thoughts and finally get some much-needed sleep.  Sound familiar?

If so, we have some solutions for you.

Our first option is the SoftSpeaker Pillow Speaker – This little device is also known as the marriage saver.  It is soft enough that you can lay directly on the plush covered speaker or you can place it under your pillow. Plug it directly into the headphone jack of your device and you can listen to whatever you want without waking your partner.  Now you’ve avoided World War Three and you’ve gotten to fall asleep (or at least learned something interesting) making tomorrow a much better day than it would have been otherwise. We have this version of pillow speaker available with a volume control.

Our newest solution in the struggle for slumber is the Amplified Pillow Speaker.  We created it based upon feedback from users of the original SoftSpeakers and it is designed to overcome limitations with newer technology. We’d heard from many of our customers that the devices they were plugged into such as iPads, Kindles, iPhones, Chromebooks, etc. were “too quiet” or “barely audible”.  This has even been a problem for some radio listeners. This prompted us to create an amplified version to allow you to listen at a volume that works for you, even when the device you’re using wants to limit the loudness. Whether the issue is your device or the fact that your ears don’t work the way they used to, the Amplified SoftSpeaker Pillow Speaker will allow you to get rid of the earbuds and the frustration of getting tangled up and enjoy your audio books, Netflix or radio show at the volume you prefer.

If you aren’t sure which solution is right for you, please call us and we’d be happy to walk you through making a selection.

Getting a good night’s sleep may be more important than you think.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are many negative health effects from inadequate sleep ranging from unsafe driving to heart disease. Listening to 45 minutes of music before falling asleep relaxes your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body relax. Sleep is such a hot topic, Oprah’s O Magazine had an entire section dedicated to it in January’s issue.

Enter to win! Do you listen to something to help you fall asleep at night? Please tell us in the comments below and be entered to win the Pillow Speaker of your choice. Drawing to be held February 20th. Please one entry per person.

A Hacker’s Guide to Alexa

FM Transmitter 2 with Amazon Alexa Echo DotAnother meaning of “hacking” is to “clear a path”. In this case I want Alexa to perform the way I want. I warn you I’m the guy who disabled the annoying “Bixby” button on my S8 android phone by gluing it down with two small dabs of clear silicone. This glue can be removed in the event of some incredible cosmic event where Bixby has something to offer me. Smart phones are only tools.

I am also completely uninterested in smart speakers including Alexa’s even with its extensive abilities except one . . . radio. I have seen oral navigation to a favorite radio station end up in terse arguments with a robot which keeps adding perceived insults to the request. The app that downloads to your phone is a not bad as long as you are willing to press the button a few times until it makes a selection. You can scroll through your history to find your favorite station without opening your mouth. This is particularly good when changing stations in the middle of the night. We keep the Alexa mic off after reflection of some of our home discussions. Question:  Can two people download the Alexa app and control one device?

I tried plugging Alexa close to my CCRadio 2E so I can plug it into the “audio-in” port. Unfortunately, the Alexa’s switching power adapter destroyed AM reception. I prefer over the air radio when I can get it because internet radio advertising is many times more repetitive and demeaning (IMHO). Plugging Alexa into another circuit about 25’ away solved the noise problem. Using an FM transmitter from Alexa to my CC Radio solved the transmission problem and gave me audio clarity I enjoy and an expanded radio dial that has infinite possibilities. There are a few potential obstacles to be aware of before you try an FM Transmitter.

  1. Some locations have a full dial of strong FM stations. You can check for a vacant station slot or tune the dial for dead air.
  2. The FM Transmitter-2 is low power so it only goes a maximum distance of about 45 feet line of sight with no obstructions.  In my location I was getting less. You can search “FM transmitter 2 mod” for user solutions if you’re not getting the range you need.

My predominant source of enjoyment is news (BBC), podcasts and late night radio, but I do love good movies and books too. I don’t think I am the only one who has shut off their cable after realizing all they want is keep your eyeballs looking at a screen any way they can in exchange advertising dollars.

Enter to Win: Do you have a smart speaker? If so, which one and how do you use it most? Have you found any useful tricks? Please answer in the comments below and be entered to win the FM Transmitter 2. Drawing to be held February 9th. Thanks! Please only one entry per person.

Congratulations to Charles Arneson on winning the FM Transmitter 2!

Why is Television so Hard to Hear?

This question came up during a recent tour at C. Crane with the Fortuna Senior Center. “My brand new television has terrible audio and I have to turn the volume way up and then next thing I know it’s blasting out my eardrums – do you have a fix for this?” There was a Wall Street Journal article on exactly this issue and we were able to share some ideas on possible solutions and some basic info on why this happens. While we’re usually known for radio, we do know a bit about audio as well.

Often it’s assumed that the sound issues are all related to hearing loss, but it turns out while that may be part of the problem, it’s not the whole story. With TVs getting thinner and thinner, speaker size, positioning and sound are often an after thought if even considered at all. This could be a big reason why personal sound systems are making a come back. We offer the AEGO Soundbar system to help combat poor audio. Not ready to make that kind of an investment? Here are a couple things you can try:

  1. Locate the speakers on your TV – depending on where they are (often pointing down on the bottom of the television), move your TV. Setting your TV on a wooden surface could do the trick because the sound needs something to bounce off of. Try out different combinations since even a table runner could muffle the sound by absorbing it.
  2. Play with the settings on your TV’s sound. Depending on the issue you are experiencing – illegible voice, too loud, too soft, etc. – you may be able to find a better audio setting on your television.

If none of those things, work you might want to consider our FM Transmitter that can bring the audio from your TV to your radio. Our CCRadio 2E has amazing sound quality and then the audio is right next to you. This is a pretty inexpensive way to improve the sound. Or if you don’t mind wearing earphones, there are many wireless and Bluetooth® options that might work with your new television.

Have you found this to be an issue for you? Share your solutions in the comments below!


Decide for Yourself

We would love to tell you all the reasons you might enjoy the CC Skywave Radio, but our customers are so much better at it.


Sorensen – Much better than anticipated
Pros: Everything about this little jewel is Pro. I have been using this for past 6 months and nothing has disappointed. I also use to check on aviation weather at local airport before I got to fly our aircraft. As an added bonus the tonal quality is amazing for such a small unit.

Cons: No Cons that I can think of.

Best Uses: Both music and spoken word. Also very good for NOAA weather.

M Mooney – Great Emergency / Travel Radio
This feature packed radio best satisfied my need for an emergency type radio. I live in hurricane and tornado country, so the weather band was a must have feature during power outages. My Skywave arrived the same day as an expensive pair of Marshall earbuds. Although not perfect, the CCrane earbuds trounced the Marshalls in every way. Quality FM stations will have your toes tapping. Problem FM stations aren’t magically transformed into powerhouses…. …Skywave does a fine job with any reasonable signal. I can imagine others would like an external antenna connection. That’s fair, but this IS a pocket radio and not a full feature desktop entertainment system. About the only major item on my wish list for the Skywave would a rubberized Otterbox like case for the inevitable drops that will occur. Overall I am exceptionally pleased with this radio. It easily covers all of my must have features in a well thought out, compact package. I believe it would be the perfect answer for many people.

Pros: Size, Weather Band, Battery Strength Indicator, Signal Strength Indicator, Ability to charge [rechargeable] batteries, Handy Keyboard Lock, Quality Earbuds, Time and Radio Presets retained on battery change

Cons: Average Sensitivity, No AC Adapter, No Batteries, Built-in speaker sound

Best Uses: Beach, Boating, Hunting, Camping, Emergency, Natural Disaster

S Lowry – The Greatest
Went on the wait list for this one to be shipped as soon as available. I’ve had several Grundigs, Kaitos and others, but the Skywave trumps all, especially with the aviation band, battery efficiency, panel layout and more. Look at the other reviews: there are a lot of good reasons for so many 5 stars.

C Stacks – Better then expected! A big smile on my face.
6:30 PM yesterday attached 20 ft long wire and counted 58 readable shortwave stations. Also able to rcv aircraft from several airports with the radio’s antenna. C CRANE please make a Sky II that covers the HF ham frequencies!!!!

Pros: Great Reception on all bands, Does not drift, Speaker does a great job even better with head phones

Cons: None except ssb is missing

Best Uses: With me all the time

H Alexander – The Ultimate Travel Radio
After putting this radio through all the paces, I am convinced that it’s quite possibly the ultimate travel radio! I am particularly impressed with the performance of the AM and SW bands. And I really appreciate the precision offered with the thumbwheel volume control, as well. Thanks for another great product, my 6th purchase from CCrane. I have yet to be disappointed!

Sharonon – Worth it.
Now my father-in-law can listen to his baseball games inside and not have to drive to a clearing on the mountain’s side. Great buy and great price.

C Desmaraison – Buy this radio.
Reception is outstanding. I am in MA and am able to receive Beijing Radio International, Radio Romania and Radio Havana Cuba just to mention a few. I also use their 23 foot clip-on wire antenna to increase reception. Radio is easy use and has many useful features. C.Crane customer service is also outstanding. Buy this radio.

There you have it folks, a wide variety of different users and uses. If you aren’t sure if this is the right radio, contact us and we’d be happy to help you determine which radio is best for you. A good starting point is our article on “Buying the Right Radio for You”. Don’t forget, we offer a no risk 60 day money back guarantee on all of our radios!

Wireless Audio Demystified

WirelessAudio-ThenNowWe’re living in a world full of contraptions that were once considered futuristic concepts. For audio lovers, this is a particularly exciting time. With the development of digital audio technologies, we’ve experienced incredible reductions in physical device sizes, while data storage capacities have increased greatly. More recently, wireless technologies have enabled audio to be transmitted from source to speakers without cables; however, many of us may be confused by the many wireless audio options that are available. This article will hopefully help clarify the differences among the various technologies and may serve well as a platform for further research.

Wireless Audio- The Basics

Despite many differences, all wireless audio systems share some common components: an audio source (this can be a Radio, a television, a stereo receiver, a smartphone, really anything that has an audio out or headphone jack), a transmitter, a receiver, and an audio amplifier. The audio source is the device that contains the audio signal. The transmitter receives the audio signal from the source and then transmits the signal wirelessly. The receiver picks up this wireless signal and passes it to the audio playback device which plays the signal back as audible sound.

WirelessAudio-SignalChainKeep in mind that wireless audio technologies deliver audio signals, not power, wirelessly. Depending on the design, wireless audio devices may be powered with batteries or with a power cable.

FM Transmitters

FM transmitters are great devices that serve a wide variety of applications. These devices are typically connected to the headphone jack (or audio output jack) of an audio source and are able to transmit the audio on vacant FM frequencies. These wireless FM broadcasts can then be received by any FM radio.


FM transmitters are very popular due to their ease of use and wide compatibility. The audio quality provided by FM transmitters is limited compared to other technologies. Top-notch FM transmitters may offer a frequency response of 30Hz to 15kHz. The operational range (i.e. broadcast distance) of FM transmitters varies. Some are low powered and will only transmit audio a few yards, while others may be able to transmit a signal 50 feet. The FCC places limits on the output power for these devices to prevent interference with licensed FM radio stations. The FCC output power limit is 250 Micro Volts at three Meters.

FM transmitters are often used to transmit audio from source devices like MP3 players, satellite radio receivers, etc. to car stereos, home theaters, or portable radios. Many times they can be found in gyms or fitness centers where they are used to transmit audio from televisions. People who are exercising simply tune their radios to the FM frequency listed below each T.V. to hear the audio. One point of confusion that often exists, is transmitting an AM signal over FM. The transmitter doesn’t “care” what is on the audio signal, it just uses the FM frequency band to send that signal to other devices on that same frequency.

One of the greatest benefits of FM transmitters is the fact that the transmitted audio signal may be received by any and all FM radios within range. As far as the radios are concerned, they are receiving an FM signal just like a normal FM radio station.


Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses radio signals in the 2.4GHz band to transfer small amounts of data wirelessly over short distances. While Bluetooth can transmit various types of data, we will focus on its usefulness for wireless audio.

Many new mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, MP3 players (etc.), may already have Bluetooth communication technology built in. These devices are also capable of storing music or audio files, thus making them “audio source devices”. These Bluetooth devices may actually perform two functions of our wireless audio chain: the source and the transmitter. There are also Bluetooth transmitter devices which may be connected to the headphone jack of an audio source to transmit audio to a Bluetooth receiving device.

Bluetooth audio receivers are available in various forms. They may be devices which can be connected to input jacks on (non-Bluetooth) playback devices like home stereos, amplified speakers or headphones. Other times, they may be devices which are consolidations of Bluetooth audio receiver and playback device. These are typically stereos, amplified speakers, headphones, radios (etc.) which have integrated Bluetooth audio receivers.


Providing 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, wireless Bluetooth audio offers better audio quality than FM transmitters. The operational range is about 30 feet with clear line of sight. A neat feature about Bluetooth is that because it can transmit data other than audio signals, it is possible for Bluetooth receiving devices to offer control of audio content such as fast-forwarding/rewinding, song skipping, pausing etc.

Most people familiar with Bluetooth may have seen the technology used in wireless earpieces for cell phone calls. (Some of us may just wonder why so many people seem to be talking to themselves nowadays.) Bluetooth is also used for mobile or home speakers systems. Since many new audio source devices (smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, etc.) feature Bluetooth technology, Bluetooth speakers offer a convenient and widely compatible way to playback audio without requiring special (proprietary) adapters, connectors, or docking mechanisms. This is one of the greatest strengths of Bluetooth technology in regards to audio. Due to the 30ft range of Bluetooth, audio products using this technology are typically optimized for single room (close range) environments.


If you’re not familiar with the term “WiFi”, please click the link above to learn more. In regards to audio, WiFi offers the same provisions as Bluetooth, but the operational range is usually about 250 feet with clear line of sight. Compared to the mobile benefits of Bluetooth, WiFi is typically more of a home-based technology that is able to connect multiple devices together to form a network. This networking ability works out great for setting up wireless audio systems to serve entire buildings.

Many people may already have wireless networks in their homes. In these home WiFi networks, multiple computers, laptops, wireless printers, tablets, smartphones, etc. may all connect to a single WiFi router to share data between the devices. Music (or audio files) stored on one device may be shared via the WiFi network with the other connected devices.


WiFi audio products follow the same basic signal chain as the other wireless audio technologies. WiFi audio source devices, WiFi audio transmitters, WiFi audio receivers, and WiFi audio playback devices are all available. Generally speaking, WiFi source devices are typically also transmitters. WiFi enabled playback devices (speakers etc.) are typically also receivers.

As with Bluetooth, there are also separate WiFi transmitter or receiver adapters which can be connected to external sources or playback devices.



Some audio companies make wireless audio products which only work with other compatible products made by the same company. These wireless audio products are usually sold as transmitter and receiver kits. Often times, multiple receivers may be used to receive a wireless audio signal from a single transmitter or source. Products like these, which are only compatible with other products made by the same company, are considered “proprietary”. The benefit of proprietary products is convenience. Since the products are designed to work together, setting up and using the systems is typically an easy process.

Keep it Simple!

All of these mentioned wireless audio technologies provide great methods for sharing audio without requiring cables. No matter which type of wireless audio set up you’re considering, the easiest way to understand the system is to consider the signal chain.


Original article written for C. Crane by James Adams

25 Days Of Christmas

December 8, 2014

Congratulations to Clayguy winner of the Unity Plus LED Flashlight, Marv of the CC Spotlight LED Light and Shared of the Voz-P Premium Wooden Earbuds.

CC Solar ObserverToday’s giveaway is the CC Solar Observer.

For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog.

Today’s blog question: What is your favorite holiday movie?

The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced tomorrow morning. Good Luck!

25 Days Of Christmas

December 3rd, 2014:

Congratulations to Henry, winner of the CC Buds

PowerVivid Pocket FlashlightToday’s giveaway are 2 Power Vivid Pocket Flashlights.

For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog.

Today’s blog question: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced tomorrow morning. Good Luck!

25 Days Of Christmas

December 2nd, 2014:

Congratulations to winner Alan Wilson of the Senta Ally Bluetooth® Stereo Speaker w/ FM

CC BudsToday’s giveaway are the CC Buds.
For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog.

Today’s blog question: Real or Fake Christmas Tree?

The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced tomorrow morning. Good Luck!

Radio Recording

Recording your favorite radio program or music may seem like a challenge but really it’s quite simple. Here you’ll read why recording live radio and music is so convenient and we’ll offer suggestions of possible recording devices that may work for you.

Why would someone want to record a live radio program or music?

If you enjoy listening to a radio program daily but don’t have time to listen live or stay up late to catch it, you can record the program and play it back at your convenience. It’s free and subscription is not required.
Purchasing music can be expensive. Recording music can be free! If you listen to music from a computer or from an internet radio you can record and play back whenever you like. This is an easy solution to getting music that can be costly.

What will you need to record live radio or music?

Picking the right device to record and for playback is important. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself when making the decision.

CC Witness PlusWill you need a portable device?

Having a portable recording device is convenient because sometimes you just need to record your favorite program, song or interview on the fly. Also, your music or radio program is available to listen to at any time whether in your car, on a walk or jog or even when waiting in a line at the grocery store. We suggest the CC Witness Plus. It is small, light-weight, runs on a battery pack, has built in microphones, AM/FM radio and can go anywhere with you. It also has a built in 2GB memory card and the ability to add additional memory. Patch cords are included.

Sangean DAR101Will you need a stationary device?

A stationary recording device is normally much larger. It’s considered “table size” and can even be compared to the classic tape recorder. Most stationary devices are supplied with electric cords and have the ability to run on batteries. They have larger display screens and an easier menu to read. The buttons are larger for simple recording and playback. The speaker is also larger which makes for better sound quality.
We suggest the Sangean DAR 101 Digital Recorder. It is considered a stationary recording and playback device that has a large and legible display screen, built in microphones and a high quality speaker.
It can be powered by either batteries or a power cord. There is no built in memory but it uses a standard SD card of any brand and size. The Sangean Dar 101 does not have a radio built in but will connect to most AM/FM radios, a computer or audio device you would like to record from. A patch cord to record from other devices is necessary and is not included.

Will you need something that is both portable and stationary?

Sangean PRD8Having both a portable and stationary recording device may be necessary for the recording aficionado. We suggest the Sangean PRD8 for this purpose. It’s portable and comes with an electric cord or runs on batteries, records from the built in AM/FM radio or the built in microphone and can connect to other devices. There is no built in memory and requires a standard SD card of any brand or size. A patch cord to record from other devices is necessary and is not included.

You’ll never be able to live without your digital recorder and player

Recording live radio and music is no longer a challenge with digital recording devices and playback is simple and very convenient. Missing your favorite show or song is practically impossible now.

We want to hear about your experience with digital recording and also any questions you may have. Please feel free to leave us a comment or contact us.


Give The Gift of Great Audio with our Portable Wireless Bluetooth® Speaker – The Senta Ally

Carolyn's niece performing her hula hoop routine with the Senta Ally Portable Speaker.

Carolyn’s niece performing her hula hoop routine with the Senta Ally Portable Speaker. Photos are copyrighted and cannot be used without consent of the owner.


With Father’s Day fast approaching and graduations for college and high school taking place around the world, we’ve been wrestling with what to give as a gift. We thought we’d share a personal story from our very own Carolyn, that elevated her to the “coolest Aunt” status and could possibly elevate you to a “cool” relative status as well.

Carolyn gave her niece the Senta Ally Portable Speaker as a gift: “My 19 year old niece is a drama major and enjoys going to street performances with friends in her home town.  She does a light-up hula hoop routine to music and puts on quite a show.  I sent her a Senta Ally last Christmas because she complained that hauling a radio around to play the songs on her phone was heavy and inconvenient.  She was thrilled that the Ally connects to her phone by Bluetooth, and that it’s so small and lightweight.  The volume is loud enough for sidewalk crowds to hear, and the audio quality gives her performance a pro feel.  I now have unchallenged “coolest aunt” status thanks to the Senta Ally Bluetooth® Speaker.”

The Senta Ally is a great sounding speaker and an excellent value for the money. See the Senta Ally in action and how easy it is to pair with your smart phone or Bluetooth® device. For other gift ideas click here.  We also have a great series on selecting the right speaker system for you .


Carolyn's niece with her Ally and Smart Phone.

Carolyn’s niece with her Ally and Smart Phone. Photos are copyrighted and cannot be used without consent of the owner.












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