It’s Officially Summer – Time to Travel!

timetotravel

Summer solstice was June 21st and we hope you were able to enjoy the long hours of daylight (and maybe some sunshine too). With summer comes travel. Whether you’re chasing sunshine or trying to get away from the heat, we have some ideas of essential items for your traveling:

CC Spot XB LED Spotlight – Even if you’re only traveling a few hours this light is perfect for changing a tire or finding the spot for your RV hookups. It’s bright, easy to hold, runs a long time on standard C batteries and has a kickstand for stability if you need it.

C. Zimmerman says Sturdy and powerful spotlight  “This is a very powerful spotlight that is well built but lightweight. I took it out and compared it to an incredibly bright 750 Lumen flashlight I have, and this has to be at least 100 Lumens on the bright setting. It lights up a large are to make it look like the sun came out. I don’t think you will be disappointed with this spotlight.”

CC Skywave Radio – This has become a favorite for those who want all the various communications and functionality with good reception in a small size and the weather alert comes in VERY handy if you’re traveling in areas with unpredictable weather.

N. Rosas says Perfect travel radio “This is the perfect radio for travel. I’ve had several, and this is the best. I tend to go to the same places, so the page memory feature is great for saving stations by location. The lighted display is a great feature. I would recommend this radio.”

Senta Ally Bluetooth® Wireless Speaker – There’s nothing better than being able to play your own tunes! Works with your iPhone™, Android ™, or any Bluetooth device or you can plug it in directly from any line out or earphone jack using the included stereo patch-cord.

TD says My 2014 favorite gadget of the year! “I use it pretty much every day. By following the instructions it paired easily with my iphone. Once I started using it, I realized it also paired wonderfully with my CC Witness. I record radio programs all week with the CC Witness using sandisk cards (the witness is able to screen out hours of commercials if you program the timers). I can play the disks in either unit at my convenience. I also use it to play The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, episodes that are available for free download on the internet, the voices are crisp and easy to listen to with the Senta. Navigation is a little tricky, but once I got the hang of it, its very simple. Also pairs great with the pillow speaker!“

And for those of you who struggle with WiFi at campgrounds, RV parks or hotels – the CC Vector Systems are a great solution for extending WiFi to multiple devices or the Super USB WiFi antenna is great for a single Windows Computer.

B. Freeman says Exceeded My Expectations “We travel full time in a motor home. Often RV Park WiFi is weak or unable to connect. This ‘kit’ makes it strong and stable and fast. Super easy to use and setup. Couldn’t be more satisfied.”

Whatever your travel plans are this summer – stay safe and make some amazing memories! If you missed it before, and your AM listening is leaving a lot to be desired with all that daylight – check out the tips on our blog.

Tell us your summer plans in the comments below and be entered to win a Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker. Drawing will be held July 3rd. Please only one entry per person.

Top Gift Picks for Mother’s Day 2017

MothersDay

Mother’s day is just around the corner and C. Crane is here to help you find a gift that will actually be used!

  1. CC Radio-EP – Bob Crane designed this radio for his Mom. It’s the easiest radio to use and has great reception and sound.
  2. CC Pocket – This radio is perfect for the Mom who is out walking regularly.
  3. CC WiFi – Mom’s love this – no static, no fade and thousands upon thousands of stations to choose from.
  4. The Senta Ally – A consistent favorite. Mom controls the playlist from her smartphone using a Bluetooth connection. Perfect while doing household chores or even relaxing in the tub!
  5. CC Solar Observer – You’ll have peace of mind knowing your Mom has the information she needs even if the power is out with this Wind Up Solar Emergency Radio.

If you’re still not sure which item is right for your mom, contact us! We’re happy to help you make the best selection for your Mom.

Throwing a Party This Holiday Season?

oldfashionedparty
If you’re throwing a party this holiday, C. Crane has some products for you! Whether it’s your annual Halloween Spookfest, a Thanksgiving Feast, or National Lampoon’s Christmas – we’ve got you covered.

The Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker is a great addition to any party. Load up your favorite Pandora station or your playlist and you’re ready to go. The music will fill a medium sized room though it’s small enough to sit on a shelf out of the way.

If you have a more specific audio preference, we have the AEGO Speaker System which offers amazing sound for the money.  It even comes with a remote so you can control what is heard and when you hear it.

The FM Transmitter comes in particularly handy, especially if you want to send ghoulish sounds or great music around your home. Setup a handful of FM Radios in strategic places and let the good times roll!

And last but certainly not least, the small, indispensable Power Vivid LED flashlight. This is the go to flashlight for all your party needs. Don’t get stuck using your phone’s flashlight, this little guy is so much better and doesn’t drain your phone battery! Great for trick or treating or as a stocking stuffer.

What parties are you planning this season? Tell us in the comments and be entered to win two Power Vivid LED pocket flashlights. Drawing will be October 27th. Please only one entry per person.

There are Elephants in the Audio Room

There have always been diverse opinions about what comprises “good” audio. In the last 15 years I have witnessed many people, younger than me, that seem to discount full bass with their music. How did this happen? I remember the first time I saw a girl dancing with her friends to cell phone audio. I winced. Then came Rap music with the characteristic monotone electro bass thump. . . I was confused by the dichotomy! Why Isn’t it a good thing if music sounds realistic? Like it or not it turns out audio profoundly affects everyone at a traditional point in their lives about or when we are in junior high or high school. It seems like it then becomes our “idea” of what good audio sounds like by timing and/or peer influence for the rest of our life.  This may be a generalization but we all get attached to our favorite music at some point.  From what I know about science each of us hear the same music differently because each of us has a unique set of ears and probably a brain supplied equalizer. There is probably more diversity now as to what makes good audio that ever before in history!

At C. Crane we strive for realistic full voice and legibility but we understand how to make great audio for music too. This means reproducing music so well that you can’t tell the difference between what you’re listening to and a live concert. I have found that “Voice of the Theater” type speakers do this well because this is generally the type of speaker used in live rock concerts in the late 20th century. Similar speakers are still used today but you will also find banks of 18” woofers along with other speakers running  50,000 watts or more! It should be noted that most of this power is used for bass notes since bass requires perhaps 10 times the power of higher audio frequencies to sound equal in intensity. This is also why an inexpensive radio or speaker system will likely have poor bass because audio with good bass response is more expensive to design and build. These speakers are way too big and expensive for most situations and so are typical Home Theater receivers and speakers. There is very little superb audio gear available for a typical room.

The point of this article is to let you know we have a new piece of audio gear for those who love music with generous bass and live by the spoken word.

AEGO Amplified Speakers, has Bluetooth and a remote for all functions including bass level!

Aego3-System-(white-background)-500

Normally I would not recommend you purchase a serious home audio system without hearing it at a store first. The notable exception is our new AEGO stereo speaker system for two simple reasons: 1) To my knowledge, through countless tests, it is perhaps the only system with full well rounded bass that you never tire of at a modest price. 2) You can reduce the bass with the remote until voice clarity is beautiful. You can have your music and your voice clarity cake too!

Technical Benefits:
-Simple to setup and use
-Bluetooth or patch cord to phone
-Remote with bass control

Aego Remote Control v1

 

 

 

 

Uses:
Audio from your TV, phone, pad, Internet radio for office, kitchen, party, for any medium size room (about 20 x 14),

Installation tips:
The central control bass speaker (7.75”W x 14”H x 12”D) can be tucked under a  desk, unused corner or in a kitchen base cabinet. It should have eye shot to the remote.

The two satellites are 3”W x 4.5”H x 5”D can be mounted six feet or more apart for good stereo separation.

Wires and connectors do not protrude from these sizes.

Battle of the Platforms

Boxing gloves

We had an excellent comment from one of our blog readers recently on our blog post Is Radio in Crisis? “…….We need to get back to what made radio great in the 30s and 50s (and 60s and 70s) instead of trying to ‘beat’ the technology game. The PLATFORM is not relevant. The PROGRAMMING is.”

Platform battles aren’t limited to Podcasts vs. AM vs. FM vs. HD, etc. There’s also a battle for the platforms that include/exclude content. This is especially true when it comes to internet radio. When we first started offering internet radios back in 2006 everyone was just trying to stream. The streams weren’t great but you could get a lot of stations and there was a desire for adding listeners regardless of how they got there. The content available on internet and WiFi radio is pretty incredible.

As the technology progresses, different issues continue to appear. Some sites use flash players for their streams, which can’t play on devices without screens where you can press play (like our radios). Other networks, decide that they want you to listen through their app or device so they choose to limit the distribution of their content unless you are able to negotiate a licensing deal. Others change the format that they stream in to a less widely supported format or brand new format again limiting the devices the stream can be heard on.

There are content aggregators, meaning they don’t actually own any of the content. They gather it; host the database and often the website where it can be accessed; and work with chip manufacturers that create chips with access to their content on them. These then are embedded in devices like our radio. These aggregators can usually turn content on/off and add/remove streams (if it’s in an accepted format) – like Reciva, Frontier Silicon and TuneIn. Some have negotiated “premium” subscriptions that allow you to hear content that is otherwise not available via streams due to outside licensing agreements (like professional sports, archived shows, etc.). However, these premium services are often only available through their app or their web portal. There are also networks that own their own content like iHeartRadio (also known as Clear Channel) and Radio.com (CBS Radio Network). Maybe this provides some insight into why we call it the “Battle of the platforms”.

Our job here at C. Crane is to help listeners connect to their station, show or host regardless of the platform. There are times where an internet radio is the only viable solution such as when a person moves from Los Angeles to Florida but still wants to hear LA broadcasts. Or when Rush Limbaugh or George Noory  are no longer playing on a station they can receive, often we can help the listener find this content on another station.

It’s been interesting sharing “our job” with some of the content providers. Often there seems to be a disconnect within the networks themselves. Digital media in many cases is an entirely separate division or company. Sometimes the representatives don’t know the AM/FM market outside of call letters or what it says on their published papers. Some networks are changing staff, and appear to be working toward some better integration but there is a long way to go from what we see. Eliminating the platform wars and making it easier for companies to get listeners the content they want to hear would be a huge step in the right direction.

More than anything we try to be an advocate for the listener (because we listen too!). If you haven’t tried an internet radio, now might be a perfect time. Whether you choose one of our radios or another manufacturer, make sure to find out if the radio will play the content that you are trying to hear and supports any other functionality that is necessary for you to be happy with the radio (like Pandora, Bluetooth, clock or alarm, etc.).

For more information on what you might here on internet radio, read some past blog posts

Before You Give up Listening to Radio by Ken Hoffman, Columnist Houston Chronicle

A Secret Garden of Music

Check out this video on What You Might Hear

Also, if you’re having a tough time deciding, check out The Pros and Cons of WiFi and Internet Radio

How can we help you find a station you have lost, a host you are looking for? Contact us – we’re here to help!

Best AM Reception Tips

Best AM Tips - blog-ed2

Summer time in all its fabulousness leaves much to be desired when it comes to AM Reception. We’ve put together the best tips we’ve found for improving AM Reception and reducing interference, especially reception on portable radios.

First, if you’re having trouble receiving your favorite talk radio program – determine if you get the signal at all. If the station is a 500 Watt station across the country, no amount of reception tips will help you receive this signal. That said, if the station streams, an internet radio or combining your smartphone and a portable Bluetooth speaker may be a viable solution.

If you get the signal but it is weak, try moving near a window or outside wall. If your reception improves, then you know that the signal is having a hard time reaching where you prefer to listen or there may be some interference. You have a couple of options – you can run an antenna over to the window (or maybe even outside). Another thing we’ve learned recently is that some stations are being rebroadcast on sister stations either AM or FM so if you go to Radio Locator and look up the station call letters you’re trying to receive; you might see another station listed as “also broadcasts from” with a different frequency so you may be able to find a closer station that is stronger that is rebroadcasting the same content.

If the problem is noise, try the radio on batteries and walk around your home and see if the static or buzzing gets worse or better. If the noise gets worse, odds are good the offending device (or electrical component) is located here and you may be able to turn it off. Rotating your radio when you get near the buzzing can help you determine exactly where the noise is coming from. If it’s the same throughout the house, try going outside. Is it better? If it is, then an antenna may help or you may end up needing to do a more thorough investigation in your home. We’ve talked to people who end up turning off all the breakers to find out they have some electrical wiring issues that are producing noise in their entire house!

If you’re on an analog radio, slowly turn the dial and consider using a piece of tape to mark where you find the station. Also, keep in mind that there are times where a signal will not broadcast exactly on frequency or a radio’s tuning isn’t completely accurate so tuning a little off frequency may get you a stronger signal.

Don’t want to buy an antenna or a new radio – no problem, we have instructions on how to make your own AM Antenna.

Many people don’t know (or forget) that stations may be required to power down, change direction or in some cases power up at night so differing signal during day and night may not be limited to summer, solar flares and the atmosphere, it may be that your 10,000 Watt daytime station switches to a 5,000 watt station at night that broadcasts in the opposite direction. Again, radio locator is a great source of information about your favorite station.

Have a tip to share? Enter it in the comments below!

Common causes for interference, buzz and hum on AM radio

Easily determined and turned off:

Incandescent Lights
Fluorescent Lights
Lights that are about to burn out
Touch lamps (must unplug turning off may not be enough)
Christmas Lights or other blinking bulbs
Televisions
Computers and Monitors
Electric Motors
Vacuum Cleaners
Microwave Ovens
Bug Zappers
Electric blanket
120V AC smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors
Air purifiers
Motion detectors
Cell phone chargers
Even your own radio adapter may be the culprit

More Difficult to Determine:

Neighbor’s using fluorescent lights
Faulty electrical switch
Neighbor’s dimmer switch
Scanners
Dirty insulators on a nearby power pole

Additional Sources of AM Reception Information

http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

https://news.ccrane.com/?s=AM+reception

https://radiojayallen.com/combatting-am-and-sw-interference/

http://radiosausalito.org/listen/AM-reception-tips/

http://www.radionz.co.nz/listen/AMhelp