Addressing my anecdote of getting carded at Target for liquor (I'm 50), Ken writes:
More and more places are adopting a "Card Everybody" policy. As Tom stated above, it takes the judgement call off the table.
I've come to accept that, but now the beaurocrats have come up with a further wrinkle. Just last week my wife and I were shopping in Wegmans (an upscale supermarket chain in NY/NJ) and I was carded for a beer purchase. Fine, but they also wanted to card my wife since she was shopping with me. Except that she didn't have her wallet with her. I wound up having to get a manager's approval just to buy a dam 6 pack of beer. (we are both well over 50).
I asked the manager what would happen if I was a parent shopping with a 6 year old, would I be denied buying beer since the 6 year old was not of age? He really didn't have an answer for that, just some corporate double talk. It's just asinine, and this policy is from the Supermarket chain recently rated #1 for customer service in Consumer Reports.
I love the carbon dial on this Invicta Ocean Reef with 46mm bezel and all-stainless steel construction. I may get one if I ever see one for sale on the Invicta Sunday Run, which sells Reefs for about $110.
My passion for a well built, strong performing radio, something I don’t take for granted, led me to start a blog about this passion five years ago. Since that time, few radios have attracted as much attention, hostility, exasperation, frustration, remorse, and high expectations as much as the C Crane CCradio-EP, an analog AM/FM table radio that sells for about $65.
Part of this fuss surrounding the EP and the buildup of its release is due to the dearth of new radios out there as the market for hard-core radio listeners strikes me as a rather narrow demographic, middle-aged men with fond memories of their boyhood, enjoying their “Rosebud” memories of glorious Sony ICF-5900 and Panasonic RF-2200 and other similar deserved radio icons.
Some radio hobbyists get angry every time a new radio fails to be one of these icons. Of course, that won’t happen. Real costs would make a radio of today cost at least $500 or in excess of $1,000 if it were to have the build quality of a Sony ICF-5900 or something of its ilk.
Another issue is that some hobbyists get too obsessed and feel personally offended when a radio fails to meet their inflated expectations.
I’ve become somewhat detached from my own radio obsession over the years and try to look at new models with realistic expectations. One advantage I have is I have several radios, old and new, for a point of comparison. Another advantage is that passionate radio hobbyists often get a hold of new radios before I do and send me their impressions and even brief reviews.
And yet another advantage is that the readers have made Herculodge a brisk and busy radio blog, so much so that C Crane called me and offered to send me the CCradio-EP for review.
To test its sound and sensitivity, I compared it to my very impressive black Grundig S350 DL (usually goes for $99; got mine on a RadioShack sale for $60) and what I found using the AC adapters for both, to my surprise, is that the EP matched the S350 in reception. This was especially surprising since I had heard that the EP was similar to the C Crane CCR, which scores lower than the S350. I’d give an A to FM on both the S350 and the EP. My weakest stations, 88.9 and 89.3, came in loud and clear.
The second day of testing my EP, it was raining here in Torrance. I tuned to 89.3 KPCC and got static on both FM Stereo and plain FM mode. In contrast, the S350 grabbed 89.3 with no static.
Equal marks on AM with no background noise on either as I tested weak stations such as 710 ESPN around 7 P.M. Where I live in the suburbs of Torrance, I don’t get overcrowding on the AM dial very often so the AM fine-tuning dial didn’t make any difference no matter which way I turned it. Perhaps we can thank the 7.9 inch ferrite for this strong performance.
For another point of comparison, the EP outshines the $120 Sangean WR-2 on AM with far less background noise than the WR-2. Keep in mind, different environments will give different results on both AM and FM.
Did I find any weakness on AM dial?
Because I heard criticisms about overcrowding and background noise on the upper register, I decided the next morning to compare, again, the EP with the S350 on AM 1150. I noticed indeed that the EP got noisy and crowded past 1000 and when I reached 1150 there was a little bit of background noise on 1150 and the dial read that I was close to 1200 so the accuracy was not as sharp as the early register. The background noise wasn't atrocious on 1150 but the S350 grabbed the same station with no noise, so on AM I give the nod to the S350.
Two other advantages I enjoyed in the S350 is the digital readout and the bigger speaker sound. This isn’t to say that the EP has a tinny speaker. It just doesn’t have the robust, room-filling richness of the S350. For speaker sound, the S350 gets an A. The EP gets a B. You don’t want to crank the volume too high on the EP. I will say this though: I prefer the EP’s single speaker to the tiny dual speakers on the Sangean PR-D5, which other readers agree sounds muted. If you’re looking for huge speaker sound, look somewhere else. But let me emphasize, the EP speaker is more than adequate and won’t abuse you with the Donald Duck voices you get from compact portables.
While the CCradio-EP does not have a digital readout, it has a very nice light that illuminates the tuner band for easy-to-read tuning. The light stays on after one push of the button. I don’t like radios in which the light just stays on for thirty seconds or so. The permanent illumination lets me control when I want the light on or off. Good design.
Another plus goes to build quality, which does not feel cheap or flimsy.
I should emphasize the tuning dial is accurate. Also there the tuner switch gives you FM and FM Stereo to choose from. Choose the former for weak FM stations that cause static. In my case, there no static, even in FM Stereo mode, a good sign. The EP comes with a headphone jack. And let us not neglect the Music/Voice switch. My ears could not discern the difference when I first tried it last evening but this morning listening to Dan Patrick on 570 I noticed, ironically enough, I prefer the deeper sound on Music, so I keep it there all the time now.
Is the CCradio-EP a Substitute for the GE Super Radio III?
The short answer is no. The SRIII is bigger with an inaccurate tuning dial and has some background hiss on AM. The FM is similar. Another big difference is that the EP can’t match the SRIII’s bigger speaker. Anyone hoping the EP is the next SRIV will be disappointed.
However, people looking for a basic analog table radio at the $65 price point with good, not great, speaker sound, strong reception, and easy-to-read tuner will be well served by the CCradio EP.
Just wanted to pass on my quick look at the CCRadio EP since I received mine about a week ago. I consider myself a geek/techie all of my life and have always preferred audio over video. I do not consider myself a serious DXer but have done some of this since I was a kid. I own many radios and seemed to be addicted to them.
I live outside of Denver and am running the EP on batteries. The EP has a solid build quality to it with a decent sounding speaker that is not tinny and can have a good amount of bass if you tweak the tone controls. The radio also has a filter knob with a music/voice selection.
The EP is analog and has a classic slide rule tuning scale with a large tuning knob on the right side end of the radio. The dial has a switch to turn the the light on which is nice and bright. An identical large volume knob is also on the right end and a smaller knob to tune the twin coil ferrite for AM reception. The left end has aux in, headphone and power connections. Antenna connections on the back.
The EP performed well in receiving all my AM locals clearly that I would expect as well as the one weak station for me that I listen to (710AM). This station usually does not come in clearly but was very clear and solid. I did a little DXing in the evening at 9:00PM and was able to pickup from the Denver metro area clearly KFI 640 Los Angeles, WGN 720 Chicago, WHO 1040 Des Moines, KRLD 1080 Dallas, KMOX 1120 St. Louis, KFAQ 1170 Tulsa, WOAI 1200 San Antonio and others. I need to try to get some on 800-900. The FM without the whip antenna extended was able to pull in all the main FM stations in the Denver area. I have not extended the antenna to test it yet.
All in all, this radio performs for me very well and I love having a retro tech radio that is newly built. This radio is certainly better than average and has a nice feature set. Hope this helps!
True, the SONY 5900, Panasonic RF-2200 were more expensive 35 years ago than the current EP. That isn't necessarily a useful yardstick. Current day shortwave radios are lower in price than models that offered similar features 35 years ago. This is true in many areas of electronics. I have the original Hewlett Packard HP-35 calculator, the 1st calculator in the world that could calculate trigonometric and logarithmic functions. When it came out in 1972, it cost close to $400! You can go to any general department store and find calculators with greater capability for perhaps $5!
This EP radio, is marketed as one of the best am radios ever, and, as result, in my eyes, makes it fair to compare with the classic portables that were meant for a general audience seeking a great am reciever. I don't agree with the comments that depict the EP as awful. This is not to understate things. It will not be a good performer in a high RF urban location. Local stations, in fact overload the radio, and are heard with distorted audio. A company such as Crane should recognize that the majority of folks live in urban settings, and should keep that in mind when designing a supposedly outstanding set. Like Wayne, I happen to be in an urban setting. I'm keeping the set, however, as it is a great radio below about 1260 KHz in my location during the day (a bit better behaved at night when the locals go to lower power although still dificult between 1440KHz and 1600 KHz even then). The noise floor is quite low, the audio is nice, the night light is cool. The EP most likely is an outstanding radio in a more rural setting(I'm looking forward to taking it along when I anticipate visiting away from local transmitters).
Guys, please. Richard: Your calculator comparison doesn't hold water. When you bought that calculator in the early 70's, ALL calculators were expensive. I remember getting a "Unisonic" calculator from a discount store (Kings, which was a rung or two below K-Mart) and I think it cost around $30.00. Unisonic was a poor brand and it was purchased from the cheapest of the cheap as far as stores go. It had five functions---addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions. And it couldn't do what calculators today do---ones that are given away for free at trade shows. But even back then, there were radios that cost under $10.00 and radios that cost in the hundreds. Those higher end Panasonics and Sonys (and Zeniths) were more expensive, even in today's deflated electronics dollars, than the CC-EP, which is very modest in features and price by comparison. Robin: C Crane has not promoted this as the "hottest thing out there." They have said it is a "classic" high performance radio. It's been promoted as an old school radio (i.e. analog, no L.E.Ds, manual tuning) and good performance, good sound. The one delivered to me meets all of the criteria. And a fraction of one percent of people buying new radios are going to open up the cabinet and start soldering. Ask the guy who runs this blog if he has any intention of doing modifications like this to any radio he buys. You can't defend the SRIII by saying it's good if only you modify things by taking apart and soldering. You and a few other really serious hobbyists are the only people doing that.
My CCRadio-EP arrived around 11 AM PDT today. Here is my initial assessment:
Performance on AM
1. The dial is pretty accurate through 1500 kHz. Stations from 1600-1700 kHz appear lower on the dial than expected.
2. Sensitivity is very good throughout the AM band. It seems a little better than a PR-D5 that I compared it to.
3. Sound quality is quite good, when bass and treble controls are adjusted to my liking (I settled on bass at 2 o'clock, treble at 11 o'clock, and filter set to Music). It sounds far better than the PR-D5, with deeper bass and crisper treble.
4. There is some harsh distortion noted on audio peaks when treble control is between the 2 and 5 o'clock positions and the filter is set to Music. I'm not sure if this is normal for this design or not.
5. Through most of the AM band, the signal is best with the twin-coil knob centered. At the high end of the band, the signal is far better with the twin-coil knob rotated quite a bit counterclockwise and the main tuning knob readjusted.
Performance on FM
1. Something is very wrong with the tuning on FM. It doesn't act "normal," with a strong, clear signal when tuned properly, getting weaker on either side. It gets stronger, but very distorted, when tuned to the left on the dial (down in frequency), then the signal abruptly disappears; when tuned to the right (up), it gets weaker and noisier, but is still distorted. There is no position that provides a decent signal.
2. Strong local and semi-local stations are terribly distorted, but they sound perfect on the PR-D5.
1. The twin-coil knob rubbed on the case when rotated counterclockwise, due to some wobble in the knob. I pulled it out a little to correct this.
2. The tuning knob has some play -- both in/out and side to side (or up and down). This is a little annoying, as my SR III's don't have this "slop" in the tuning mechanism.
The FM is a total disaster, so I'm assuming I got a defective unit. This doesn't speak well for C. Crane's quality control; I thought it would be better this far into the production run.