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Powered by a History in Music: The New Yamaha Aventage Receiver

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

Before Torakusu Yamaha started the now world-wide company Yamaha, he was just a watch repairman whose new business had gone under.  As the son of a Samurai clerk, Torakuso was brought up to have an inquisitive mind and a love for engineering.  He decided to make a career change and learned to do medical equipment repair work during an apprenticeship at Japan’s first school of Western medicine.  In Osaka he then took a service position with the first western surgical instrument company in Japan.  As a part of his job, he was sent to villages around Japan to do repairs.

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

It was during these travels in 1887 that he ended up in the small fishing village of Hamamatsu.  The village school had obtained a treasured Mason & Hamlin reed organ after a Japanese delegation had observed American school children singing to piano accompaniment.  The delegation had praised the instrument for “stimulating the mind, and cultivating the disposition.”  The school’s reed organ cost as much as a home in Japan.

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

The school loved the organ and used it regularly with their students, but it had broken and no one in their village knew how to fix the Western-made instrument.  Thus, Torakusu agreed to give it a look and see what he could do.  He was amazed by the wonderful sound and the intricate parts of the organ.  He instinctively knew to adjust the inner workings for a good tone.  After seeing the school children sing along with the instrument, he realized the commercial potential for such a wonderful instrument in Japan.  Within a year he constructed his own working version of the instrument.  In 1889, he set up his own business in Hamamatsu to manufacture organs for Japan’s primary schools. The Yamaha Organ Manufacturing Company became Japan’s first builder of Western musical instruments.

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

Over a century later, Yamaha has grown to become the world’s largest manufacturer of a full line of musical instruments and is also a leading producer of audio/visual products.  It is with their rich musical history in mind that Yamaha engineers decided to entirely rebuild one of the most successful A/V receiver lines ever, the Aventage.

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana, Audio Video

The new Aventage receiver is a dramatic and inspired step forward in audio/video component design.   The unparalleled attention to detail in design, engineering, and fabrication delivers studio grade sound and sophisticated video enhancements to the home.  The innovations include a centrally located transformer to cut noise and a special 5th leg to add support.  The H-shape cross member frame and double bottom construction work together to cut resonance frequencies to the signal path and reduce vibration.   The heat sinks are redesigned and changed to black, which enhances the transfer of heat from the outputs.  The engineers even found sonic improvements by changing the detachable power cord and the manufacturer of the fuses.

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana, Audio Video

Together, all these advances allow this receiver to create a musical experience that is simply wonderful. The last note of an Eric Clapton riff hangs in the air and the attack of a bass drum is quick, deep, and powerful.  The new front virtual presence channels are similar to what you find in the best movie theaters and add a new level of realism without having to find room for more speakers.  The powered second zone speaker outputs let you add that pair of speakers to the patio you have always wanted.  Conveniently, these receivers can play the same source as the theater, or you can independently pick another source. Yamaha’s new tag line, “Powered by Music” is certainly as true today as it was in 1887.

Yamaha, Receiver, Aventage, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana, Audio Video

By Marty Werling, President of Sights and Sounds, Inc.

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Sights and Sounds vs Big Box

DING DING!  It’s the big fight in town… who will win, big box stores or Sights and Sounds?  Let’s compare the facts!

We Actually Know What We’re Talking About

Who would you rather have answer your electronics questions… a high school kid working part-time or a CEDIA-certified designer backed by an installation team averaging over 10 years of experience each?   If you prefer the latter choice, then Sights and Sounds is for you!  Instead of a pushy salesman most likely making it up as he goes, you’ll get a knowledgeable, honest, and reliable designer to explain all our products and ease your mind.

Reliable Service You Can Count On

Sights and Sounds Inc. guarantees quality service to all our customers, including at least one walk through your entire design so you know exactly what you’re getting.  If you call us  to install anything in your home, we work with your schedule to make appointments, and will always call if something were to happen to make us late.  To make sure we do the work right, we hold certifications from CEDIA Custom Design and Installation Association, SpeakerCraft, Denon, Control4, and Levitron.   All our installations are even backed by one year of free service calls.  You really cannot find better service anywhere else.

Price Matching

The Big Box stores will often try to convince you that they have the lowest prices available.  In actuality, Sights and Sounds will match the price of any big box store for all products we sell, so you can confidently buy from us knowing you’ll get a great deal as well as helpful, knowledgeable service.   The only prices we cannot match are products sold over the internet.  I am afraid ElectronicsJoe on Ebay who starts the bidding on his television of unknown origin for a penny has us beat.

Help the Local Economy

If you are worried about your local economy, one big way to help is to shop at local businesses like Sights and Sounds!  When you buy from a big box store, 86% of its revenue leaves the state to out-of-state supply companies and corporate headquarters.  If you shop at a local business, each dollar you spend will have three times the benefit to the local economy!  Local businesses themselves also contribute to the local economy by banking locally, hiring local accountants, attorneys, consultants, and graphic designers, and they advertise in local media.  For more information, visit


Another surprise perk of shopping at local businesses like Sights and Sounds is the chance to enter in local contests!  Right now, in order to increase shopping in downtown Granger during construction, area businesses are participating in Granger Super Heroes.  Simply fill out a card after shopping at a participating business and you’ll be entered to win weekly prizes.  The grand prize to be announced October 6th, 2010 is a 42 inch HD Plasma Television from Sights and Sounds!  Also, this November is our 10th Anniversary at Sights and Sounds.  To celebrate, we will be having a Worst Home Theater contest, and the winner will win an entire home theater make over!  Stay tuned for more information.

And the Winner Is…

I think the winner here is unquestionably Sights and Sounds!  Now the question simply is… do you want to buy from a winner or a loser?

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Star Trek Your House with Control4

Control4, remote, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

Alright, I admit it, I was a trekkie up until the age of about ten, specifically for Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The blame really goes on my dad, who was the one who got me to watch the show in the first place and *may* have snuck my entire family into a Star Trek convention.   My first crush was even Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  I guess there was just something about the deeply moral, heroic character he portrayed and his perfectly shaped bald head… sigh!

Patrick Stewart, Sights and Sounds Inc, Star Trek, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

Even if you weren’t a complete dork like me and didn’t spend your Saturdays watching Star Trek marathons, you most likely still know about their starship’s infamous, all-knowing “Computer,” which could answer any question imaginable, create delicious meals out of thin air, and monitor the entire starship.  I would always catch myself wishing I had a computer like that in my house.  While beaming people to other planets is still pretty far in the future, a Control4 Home Automation System is about as close as you can get to the Star Trek Computer.  In fact, its home monitoring abilities are almost identical.  Perhaps the Control4 creator was a trekkie, too?

Keep Out IntrudersStar Trek, Control4, Intruders, Robbers, Villians, Sights and Sounds Inc, Mishawaka, South Bend, Granger, Michiana

Want to protect your home from a security breach?  Your Control4 security system will always be on “Red Alert” to detect intruders, provide video of your house, sound the alarm, and send updates to you over the internet.   When you go on vacation, have your Control4 system make it appear you’re home by turning on the kitchen lights at dinner time and the porch lights in the evening.

Musical Tastes Can Coexist

Using touch screen keypads installed throughout your home, you can play a different genre of music in each room from several sources at once, including your mp3 player.   Thus, your Will Riker classic rock and the kid’s Klingon rap can actually coexist in the same household!

Just One Remote for your Entire Home Theater

Control4, remote, Sights and Sounds, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

With one, easy-to-use remote control, you can control your entire home theater system.  Start the movie, dim the lights, and adjust the temperature to give your living room a movie theater feel.  It’s even simple enough for the whole family to use!

Receive Notifications While Away

Star Trek, Cell Phone, Text, Sights and Sounds Inc, Mishawaka, Granger, South Bend, Michiana

Your Control4 system will give you “status reports” on your home, even when you’re away.  So feel free to boldly go where no one has gone before, knowing you’ll receive a text message or email when your kids get home from school, if you accidentally left the garage door open, or if you have a water leak in the basement.  You can even watch a live video feed of your home over the internet!

Save the Planet

Save the Planet, Green energy, Save money, Temperature control, Control4, Sights and Sounds Inc, Mishawaka, South Bend, Granger, Michiana

Save energy, money, and the planet by having the Control4 system automatically turn off the lights when no one is in a room and adjust the temperature while you’re at work.

Just Say, “Make It So!”

remote, Sights and Sounds, Touch Screen, Sights and Sounds Inc, Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michiana

This short list barely scratches the surface of all that a Control4 System can do.  The company is also constantly updating its software and has even added download-able applications similar to the iPhone.  With the Sights and Sounds install team on your side, all you’ll have to do is dream what you want and say, “Make it so!”

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The Solution to an Unusually Noisy Summer

I don’t know about you, but this summer my life has been bombarded by an unusual amount of noise.

Hated Road Construction

i hate road construction, noise, sights and sounds, sights and sounds inc

First of all, there is the universally detested, never-ending road construction on State Road 23.  I have to drive through this area every day, first to go to class and later to work.  Besides causing traffic jams and getting my car dusty, it is NOISY.  Since the Sights and Sounds store is literally a block from the road construction, I have been hearing a lot of it.  In fact, our store has actually started vibrating as though there was an earthquake on more than one occasion.

Irritating Wildlife

annoying noise, sights and sounds, sights and sounds inc, headphones

Then there’s the squirrels.  Yes, the squirrels.   I live in a neighborhood with an excessive amount of trees, so you see a squirrel pretty much every ten feet.  No one believes me, but these deceivingly cute, fuzzy creatures make The. Most. Annoying. Noise. On. Earth.   Imagine the sound a duck with laryngitis trying to bark would make.  I am not sure if it a mating call or some sort of defense mechanism, but it is AWFUL.  Just listen here.

Untimely Displays of Patriotism

annoying noise, loud, sights and sounds, sights and sounds inc, headphones

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the 4th of July and fully support celebrating our nation’s independence with as many fireworks as possible.   What I don’t understand is the need to shoot off fireworks every day from June 25th to July 20th at two in the morning.  Even George Washington needed his sleep!

Scary Thunderstorms

thunderstorms, scared dog, sights and sounds inc, noise, sights and sounds

Finally, thunderstorms.   This year Michiana has been attacked by thunderstorm after thunderstorm, knocking out the electricity, taking down many trees, and waking me up at night.  My dog, Lucy, is also not a fan, and has taken to hiding under the kitchen table at the first sign of thunder.

The Solution

headphones, noise canceling, noise, sights and sounds

Luckily, I have the solution to this horribly noisy summer!  After my recent discovery of how great headphones can be, I decided to try the JVC HA-NCX77 Noise Canceling Headphones.  That’s right, noise canceling.  They work by having a tiny microphone send out an antinoise signal that is the opposite wavelength of the incoming noise, thus canceling it out.  It’s kind of like this:

noise cancelling, football, headphones, sights and sounds inc

Please forgive me while I take a moment to be proud of myself for using a sports analogy.

Anyway, I tried these noise-canceling headphones out to see if they actually work, and I must say I was impressed.  These nifty headphones are able to cancel out 80% of background noise, which is more than 14dB at 120Hz!  Now, do not expect these to completely wipe out fireworks exploding directly outside your window or a television with its volume cranked up all the way in the very same room as you.  Even Brian Urlacher can’t block everything (that’s two sports references!).  However, they do reduce these noises quite considerably, making them much less annoying and easy to ignore.  And I know you’ll be relieved to find out that I couldn’t hear the squirrel barking at all.  Now they just need to invent a pair for poor Lucy!

headphones dog, noise canceling, sights and sounds inc

What annoying noises could you live without this summer?

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Headphones: A Love Story

Headphones are Headphones…. Right?

The other day, when my dad handed me a new pair of headphones to try because of their great sound, I must say I was a bit skeptical.  As a rather girly girl, I tend to be more concerned with how cute the headphones are or whether the color matches my iPod.  I had never worried about the actual quality of my headphones because I figured that headphones are headphones, right?  They all pretty much sound the same.

headphones, sound, music, iPod, home theater, Sights and Sounds, mp3

Sleek and Modern Design

The headphones my dad handed me are called Yamaha EPH-30 Inner Ear Headphones.   I was informed that while we  can custom order pretty much any kind of headphone imaginable for  our customers, these are the only brand that Sights and Sounds keeps constantly in stock due to their great sound, value, and popularity.    At a glance, the only thing I really cared about was that they weren’t ugly.   I was definitely pleasantly surprised to see their sleek and modern design.

Yamaha eph-30, Yahama headphones, headphones, Sights and Sounds, iPod, mp3, sound

A Fit That’s “Just Right”

I reluctantly put the headphones on, and before even turning them on I noticed how much more comfortable they were than the freebies I got with my iPod.  And since they came with three sizes of ear pads, I was able to pick the fit that was just right for me.

Headphones, Goldilocks, 3 bears, fairy tale, Sights and Sounds

An Incredibly Clear Sound

I decided the first song I would listen to would be one of my favorites, “If It Kills Me” by Jason Mraz.  As the melody kicked in, I was immediately shocked by how incredibly clear the music was.  These headphones were definitely different.  There was an entirely new depth to the sound that I had never heard before, and chords that had gone unnoticed suddenly came into light.  With all the new sounds and melodies, it was like listening to the song for the first time all over again, and I was reminded why I fell in love with it in the first place.   The only other time I remember feeling so elated over this song was when I watched Jason Mraz perform it live… and I think that had more to do with him being in front of me.  I mean, what girl’s heart wouldn’t skip a beat with this oh-so-handsome face smiling down at her?

Jason Mraz, sound, headphones, iPod, mp3

Block out Annoyances!

And just like that, my headphone indifference was cured!  No longer would I keep my headphones crammed in the back of a forgotten drawer somewhere.  Now I could actually see myself using them!  The possibilities were endless… since the inner-ear pads create a seal to keep outside noise out and bass in, I could easily block out the obnoxious girl chatting away on her cell phone before class.

cell phone, annoying, girl, Sights and Sounds, headphones

The Perfect Study Aid

Perhaps I could use them to listen to classical music while I study, thus stimulating my brain into retaining more information for my microbiology class and helping me to get that A!

classical music, grades, headphones, A+, Sights and Sounds

Great for Joggers

I could even become one of those athletic people… you know, the ones that run on purpose rather than only when chased by robbers.  Having Jason Mraz’s beautiful voice in my ear would certainly be enough to keep my blood pumping.

jogging, jogger, girl, iPod, mp3, Sights and Sounds, headphones

So… are you like my former self and don’t even know where your headphones are?  Perhaps it’s time you experienced your own headphone epiphany and purchased a pair of Yamaha EPH-30’s from Sights and Sounds!  They’re comfortable and stylish with a great sound, and an awesome price, you have nothing to lose and a world of music to gain.  We’ll even ship them for free.

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Six Side Effects of Using a Central Vacuum

WARNING! Here are six side effects you could experience from using a Beam central vacuum.

1.) Inability to use bad allergies as an excuse to miss work

That’s right, in a clinical study done by the University of California at Davis School of Medicine, dust allergy suffers saw a significant decrease in symptoms when using a Beam central vacuum in their homes (  This is because a Beam vacuum is up to 5 times more powerful than a traditional vacuum.  While stand-up vacs just circulate irritating dust and dander back into the air, a Beam central vacuum removes 100% of debris it comes in contact with.  With your nasal allergies reduced by 47%, non-nasal by 48%, eye by 61%, and sleep improved by 44%, you’re going to have to find another excuse to call in sick.  Maybe a snowboarding accident?

2.) Elimination of all household spiders

Your Beam vacuum will be so light-weight and easy to use, you’ll be vacuuming up spider-webs in areas of your home you didn’t even realize existed!  With the various extend-able arms, those nasty creatures won’t stand a chance, no matter which high-up corner they decide to hide in.

3.) Becoming more musically up-to-date

You’ll be shocked when you discover how quiet a Beam central vacuum system is.  So quiet, in fact, that you’ll be able to rock out to the latest music as you vacuum.   Since the power unit is kept in the garage or basement, central vacuums are dramatically more quiet than traditional vacuums.  On top of that, thanks to Beam’s patented Quick Pak  Sound Insulation System, Beams are the quietest central vacuums in the world.  So when your kids ask you what you think about Lady Gaga, instead of scratching your head in confusion, you can tell them while you appreciate her Madonna-inspired style, they’re not allowed to listen to her song Love Game until the age of 18.

4.) Development of an obsessive compulsive need to vacuum up pet hair

Beam central vacuums literally have hundreds of attachments and accessories available for cleaning any surface imaginable.  There’s the Mini-Blind Attachment for sucking up the dust that collects on blinds, the DeCinder for vacuuming your fireplace, and even the WonderWand for cleaning refrigerator coils.  A tried-and-true favorite of our customers is the VacPan sweep inlet, an automatic dustpan which allows you to sweep crumbs into an inlet to be instantly sucked away!  Thus, don’t be surprised if you find yourself chasing Spot around the house with the Pet Grooming Brush so you can vacuum up the hair before he even has a chance to shed!

5.) A strange desire to decorate your home entirely in white

Beam central vacuums clean so well and so easily, dirt, mud and debris won’t stand a chance.  With the Beam Rugmaster Plus Power Team on your side, you’ll no longer be afraid to buy that white carpeting you’ve always wanted!   Why not throw in a white couch, too?

6.) Using your central vacuum system to impress household visitors

We promise you’ll love your Beam central vacuum system so much, you’ll want to show it off to everyone.  While we are certain all your neighbors will be impressed, it might be a good idea to serve them a nice glass of wine before demonstrating your vacuum’s ability to clean ceiling fan blades.  However, be certain to mention your central vacuum system if you plan on reselling your home, because having Beam central vac has been shown to increase a home’s value by several thousand dollars! Thus, your Beam central vacuum will not only make your neighbors jealous, it will serve as an investment for your home!

Do you own a central vacuum? What side effects have you experienced?

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What the Heck IS a Central Vacuum, Anyway???

It’s Simpler Than You Thought!

Believe it or not, this is actually often the first question I receive when I tell people that Sights and Sounds sells and installs central vacuum systems.  At first, I was confused by this question.  “How can anyone not know what a central vacuum is???” I would wonder to myself.  Then I realized most people do not have a technology-obsessed central vacuum enthusiast for a father.

My Dad

Traditional Vacs Leave Dirt Behind

So, if you are like 99.99% of people and didn’t help your dad install a central vacuum system at the age of 10, don’t despair!  The answer is really quite simple.  Imagine your current vacuum cleaner at home… it’s probably kind of heavy and difficult to push around.  Supposedly, your vacuum sucks up the dirt from your floors into either a bag or canister.  What you may not realize, however, is that your vacuum is sucking up only a percentage of the dirt it comes in contact with.  The rest of the dirt is just being circulated back into the air and dispersed on your floor! (I hope you don’t have dust allergies.) Once you’re done vacuuming, you empty your bag or canister into the trashcan.  Unfortunately, this often causes the dirt your vacuum did manage to suck up to spew all over the floors again!

You also need to regularly replace the irritating bags or filters that your vacuum uses, which can be pretty expensive for seemingly no logical reason.

Central Vacs are Lighter…

What a central vacuum does is take all the hassle out of vacuuming.  Instead of lugging around a clumsy, heavy vacuum, you push a light-weight power head.

Then, rather than the nasty dirt and debris going from the floor into a bag attached directly on your vacuum, it goes into a hose you plug into the wall.   You might have been confused by one of these vacuum plugs while in search for an electric socket for your laptop in the homes of one of your more vacuum-forward friends.

…and They Clean Better!

Thankfully, Beam central vacuums suck up 100% of the dirt they touch, leaving  the floors of your home cleaner and the air healthier than a traditional vacuum.  The dirt then goes from the hose into a series pipes throughout the walls of your home.  These pipes all eventually take the dirt into a power unit in your basement or garage, which is essentially a very large vacuum canister.  You then need to empty this power unit only about once every month or two.

Installation in Any Home

Central vacuums can be installed into any home, new or old, and installation generally only takes a few hours.  If you fancy yourself a handyman, you can purchase an installation kit from us and install the entire system yourself.  However, if relaxing by the pool sounds like a better option to you, a member of our professional installation team will happily do all the work for you.

Well, he’ll look something like that, anyway.

Cleaner, Lighter, Easier, Healthier, and More Efficient… what else would you like to know about central vacuum systems?

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