Friday, April 3, 2015

No Static at All

I've finally gotten my audio consumption delivery capability to a place where I'm pretty much content/ The ACDC is driven by two competing desires: to have everything work perfectly; and to spend as little as possible. And it has to cover a number of scenarios: at home; walking the dog; working out; and in the car.

I came home with the following set up:

  • music and podcasts managed on computer and played at home through a sound dock connected by cable to a computer;
  • Bluetooth sound dock in the living room (birthday present for the OG, not part of my ACDC);
  • Ipod shuffle for the gym and other out-of-the-house activity (wireless headphones broken and discontinued by the manufacurer;
  • car radio, with occasional iphone connected via cable.

The biggest catalyst for change was Spotify. The Gs love it, and though I installed it years ago, I've never really used it. But when they announced last year that a family plan was available for the premium model (unlimited skips, available offline), I decided to give it a try, and it was part of a birthday present for the BG in November, although we didn't get it up and running until the following month.

I installed it on my computer, and it quickly and efficiently indexed the music in my ITunes library. After a few hiccups in syncing the files on my phone and tablet (it kept wanting to store files locally, filling up my phone with files from my computer), I learned via the Internet, that if I mirrored my ITunes library in Spotify's "Songs" folder, I  would have a link to my universe of music, and could shuffle through my collection, using either my phone or tablet to skip a song that I don't want to hear.
Mine are black

So now when I'm cooking dinner, I take the phone and the dock into the kitchen, connect them via bluetooth and shuffle through everything from Afrika Bambataa to Warren Zevon. I love how songs that I haven't thought of in years pop up and remind me who I was in the 80s and 90s.

When it's time to walk the dog, I do the same thing, except that I have a $30 pair of bluetooth headphones that I pair with my phone, In the morning, it's two plays of the news on Radio France, and in the evening, the LeDuc shuffle.

About the same size as the shuffle
When it's time to go to the gym, I load up the WeFunk podcast on my shuffle, and I've purchased a $20 transmitter that sends the audio to the bluetooth headphones. This means that I can either clip the shuffle to my shorts, or put it in one of the cubbyholes while I work out. The range is about thirty feet, so if I were to, ahem, when, I forget it, I get an "out of range" message from the headphones. If I'm walking to and from the gym (usually on Saturdays) I'll switch to talk, usually Bill Simmons (if it's basketball or an interesting guest), Econtalk or the Ted talks.

The Original iMagnet Cradle-less Universal Car Phone Mount HolderIn the car, I have a magnetic dock for the phone, and I'll connect it to the AUX jack on the radio with a cable that stays in the car, and plug it into the cigarette lighter for long trips. I'll either shuffle through my own music or I've been experimenting with Artist radio, which so far, seems better than Pandora, which I tried and ditched a couple of years ago. So far, it has worked great, and I can run the music and the GPS simultaneously. It still kind of eerie when the music suddenly stops and the phone tells me to get ready for a turn. But in a "whoa" kind or way.

My only complaint is that this ACDC does not expose me to a lot of new music. The Gs monopolize the radio when I'm chauffeuring them to one of their many activities, but their taste is a little poppy, and I'm just not feeling the constant cycling through Maroon 5 and the like. Occasionally we'll find a song we like (the new Ed Sheeran for example), but I can only listen to it 4-5 times over the course of thirty minutes before I'm a little tired of it. But the OG has done some digging in the crates, and her tastes are maturing (though they are also countrifying), so perhaps there is some hope that she can play the "tastemaker" role filled by various cool friends with large record collections over the years.

It's interesting to compare this ACDC to the walkman, mix tape, mtv world of yore, and I look forward to telling my grandchildren about the old days, when I needed to pair devices before they would work together; when wireless range was only thirty feet; and the cloud thought that George Benson belonged on a radio station inspired by the Fatback band. This may help me remember.

No comments:

Post a Comment