Audio system for a cottage
August 10, 2013 9:21 AM   Subscribe

We're looking to play music and other audio at a cottage. Do we want a mini system, powered speakers or what?

This is going to a cottage, so we're not looking for high-end audio here, just something for relaxing with a book on a rainy after noon, or for during a bbq. Music tastes range from classical and opera to Taylor Swift.

What we think we want: able to play CDs (my parents aren't ever going to rip their collection), able to play from iPad/iPhone and Android devices (my nieces and nephews will never own a CD). Streaming bluetooth would be nice, as would being able to read usb flash drives (we use these in the cars).

We don't want to go overboard in price. It's only going to get used for a few months a year, and, unfortunately, theft is a real possibility.

We're considering this Yamaha minisystem, but I'd be open to other possibilities than a traditional stero.

I have a pair of bookshelf speakers and a small amp I can use for this project.

Finally, we're in Canada, which can complicate shipping.
posted by bonehead to Shopping (7 answers total)
Not sure if you can find one, but my fav. for these type of situations is a used pair of Boston Acoustics BA-series computer speakers. I still see them at thrift shops/Goodwill pretty regularly. I think I paid $8 for the last set I picked up.

Two mini-cubes, about 1.5"-3" depending on the model + a subwoofer that's the size of a shoebox. I honestly haven't found anything which sounds quite as good as these. They're self-amplified, so all you need is an iPod, phone, or hook it up to a DVD player.
posted by OTA at 10:56 AM on August 10, 2013

Since you have the analog music-making bits what you seem to be looking for is a front end that can manage your disparate digital sources. I had this problem and posted it here [ask.metafilter]. The solution I finally reached was Vortexbox []. It worked so well I cloned the box and attached a small system in our vacation house using a T-amp and a pair of Eltax bookshelf speakers. If you want details send a MeMail.
posted by jet_silver at 11:29 AM on August 10, 2013

I'm working at an electronics based retailer right now. Unless you go to the home theater section, there's nothing that plays CDs.

This isn't to say they don't exist, because they do1, but what you're going to find is going to be lower end quality stuff or pretty expensive.

Almost anything will have a AUX in, and if you still have a portable CD player you can line in from that. But most of what I've run across now has a CD player as an after thought, if it has one at all.

You're best bet will be to check out pawn shops/flea markets.

Or, you know, get your parents music ripped an on something.

1 That's what I have. It's not great as the reviews say. But I got it as a gift and don't use the CD player that much.
posted by theichibun at 11:31 AM on August 10, 2013

I really like my SoundFreaq SoundKick. It's a very portable powered speaker unit (like the Jambox) with good enough volume and bass for the price. Takes aux-in and Bluetooth, works fine with Android phones too.
posted by zippy at 11:50 AM on August 10, 2013

Best answer: If your amp has more than two inputs, a cheap DVD player + this RCA to 3.5 mm cable would be enough.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:50 PM on August 10, 2013

I'm a proponent of mini-systems like the Yamaha you linked to.
They're simple, functional, and usually have decent sound.

You could also simply add a CD player to your already existing amp and speakers. A cheap DVD player may work fine.
posted by nickthetourist at 10:23 AM on August 11, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all for your comments. They were all helpful.

We ended up going with the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox for about $100, which is essentially a mobile speaker with a line-in. As per M,sM's comment above, I think we'll repurpose an old DVD player as a CD deck.

This seems to be 95% of what I was looking for, and has the virtue of not being irreplaceably expensive if it gets stolen (which was the problem with the minisystems). I'll use the speakers/amp at home for our basement tv.

Getting mom and dad to use ripped music would be ideal, but yeah, not happening. Physical media is all they're willing to tolerate.
posted by bonehead at 11:26 AM on September 10, 2013

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