Help me set up my home stereo so I listen to music more please!
January 11, 2015 1:50 PM   Subscribe

I have all my music on iTunes ( on my iMac). I would like to make it much more accessible to myself and my family 9including my kids (under 10 yr old) at home. ( Not really interested in making sure I have access to it elsewhere for now). I don't really like keeping my commuter on all the time (but that wouldn't be a showstopper for me (my wife?). I don't want to spend much money. (Say less than $500). I own some old pattern speakers and subwoofer that still work. I am running my wifi right now through an older airport express to connect my iPad and phones. Main goal is to make it simple to turn off and on and find music. (I am a bit challenged web nit comes to networks and the like.) Thanks!
posted by dougiedd to Technology (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like AirTunes (I guess it's called AirPlay now, on newer Macs) would work for you.

Currently, I have all my music on my iMac. I have a previous-generation AirportExtreme handling my wifi network. I also have a refurb AirportExpress hooked up to my old Pioneer receiver, using a minijack-to-RCA cable.

When I want to play my music on the Pioneer, I simply open iTunes, and select AirTunes from the drop-down that appears next to the window at the top of the music list.

Yes, you have to keep your iMac on when you want to play music on the stereo, but that's not really that big of a deal.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:32 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are you familiar with UPnP (universal plug & play)? It's a protocol that lets a server beam media content to capable devices all throughout the house, anywhere that can connect to your home network. Here is a list of UPnP servers and clients for pretty much every platform. AirPlay is essentially the Apple version of this, as I understand it.

The short version is that a server on your main desktop where the files are beams stuff around. There are free or cheap apps for Apple devices, Android devices, etc. so that you can get the music on phones, tablets, laptops, etc. on your home network (and even beyond, if you want to get ambitious). You can get receivers that hook to your stereo for as little as $25 or so.

So for an example--and I am just spitballing here as I do not know the specifics of your stuff--you could install Serviio on a PC and add your music library to that. You could then get something like this, give or take to hook to your stereo. Add in a smartphone app, such as BubbleUPnP (for Android) to control it and bobsyeruncle.

You'd pull up Bubble on your phone, browse your library to pick what you want to hear, and select the device you want to hear it on.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:46 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you have wireless? If so a nice pair of portable Boise Bluetooth enabled speakers (about $200) plus a basic iPhone or iPad works amazingly well; it's easy to stream music from the mobile device to the speakers.

If you don't have wireless, download that week's music to the mobile device.
posted by kanewai at 2:47 PM on January 11, 2015

Are you running a TV through the stereo?
Apple TV and your music synced to the cloud would solve your problem.
posted by COD at 3:27 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Looks like a solution to this question might work for you.

It sounds like you are missing an amplifier to drive the speakers, but that and an Apple TV would, as COD says, solve the problem.
posted by dg at 4:21 PM on January 11, 2015

The other answers make me feel like I'm underthinking this, but why not just put the music on an iPod and connect that to your speaker setup at home?
posted by ktkt at 8:36 PM on January 11, 2015

I am running my wifi right now through an older airport express to connect my iPad and phones.

I'm confused, what about this solution doesn't work? Do the kids not use the ipad? What do they want to play music off of?

Every time i've seen an airplay setup like this, with an airport, it was pretty much the simplest way to get music from multiple devices out of speakers. I've never had a single problem with my setup, and i know plenty of people that use it, even in commercial settings for employees to play spotify in stores etc.

Can you give some clarification on what it's not doing, and what you want?
posted by emptythought at 8:46 PM on January 11, 2015

I don't really like keeping my commuter on all the time

However, your computer is where the music is. You'd have to do something pretty wild to make sure the music on your computer is accessible with it off, and up-to-date, so just leave the computer on. Have the wife/kids connect to its iTunes library (via AirPlay) and call it a day, or get an AppleTV (to do the same) if you'd like them to use that, I guess.
posted by destructive cactus at 8:52 PM on January 11, 2015

As suggested an AppleTV will work, if you don't want to leave your computer on all the time you could purchase an iTunes Match subscription and your music would be accessible from the cloud. This is the setup I have.
posted by okieangel at 6:38 AM on January 12, 2015

This may not be what you want, but I bought a single Sonos: Play 5 speaker ($399) for my living room, since I couldn't afford 2, and then bought a $9.99/mo. Spotify Premium subscription. I am a musician and avid collector (1000+ CDs, several hard drives full of music), but since I set that up I almost never use any CDs, nor do I even bother downloading anything. My home system isn't even hooked up to my iTunes collection. The streaming Spotify stuff sounds better than what I have locally, and always has the newest album versions with bonus tracks and such. I control everything with the free Sonos phone app. If I'm playing along with stuff on my drums I use the Spotify app directly into the electronic drum kit from my phone, iPad or whatever happens to be nearby. Sonos supports radio stations as well, and can connect to your computer's iTunes if you want that (I don't anymore).

Only cons are that I can't make mixes for people (a dying art) and I can't take the music in my car which doesn't have a phone input. In the car I listen to whatever CDs are lying around.

Personally I find it very freeing to not be accumulating media, even the mp3 files. When I think of a band I want to hear, or am thinking of going to see, I just punch it up and bang there it is. Eventually I want a second speaker for the living room (I have a smaller Play 3 upstairs), but the one Play 5 is very clear and loud as hell. The sound totally fills a large living room and adjoining open breakfast room and kitchen in a house with 10' ceilings.

My 2 Onkyo receivers, various other surround speakers, USB music hard drives, and all that junk have been sitting in the garage for the last 2 years!
posted by freecellwizard at 11:18 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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