Need to get some music into my kitchen
July 1, 2008 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Is there an inexpensive device I can buy that will allow me to listen to my MP3 collection and internet radio in my kitchen?

I'd like to be able to listen to my mp3 collection and internet radio stations in my kitchen. I have no speakers in the kitchen and don't want to run wires from my desktop computer or install a home stereo or anything too elaborate in my kitchen. Is there a wireless speaker or something I can buy that will simply connect to my network and play in another room? It's just for occasional listening so I also don't need very high quality sound.
posted by gfrobe to Technology (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
As long as sound quality isn't an issue, you can get inexpensive wireless speaker systems at pretty much any store that sells electronics, right down to sprawl-mart. My dad has them all over his house, and swears by them. He's no audiophile, however.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:54 AM on July 1, 2008

I have one of these a Netgear MP101 that works like a charm. Connects to a Wi-Fi network.
posted by zeoslap at 11:06 AM on July 1, 2008

You'll need a pair of cheap computer speakers with the Netgear.
posted by zeoslap at 11:08 AM on July 1, 2008

I highly recommend the Squeezebox. It can be wired or wireless. You'll need a set of amplified speakers (I use some pretty low-end computer speakers in my kitchen) to use with it.

You need an always-on (or on whenever you want to use it) computer running the server software, though it doesn't need to be dedicated to the task. It's open source and runs on Windows / OSX or Linux, among other OSes. It'll play free internet radio stations plus a bunch of pay services.

I have three of them scattered around the house. They can play in sync with each other or not. When they're not on they become weather stations thanks to a plug-in.

They rule.
posted by bondcliff at 11:11 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have used (and still own) an AudioTron by TurtleBeach ... which does exactly what you're asking, over ethernet and through Windows file shares.

I like it very much .. but its a discontinued product now :(.
Also, it was rather time consuming to program it for your Internet Radio feeds, and the Windows shares. But once its programmed it was great... output is RCA right to your stereo, and it has a 3 line text display on the front to show whats playing.

Second option (the one I would recommend:)

You could go the route of a modded xbox 1 running XBMC. I also own a system I've made and I definitely prefer XBMC to the AudioTron (which is why the latter is collecting dust).
BONUS: Milkdrop visuals while you listen to music is amazing. You can also use an IR remote control to control the xbox .. all customizable.

if you're interested in that ... the place to start your research/learning experience is Good luck!
posted by Ryaske at 11:22 AM on July 1, 2008

+1 on the Squeezebox. Mine is my bestest birthday present ever.
posted by kellyblah at 11:27 AM on July 1, 2008

I bought a PCI FM transmitter card. Any audio on your computer you can route to this and then you can listen on any FM radio in your house. The wife loves it for our kitchen. It'll be ~$100 or so. I use a PCI-MAX card.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 11:36 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. MC, I like the wireless speaker system you linked to and will definitely look into something like that.

Ryaske, I already have a modded Xbox in my living room but am missing how that would allow me to play music in my kitchen.

Squeezebox looks great but that plus amplified speakers is a bit more than I was looking to spend on this.

Thanks again and if anyone has any more suggestions I'm all ears!
posted by gfrobe at 12:01 PM on July 1, 2008

Cheap powered computer speakers plus omnifi dmp1. You can find the latter used on eBay and they have been spotted at Tuesday Morning for $5. You will need to be running a uPnP server somewhere though. It comes with a version of SimpleServer which works ok, or you can try fuppes or mediatomb.
posted by mzurer at 12:52 PM on July 1, 2008

used laptop in craigslist. Even the basic p3 will do, hell it would run. $10 speakers from radioshack. tada!
posted by radsqd at 12:53 PM on July 1, 2008

Oops - DMS1. The other one is for your car.
posted by mzurer at 12:53 PM on July 1, 2008

The Netgear plus speakers will do this for about $80, and it's about the size of a decent sized cookbook.
posted by zeoslap at 1:21 PM on July 1, 2008

Chumby? (If $180 is cheap)
Plays internet radio, has other fun web gadgets. Not sure if it will stream your particular shared music library setup, but looks like you can hook your iPod and play through it.
posted by penciltopper at 1:47 PM on July 1, 2008

I love my Chumby. It will do what you want. You can plug an iPod into it, and it can connect to your network. I usually just listen to podcasts and internet radio with mine.
posted by billtron at 1:54 PM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks again. Will look into all of the above.

Zeoslap, just reading about the Netgear on Amazon and it says it doesn't do internet radio. Unfortunately won't work for me.
posted by gfrobe at 2:01 PM on July 1, 2008

Not cheap, but seconding the Squeezebox, mine's been chugging away like a charm for quite some time now, plus you can get plugins for displaying the weather and whatnot.
posted by davejay at 2:08 PM on July 1, 2008

Rather expensive but very, very neat all-in-one package, if you have WiFi: Soundbridge Radio, which will handle AM/FM, MP3s from a uPnP server, or Internet Radio, wirelessly. I have the (much less expensive, but without speakers) Soundbridge M1000, which is great.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 4:15 PM on July 1, 2008

Apple's venerable AirPort Express includes "AirTunes" functionality to stream music wirelessly to it (it has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack) from a machine running iTunes. I use it all the time with an older set of computer speakers to take my music with me to the workshop and mud room. While I have the older model, the newer one is also a fine 802.11n base station.
posted by eafarris at 7:02 PM on July 1, 2008

I got my wife this boombox for exactly this purpose. Audiophiles will cringe for sure, but the thing sounds halfway decent, and there's the added benefit of portability. We take ours camping, etc. (The thing is tough as hell.) It has a line-in specifically for the purpose of plugging in mp3 players. It is big, but setting it on the floor in the corner somewhere will actually accentuate the bass response.
posted by keith0718 at 7:06 PM on July 1, 2008

I have no idea what it's called but it looks like a double-ended earphone jack thingy. Does that make sense? It's just a little cord and both ends have that little plug.

I've only ever used it plugged into an amp. (Amp? It's plugged into the wall and the speaker wires clip into it - that's an amp right??) Anyway, my mp3 player then plays through the speakers and blah blah blah.
I imagine it would also work the same way with anything that has speakers and an earphone jack. (tv, portable stereo, ect.)

**If it would help I can dig it out. (To see who made it or if it works with the tv or whatever.)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 4:03 AM on July 2, 2008

I'm a bit late to the party, but I picked up a Shift3 Wireless Speaker last week. I can't vouch for the sound quality (haven't used it yet), but it looks like it will fit the bill.

It was $50 at CVS/Pharmacy last week, so I'd imagine you could find it at/around that price point on eBay and elsewhere.
posted by Perplexer at 7:53 PM on July 2, 2008

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