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#374393 - 19/06/2024 10:03 How *do* people listen to music?
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4175
Loc: Cambridge, England
The other morning I came downstairs to hear my trusty old Mark 2 Empeg (Receiver Edition) buzzing and clicking ominously... it turned out to just be the power supply (it's always the power supply) but, before I figured that out, I'd already started worrying about what I'd do if it was unfixable.

You can't get Squeezeboxes or Soundbridges new any more, and the closest thing Richer Sounds sell is some Cambridge Audio thing at 900. Clearly networked music streamers are just not a mass-market thing. So what do people these days use instead? What would you do if it was a nice sunny afternoon and you fancied listening to "Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld" all the way through both discs? Play the MP3s on your phone and ignore that there's no bass and no stereo field? Play it off Spotify from your phone over Bluetooth to a powered speaker (or Bluetooth-enabled amp) and ignore that it's not lossless, or that it deafens the neighbours if you get a phone call, or there's ads? Turn the TV on and play it off Youtube? Telephone your mate who still has a CD player and ask him to play it for you down the phone line?
Only one choice allowed

Votes accepted starting: 19/06/2024 10:02
View the results of this poll.

#374394 - 19/06/2024 11:07 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1909
Loc: London
Squeezebox for me, still plenty of decent ones available on eBay.

I can't think of anything else that would work for me, I can play anything off my own collection or Spotify through them. I had a choice, Slimp3 or Empeg, I remember Rob at the time was saying that there were many OEMs looking to license it so I went with Slimp3 instead. Absolutely excellent all the way through to when Logitech discontinued them

#374395 - 19/06/2024 11:30 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14488
Loc: Canada
I use my docked Mk2a for a lot of music, and my Roberts Internet Radio for casual listening. As well as a self-built Internet Radio in my office. smile

#374396 - 19/06/2024 17:44 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5915
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
It depends.

If I'm in my office I'll either use a Squeezebox Touch, plugged into my Mission Cyrus amp and the secondhand Mordaunt-Short speakers I bought in 1989. I use the Material Skin on Squeezebox Server, so much better than the original UI.

However, I am increasingly also using Apple Music on my MacBook, playing back through my Apple Studio Display (which has remarkably good speakers). That is mostly because I've been buying some albums on Apple Music recently and haven't got round to getting the Squeezebox playback working for them.

I've got all 600 or so CDs that I own in Apple Music (available on all my Apple devices) as well as in FLAC on my Squeezebox Server virtual machine.

If I'm in the bedroom, I use an Apple HomePod Mini as my alarm clock, to play music from Apple Music. The HomePod Mini is in the "sounds ok for its size" category, but doesn't sound amazing.

If I'm in the kitchen cooking I'll often use the Squeezebox Boom in there. Which is in the "sounds amazing for its size category". I only use the volume knob on the Boom, all other control is on my iPhone using the Material Skin on Squeezebox server.

However, there is a HomePod in the kitchen as well and I'll sometimes use that, especially if I'm already cooking and I ask Siri to play some music. The HomePod is in the "doesn't sound half bad category". There is also an Alexa Show in there, I'd never play using on that...

If we've got guests and we want some music on I'll use the Squeezeboxes sync'd together:

- Boom in the kitchen
- Touch + amp + speakers in the office (opens onto the dining room)
- Radio in the snug
- Radio outside on the outdoor table (still using the same battery pack from new !?)

The Squeezebox sync between players is still amazing, I haven't heard it go out of sync since they finally nailed it all those years ago. It even stays in sync when I use the plugin to play to Apple TVs in the same sync group.

There is still something wonderful about walking from room to room and hearing the same music playing everywhere perfectly in sync.

If I'm driving in the car or camper van that have CarPlay, I'm using Apple Music to play through the car speakers. If I'm in my Volvo V50, with no CarPlay, I'm using Apple Music playing through my iPhone 15 Pro Max speakers, they are louder than you imagine. Though I'll almost exclusively be listen to podcasts rather than music.

If I'm parked up in the camper van, if I can be bothered I'll dig the Anker SoundCore Bluetooth speaker out and play my phone through that. But I might just put my iPhone on the table and use that.

If I'm none of those places, I'll probably not listen to music, it will be podcasts instead. Played from Overcast on my iPhone through my first generation AirPods. I might listen to more music when mobile, but the AirPods aren't the greatest things for music. The AirPod Pros are good for music and I've owned a pair of those. But despite everything I've tried they just don't fit in my right ear, which is so annoying.

Once upon a time I'd have used the Squeezeboxes to listen to radio, I used to listen to BBC Radio 4 for about 10 hours a day. But podcasts replaced that a long time ago, I never listen to the radio now and 99% of my podcast listening is from my phone on my AirPods.

I haven't changed the config on Squeezebox Server in years, it just sits in a Ubuntu VM running on an Ubuntu VirtualBox setup. I throw FLACS from new CDs at it occasionally (yes I buy CDs) and a script automatically generates MP3s for me to drag into Apple Music.

On my Windows 11 PC I have my CD ripper (probably the best CD ripper ever created).

In all the years I've had one Squeezebox failure, a couple of month ago the VFD screen on the Boom in the kitchen finally failed (it has been on 24/7 for about 15 years). Luckily I stocked up on spare Booms/Touches/Radios so it should be a while before I actually need to attempt any repairs...

Sadly I'm not using any of my empegs at the moment. If I ever manage to get my MX-5 back on the road I will install one in there (though I'm also going to have my iPhone on aux).
Remind me to change my signature to something more interesting someday

#374397 - 19/06/2024 18:07 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31584
Loc: Seattle, WA
The poll doesn't really cover my listening habits. Here's my music listening situations, most common to least common:

- Car speakers: Listening to the empeg in the car (through its Bluetooth interface that I made). This is the most common situation where I'm genuinely listening to a large amount of music on a decent system (the factory premium system with a subwoofer). If I didn't have an empeg, then it would be my iPhone connected to the car via Bluetooth or CarPlay.

- TV's surround sound system: Streaming YouTube music videos is something I do occasionally. Done via Chromecast, viewing on the TV, and listening through the TV's surround sound system (good amp, OK speakers, good subwoofer).

- TV's surround sound system: For my personal music collection, I have it all duplicated on my Synology NAS, and from there I have two different apps that I can stream music with: The Synology music app, and Plex. When using those, I'm usually controlling that from the TV via a phone app playing through the Chromecast interface on the TV. I rarely play via those because their music organization and selection features frustrate me compared to the empeg's hierarchical playlist system. I don't have a paid subscription to any music streaming services because I'm sure those would frustrate me even more.

- Bluetooth earbuds: I have 3 different sets of bluetooth wireless earbuds that I can pair to the iPhone at any given time. One that I keep at my desk, one that I keep at my bedside, and one in my travel bag. All different brands (Sony, Bose, Jabra). I sometimes listen to my personal music collection that way, but I'm still frustrated by the music organization and selection on the iPhone.

- Laptop speakers: Playing songs directly on the macboook pro, but not for long term listening. Usually just when I need to learn the chords to a cover song, or to check a lyric or something. Impressive sound for something so small, but no bass. Also I think the right channel tweeter on my MBP is out.

- Recording studio monitors: On my macbook, mixing a piece of my music, or checking my music's EQ against other songs as references, played through my expensive Blue Sky studio monitors with a subwoofer and ruler-flat frequency response. Occasionally (rarely) I will also use these for listening to background music while I code or something. I should really be listening to general music on these speakers more often, because if my ear is always being trained by my car speakers, then that means I always have to do final mix/eq checking of my own music in my car. Which I do, but, it's a logistical hassle. Sadly, I hardly ever turn the studio monitors on unless I'm working on something that requires the precision and detail of those monitors. Shame.

- iPhone speakers: Only to check a lyric or to quickly play an example of something, not for active music listening. I listen to talky things on the iPhone often, like podcasts or YouTube videos where people are mostly talking. But I won't listen to music directly on the iPhone speakers much, just too tinny. I'm impressed by the level of quality that you get from an iPhone, for something so small, but it's still just a tinny mess.

- Bluetooth connection to Bose Wave Radio: I've got a Bose on my bedside table. It's old enough to predate bluetooth. Newer models have bluetooth built in, but I just added a bluetooth receiver puck to mine. Occasionally I'll stream music to it from my phone.

Tony Fabris

#374398 - 19/06/2024 20:29 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1909
Loc: London
In my car I use CarPlay nowadays but before that I always used to use an aux adapter as I mostly listen to prerecorded radio 4 (only podcasts Ive really liked are from amnesty international and nature magazine)

I wish Id bought a spare boom, as Andy says the speaker is quality is amazing for the price/size

If anyone knows where to get a VFD replaced I could do with getting mine done

#374399 - 19/06/2024 22:37 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3996
Loc: Manchester UK
Car: Tesla Native Spotify app or (shock horror) the radio.

Kitchen: Airplay from a phone into a Raspberry Pi running shairpoint-sync with an amplifier HAT and a pair of old Sony mini system speakers.

Office:VLC, Plex or Spotify through an old RME USB->AES3 interface or a Technics SL1210Mk7 turntable and a Philips CD624 CD Player via a small Sonifex monitor controller and PPM. Then into a pair of Tannoy Reveal 8D's which have been retrofitted with MiniDSP PWR-ICE 125W plate amps. Or a pair of HD25's.

That's all I have, currently. But assuming I add more rooms, I'll probably just use more Pi's and amp HAT's.

Andy M

#374400 - 20/06/2024 01:08 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]

Registered: 07/01/2002
Posts: 338
Loc: Squamish, BC
At home, I primarily use Plexamp running on the PC, with access to all my offline media stored in a Plex library (mostly FLACs). It can be controlled directly on the PC, or remotely via the Plexamp app on a phone/tablet.

I also have my docked Empeg Mk2a feeding audio into, and then back out of, the PC.

The PC audio is output via a digital optical link to a mini-system on my desk with decent speakers, and also via digital coaxial into a nearby in-wall CATV outlet.

I then have a splitter at the house's CATV distribution board to feed that signal back to a couple of other outlets, which then connect to the home theatre amp in the living room, and another amp in the bedroom, both with digital coax inputs. This means I can listen to the digital output from the PC in either of those locations using the existing in-wall wiring, just by switching to the correct input.

I think in theory the impedance(?) of the in-wall CATV coax isn't quite right for digital audio, but in practice it works perfectly. (The CATV cabling isn't used for any other purpose).

For anything I don't have available locally, I also have Spotify on the PC which again can be controlled via any phone/tablet, and also all three hifi/amp systems support Spotify Connect if I want to 'cast' directly to them if the PC is offline.

In the car I use my phone via Bluetooth, which is 'good enough' quality. Music sources are again either Plexamp, which can stream any content from my home library over the cell network, optionally transcoding the FLACs to lossy formats if I want to save some cell data (and there's probably not much benefit in lossless played over Bluetooth), or Spotify.
Empeg Mk2a 128G with amber lit buttons kit - #30102490

PhotoVancouver | Squamish, BC Webcam | Personal Website

#374402 - 20/06/2024 14:13 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12324
Loc: Sterling, VA
The caveat to all of the following is that these days I mostly listen to podcasts. But if I'm just listening to music, I have only 3 listening scenarios, all using Apple Music through my subscription:

CAR: iPhone connected to a wireless carplay adapter (my car has carplay but only wired). This is annoying because of the delay in all controls. But it sounds...fine.

HEADPHONES: either through Airpods Pro or the Airpods Max I just got. Sounds good.

HOME: all through Sonos speakers.

That covers everything for me. The empeg was ahead of everything else at the time. But these days I've basically just fallen into "what's the most convenient?" And a listening library that follows me everywhere is best for me. I don't really like the Apple Music app though.

Edited by Dignan (20/06/2024 14:14)

#374403 - 20/06/2024 22:19 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1524
Loc: Arizona
At home: Stream to my receiver.

In the pool: BT speaker from my iPad

At work: BT headphones from my iPad

Managing music on the iPad is still a pain in the ass and I hate it. I despise the whole sync everything BS they seem to love so much.

#374404 - 21/06/2024 03:51 Re: How *do* people listen to music? [Re: peter]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3584
Loc: Columbus, OH
Sad to say that I usually just play music through the Amazon Echo Dots that are in most of the rooms of the house. In the car and on the go its either iPhone through the car's Bluetooth or iPhone through Airpods.

Only place I use my Empeg currently is in the MLord dock on my desk at work, paired with some old Bose bookshelf speakers. I love the Empeg for playing music while I'm writing code.

I listen to a lot more podcasts and audiobooks these days than I used to, so incredible audio quality isn't as much of an issue as it used to be.
~ John