Friday, July 11, 2008

iPod Touch Remote + Airport Express = Poor Man's Sonos

I've been playing around with various 'cheap' versions of ways to get my iTunes library playing through my stereo.

I could not justify a Sonos based on the price tag but it would be fair to say that all other versions have met with frustration with the household around ease of use. The proof being that we still have 100's of CDs near the stereo - much to my chagrin.

The four methods I have used to date have been

1. iPod in cradle - not useful for those who haven't used one before and locks your ipod in one place
2. Roku Soundbridge - good size and price, cumbersome UI
3. Squeezebox - bit big, remote better but still lacking in intuition.
4. Airport Express - easy to install - you just have to keep walking to the other room to control the music.

Options 2 & 3 also fail with playing protected tracks from iTunes, which is the stuff I have bought most recently so that is a pain.

The Sonos is the ultimate device - easy remote and amps with selectable speakers. Main issue is its price tag of close to $2k. I tried to purchase the one at the office that wasn't being used but no joy.

So the Remote application seems to be a great solution - all I need to do is get another airport express (previous was on loan) and I can control the remote speakers from the iPod Touch. I would take an old 802.11 g version if someone has one lying around (ok, I am cheap!). Probably doesn't have the killer feature of cueing up your next song, but on balance (and the fact you can use multiple Airport Express devices) then I'd go for that.

Unfortunately does not solve the iTunes server issue - papers over the cracks really as you can see all the servers but still means song replication on multiple servers which must be a relatively easy problem to solve.

Any other ways that people are using that could work better ? Especially for the non-technically oriented family members ?


Aneesh said...

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Miki Szikszai said...


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I added a new widget and then *both* were working. I deleted the new one and the old one didn't work.

Have since deleted the old one and we seem to be back on track - thanks for the taking the time to drop me a comment and for the widget.


coontey said...

Re: Poor Man's Sonos

.. this is exactly the phrase I have been using to describe my quest to posess Sonos-like technology. I was hypnotised by a friend's Sonos last December and have been trying to replicate the experience without replicating the price tag.

I had followed a similar path to you, with the addition of using a Nokia n800 as a media controller and using the Roku Soundbridge as a media renderer (per the UPnP spec). The controller software on the Nokia is the default 'media streamer' package which works well but the interface is better used with a stylus rather than your fingers and thumbs. I was hoping that the n800 'Canola' development team would get their full implememtation of UPnP sorted (ie separation of server, controller and renderer), but I have all but given up on that by now.

I had the same iPod Touch epiphany last night and when I googled my idea thia am your post came to the top. I agree that this looks fabulous and will certainly be following up.

Scott W said...

There is an app called " airfoil " which will sync all speakers - on your mac/pc AND speakers attached to any / all airport express's that in your network. As a huge bonus it will also serve & sync non iTunes music from your mac/pc to all of your speakers - ideal for satelite radio fans like me.

I think the company is called rouge ameba.

ipod said...

I really enjoy this product that allows me to play music files on my PC or on my music service on my audio system. I've used wireless speakers to listen to music remotely previously but the sound quality through the Sonos is superior. Set up is very easy.

iPod Touch Blogs

Mike said...

Try the Orb.

It has really good quality when connected to my little "boom box" hidden in the kitchen.

Its a little hockey puck sized device that grabs audio files from your PC. I controll it with my Ipad. Theres no whole house solution though unless all the pucks are steaming pandora for example.


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