Best Listening Technology

Melanie Drake said: May 25, 2018
Melanie Drake33 posts

Each of my three kids has a Logitech Squeezebox smart radio which we have used for about ten years for listening. We have implemented Michele Horner’s Listening Like a Maniac program using playlists on repeat. For more info on Listening Like a Maniac, see:
https://vimeo.com/184025782

I am able to manage their playlists using a mobile device. This solution has worked well over the years. It does require us to maintain a music server, which means that we need to keep a computer running. Sometimes the service stops running and we need to restart it, which is manageable, but it can be annoying at the end of a long day. I am looking for a simpler, more modern approach. I don’t want to host the music library.

I considered purchasing Amazon Echo Dots. I would create one playlist per child on Amazon Music and then stream the playlists to each device. I just learned that you cannot stream different music on different Echo devices without paying for the Amazon Music Unlimited Family plan ($14.99/month). My other concern was the sound quality of the Amazon Echo speakers. There’s also the risk that recordings of my kids arguing will be inadvertently sent to random contacts, as seen in today’s news. :)

Is anyone using a creative solution for in-home listening? Ideally, I’d like to:
- manage playlists from any device
- stream the music from a service (i.e., I don’t want to maintain my own music server)
- purchase digital copies of the music (vs. paying for a streaming subscription)

I know some kids listen from handheld devices (e.g., iPads) with headphones. While I think this is a good idea, I’m not interested in changing what we have already established which is an evening (and sleep time) listening program without headphones.

Alan Duncan said: May 28, 2018
Alan Duncan
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
69 posts

We now use Sonos, but I do maintain a music server (of sorts). It’s not really that complex, with a little (I mean very little) coaxing, Sonos reads the iTunes music library off our main computer and then hosts that library system-wide. The Sonos system is flexible enough that you can play the same music on multiple speakers or different music on different speakers. For the Suzuki repertoire, I’ve just ripped it from the CD’s in most cases, but some I’ve purchased via the iTunes Music Store.

Sonos doesn’t require that you host the music on a server, but it makes it easier if you do. You could just play from multiple devices.

The privacy concerns re: Echo, Google, etc. are real.

I’m not a fan of streaming from services for two reasons, some general and some specific to our circumstances. As convenient as streaming services are, the largest ones insufficiently compensate artists. The other, slightly paranoid, objection that I have to streaming is that internet services come and go; I have music in digital form that I’ve owned for 20 or more years and which doesn’t depend on particular service existing. In any case, we live in a rural area and we have bandwidth limits, so streaming is a bad option for us anyway.

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