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View Full Version : I want music in my kitchen!




notjustjay
Jun 13, 2007, 02:57 PM
... and elsewhere in the house, too.

Suppose I have a server or NAS where my iTunes library will reside (still to be built, but anyhow). I want access to my iTunes to, say, provide music in the kitchen, or living room, etc.

Here are the options I am aware of:

* Put a Mac in the kitchen.
* AppleTV (but this would require an HDTV of some sort)
* AirPort Express (but this would still require a Mac elsewhere to control it)
* Stream over a PSP using various iTunes-RSS or iTunes-web tools
* Roku Soundbridge
* Logitech / Slim Devices Squeezebox
* SONOS or equivalent music server system

Most of these are expensive solutions. What system do you like, and what would be the best for someone on a budget?



kuebby
Jun 13, 2007, 04:12 PM
I can't speak for most of your solutions but I can tell you that streaming music to a PSP over a wireless network never worked well for me. The music would stop every 10-15 seconds as it buffered.

biturbomunkie
Jun 13, 2007, 04:24 PM
i'd get airport express. it works, and it works well. it's elegant and you can use it for multiple locations.

iMouseHD
Jun 13, 2007, 07:04 PM
Ill second the airport, we have a few around the house and they work great.

CanadaRAM
Jun 13, 2007, 07:12 PM
$5.50 worth of lamp cord run around the floor, ceiling, or through the basement to the kitchen from the stereo in the living room, and some bookshelf speakers.

notjustjay
Jun 13, 2007, 11:29 PM
Yeah, I guess those would definitely be the cheapest solutions. (I also flirted with the idea of buying an old stereo amp from a garage sale or someplace and hiding it in one of the deep cupboards).

At the other end of the scale, I've also been looking for a nice little radio I could put in the kitchen, something compact, that doesn't cost a fortune yet doesn't look like an abomination of cheap plastic. I'm surprised by how difficult it is to find something. Sony's "The Radio" looks about right but costs way too much.

Thanks for the tips guys. If anyone else has other ideas, I'd love to hear them...

notjustjay
Jun 15, 2007, 08:39 AM
An update.

I found out my local Future Shop and Best Buy both carry the Roku SoundBridge M1001, so I picked one up to try. This thing is really slick, although a bit expensive ($250 Cdn, I see from the Roku site you can pick one up refurbished for $150 USD). You still need to hook up external speakers, so add a few dollars for a good set. Still, it works great as a way to play my iTunes music and also internet radio stations (meh?).

I was thinking of setting the module over my fridge (where there is a gap between the top of the fridge and the cabinet above it) and hiding the speaker setup on top of my kitchen cabinets where they would be hidden by crown moulding.

shipdestroyer
Jun 15, 2007, 08:46 AM
FM transmitter and a radio would probably be the cheapest with lowest cost:work ratio.

CarlsonCustoms
Jun 15, 2007, 01:42 PM
why not just get a 80gb ipod (everyone should have one anyways) and just buy a couple ipod dock with speakers? They'll look great and sound decent too.

DCBass
Jun 15, 2007, 03:29 PM
why not just get a 80gb ipod (everyone should have one anyways) and just buy a couple ipod dock with speakers? They'll look great and sound decent too.

i second this option. i have a pair of mm50s that i'm always taking around, especially to my kitchen. i love how it can run off of its own rechargeable battery, no cords and great sound for a small amount of mulah.

Hope this helps.

DCBass

davidg4781
Jun 16, 2007, 07:56 PM
I'm not too familiar with the Airport Express, nor do I know if your library is protected or not, but that SoundBridge doesn't support protected AACs.

I'm maybe thinking the Airport Express, if you already have a an Airport Extreme. Sure, it's $100, and you won't be able to change songs (at least I don't think) but it's small and looks easy to set up.

Another option I'd consider is maybe an iPod shuffle or Nano, depending on the size of your library, along with some kind of docking speaker system. You could carry the Nano around the house and plug it in, or buy a few.

Or, just turn your speakers on your Mac up really loud :).

mkrishnan
Jun 16, 2007, 07:59 PM
why not just get a 80gb ipod (everyone should have one anyways) and just buy a couple ipod dock with speakers? They'll look great and sound decent too.

My girlfriend has an iHome thingie in her kitchen that she plugs a nano into. I tend to agree... If you want something prettier... the Tivoli one, etc, are options. Unless your music changes so frequently that the iPod is a limitation, it seems not too bad to me.

rainydays
Jun 16, 2007, 09:23 PM
Do you have a bluetooth cellphone? If you are able to connect to your mac with it from the kitchen then Salling Clicker (http://www.salling.com/Clicker/mac/) is an excellent remote control for iTunes.
That together with the airport express would be a great solution.
An even cheaper one is Salling Clicker + lamp cord :)

notjustjay
Jun 16, 2007, 11:19 PM
Heh. Good tips all, thanks. :)

Yeah, I might just go for one of those mm50 or iHome things. My iPod is under-utilized anyway :)

Either that, or the SoundBridge option. It's pretty cool, but might fit better in a living room where there's already a good audio system (well, not yet in my case, but soon :) )

bearda
Jun 18, 2007, 09:10 AM
I'm maybe thinking the Airport Express, if you already have a an Airport Extreme. Sure, it's $100, and you won't be able to change songs (at least I don't think) but it's small and looks easy to set up.

The Griffin AirClick USB remote can actually plug into the USB printer port on the AirPort Express and let you control iTunes from the AirPort.

epiphany
Jun 18, 2007, 11:45 AM
I don't like things taking up counterspace or in splatter range in the kitchen personally, so I'd go with something like the under-cabinet mount iHome ($69 this week at Target) http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/ref=br_1_7/601-8119873-8139305?ie=UTF8&frombrowse=1&asin=B000EA0DEO

or, for a few bucks more, the Spacemaker (also at Target) with CD player.

I'm leery about sound quality on some of these devices, so you should have her check them out first. If going counter-top, I'd also look at the $99-$129 JBL systems out there...

shu82
Jun 18, 2007, 11:50 AM
How about networking an old g3 imac. The speakers are wonderful. I have one on my kitchen counter. I put in a 40 gig to sync my ipod to. Works great. They can be had for less than 50 now.

notjustjay
Jun 18, 2007, 12:12 PM
Funnily enough, I have access to an old G3 iMac if I want it. They're kinda big, though, I don't think there'd be room in my kitchen for it.

Maybe an old G3 iBook.... :)

shu82
Jun 18, 2007, 03:38 PM
You would have to have external speakers for the ibook. The size is a little bit too much if you have a small kitchen. But it does fit into a corner nicely. Its just a great cheap way to have music in the kitchen. I might upgrade to a g5 when they come down in price, and mount it on my wall. But that is a few years off.

You can't go wrong with free, its worth a try:D

waterskier2007
Jun 19, 2007, 12:31 PM
i'd get airport express. it works, and it works well. it's elegant and you can use it for multiple locations.

definitely second on that. i have three airport expresses in my house and they work amazingly

danny_w
Jun 19, 2007, 12:52 PM
I just sold a Roku Soundbridge on eBay for $125 in perfect condition. I loved it, but got an :apple:TV instead so that I could control it via the tv interface. But I liked the search capabilities on the Roku much better (until Apple fixes it...). And I think that you will need an external amp or powered speakers to use it.

notjustjay
Jun 20, 2007, 03:23 PM
I just sold a Roku Soundbridge on eBay for $125 in perfect condition. I loved it, but got an :apple:TV instead so that I could control it via the tv interface. But I liked the search capabilities on the Roku much better (until Apple fixes it...). And I think that you will need an external amp or powered speakers to use it.

Dang, I should have talked to you :) Is this what they go for on eBay nowadays?

Yeah, I'd use a set of computer speakers hidden up amongst the crown moulding.

The other advantage of having an iMac/iBook in the kitchen would be for storing recipes, checking email, etc.

danny_w
Jun 20, 2007, 03:45 PM
Dang, I should have talked to you :) Is this what they go for on eBay nowadays?

Yeah, I'd use a set of computer speakers hidden up amongst the crown moulding.

The other advantage of having an iMac/iBook in the kitchen would be for storing recipes, checking email, etc.
As I recall I paid $149 for it from Best Buy; they were supposed to be $199 but it was marked as $149 for some reason, and it rang up that way too so I bought it. Got most of my money back after 1+ years of use. I've seen them on eBay for anywhere from $75 to $200.

Keebler
Jun 20, 2007, 05:52 PM
well, i'd go the airport express way using speakers from audioengineusa.com. they have an ac outlet right on the back...connect the airport express...plug the speakers in, connect the stereo wire from express to speakers... BOOM....awesome sound.

only problem is that they are larger type of bookshelf speakers.

myself...i'm looking to wallmount a g5 imac in the kitchen for this purpose (and calendar, address book and recipe stuff). they should be cheaper if you can find one. i think only the 24" intel imacs can be mounted and that's slightly overkill (both in price and size) for my needs.

i plan to boost the ram as much as i can and add a 750 GB HD and giddy up.

there was a post about the ikitchen, but i have to run so i can't post. search in mac hardware i believe. very inspirational.

the main reason for my imac kitchen want/need is calendaring... if you have kids and both work.... oh..the scheduling needs will be plentiful! :)

good luck with whatever you do btw.
Cheers,
Keebler

notjustjay
Jun 21, 2007, 09:19 AM
As I recall I paid $149 for it from Best Buy; they were supposed to be $199 but it was marked as $149 for some reason, and it rang up that way too so I bought it. Got most of my money back after 1+ years of use. I've seen them on eBay for anywhere from $75 to $200.

Yeah, they sell here for $249 Cdn at Future Shop and Best Buy, plus in Ontario 14% total sales taxes on top of that. Even though the Canadian dollar is forecasted to be at par with the US dollar by the end of the year, we pay way too much for our electronics.

I think it may be time for a road trip.

volvoben
Jun 21, 2007, 12:38 PM
I'm sure space wouldn't allow this option, but I've never recommended any of the overpriced bull$&%# ipod dock options, I always recommend a $3 3.5mm-RCA adapter, a nice cheap stereo amplifier or receiver (Kenwood KR-7600 for instance, none of the modern black box junk) and some good used speakers. I have a KR-7600 with Boston Acoustics A60s and a Acoustic Research sub in the computer room and a Pioneer SX1250 in the living room with AR-3 speakers that I rebuilt with driver surrounds and a new crossover.

The entire system upstairs was had for about $125, speakers from a yard sale, receiver from ebay (shipping cost more than the unit itself, they didn't make 'em light back then). Had to use some contact cleaner on the pots on the receiver, but otherwise I put in no work, and it sounds ENORMOUSLY better than ANY little dinky plastic box with a few 3.5" drivers. The SX1250 downstairs is more expensive (and weighs like 80lbs), as are the AR3s, but they make a fantastic home theater system (I'm old school, I dislike surround sound). My audiophile father who helped me put these systems together is even impressed with the setup, even though he hates ANY compressed recordings. I can use an ipod at either location, and an also watch video on the tv downstairs with a $7 adapter.

My girlfriend still thinks i'm crazy (she also had to make diagrams to show which switches to throw to get different components to work (DVD player, TV, Ipod, Ipod with video), but she at least appreciates the great sound and convenience.

I guess i'll also note that if you use a linux or windows box as a server for your itunes you can just use firefly media to share your music to itunes, it's very convenient.

gnasher729
Jun 21, 2007, 12:45 PM
... and elsewhere in the house, too.

Suppose I have a server or NAS where my iTunes library will reside (still to be built, but anyhow). I want access to my iTunes to, say, provide music in the kitchen, or living room, etc.

Here are the options I am aware of:

* Put a Mac in the kitchen.
* AppleTV (but this would require an HDTV of some sort)
* AirPort Express (but this would still require a Mac elsewhere to control it)
* Stream over a PSP using various iTunes-RSS or iTunes-web tools
* Roku Soundbridge
* Logitech / Slim Devices Squeezebox
* SONOS or equivalent music server system

Most of these are expensive solutions. What system do you like, and what would be the best for someone on a budget?

You could try to buy a refurbished 30GB or 60GB iPod for (relatively) cheap. Or possibly a different MP3 player. Alternatively, a portable DVD player; most can play MP3 DVDs so you can put around 1000 songs on a DVD and play them.

notjustjay
Jun 21, 2007, 02:09 PM
I'm sure space wouldn't allow this option, but I've never recommended any of the overpriced bull$&%# ipod dock options, I always recommend a $3 3.5mm-RCA adapter, a nice cheap stereo amplifier or receiver (Kenwood KR-7600 for instance, none of the modern black box junk) and some good used speakers.

I've seen this sort of thing at garage sales, etc. It's a neat idea, but I doubt it would be practical in a kitchen environment for a variety of reasons, some of which you've already acknowledged. They would certainly take up a lot of space, and you probably wouldn't be able to get any kind of ideal placement. You'd also have to deal with all kinds of reflections from the many hard, rectilinear surfaces in a kitchen (counters, cabinets, tile floor, appliances) and finally, it would probably be way overkill to focus on high quality sound in an environment with such a high noise floor (cooking, running water, pots and pans, stove, hood fans, microwave, etc)!

Hard-Hat-Mac
Jun 21, 2007, 02:24 PM
I have installed this in my kitchen and it's made washing dishes and cooking very fun. I love how it sucks the iPod in and is completely out of the way.

Get it at bed bath and beyond and use one of their 20% coupons they send you every freaking week!

http://www.ihomeaudio.com/products.asp?product_id=10071&dept_id=1006

volvoben
Jun 21, 2007, 02:29 PM
I've seen this sort of thing at garage sales, etc. It's a neat idea, but I doubt it would be practical in a kitchen environment for a variety of reasons, some of which you've already acknowledged. They would certainly take up a lot of space, and you probably wouldn't be able to get any kind of ideal placement. You'd also have to deal with all kinds of reflections from the many hard, rectilinear surfaces in a kitchen (counters, cabinets, tile floor, appliances) and finally, it would probably be way overkill to focus on high quality sound in an environment with such a high noise floor (cooking, running water, pots and pans, stove, hood fans, microwave, etc)!

All good points, although it all depends on the kitchen itself. Mine is so small it's pretty much in my living room, so i can just use my main stereo, but if it was separate and still as small as it is it would be impossible.

I should note that my mother has a tivoli in the kitchen (she hates trying to mess with my father's 18 different stereos just to listen to npr) and it has very nice sound for a small room/kitchen. I'm pretty sure it has an aux input, and would make a great sounding alternative to the plastic ipod accessory toys. The model 1 is mono, but you probably wouldn't notice a difference in a kitchen, and it's $110 or something. the model 2 is stereo and is about $200, both very compact and beautiful.

EDIT: link for tivoli http://www.tivoliaudio.com/home.php?cat=262

Keebler
Jun 21, 2007, 03:44 PM
here's the thread on the ikitchen chat.

linky's to pictures within the few few msgs

keep us posted if you can :)

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=271195&highlight=ikitchen