I started to write something about the home technology I am using to listen to music, then realised it presupposes a lot of stuff that I haven’t shared in detail.
So before I write about where I am going, I’m going to write about where I am.
When Amazon Echoes started selling in the UK, I decided not to go for the echo, but for several Echo Dots instead. These are smaller, with not so good sound; but they are cheaper, and they can also broadcast via Bluetooth. So a Dot and a very good Bluetooth speaker could be cheaper and possibly better than a single Echo.
I’ve already mentioned the Pure Jongo – a range of Bluetooth devices that can play singly or synchronized with each other. Without going into too much detail, I ended up with a Dot and a Jongo device in the following rooms: Office, Lounge, Kitchen. Each Dot is paired to the device in its own room.
This means that in my office, I can say “Alexa, play David Bowie”, and Bowie will come out of the powered speakers in my office, my stereo in the lounge, and a speaker in the kitchen; so when I pop downstairs for a biscuit and a cuppa, my music is still playing. When I have finished working, I can tell the Office Dot to stop, and when downstairs, I can tell my Lounge Dot to connect, at which point the same speakers are playing, but the Lounge is in control. It works well for both music and listening to the radio.
This has been a great success, and jolly good fun, for the last 10 months that I’ve had this set up. I did also have a Dot/Jongo in the bedroom, I recently replaced it with an Echo, separate from the synchronized system. The Office/Lounge/Kitchen connection makes sense to me, but if I am playing music or Radio 4 in my bedroom, I am either going to bed or contemplating getting up – I don’t need to broadcast it across the house.
Because I can access my music all over the house, I am much more likely to listen to music (or the radio) while doing chores. It used to irritate me to be listening to something, then miss the end when I popped into another room; now I take it with me.
Which takes me to the next step. What I am getting out of Amazon is good music, and some of it is even *my* music, but it is not coming close to scratching the surface of my CD collection. The voice interface via Alexa means that I tend to call up stuff that is easy and simple to describe; while you can ask for a specific album, it may arbitrarily match it to a version of the album *not* on your playlist, and offer 1 minute samples instead.
I’m going to carry on using Amazon Music via Alexa. It is easy, and great for instant music. But I also need something more controllable, for me to play *my* music.
That leads us on to the post I was going to write…