While there are still hundreds of CD players available more and more people have digital music, even if, like me, they buy a CD then rip the tracks onto a computer. Having all, or a large portion of your music collection in your hand isn’t a new idea but recent advances have made accessing it so much more than just plugging in headphones.
No more sitting intimately close to your CD player, having to remember not to move too far for fear of yanking your equipment off the shelf or your ears off your head; no more long extension leads trailing across your living room ready to trip up your unsuspecting nearest and dearest. No, now technologies like Airplay, DLNA and Bluetooth enable quick and simple wireless connections between phones, PCs and speakers and Near Field Communication technology lets phones like recent Sony and Samsung models connect to an output device or share a playlist with a simple tap.
Add into this phone and tablet apps that can remotely stream from or control a computer, or a dedicated media streamer and you can access your whole library of digital music and films at the touch of a screen, through your hi-fi or TV.
The device I use can also form the basis of a portable, rechargeable Bluetooth speaker that only cost me in total £20. The receiver pictured above automatically pairs with my phone when I switch the Bluetooth on and I can play music either on the portable speakers or on either of my CD players or car stereo via the aux inputs. The most impressive thing though is being able to pair it with my laptop, set up a remote control of either VLC media player or Windows Media Player via WiFi from my phone and play music from my collection via Bluetooth back to my hi-fi in the living room. It may not be as seamless as Airplay but considering the variety of hardware it still “just works” and the sound quality is fantastic despite the music being beamed here, there and everywhere before hitting my ears.