Music for Teenagers and Younger
I was talking to a client and she asked about playing music in a bedroom, her daughter’s. I quickly jumped into my “standard” answer – many times delivered – which starts with kit like the Sonos Play 1 and rapidly moves into the ranges of more expensive units.
“Hold on”, says clients, “she’s only nine – that’s way over the top”. I had to admit it is, most parents would want something pretty low cost and robust for a sub-teenager. I’d guess kids of that age would be more impressed with a logo of their favourite band or music hero than they would the visual imprint of top flight hi-fi.
So when I was browsing through the Staples catalogue I thought back to that conversation when I saw this, mydlink Home Music Everywhere “a revolutionary device that will transform the way you listen to music, breathe new life into your old hi-fi speakers while simultaneously acting as a Wi-Fi range extender”. Wow, all that for a mere £45 (£32 on Amazon).
Some years back, when we first moved into The Hutch (an office in our back garden) I put in something similar from Apple. Being from Cupertino it was closer to the £100 mark and did pretty much the same. People criticised these units only lasted a year then they blew up. Mine lasted just a day or too longer than the warranty they expired, not even in a puff of smoke.
I digress, this is a unit that simply slots into a standard plug socket. It has one of those small jack plugs into which you plug a cable, the other end of which goes into any powered speaker. These can range from a cheap set of powered speakers such as you often get with a new PC or you can buy some from Amazon for around £10.
If the end user isn’t under ten, and appreciates better sound, then you could indeed “breathe new life” into an older unit or you can of course push the boat out and invest in better speakers. Personally I love the Soundsticks, fell in love with them when I saw them in MOMA New York. This unit also has the advantage of being able to boost your Wi-Fi and that can be brilliant in better built properties where the walls are pretty thick. Cue another digression.
If you do need to bump up your Wi-Fi there are two approaches with considering. One if a Powerplug solution, these are normally sold in pairs. The first physically connects to your router using an ethernet cable and you then plug that into your nearest 13 amp plug. The first unit picks up your internet signal and sends it over your domestic power circuit to the far away socket into which you’ve plugged the second unit. The function of the second device is to receive the broadband signal and then broadcast that to any iPads, laptops, iPhones etc within range. I think Powerline is limited by the length of wiring you have so it should reach pretty much anywhere in your house, assuming its all on the same ring main.
This mydlink unit (and there are others in the same technical space) act like a radio signal receiving unit on one side, and a signal broadcaster / repeater on the other. It may be obvious to you that for this to work the unit has to be in the range of your wi-fi router. If you have a room that can’t receive a signal from your router siting this type of unit in that room won’t help you – if your laptop doesn’t work this this won’t either. You need to put this just within the edge of the range of your wi-fi, and then this will extend your signal (hopefully) into that part of your house where it’s needed.
I have made this mistake myself, before I discovered the Powerline units we now use to extend broadband into the office.
Quick final thought on what you use to listen to music. Technically you could plug a set of headphones into these. On second thoughts, 13 amps and tiny cables hard wired to your favourite offspring? No, me neither. So I looked around a bit more on Amazon thinking I’d be able to fine a “1Direction” or Spice Girls endorsed set of speakers. Probably looking in the wrong place, maybe eBay would be better, but I did come across Konig Andy who looked rather fun, in green, blue, black and pink. Before you write in I do appreciate boys might like pink as much as girls go for blue.