FMD — How do you listen?

Listening to music has changed a lot over my lifetime, especially over the last 5-10 years. When I was a teen, we'd go to friends' houses, just to listen to music. We'd have a bunch of albums out and play music while we pored over the album covers, lyrics, and liner notes. When I was home I had a nice set up with headphones and a bean bag chair.

Walkmans, CDs, Napster, Ipods, Zune, streaming, phones, and now smart speakers have changed all that. My kids never had friends over to listen to music.

I really dug the .mp3 player and remember when the little Samsung device I picked up (and still have) played 125 songs. It was glorious. I have gone through many Ipods and still listen to one today as I really haven't downloaded music on to a I-phone. It makes me sad that that the I-pod is being phased out and when my current one eventually dies, that will probably be it. I also haven't invested in cordless speakers either as I no longer listen to music while biking or walking the dog, etc. Besides the I-pod, I listen at home via my Mac and Itunes via a nice Sony blue tooth sound system.

I've been thinking of signing up for Apple Music and just accessing music from my phone/watch lately which has gotten me nostalgic. So HOW do you consume music. Is it just through your phone and bluetooth speakers? Any other Ipod users still out there? Anyone gone completely old school and vinyl only?

46 thoughts on “FMD — How do you listen?”

  1. Off topic but I'm heading to Chicago this evening and man is there a lot of music to take in.

    Wrigley Field -- Jimmy Buffet tonight, Def Leppard/ Journey Saturday (kiddo lives 3 blocks from Wrigley -- we will try to stay far away)

    Taste of Chicago -- Black Star, Brandi Carlisle, Flaming Lips, George Clinton and P-Funk (I'm staying 3 blocks from Grant Park)

    Square Roots fest -- Matthew Sweet, Dream Syndicate, Handsome Family, Jayhawks (again 5 blocks from kiddo)

    Hope to catch Handsome Family and Jayhawks tomorrow and George Clinton on Sunday. Bummed I'm not getting in time to see Dream Syndicate or Matthew Sweet.

    Now let's hope the weather cooperates.

  2. I like the idea of an iPod, but having one device with the phone is too appealing. That said, I've got the high storage model, so I essentially have an iPod/Phone combination since my full digital library (≈72GB) is on there. Also with a phone, I can pew pew it over to speakers, car stereo, etc. I'm not so nostalgic for the days of lugging around a 100CD case in my backpack and springing for AAs all the time.

    1. I don't want the combined functionality. Mostly because if I ever used my phone for the things it's designed for (web browsing, apps), I'd never get away from that. By keeping those things to fixed desktops and the two iPads that I leave at home, I allow myself to unplug while still being available for calls/texts. I've got the iPod to just play music and bird noises. I've got the camera to take pictures. I want the phone to just text/call/do a few simple things like calculator and show me a (blank) calendar/be about 50% smaller than it is.

  3. Computer. I almost always listen on my computer.
    Also, I still burn actual CDs for my summer mixes, which I love because it forces me to pare down the list, which tends to make them better.
    I don't have and iPod or smartphone, so those aren't even options. I think someday I'd like the wireless home system where I can just tell it to play something, but I'm not there yet. Also, they need to make those systems respond to "Computer..." like in Star Trek. Once that happens I'll be more on board.

    1. Yeah, I don't want my computer to have a name. It feels creepy to me. If Majel Barrett was in charge of my music playlist I'd buy that system in a minute.

      1. I would have agreed with you at a different point in my life. But now I'm basically at home, at work, or in the vehicle. Anywhere else that I am tends to be with people that I'm engaging with, so listening to music wouldn't be the thing anyway.

  4. I listen through my phone on bluetooth earbuds when working out at the Y (Pandora, personal library) or the bluetooth soundbar with my PC while working (Pandora, Zune, YouTube, StreamingSoundtracks.com). Sometimes on a whim I'll stream through the 5.1 theater system upstairs.

    1. HEALTH - DEATH MAGIC: That was definitely outside of my usual. While I've been starting to get into more EDM (and this is not necessarily that), it hasn't been this kind.
      Daughter - If You Leave: <in progress>

      1. HEALTH has been fantastic since "USA BOYS" on DISCO 02 (which was otherwise remixes). Their stuff before that was ok to good, ymmv. DEATH MAGIC is their only album since. I wouldn't call it EDM, more Indie Arena Rock (like Japandroids), but with synths.

        1. Ahh, I figured Lord W. would know better than I. I glanced at the "Genre" section and read "EDM" instead of "EBM". Listening, I didn't think "EDM" made sense, but went with it. Seeing what "EBM" is, that makes way more sense. Hey, learned another new thing.

          I struggled to describe it after a cursory listen because there were so many different things going on (both at work and on the album).

  5. I have an 80 GB iPod, received as a gift from my wife in 2005, on a docked speaker at work. The music doesn't get updated very often, but mostly because the home laptop is a friggin' nightmare* and my CD's have been ripped to an external hard drive as the library for my iTunes (...and I'm lazy/too busy). I have it on most days as "background noise" - randomly rotating through the 13k songs - and use it fairly regularly for my FMD lists.

    At home, we generally listen on a portable speaker - Bluetooth connected to our phones; mostly Pandora (random) and YouTube (specific requests), and sometimes Spotify. I also plug my phone into stereo set-ups in our bedroom and in the basement (auxiliary cords plugged into a receiver) if I want better sound (Bose bookshelf speakers circa-1998 upstairs and Infinity tower speakers in the basement). The basement also has an old(ish) Sony 200-disc changer which is about 1/3 full. The rest of my CD's are still in 100-disc books or in their jewel cases on bookshelves. Much of my CD listening is done in the car and I still buy albums in this format.** I also have a turntable, but it's missing the cartridge and stylus and isn't connected to the receiver. Also have about 30, second-hand records - mostly hand-me-downs from parents & grandparents(!) with a few Goodwill purchases thrown in.

    I'd like to have more on my smartphone, but I don't want to pay for the storage or data.

    * SelectShow
    ** SelectShow
  6. 1. Purple Penguin “Raw Deal (Radio Mix)” Raw Deal EP
    2. Raekwon “North Star (Jewels)” Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
    3. Black Dice “Kokomo” Load Blown
    4. Stan Getz & João Gilberto “Corvocado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)” Getz/Gilberto
    5. Eric Copeland “Big Wheel” Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect

    6. Santogold* vs. Diplo “L.E.S. Artistes (XXXchange Mix ft. Movado)” Top Ranking*
        a. Rose-breasted Grosbeak “Soft Song” (Cornell Master Set)
    7. Vampire Weekend “Holiday” Contra
    8. Mazzy Star “Fade Into You” So Tonight That I Might See
    9. Frank Black “Freedom Rock”* Teenager of the Year
        b. Eastern Meadowlark “Song” (Cornell Essential Set)
    T. Peaking Lights “Hey Sparrow (Patten Remix)” 936 Remixes
    E. HEALTH “NEW COKE” DEATH MAGIC

    *Notes:
    6. Now "Santigold". Top Ranking is a digital "mixtape" that I hoped would be more like M.I.A. vs Diplo's Piracy Funds Terrorism. Now, 10+ years later, I've listened to Top Ranking way more than PFT, but that might be that PFT came out before I had an iPod or used iTunes.

    9. "They tried to give me advice / Down at the record shop
    I said sit down boys / This may come as a shock
    What's all I listen to... "

      1. I don't know that I like Bossa, I just like João Gilberto. Getz just works as a translator to American tastes.
        A lot of these songs were on his (second) eponymous album, in stripped-down and fully Portuguese versions, and I like them there just as much (if not more).

  7. When my iPod dies, I will pay a premium for a working old one.
    I have the 16MB nano, and I love the small size: 3 1/2" x 1 3/8" x 1/4 ".
    Like hell I'm going to buy a full-sized phone with touch-screen controls.

    We bought a new (used) minivan and it has a USB port that allows me to use the van's controls to control the iPod. Only it takes like 3 seconds to skip tracks. "Reading information... ... ...". Not worth it... back to "aux" and direct control of the iPod.
    Reminds me of when cable moved from analog to digital. Used to be able to scan through all the channels over a few seconds.

    1. When my iPod does give up the ghost, would someone be able to make me an mp3 player out of one of those mini-computers they have now? (the name "Raspberry Pi" comes to mind)
      Just a big flash drive (I have camera cards bigger than my iPod... maybe use the cards as the storage for the music files), and a lite program like the old WinAmp, a small LCD display, 1/8" stereo output jack, USB port for charging, and a couple of physical buttons for navigating and volume? I doubt I could get it into as neat a package as my iPod, but that's less a concern. Size of a deck of cards or a cassette case would be OK.

  8. 1. If All Else FailsMy Morning Jacket
    2. Rock & Roll BandBoston
    3. Out Of My Head (feat. Trey Songz)Lupe Fiasco
    4. ElectioneeringRadiohead
    5. I’m Nobody’s BabyBea Wain

    6. Sun It RisesFleet Foxes
    7. The FonzSmash Mouth
    8. FactoryBand of Horses
    9. Railroad BluesBeastie Boys
    10. Just Another DayJohn Mellencamp

    Bonus. Gansta’s Fairytale 2Ice Cube

    1. Re: Bonus: not my fave of the album, but my favorite album from Cube.
      The end of side 1 (I first heard it on cassette): "Today Was a Good Day" then "We Had to Tear This... Up" was such a fakeout-gutpunch. The latter was produced by top-form DJ Muggs (also: Cypress Hill, "Jump Around").
      Add in the fantastic opener "When Will They Shoot?", which feels so dense it could have almost been the album by itself, and the final two tracks "Who Got the Camera?" and "Say Hi to the Bad Guy", I think this brought to my rural white-kid ears in South Central (MN) a better picture of what things were like than The Chronic or ... [list of post-riot hip-hop songs and albums missing from my brain right now].

  9. I stream from Tidal to my Marantz 6011 to play on my Martin Logan 60XTs. I've brought that up before, but I'm always happy to have an excuse. I also have a Denon 300 turntable and about thirty albums, but there's an issue with the cartridge that I need to address, because I'm getting static out of one speaker (I initially thought the speaker was blown, which would have been a loads bigger problem).

    The best thing I heard this week, or most weeks, was a cover of Black Sabbath's "Changes" by Charles Bradley. Another audiophile from work alerted me to it. I only heard it the one time so far and it hasn't left me since. It's heartbreaking.

  10. Most of my music listening is done at work. I have a set of Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones that I hook up to my docking station. I mostly listen to things out of Spotify, but have iTunes installed here for a handful of things, and will occasionally stream from Bandcamp. They are wireless headphones, so if there's something I only have on my phone, I will sync them to phone via Bluetooth.

    I have an iPod/iPhone function in my car, so when I listen to things there, it's via USB hooked to my phone.

    I rarely listen to music at home anymore, but if I do, I will stream via Spotify on my PS4 or Xbox One through my soundbar. I have a cheapo Bluetooth speaker in the bathroom if I wanna listen to things while I shower. I have like a half dozen nice sets of headphones that I do not use because I rarely sit at my desktop PC anymore.

    1. Snap! I didn't know you had such legit headphones. Right now I'm obsessing over a pair of either B&Ws or Sennheisers. Sennheiser is probably my slight lean, and on top of that, they've sweetened the pot with a ludicrous employee accommodation.

      1. I've spent... a lot more money that I'd like to admit on headphones over the years, haha!

        I have three sets of Senneheisers; a set of HD-580s I bought with Christmas money in 1999 (because 600s were out of my price range!), a set of HD-598s I got for a stupidly cheap price from Amazon Warehouse Deals a few years back, and a set of Momentum on-ear headphones that I bought when I was in college. The 580s are still the most comfortable headphones I've ever used, but I don't really have many opportunities to listen with open headphones.

        My favorite headphones I have are Denon D1000s I bought with an overtime check years ago. I'd always wanted to upgrade to a set of 2000s or 5000s, but they stopped making them some years ago. Fostex sells an extremely similar headphone through Massdrop today (TR-X00) and I'd planned on buying them when I got my first paycheck from my new job last fall. Someone on a forum I post on listed the P7s at an incredibly good price, and after some research I jumped on those. I figured if I didn't love them, I could probably get my money back and get the Fostex set. I absolutely love them. They have a pretty high clamping force, but the sound is great, and they're comfortable to wear all day. I have a huge head + glasses, so it's hard for me to find a lot of comfortable headphones, but these ones are great.

    2. One of my favorite things about the future is Bluetooth in cars. Listening to something with headphones then having it automatically trade over to the car speakers once you hop in is awesome.

      P.S. if you want to have a headphone garage sale, let me know.

      1. I like the thought of Bluetooth in the car, but I'm never in the car long enough, and I've found that the volume level has to be cranked quite a bit in the car to match radio volumes (my daughter's car is the same way). Something is not normalized either in the phone or the car.

  11. Most often, I end up streaming Spotify in the car. At one time, the majority of my music listening came on the computer as I'd surf the web or whatever, but that's largely gone by the wayside.

    Linds and I will often stream music to our soundbar when we're hanging out at home. Newbish enjoys that a lot.

    I still do try to sit in the recliner once a week and deep listen to something all the way through on my Bose headphones, as that's probably the "best" way that I listen to music, but more often than not, that ends with me falling asleep halfway through the album.

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