Music in the kitchen

I don't really have the luxury of using one Android smartphone or tablet all the time, but my usage cases don't really change. And one habit I've gotten into is listening to music or the radio while cooking. The kitchen's a precarious place to do that, what with all the heat, oil, water and lord knows what else flying around (never mind the knives.)

I've got my electronic footprint pretty much out of the danger zone, choosing to park my devices between the fridge and the sink. Sure, there's the real possibility of water damage. But for some reason that seems the lesser of two evils when I think about hot oil splashing onto a touchscreen.

So what do I use? Tablet, phone -- whatever's charged, really. Google Music for music, or Tune In Radio if I want local radio. For playback, I've got a Supertooth Disco speaker. Love the thing, but you'll notice I'm plugged in here. Bluetooth works OK (and if I used it more, it'd mean I can keep the tablet away from the sink), but sometimes I'm just lazy and plug the thing in. It's nice to have that choice. If you'll allow a bit of gushing over the speaker -- wow. It's not cheap -- a little more than $100 -- but for its size, it sounds great, and it pumps out 28 watts. You can also unplug it from the wall and run from the internal, rechargeable battery. Noyce.

I'm not sure if all this the food taste any better, but it sure is more fun to make.


Reader comments

How I do it: Listenin' in the kitchen


Built in speaker on my Optimus S rocks pretty well


When I really need to rock I have a pair of m-audio studio monitors

lol i wouldnt really consider using one android device all the time a "luxury"

id consider using multiple and new devices all the time the luxury!


I'm fond of:

Jango for both my created stations and their pre-fab ones
WinAmp for accessing Soma feeds
DI for accessing Digitally Imported

And yes, online music really makes cooking much more enjoyable. :)

good post... you should make this a regular segment... How I do it.... has a nice ring to it, don't you think? you could tell us other ways you use your Android devices in everyday life

I just wish android devices could play audio and charge through the same cable like the iPhone. Not trying to troll, just venting a little.

Um am I missing something? Cant you plug you're android device into a computer via usb, mount the micro sd card & play the music while it's charging over usb?

I guess apple devices do this better, but I think it's just a lack of good audio accessories not the lack of good android devices.

I don't think he had a computer in mind with that comment... There's countless iPod & iPhone docks that charge and interact with the device thru the same proprietary 40-pin connector. AFAIK there's no standard for doing the same thing over micro-USB... It'd probably require mounting the phone's storage and might be more expensive or complicated (or it might not work with every device/skin).

In that regard you could say Apple's integrated approach does have an advantage, at least for the average consumer who's bothered by having to plug in two cables instead of one (aux + charge) and/or doesn't wanna go the Bluetooth route (which does add to the cost). Of course the dark side to Apple's approach, or down side if you will, it's that it's a proprietary connection and that has several implications...

First off, every device that uses said connection has paid licensing fees to Apple, which adds to the cost. Second, Apple can and has changed the spec for the connector in the past, making older docks and accessories incompatible and obsolete. They did it once when they moved from Firewire to USB (pre-iPhone) and they did it a second time not so long ago when they decided to force extra security checks on the connector.

That may not sound like the end of the world when you're talking $50-100 docks, but when you're talking $500 integrated audio systems in a car, it's a pretty big deal. The iPhone's entire audio library is encrypted, which is why you can't drag and drop to it and why compatibility with 3rd party sync software is always breaking.

Owning an iPod touch made me appreciate a few things about iOS, but more than anything it made me run like heck from their closed ecosystem. It's fine for some people, maybe even easier to use in a simpler or more elegant way (Steve's), but not for me. I can deal with two wires or a BT bridge, tyvm. ;)

how do these speakers rate on a scale of 1-10? are there any speakers that are far better?

any idea what Phil means when he says that Bluetooth is just okay?

His devices DSP audio processing is better than that of the Bluetooth speakers. Its one less step for the audio to go through.

That speaker above looks exactly like my Blue Ant M1, if its anything like it it's awesome! Had mine for almost 2 years, can no longer find them.

I have the Blue Ant M1 and it does look exactly the same. Compared to a friends Logitech, this wins hands down, not even a fair competition!

I agree, the M1 sounds great! Big sound from it, always turns head everywhere I take it. The Bluetooth part allows me to show off even more.

Nice article, I'll echo the sentiment that it'd make a good series, with one caveat... It'd have to be less product oriented and more solution oriented, i.e. a couple of alternatives would round it out and make it a great article.

Personally i think that buying a set of Bluetooth speakers is silly, no matter how decent they sound. The vast majority of the time they're plastic (not even good plastic) and they're overcharging you for the BT functionality, meaning you could get better sounding speakers (and/or more portable ones) for the same amount of money.

Instead I'd argue that a Bluetooth bridge like the one I'm linking below is a more versatile solution. It may seem pricey at $40 but it has a built in battery which means you can pair it with anything from your $20 throwaway portable speakers to your home stereo. It's got pretty good range and it charges over USB (or you can just leave it plugged in too). Highly recommended, I've bought a couple as gifts after I got mine, it's just got so many uses... Heck you can even use it with headphones to turn any pair into a wireless set so they're not tethered to your tablet/phone, the bridge is so small it easily slips into a shirt pocket.

For the price, you can pair it with a $50 portable Loitech dock or a $150 pair of powered bookshelves (real wood speakers) and it'll still be cheaper and better sounding than most integrated alternatives.

To my ears, the sound quality of this bridge or even my car's Bluetooth is more than fine... On my car I notice a slight dropoff in bass (fixable w/EQ), but I doubt you'd notice the difference vs a cheapie 3.5mm aux cable in the type of enviroment that you'd use this. If you're an audiophile you'll probably have a Sonos at home or a similar high end solution.

For something more low end but also more protective of the phone I've also got the perfect budget soluton:

It's $10 so you don't need to worry about killing it, though i've had mine for a couple of years and I take it to the beach all the time and it's still trucking on... It's large enough to fit phones as large as the EVO (sans case), runs off two AAs and it'll easily last you a day at the beach, and it probably sounds as good as some of the overpriced $40 docks out there. You can even find it at Best Buy for $10 (shocking, I know).

P.S. Does AC ever recruit new writers? :p

"Nice article, I'll echo the sentiment that it'd make a good series, with one caveat... It'd have to be less product oriented and more solution oriented"

but then you go ahead and plug a few products. Nice.

I like Phil's article just the way it is. I like hearing recommended products that work for them. I also am just as happy plugging in the head phone jack as bluetooth.

Thanks Phil. and I like it as a series... How I do it...

Thanks for quoting me out of context, immediately after that I stated that giving alternatives would make it a more complete article, and that's all I did... Proposed two alternate, and cheaper, solutions. How else would you propose I do it than by plugging other products? If the article were about anything else maybe, but it IS about hardware at it's basis.

There's a difference between plugging ONE product, as they did, and mentioning several as alternate options to a problem, letting the reader choose the most apropiate. Nothing wrong with either approach, though.

Actually, here's a software solution... If you have an actual computer with speakers nearby you can use your tablet or phone as a remote with a variety of apps (usually over Wifi) like fooDroid (if you use foobar on your PC), etc. For those of us with an HTPC and/or decent speakers near our PC, it's a cheap alternative that's still as powerful as a pricey Sonos system or something similar.

Veho 360 for approximately $30.

Good battery life, small, decent sound, no volume control, so you control volume from device

Yes agree, Tunein Radio makes for a great widget on the screen, and its vast selection of stations makes it one of the best radio apps in the Android Market. Might I also sugggest Radio? Pretty cool selection of musical genres they have over there. I dig their New Age station. :)

Why not just get a SONOS. This all seems like a big pain in the butt. You can just use your android as a controller and battery won't be a problem. It will sound a lot better to.