If you're always looking for the best way to rock out to your tunes—whether at home, in the car, or elsewhere—here are a few clever projects that take your music listening experience to the next level.
Photo by Marcus Vegas.
10. Make a Beach Stereo Out of a Cooler
If you're (rightfully) hesitant to subject your electronics to sand and water, you can make your own airtight beach stereo out of just a cooler, a car battery, and an old car stereo. Because you have the car battery inside you don't need to be anywhere near electricity to take advantage, making this project perfect for more than just the beach—any time you're too far from civilization to break out the A/C cord, this high-power stereo will keep you rocking all day long.
9. Turn a 1950s Radio into a Portable Stereo
Sure, you could go out and blow a hundred dollars on an iHome or similar MP3 dock, but if you've got the itch to build something yourself, there's nothing cooler than modding retro equipment for modern use. With just a speaker, a cheap amp, a battery, and a few other small pieces, you can build your own MP3 player-ready 1950s radio.
8. Modernise an Old Audio Cabinet with New Equipment
Continuing the retro theme, if you have an old audio cabinet that has seen better days, you can always gut it, throw in some new equipment, and separate yourself from all the identical, cheap IKEA audio cabinets filling your friends' living rooms. The nice thing about this project is that you have free reign over what goes in the cabinet—whether you just want to upgrade it to a record player that works, or throw a full-featured, high-tech media server in there for hours and hours of music playback. [Original Post]
7. Build Your Own Bicycle Stereo
There's nothing like playing some new tracks on a leisurely bike ride around town, but wearing headphones can be pretty dangerous on the road. Instead, you can build a fairly inexpensive MP3 stereo for your bike. All it takes is a battery operated T-amp, some speakers that fit within the bike frame, and your MP3 player of choice. If you don't trust the life of your batteries, you can always charge your devices with your pedaling, too.
6. Make an Ultimate Music-Playing Napping Pillow
If you find that listening to white noise or other sleep-inducing sounds, we've detailed how to use programs like previously mentioned Pizizz in conjunction with a speaker pillow to create the ultimate napping companion. With just a bit of software set-up, the MP3 player of your choice, and a measly $US20, you can kill that bout of insomnia with just a bit of digital audio magic. Of course, if you just prefer to listen to music as you drift of, you can use the pillow for that too.
5. Extend the Range of Your Stereo With a Wireless Music Player
Whether you're an AirPort Express owner looking to make your music portable or you just want a wireless stereo you can control from anywhere, we've featured numerous ways to build a Wi-Fi enabled music player. Depending on your specific needs, you may choose to build the portable model, the model you can control from your smartphone, or any combination of the them all. With the finished product, you'll be able to stream music from your MP3 player, your favourite desktop player, or even online radio like Shoutcast (even if you use an AirPort Express).
4. Add an Auxiliary Input to Your Car Stereo
If you have a car stereo that works great, but isn't quite from this decade, you can hack an auxiliary jack onto your car stereo with a pair of old headphones and some soldering chops. When you're done, you'll be able to play your MP3 player without the need for unreliable FM transmitters or other peripherals. While you're hacking around in your car, you might as well throw in a USB charging port for good measure—after all, that MP3 player needs to get its power somewhere.
3. Build Your Own Car Stereo with a Small Computer
Whether you're car stereo is too old to update yourself or it's just broken beyond repair, you can easily replace it with a small computer like a Mac Mini. You'll still need some experience with electronics, but it's hard to beat the cool factor of having a fully functional Mac running as your car stereo, and it affords you the option to add tons of other features, like GPS.
2. Make Your Own Altoids Tin Stereo Mixer
The hallmark feature of any good stereo is the ability to play from more than one input, so you can choose from what device you want to play music at any given time. If you don't feel like buying a full-fledged stereo or mixer, you can easily hack together a four-input mixer in an Altoids tin. No longer will you have to fiddle with cords; you can easily switch between your computer, iPod, radio, or any other device you have lying around.
1. Turn Your iPhone or iPod Touch Into a Multi-Room Wireless Music Remote
The iTunes Remote application has long been one of our favourites in the App Store, and if your wireless music set-up includes iTunes, it pretty much gives you free reign over your stereo from any room in the house. You can keep all your music on your computer, control it with your iPhone or iPod, and play music wirelessly to any number of speakers in the house.