Wireless streaming from PC to stereo- how?

What are my options for wireless streaming of music from my laptop to my stereo?

Currently I have a PC laptop, wireless router for internet access, and a stereo (with usb slot if that is relevant). My music files are all on the laptop in ogg format - What do I need to get them playing out the stereo, wirelessly?

I’m not looking to set up anything super high quality - simple sending of audio to the stereo is fine.

A wi-fi radio or receiver. There are dozens of them out there. If you have a fancy stereo already, find a unit that can output to it via RCA or whatever. If not, any ol’ wi-fi radio with a built-in speaker should work.

Or Bluetooth.

Last time I looked into this Bluetooth didn’t have sufficient bandwidth for high fidelity stereo audio.

A Squeezebox setup can do this. It can also stream internet sources such as Pandora or internet radio when your computer is off (but your router still on). You can select your music from the server PC, from the Squeezebox, or over the internet from another PC. I think there is an iPhone app for controlling it also.

I’d use this as an excuse to get into GNU Radio. But then, I’m strange.

It might be worthwhile to look into software-defined radios in general.

If you just want to “stream” an audio signal, you could just attach an FM transmitter to the computer.

Of course, this may be inconvenient if your stereo is in a different room from the computer, and you want to control the music playback from where the stereo is.

We have a couple of Apple Airport Expresses around the house. They’re good but maybe not want you want as they require itunes. They use either an existing wireless network in the house or a direct wireless connection between computer and Airport.

Linksys WMB54G Wireless G-music bridge is one option for about $100.

Well actually $59 for a used one. Ebay probably has more.

It doesn’t force you to use any special software. You can play your mp3 with GOM, Media Player or whatever else you like.


forum posting that discusses wireless hi fi. A little old. It’s dated 2006. The linksys option came from this posting.

I’ve started reading reviews on squeezebox. very, very impressive.
I may buy one myself. :wink:

One big plus is you can play flac on your pc. Squeezebox connects that into your hi fi receiver. Flac is totally loss less. It’s just like listening to the original cd. You may lose a little fidelity in the wireless connection. <shrug> Still it beats the heck out of those tiny laptop speakers.

Man, I love the straight dope. I would have never, ever known about this product. I was just about ready to purchase a Yamaha receiver that plays mp3’s from a usb thumb drive. What I REALLY needed is something like Squeezebox. I’ve already got a high end stereo collecting dust because I don’t play cd’s anymore. Wi fi stereo will breath new life into it.

Oh yeah, one big question.

Is there any charge for using the squeezebox web site (mysqueezebox.com) for the streaming internet radio?

You know, for $200, Squeezebox is a very expensive wifi radio. What makes it so special?

For that price you could buy an iPod Touch or used Android phone and do all the same things and more, though you are limited to a 3.5" minijack.

For me, being able to play a loss less format (flac is only one of several options) is important.

I’d have major issues playing mp3’s through a $700 or more set of speakers. It’s so easy to burn out the tweeters. Any hiss or high end junk will fry them. I’ve had the same speakers since the late 70’s. I’ve been very careful with the size of my integrated amp and the volume. I’ve never blown a woofer or tweeter. Knock on wood. :wink:

Right now my hi end system is collecting dust. I never used the FM tuner much anyhow. The local stations here suck. I have a cd changer with a cartridge for five cd’s. But, cd’s are such a hassle when you’ve already ripped them to your hard drive. I haven’t turned my system on more than six times in the past year. I used it every day last Christmas for about a week playing holiday music.

I haven’t ordered squeezebox yet. I want to check out the specs (signal to noise for one thing) wireless transmission creates. Squeezebox plugs directly into the amp. So the only loss is the wi fi transfer.

What scr4 said.

Several years ago I built an awesome FM broadcaster from this kit from Ramsey Electronics. The signal is strong enough that I can still pick it up in my car down the block.

Back when mp3 players still sucked, I had a armband FM radio I would use while working in the yard or relaxing in the hammock, and I would cue up hours of great music on my computer and broadcast away, listening as I worked in the yard. These days a Shuffle does that job more conveniently.

I don’t use the transmitter much now, but whenever we have lots of people in the house and I want to play some light jazz or classical music throughout the house, out comes the FM broadcaster. I hook it up to my computer with iTunes playing whatever I want, and then I can tune in FM receivers in every room of the house to get a “all over” effect quite inexpensively.

The sound is good, but I can’t imagine a true audiophile would tune in to my station.

If the stereo is connected to your TV, an Apple TV would be another option. (Being near the TV isn’t required, but the GUI would be handy.) It’s $99.

Yeah, the Squeezebox doesn’t do anything that I couldn’t do with a netbook. In fact, I used a netbook for this before. The Squeezebox just makes it so much easier to do. I’d never go back to using the netbook.

I actually have the Squeezebox Boom with built-in speakers, but it has line-out capability so I can connect it to my stereo (though I have it connected to a powered subwoofer right now as it also has a built-in crossover).

And the use of mysqueezebox.com is free.

Makes sense, I suppose. If I actually listened to internet radio regularly, having a dedicated device designed for it would probably make life easier.

The squeezebox protocol and software are open source, so you can even run it on your netbook (or desktop) and use the same interface to control them.

You can even synchronize multiple clients so they always play the same songs.

I’ve got all my CDs ripped onto a squeezecenter server, with several computers running the squeezebox software, and hardware squeezebox clients (I even have a slimp3 that still works).

They can all play any of my music or internet streaming radio.

FWIW, it is unlikely that you can tell the difference between lossless encoding and good MP3 (eg. VBR around 200kbps). If you believe you can, you should try an ABX test and report back. I am skeptical that the minute differences between MP3 and CD could burn out your tweeters, when vinyl records have significant hissing and other noise and are presumably fine.

Thanks all for the replies - looks like a few ways to do it. I had discounted the airport express because of the itunes / ogg compatibility, but it looks like a program called airfoil allows non itunes access to the airport? Could be a reasonably priced solution.