Turn Your Old Phone Into a Complete Sound System


I haven’t had a real sound system in years. As soon as we gave up CDs, there didn’t seem to be much of a point anymore. Everyone in my house has their own devices with their own music, and if we ever want to listen to the same thing (rarely), someone just plugs their phone into the set of common speakers in the living room.

But even in an environment where everyone has constant access to their own personal content, it’s nice to occasionally share an experience. I’ve missed putting music on in the background while we eat, or sharing something new with those around me, so when I recently got a new Android phone (Galaxy Nexus), I decided to turn my next-to-worthless Droid X into a dedicated sound system.

Using a phone as a stereo is obviously not a new concept, but using one as a dedicated sound system is only now becoming practical for many people. Decent smartphones have been out long enough now that chances are you either have an extra one that isn’t worth anything anymore, or you probably will within the next year or so. I have a lot of phones and devices, but I think my Droid X is the first spare Android device I own that isn’t really worth selling, nobody else in my family wants, and that I haven’t come to completely hate (there are a lot of bad Android devices out there which I wouldn’t even want to use to stream music).

Fortunately, I’m not an audiophile, so I’m pretty happy with an underpowered and inexpensive setup. My “stereo” consists of the following:

  • An old deactivated Droid X.
  • The Droid X media dock.
  • A pair of old (but decent) computer speakers with a subwoofer.
  • A good wi-fi connection.
  • A few apps:
    • Pandora.
    • Google Music (giving us all access to my entire music collection).
    • Google Listen (for podcasts).
    • The NPR application (mostly for news).
    • An FM radio application (which I’ll probably never use, but that I feel like I should have installed anyway).

If it turns out we use the new setup frequently enough, I’ll probably get some better speakers (any suggestions?), but so far, an old phone, a good wi-fi connection, and a pair of previously disused Altec Lansing speakers are working out surprisingly well.

3 thoughts on “Turn Your Old Phone Into a Complete Sound System

  1. My guess is that you likely won’t use it often enough to shell out the bucks for better speakers. But if you do, bear in mind your limited to powered speakers, otherwise you need to invest in a receiver/amplifier.
    If you decide to go that route, I highly recommend the M-Audio Studiophile speakers. For the money, they are the best deal in my opinion.
    The best deal on these speakers is on Amazon. I tried to paste a link, but the form becomes disabled when I try :)


  2. And here I am, celebrating the intense vibrational changes I sense after switching from analog SPDIF to digital coax SPDIF :O
    Christian, you just must cough up $1,000 and grab a Logitech Z-5500 http://amzn.com/B0002WPSBC (you can demo them at Microcenter Warehouses), a SPDIF sound card (for, say, $50) and a SPDIF fibre optic cable ($3 – http://amzn.com/B0002MQGOK). You will hear such an amazing difference, I bet you’ll be as shocked as I was.


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