How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Enjoy Your Music on the Go?

You’re on the move but your home stereo system isn’t–thankfully you’ve got the right gear to keep the tunes flowing while you’re away from home. This week we’re interested in hearing about how you enjoy your music away from home.

Whether you’re using a streaming service that syncs your playlists, a great app to import your iTunes library to your Android phone, or any other number of techno-savvy ways to never find yourself without an appropriate soundtrack, we want to hear about it.

Sound off in the comments with your mobile music workflow and check back in on Friday for the What You Said roundup. (Note: Given the wide variety of mobile devices out there, if you tell us that you use the ABC-123a it would help your fellow readers a lot if you included a little note indicating that it was an Android-based phone or stand-alone MP3 player you were talking about!)

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/8/12

Comments (60)

  1. Brian

    Google Music – Galaxy Nexus. All my music…everywhere. With 4G / WiFi it’s nearly flawless IMHO.

  2. r

    I enjoy it uncompresses & through a pair of Sony MDR-7506

  3. Craig S

    Zune Pass: Windows Phone, Windows desktop and laptop, any browser at Unlimited downloading and streaming: synced playlists

    There’s not much more I need to say

  4. Steve-O-Rama

    On the road, I typically attach my Android smart phone to my in-dash receiver, via a simple 3.5 mm headphone cord. It’s just a cheap JVC, but bless whomever decided to install that jack on the front of my stereo! Now I’m only limited by the size of the Android’s microSD card, or the number of microSD cards I want to carry with me. Kinda fun, telling friends to bring any music they want to hear on a microSD card (or I can swap in the one from their phone), but they can also Dropbox/Skydrive/Google Drive the music files, and I’ll play it from there, as well.

    That said, this only works well if I either stick to cities and interstate highways (for a good 3G signal), or if I download the files to my Android before leaving. There are many places in BFE Michigan, where the signal isn’t nearly good enough to download music files, and voice conversations are fragmented at best.

  5. thegeekkid

    I occasionally use Pandora, but when it’s just for my personal listening I use my android phone with the built in music player, and Bose headphones (as an audio engineer, I will never touch those awful headphones called beats). When I’m doing a gig, I use a variety of different computer programs listed below:
    When working for any event where I have to cue music, sound effects, etc; but don’t have a continuous playlist (such as cuing backing tracks for theater groups), I use either WinAmp or Multiplay. WinAmp for a basic playlist is all I need, and is much more tried and proven than Multiplay (and I like the GUI better). If I need hot keys, need to adjust volume as I’m using the playlist (for the next performance, etc.) I use Multiplay. It is getting better and better over the years (I believe they come out with a new version each month), it is a portable app (unlike WinAmp), and is starting to be as stable as the other options out there. In the past it wasn’t extremely stable. I will just mention too for audio editing, the best open source program is Audacity (but I’m sure everyone has already seen and used that).

    When I have a continus playlist (such as if I DJ… which is not very often… just for friends since I do not like DJing) I use WinAmp with an extra plug in for automatically crossfading between decks. (WinAmp Auto Crossfader or WACF for short)

    Just my input as an audio engineer. ;)

  6. Jon

    I use Spotify on the iPhone.

  7. LadyFitzgerald

    I have most of my CDs ripped to high quality mp3s on my computers (it’s a slow, ongoing process since I’m anal and also scan the album “jackets”). When I’m on the road, I keep roughly 30 hours of mp3s in my truck on CDs in its 6 CD changer; my next truck will have a USB port that will allow me to keep way more tunes on a mini USB stick. Now that I have a notebook instead of the netbooks I used to travel with, I keep all my tunes on it and can listen to them using a USB sound bar to bypass the ridiculous built in speakers (the sound bar isn’t great but it’s compact and sounds way better than the notebook’s horrible speakers).

    I haven’t felt a need for a portable music player, like an iPod (not that I would ever buy or use an Apple product), so far. Being a flatulent geriatric, I grew up without being connected 24/7 to an electronic umbilical cord and see no need for one now. Sometimes, silence is golden.

  8. Daniel


  9. Grant

    I use a Cowon D2+ and the Ogg Vorbis codec for a bit better audio quality through Sony professional line MDR-7506 headphones. For podcasts (TWiT, Car Talk), though, I use Google Listen on my Galaxy Nexus. For music I prefer the quality. For podcasts, having a network connection so that it updates itself is worth the loss in quality, and it is just news or entertainment, and not music anyway.

  10. Matthew Peyton

    I use MP3 320 for music on my iPod touch 8GB (played using Panamp). On my HP TouchPad 32GB, I use a combination of MP3 320 and FLAC (played using the Apollo music app on CM9).

  11. Mohan

    98% of my music are Amazon MP3 that I enjoy in my car via my Galaxy Player 3.6.

  12. TomSr

    I use Audiogalaxy to stream my home music to my Android and iOS devices.

  13. tr

    I have a few ways to listen to music on the go. outside of listening to the radio i keep my phone connected via Aux. input and use either Pandora, Amazon MP3 or Audiogalaxy.

    I love having the option to stream a personalized radio station (pandora) when i’m in the mood for just listening a wider variety of music.

    I’ve been buying my music through Amazon MP3 as of late which is great since anything you buy digital through them is put in unlimited storage. so i can access all of them though the app.

    Audiogalaxy is by far my favorite though. it allows me to stream all my music from my online media pc at home (which i also download my purchases from Amazon to). i love having access to everything i own practically anywhere i am. This also allows you to listen to your music through a browser as well.

  14. Mordalo

    I’ve got a 16GB Sony Walkman, loaded with 320kbs MP3 files.
    Earphones vary, alas. I do have a good set of cans, but don’t bring them with me (size is a factor). I found an amazing set of Phillips in-ear ‘phones that have good sound that I use quite frequently.

  15. LD

    I have a 45 minute commute each way. I stream Google Music from my android through bluetooth, but I hit my 3gig soft limit every month.

    While at work I still stream google music through my beats audio headset (birthday present from my wife).

  16. Wendell Favacho

    I use a Dell XPS – with built in jbl speakers and a Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones.

  17. Racspur

    All my portable devices use Bluetooth … Truck radio, Headsets, Portable Speakers . No Wires Allowed !!!

  18. Jonathan

    For those days I’d want to keep my entire collection with me:
    120GB iPod classic -> FiiO E1 -> AKG K240 Studio

    For the days when i need to travel light:
    Motorola Droid 3 (with Poweramp) -> AKG K240 Studio

    Also, I avoid iTunes like the plague, so I use a bunch of different applications.
    Zune to listen to music, foobar2000 for tagging and conversion and SharePod for syncing my iPod.

  19. jammmrowwwl


  20. xana452

    Default Android music player and Skullcandy earbuds on my Motorola Droid.

  21. Martin

    I have an actual zune. Tje original brown one. And a zune pass.

  22. Tudor Rusu

    ipod nano + beats by dre studio hd = perfect combination

  23. Westie

    It’s free, has apps for both Android i O S.
    Also allows bit rate control based on connection type.

  24. MduMad

    I have most if my favorite tunes on my IPhone 4 32Gb.About 12Gb of music so I’m never without a soundtrack wherever I’m at.Headphone wise I use a simple Samsung in-ear headphone connected to my phone via a Sony Ericsson MH-100 Bluetooth adapter.I carry these with me all the time.

  25. MEElahi

    Upto 320 kbps music, my Dell XPS15 or Lumia 900 through a Fiio E6, and Audio Technica ATH-M50. I don’t use any streaming service, just occasional Spotify for discovering new music. Media player of choice is good old Windows Media Player for it’s superior “Now Playing”, but Zune also is in the scenery after starting to use Windows Phone. Use YouTube to listen to music I tagged using Soundhound/Shazam/Bing music search.

  26. TheFu

    3 different ways.
    * Creative Zen Vision:M 60G player when out and about and weight doesn’t matter
    * Nokia N800 with 8GB music-only SDHC (it holds 2) when hiking and is easy to switch out.
    * If I’ve forgotten or left the other options, there are data CDs with MP3 files in the car – the CDplayer has MP3 capabilities

    I do not stream music on the go. Everyplace that I’ve worked the last 12+ yrs has blocked streaming.

    In the late 1990s and earlier 2000s, I ripped a fairly large CD audio collection. It took multiple years to accomplish. At the time, HDDs weren’t tool large, so most of the files were put onto data CDs (20 are in the car center console today). When HDDs became larger, I bought more and more and more of them. A 300GB HDD is dedicated as an offline backup of the ripped collection. It is organized like I’ve spelled out in a comment here previously, in a /Genre/Artist/Album/ folder structure. Not having organization can be disastrous should a single directory entry become corrupted on the file system, plus having hundreds or thousands of files in a single directory definitely does slow down access.

    Many yrs ago, I placed the music that I liked most onto that 60G Zen. I’ve gotten fantastic value from it even not using it for a few yrs at all. Lately, I find it just as great as before in the car with a long battery life, great sound and plenty of room so I don’t get bored. It has traveled the world with me and kept me happy on overseas flights with no chance of the battery dying. It is filled with music, but also has books on tape and podcasts manually added – I can’t automatically sync to it since the source collection is much, much, much larger. It requires a cable and is relatively slow at copy time, however.

    The N800 is a multi-purpose tiny Linux computer based on Debian. To sync stiff there, I use rsync+ssh over wifi. I can push or pull. At the same time, I push my KeePassX data files over to it daily, automatically. It uses cheaper full-sized SDHC, but because cards with larger memory amounts weren’t available when it came out, those may or may not work inside. I love that if a card is formatted with a Linux file system, then programs can easily be stored and run from it as well as data. This N800 has taken abuse like no other device I have. It has been with me as a GPS all over the Earth hiking thousands of miles. It tethers to a real GPS, not A-GPS which is worthless in many parts of the world. Swapping batteries is 15 seconds. Swapping either of the 2 SDHC memory cards is less.

    I should have bought an N900 when they were available, I really should have. *Android is not the same*.

  27. Tienie

    Got all my tunes, podcasts and audio books on a 120 GB iPod. I like having all my music at my fingertips.

  28. Geoff

    In my car I use the built in usb port to play mp3s from my Android phone or use the 3.5mm jack to stream from Google Music, where I have all of my mp3s stored. At my work computer I usually use Spotify.

  29. gpdaddy95

    I have an Android Phone (HTC EVO 4G LTE) that I keep some music on (MP3s) when I’ve got little to no reception and have Google Music and Pandora for the car. Fortunately, I have directv which also has Pandora and lets me stream music as well as connects to my laptop to play the music I have stored there.

  30. Holger

    I will never use “the cloud” to store my music let alone any other of my data. Thus, I ripped all my CDs to mp3-files and store them on my desktop. For in-car audio I used to burn CD’s but I’ll switch to a new radio with SD-slot/USB-port soon. If not in my car I have a selection of music on my HTC legend. It took a while to find a player on Android that does what I want. I am more than happy now with Mort Music Player – folder based playback. BTW – on the desktop it’s audacious on xubuntu / winamp for Win7.

  31. Citrus Rain

    I leave myself with a few options.

    Android phone plugged in through AUX to my car, a flash drive that must be taken inside to be updated, and if I want, I can renew my Sirius XM to listen to in my car.

    My music bought on CDs are all ripped and uploaded to Google Music as well as a few bought from google and downloaded from various locations online. (Like youtube musicians that leave links to mediafire of their work.) It also contains a huge collection of MLP fan music that was distributed by torrent – which I regret because of their obsession with DUBSTEP with mislabeled genres like the word “Awesome”.
    I also have the XiiaLite app on my phone but haven’t really found anything other than Celestia Radio and Everfree Radio. (both pony music – I switch to my flash drive if these start playing any dubstep.)

    Some mornings I might listen to KISS Morning Freak Show on the local radio / iHeartRadio since they can be funny. But the music played on there can get stale after just a few days.

    Before my trial for siriusxm ran out I would listen to Alt Nation alot. (Punk is the greatest.)

    My flash drive contains Andrew WK, ArtificalFear (does LOZ metal remixes on youtube), Balloon Party (bought after hearing 1 song – the rest turned out to be boring old dubstep that makes me drowsy behind the wheel), FamilyJules7x (classic videogame remixes), a little of LivingTombstone’s non-dubstep work (look up his Discord song – everyone seems to like it), Green Day, NOFX, a handful of punk albums with various artists (these mix up the general tone of things), The Homeless People (you’ve probably never heard of them), and a few misc. songs.
    My car tends to forget how suffle is supposed to work – remembered when I tried to show my dealer, then forgot again. (Stupid proprietary audio system!)

  32. Darren

    Always in the car.

    JVC headunit with full iphone support

    + a mid range audio setup in the car consisting of pioneer speakers and a 1000w fusion sub,

  33. daz

    HTC wildfire with 16GB extension with Spotify full membership on it – can download and store playlists for playing offline on the go, have also used it with the phone’s mobile data connection to stream live from Spotify with no problems.
    Also use DI radio for streaming electronica channels off mobile data connection, works fine.

  34. Scott

    I use Grooveshark to stream music through my phone. The app has become a lot better over the past year.

  35. Roshnal

    We don’t have Google Music, Pandora or Spotify here in Sri Lanka. So my only option is to play local music. For that I use the default player on my HTC Wildfire S together with a 3rd party equalizer and a pair of SkullCandy earbuds. I just manually move them (music files) from my Ubuntu PC.

  36. Irish_IT

    Ive been testing Subsonic on my android phone and it is actually pretty good! You host all your music/videos/pictures and it allows you to stream it to your device. Pretty slick but you need to donate to subsonic to allow video streaming. I dont stream videos much but it is tempting!

  37. rKiller

    Using the app called “Dropbox” I got 50 gb Free with my Sansung Galaxy S3 and I use that to listen to and upload and download music and also I use “Sound Hound” to Identify music –

  38. Steve

    I have everything ripped to mp3’s on my HD…DB Poweramp is the greatest ripping engine out there…
    Then I play music thru my computer…put songs on USB flash drives to play in my truck Alpine reciever…
    And I have an older Sony Walkman…the series before the current Walkman, which I prefer because
    it supports bluetooth…and I have 3 different sets of bluetooth headsets…

  39. Marc Caballero

    Whether I’m switching between laptop & PC — or on-the-go with my arsenal of Android devices, I always make sure I have GrooveShark with me 24/7 (even when sleeping!)

    It’s a great way to keep track & discover music even when “discover” means getting lost in Taipei, or wandering Metro Manila. Installed in a water-proof phone (xperia active) – yes… queue “I can make it through the rain” :-D

  40. tommy2rs

    2 rockboxed Sansas, in case one battery dies and some extra high cap micro sd cards to change the channel with. Rain, snow, dust or mud those things take a beating, haven’t been able to kill one yet.

  41. Nigel Dollentas

    Vmoda crossfade lp one of the best brands of my opinion 50 mm drivers basically indestrutoble. Paired with my ipod shuffle 2nd gen for great batterylife and mobility!

  42. Hisa

    I am boring. I just have an iPod Touch that can connect to my car stereo. If I forget my iPod, my stereo in the car can also connect to my phone which has Pandora.

  43. corwin155

    Mp3 on my android tablet
    use to use apple touch, but i no longer use anything by apple

  44. MdKnightR

    I keep my iPhone 4S loaded with my favorites, but I also have an 8GB USB stick plugged into my Bluetooth car stereo for the old standbys that I don’t keep on my phone.

  45. Danny

    I don’t.
    If I walking or cycling, I need my ears to hear what’s around me so I don’t get hit by something heavier than me moving faster than I am.

    Anyone who walks around deaf to the world around them by their own choice is as good as a zombie, and we all know how to deal with zombies…

  46. David

    I use SubSonic and port forward through my router. All my tunes anyplace I have a connection.

  47. Wolf

    I just turn on the radio, then crank the volume, no need for anything else as long as there are radio stations.

  48. Kevalin

    On the road is the only place I DO my music! My raggedy old Samsung Captivate with its root, custom rom and Supercurio’s Voodoo Sound carries all the mp3s I enjoy. I just plug it into the car stereo through the standard 3mm jack, turn the volume to full on Rocket Player (which lets me change songs from the lock screen), use the car’s player to control the main volume, and I’m shuffled up and good to go for hours and hours.

  49. Prasad Kumar

    My music collection is so large that my Xperia P’s mobile storage is nowhere near to filling my Music thirst. So I uploaded all my songs to both Box and Dropbox and listen to them via Cloudaround Music Player. A neat looking app good on performance and features.

  50. isra.ikc

    For my on-the-go musical needs I use my Samsung Galaxy Nexus with a pair of Sony XBA-1 earphones to listen to my music, which is mostly encoded in FLAC or 320kbps MP3 files.

  51. E Morrison

    Rhapsody across all my devices

  52. Amp

    My home Theater / Stereo consists of a 3 display setup full of Milkdrop goodness dancing to the sound of a crystal clear surround sound system.

    I try to keep my PAN wire free by utilizing Bluetooth.

    HTC EVO 4g LTE
    MotoRoKR portable BT Speaker
    Motorola S10-HD BT Stereo Headphones
    ikross BT to 3.5mm audio for my car

    Google Music
    Tunein Radio

  53. randompersonfromthisuniverse

    iPod (obviously)

  54. Ty Shoes

    I use audiogalaxy. It frees up my phone from music and I can stream all my music from my home pc, nearly 50,000 songs to choose from. I can also get it online when I like. All I need is internet connection and I am set.

  55. john3347

    When Limewire was still active, I downloaded about 1800 songs from the ’50s and ’60s and have them, saved on my mobile computer harddrive. When I am traveling, I have my DeLorme GPS running on the computer and I have my music playing in the background through the car cassette player (yes, I still use cassette players) with a computer speaker to cassette adapter available from any electronic supply department for about $10. System works fine. Many newer radios have a speaker input plug installed that allows the same process with a different cord. There are also wireless output devices that can connect to the computer and tune the radio to a certain frequency and play computer output on the car radio wirelessly if a person is a wireless geek.

  56. chassmann

    Motorola Photon, added 16 gig … one of music folder of ~ 8 gigs… MOTOROLA T505 ROKR, Bluetooth to FM Radio… ( of course hands free and many other cell phone features )

    Strong transmitter, can park 6 cars in a circle and crank all on same putting all radios on same fm chan.. Car rides are a blast.. Battery life on T505 excellent. Can take T505 in house and DJ a party through FM stereo system…. Hide T505 in pocket,, go to in friends car…. Voice order his radio to stop, play change song back up…( while i push the buttons on the phone and make all that happen…)

  57. HiFi

    I have raised my quality requirements and moved to more expensive gears. I have my collection in Flac format and do not want to convert it to mp3 every time I want to have a new playlist.

    I use Colorfly player – expensive, large and clumsy to use but excellent sound quality. My headset is Ultimate Ears Ear-In monitors or Bose Quietcomfort in case I am traveling

    In some rare cases I can use Spotify through my mobile phone

    Expensive set but there is no way back…

    For music collection I use Foobar 2000 and it is Flac only

  58. Ashley

    Google Music – I download any playlists I know I will use frequently to my device on home wifi.

  59. ashley

    3.5mm jack from android phone straight into my car radio. to my multiple speakers and big sub.

    i also use headphones (for pc gaming but still have pretty sick sound) for around home

    i have something like 2000 songs on my droid mostly rock and roll from the 70’s to early 90’s that gets pumped up LOUD

  60. winston

    i use walkman.

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