A coworker just asked me what my blog was about. "Eh...whatever I feel like writing about." Well, today I feel like writing about my feels-like-The-Jetsons audio setup in the NNR girl-cave. Lest you doubt that I live like a girl bachelor, consider this: I went to the store after the gym, and on the conveyor belt traveled my staple foods. They included peanut butter, dill sandwich pickles (don't knock peanut butter and pickle sandwiches if you haven't tried them), cereal, vegetarian ramen noodles, chocolate, Doritos and jalapeno bean dip (I count the peppers as a vegetable serving), and bananas. Anyone who eats like that can legitimately claim to live in a girl cave.
The best part of the cave is a recent arrival. My ex-husband got the sound system, and I just got around to buying my own about 2 months ago, so before that I listened to my iPhone through headphones most of the time. Not bad, but a little unwieldy. Now I have a good surround-sound system, attached to which is a 2nd-gen Apple TV to which I can toss audio from my iDevices or Macs.
At first the array of possibilities didn't occur to me, but then I remembered Airfoil. It's $25, which, after you've bought a frakking sound system, is not painful because you're numb to the money flying out of your account. With the combination of Airfoil on both Macs plus Airplay on my iPhone and iPad, I can easily play whatever I want through my nice sound system (and, with Airfoil, also on my Bose speakers hooked up to my iMac at the same time). "Whatever I want" includes what I have synced to my iDevice plus my entire iTunes media library (through home sharing) plus music from Slacker Radio.
Brief tangent regarding the topic of "music services for music I do not own, including subscription and streaming services": I have Slacker Premium, which costs $10 per month. I've been a Pandora devotee since it first appeared, but Slacker does a better job of coughing up music I like, I like the on-demand functionality, and I like being able to cache to the phone. The playlists are cool too. I had Rdio.com before, and until Slacker Premium it won, but there are few albums unavailable for on-demand playing on Slacker now. I listen to a crapton of music, and I really like music, so $10 is worth it to me. It's the cost of two foo-foo coffees.
So. Back to the cave. I can Slack directly from my iDevices by using Airplay, or I can Slack from either Mac and throw the audio to my sound system and/or the other Mac by using Airfoil. Or I can do the same thing using owned music from my iTunes library. What I can't do is play music from an iDevice and toss it to a Mac, which isn't a problem except when I am in bed with my phone near me and want the speakers across the room to play what I'm listening to. In that circumstance, I plod across the 8 feet of space and turn on the computer to play it.
The best part is, this setup requires no effort to immediately hear music. At my old house, I had access to a nice sound system that I never used because my ex-husband had set it up and I failed to navigate all the switches and remotes before losing patience and just using headphones. With my current setup, I can, for example, be listening to a podcast in my car, walk in the house with my phone, and poke the Airplay button. Bang. Audio emerges from my home speakers. It's evilly cool.