I spend quite a bit of time in hotel rooms. This is how I arrange my musical backdrop.

I’m sure this is painfully obvious to most of you, but there are a couple of new-ish technologies involved, and it can be a real quality-of-life improver, so here goes anyhow.

First of all, you need to go buy a wire like this. I forget what it’s called at the nearest big box, but it’s cheap; there’s a small modern headphone jack at each end. Six feet (2m) or so seems about right.

Audio connection cable

Next, you need to have a lot of music available. Since I now have eleven thousand songs in the Google Music Beta, and usually there’s one way or another to manage Internet, I’m set. But a normal MP3 player’s worth of tunes will do.

Finally, you need to poke around behind the TV and clock radio in the hotel room to find an audio jack. This is where the recipe most often breaks down, because you need at least one such device in the room. Every such product built in the last couple of years has one, but obviously there are rooms without the necessary. My average isn’t 100%, but it’s better than half.

These devices will have smallish non-audiophile speakers, but they are guaranteed to be better than those on whatever mobile device is hosting (or streaming) your music.

That’s all folks; plug A into B, figure out how to switch the music box’s input, and tune out the traffic or neighbor or hallway or elevator noise. Sweet dreams.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Hub (Jul 05 2011, at 20:56)

Google Music Beta? Aren't you in Canada? *grin*

(adding salt to the wound)


From: Josh Marshall (Jul 05 2011, at 21:03)

If you include a second cable, with an 1/8" jack on one end and a pair of RCA jacks (the red and white ones) on the other end you'll cover most of the remaining cases. 99% of TVs have them.


From: Peter Keane (Jul 05 2011, at 21:03)

Not to mention that most rental cars these days have an aux-in in the radio (sometimes it's down near the cup holder). I'm always kicking myself for forgetting that 1/8" stereo phone plug cord.


From: David Singer (Jul 05 2011, at 21:27)

And to point out the painfully obvious, the same cable also works wonders in rental cars (at least modern ones).


From: Hanan Cohen (Jul 05 2011, at 21:49)

It also might not be obvious to everyone that the text near the audio jack and also near any button/selector/menu option to play the music is usually AUX.


From: Chris Madsen (Jul 05 2011, at 22:18)

Just to pick a nit, that's a headphone *plug* on each end. A jack is what the cable plugs into. And make sure you get a stereo plug on each end, because they also make those cables in mono.


From: Michael Zajac (Jul 05 2011, at 22:29)

The consumer electronics big boxes will charge you $15 or $20 for the cable, but it's about $3.50 and available in various lengths at a real electronics supply house.


From: John Simon (Jul 05 2011, at 22:30)

+John Marshall: some TVs refuse to accept RCA audio- only input until matching RCA video signal shows up.


From: Nicola Larosa (Jul 05 2011, at 23:35)

> tune out the traffic or neighbor or hallway or elevator noise

You don't tune out noise by adding more sound: that makes things worse.

You first dampen the noise by using passive or active cancellation headphones, and only then add music.

Try it: you'll notice greater inner peace.


From: Ian McKellar (Jul 06 2011, at 08:05)

Part of my travel kit is definitely the headphone cable - especially for rental cars. The most recent addition is the SkullyBoom from San Francisco company BoomBotix: http://amzn.to/rb0z5s

I discovered this device when on a bike ride with anarcho-cyclists. It's pretty good quality speaker, it's USB-rechargable and it comes in a variety of colours. It can be pretty loud and the batteries last a really long time. Instead of being stereo its two speakers give great volume across all frequencies. My biggest criticism is that it uses mini-usb instead of micro-usb like the rest of my devices.


From: Dustin (Jul 06 2011, at 13:38)

I just purchased an ultra-portable speaker from Amazon. It's tiny, and has good reviews (there were a few to choose from). Speakers have shrunk impressively recently. I haven't got it yet to test, but it seems like another promising option.


From: Andrew Miller (Jul 06 2011, at 23:03)

Absolutely right -- am in a Hyatt Place doing this exact thing right now (where it's even easier due to the media console setup). Part of why I stay in them more frequently than anything else...



From: John (Jul 10 2011, at 10:51)

Aloft hotels also have a nice media in box for their flat screen tvs.


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

July 05, 2011
· Technology (87 fragments)
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