Get the most out of your at-home Lollapalooza experience
It’s not news that many of the things we love most about summer have been temporarily put on hold, if not outright cancelled. Going out for dinner and a drink, catching a movie, and attending a concert have suddenly become nearly impossible. Most entertainment industries were able to pivot, offering at least part of their normal services. Bars and restaurants ramped up their take-out options, major movies were released straight to VOD instead of in theaters, and even some of those theaters were able to offer drive-in or outdoor options. This helped businesses survive and kept the public at least somewhat happy. One experience that’s hard to replicate is that of the music festival, for obvious reasons. But that’s not stopping Lollapalooza, the world’s most popular music festival, from giving it a shot.
The famed festival announced this week that Lollapalooza 2020 would live on as a streaming broadcast. More than 150 performances (a mix of new live acts and previously recorded concerts) will be played over the four-day online festival. The virtual Lollapalooza will be free to stream on the festival’s YouTube channel from July 30 to August 2.
But an event this big should not be relegated to the tiny screen and speakers of your smartphone or tablet. So here are four ways to get the most out of your streaming Lollapalooza experience.
A good set of headphones.
People tend to think that any audio from a smartphone will be middling at best. But that’s because so many of us are accustomed to listening through the cheap earbuds included with our smartphone. And while music doesn’t have to sound bad on a simple pair of earbuds, even a high-end earbuds like the Apple AirPods Pro will pale in comparison to full-size headphones. To borrow a saying from the automotive world: there’s no replacement for displacement. The large drivers of over-the-ear headphones are simply more capable of moving large amounts of air, which equals fuller sound and a louder maximum volume. A high quality pair of over-ear or on-ear headphones will be leaps and bounds ahead of the average earbuds. You can shop our entire selection of headphones online, but one of the great things about being local to Abt is getting to audition headphones in person.
Take it outdoors.
Part of the fun of a summer music festival is getting to listen to music you love out in the sun, with a cold drink in hand. And while you can’t replicate the feel of being in a crowd filled with fellow fans, you can still take the party outside. There are countless ways to listen to music outdoors, from a simple portable Bluetooth speaker to a permanent set of outdoor speakers.
A sure-fire option? Grab a pair (or more) of portable Bluetooth speakers that can be paired in a series and link them to create an enveloping area of sound in your backyard. The JBL Charge 4 is a favorite for pairing. One sounds great, but linking two together takes the sound quality to the next level.
Mirror it to your smart TV or streaming media player.
This is a lesser-known option, but with most modern smartphones it’s actually quite simple to mirror your smartphone to your TV. YouTube has a built-in “casting” function, which makes it very easy to take what you’re watching in the app and beam it to an external device that’s connected to the same network. Look for the cast icon on the top of your screen (it looks like a TV screen with the Wi-Fi “radar” lines in the lower left corner) and tap it. You’ll then see a list of available destinations to which you can cast. Select your TV or the streaming media player that’s connected to your TV, and you’re ready to begin watching Lollapalooza on your TV. And hopefully, that TV is connected to a soundbar or other good sound system.
Invest in a stereo hi-fi setup.
If you’re all about the music, and not too concerned with actually seeing the show, you can focus more on the audio side. Of course, there are nearly an infinite amount of ways you can set up a hi-fi audio system at home, and if you already have a nice A/V receiver then you probably don’t need our help anyway. But if you’re starting from scratch, there’s two main ways to start jamming.
First is the traditional amp and speakers setup. Again, this can have endless iterations, but the basic idea is you build a system out of an amplification source and a pair (or more) of speakers. The easiest and most affordable way to do this is by purchasing a simple stereo audio receiver and a pair of bookshelf speakers. This will cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to multiple thousands of dollars, so you’ll have plenty of customization options. Then, connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the receiver with either a simple aux cord or a wireless connection (if available) and you can begin listening in hi-fi.
The DIY option is especially great if you hope to keep upgrading your system. You can add amplifiers, additional or bigger speakers, and eventually grow it into a full-blown home theater system. But if you never want to worry about that technical stuff, the better choice is a pair of powered bookshelf speakers, a category that has grown greatly in recent years. These speakers put out sound that rivals a dedicated multi-component system, without requiring any additional equipment. The amplifiers are built right into the speakers, so all you have to do is take them out of the box, plug them into a power source, then connect your phone and you’ll be ready to listen. Most powered bookshelf speakers offer both wired and wireless connection audio connection options. Look for models from brands like Klipsch, Edifier, and Kanto to be sure you’re getting a quality product.
These are all ways you can enjoy Lollapalooza at home, but they’re not limited to just this festival. You can use these tactics any time you want to enjoy YouTube content with better sound and video quality than your smartphone or tablet can provide.