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Treo Music Listening Options Roundup

There is no doubt that among a great many other things the Treo 650 is an excellent MP3 player and like me Treonauts who use Pocket Tunes now consider it to be their preferred digital music player – particularly when combined with one or more 2GB SD cards and I would also strongly suggest installing magicButton.

The particularly great thing though is the Treo’s versatility when it comes to the many ways you can choose to listen to your music.

1. Built-In Speaker
The Treo has a very powerful built-in speaker at the back of the unit which makes it ideal to listen to music at any time at home or at work – I can wake up to my MP3’s with MobileClock, play my music in the shower (albeit wrapping the Treo in an Aquapac Form Fit case) and work at my PC with music playing in the background.  Additionally, if the already loud speaker is not quite powerful enough for you it can be further boosted with VolumeCare.

2. Standard Headsets + Stereo Adapter
Evidently you will not be able to use the built-in speaker when you’re out and about so you may instead want to use some a standard headset which you might have around.  However in order to plug these into your Treo you’ll need a Stereo Adapter which converts the 3.5mm jack on your headset to the 2.5mm found on your Treo.

3. Hybrid Headsets (with microphone)
A standard headset is fine but typically it will not have a volume control on the cord and also no microphone to answer a call while you’re listening to your music.  However, there are a number of hybrid headsets which offer both volume control, a call answer button and a built-in microphone which make it easier and more convenient to listen to music while also being able to make and receive calls without unplugging your headset.  My personal favourite is the Seidio 2in1 Retractable Earbud Headphones but the more popular model is the 2in1 Ear Isolator Headphones.

4. Hybrid Stereo Adapter + Standard Headsets
Perhaps there is a set of headphones that you absolutely cannot do without but you would still like to have the convenience of an all-in-one call answer button, volume control, microphone and 2.5mm adapter.  It is for such scenarios that the 2in1 Hybrid Adapter (in either standard or retractable variations) will prove ideal.

5. Car Cassette Adapter
To listen to your music over your car or home stereo speakers one of the easiest options is to use the new Smartphone Experts Cassette Adapter which works extremely well and could not be simpler to set up.  It is also very good value because it includes a 2.5mm stereo adapter for free in the box.

6. FM Transmitter
You may unfortunately no longer have a cassette player in your car so the only alternative will be to use an FM Transmitter which beams the music to your car’s radio.  Although no company has yet developed an FM transmitter exclusively for the Treo (like the iTrip for the iPod) there are nonetheless two options available.  The first, Seidio’s iSound, has the benefit of being powered via USB while the second, Arkon’s SF250, uses batteries.

7. Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headset
The latest addition to the Treo music listening experience comes thanks to a new application called Softick Audio Gateway which adds stereo audio over Bluetooth (A2DP) capabilities for use with a Stereo Bluetooth Headset such as the new Plantronics Pulsar 590A.  Unfortunately even though I have ‘sometimes’ found Audio Gateway to work extremely well it still has quite a few glitches.  I will write a separate review about this as soon as I can get it to work well consistently.

Whatever options you choose to listen to your music I believe that you’ll find the Treo to be a terrific and extremely versatile MP3 player.  My only wish now is that the forthcoming Treo 700p will provide support for using 4GB SD cards…

Treonauts are always setting the tune

Posted by Andrew on May 10, 2006 at 02:31 PM

Treo Accessories Guide , Treo Headphone Adapter

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by Todd McKinnon | May 10, 2006 5:39:36 PM

is there a way to listen to audio with the bluetooth headset i use for phone calls. for example listening to podcasts or other captured audio content when i don't want to use a stereo headset. for example i would like to use my regular plantronics discovery 640 and stero doesn't matter since these are recorded radio shows or podcasts.

by Andrew | May 10, 2006 5:50:17 PM

Hi Todd - unfortunately as far as I'm aware it is not possible to stream audio to your standard Bluetooth headset...

Cheers, A.

by Rajat | May 11, 2006 12:29:31 AM

hey Andrew

you did help music lovers in this post, but what about people who own a treo for more than a year and are now really sick of it looks... i mean, please drop in something which can help us change the looks of our beloved treo, just for a change!
like any body covers, any ultra slim cases or anything that makes our treo different to look at!

cheers, Rajat

by Rick Ashford | May 11, 2006 12:39:09 PM

I have found that I can play music (using PTunes with my 650) through a set of stereo speakers -- the kind designed for hookup to a PC. This works great if the speakers have their own power supply and volume controls, which is usually the case nowadays. Just take the speaker input cord that would normally be plugged into the audio card on your PC, and plug it into your Treo headset jack. It works great!

by TazUk | May 11, 2006 7:14:29 PM

@Todd Softick's Audio Gateway does allow you to listen to music on a small number of Bluetooth headsets. It's still quite early in it's development but there have been favourable reports by users on the TreoCentral forums :o)


by Mike | May 12, 2006 12:53:35 AM

How good is solution #2, Standard Headsets + Stereo Adapter?

Is the sound quality just as good as any other mp3 player, or does the 2.5mm jack compromise fidelity?

by oldsmobuick | May 14, 2006 1:42:45 PM

Use "Headset Control" by jw ideas (jwideas.com) instead of "magic button." it is far superior, especially the current beta (version 1.07b). so much faster than magic button (instant response) and a lot less flakey all around. very happy with this app, along with my custom-made headset (soldered some good headphones onto the palm stereo headset wire right above the mic/button).

by Scott | May 23, 2006 12:35:35 AM

Andrew: You've got a great site here, and your zeal for the Palm OS has done a lot to sway me in the direction of the 700p versus the 700w. I've been a Pocket PC/Windows user for years, and am not quite sold on the Palm OS, and am hoping you could address some issues which I've heard about: Outlook sync problems; my corporate environment is Exchange Server 2003, and I've heard that Palm doesn't deal well with reminders and group meetings through Outlook. Also, I've heard that the built-in e-mail client doesn't place sent mail in "sent items" on the server. I've tried the 700w and found it to be sluggish in performance, which is the main reason I'm looking to the 700p instead. Would you think there is much of an improvement in stability and usage memory with the P? Any advice, links or testimonials you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

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