How to make a minimalist stereo with an old phone and a $20 amp

After a lifetime of Walkmans and iPods and computer speakers and all that, I thought: why don't I just get a standalone stereo like a normal person? To sit down and listen to music that isn't stereo-fielded inside my own head or competing with error messages on a screen.

But I didn't want to spend any money, and certainly didn't want to obey that familiar, sinister calling to begin researching things. So I got some speakers from the thift store ($5), an old iPhone at the back of a drawer (free), a basic mini-amp I had lying around ($20 for the legendary Lepai will do). Voila! Works fine: the iPhone's in its dock; the headphone-out is connected to RCA stereo inputs on the amp.

The original iPhones are slow! They play songs just fine, though, and the decent music apps will still install over wifi. But I'm really posting this because when I took a photo, it struck me that the tableaux – thrifted vintage gear, an original iphone, a cult cheapo amp, on a metal cabinet against a whitewashed brick wall – represents exactly the sort of minimalism that seems to really annoy people on the internet. So I pulled my MacBook (12-inch with Retina Display) out of my 1950s school satchel (inherited from Great Uncle Etsy) and decided to tell y'all about it.

P.S. the iPhone is currently loaded exclusively with 1970s childrens' library music, an acid house remix of Philip Glass's score for Koyaanisqatsi that no natural-born American has ever heard, and albums by The Lickets.

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