Imagine being able to a play a song from your phone and your tablet at the exact same time, essentially giving you surround sound speakers. That’s JekApps‘s goal with their new set of apps: SoundSeeder Music Player and SoundSeeder Speaker. The concept is similar to the Galaxy S4’s Group Play feature, where users can play the same song at the same time across multiple Galaxy S4s, but really, do you and all your friends have a bunch of Galaxy S4s lying around?
SoundSeeder Music Player can be installed on any 4.1+ device, and the SoundSeeder Speaker app works on 2.2+ devices, meaning that as long as you have a phone running Jelly Bean where the music is stored, even much older Gingerbread devices can act as speakers for it. That explains why it is split into two apps instead of just one.
We’ve covered a similar app before, called Music Pool, but SoundSeeder has a much nicer user interface and, in my opinion, has improved greatly upon the concept. Let’s walk through it.
First, install SoundSeeder Music Player on the device where your music is stored (must be Android 4.1+). This will be the device you use to control everything. The first thing it will do upon installation is prompt you for a unique name; this will be your identifier when connecting your other devices.
Next, it should detect any music available on your device. It wouldn’t find anything on my external SD card, only the internal. If I moved files around or deleted anything, it would act as if they were still there, but when I clicked on a file, it would say “Playback Failed.” For some reason, the list of music that you see doesn’t update very often, which could be annoying if you’re constantly adding or removing music from your collection. Hopefully in the future, they can fix that and add the ability to only add certain folders to your collection.
Then you’ll want to install SoundSeeder Speaker on your receiving device. Make sure both of your devices are on the same WiFi network. If you’re not near a WiFi network, you can use your Android device as a wireless hotspot. Once SoundSeeder Speaker is running, it should prompt you to name that device as well and then automatically connect to the Music Player device. If it doesn’t automatically detect it, press the “Select Player” button in the lower left and then press “Search”, but the auto-detection feature worked fine for me.
Now, just choose a sound to play on the Music Player app, and it should begin playing from both devices. If they’re out of sync or something isn’t working right, the developers have listed some troubleshooting ideas on the Google Play listing.
The user interface of both apps is tolerable, but it won’t blow you away. The default screen is the Now Playing screen where it shows the cover art of whatever you’re listening to (or a “SoundSeeder Player” record if there’s no cover art). From there, you can swipe to the right to view the song queue or use the play, shuffle, repeat buttons on the bottom. Up top, there are three buttons: Music Library, Speakers, and Settings. If you press one, you get a disconcerting zoom-out effect like the app is closing, but that’s really just the transition effect. It’s a slow transition, though, and really just annoying.
The Music Library lists your music by Albums, Artists, Songs, Folders, Genres, and Playlists, all in a swipe-able side-scrolling menu with the play/pause controls stuck on the bottom. Both the back button in the upper left and the cover art at the bottom will lead you back to the Now Playing screen via the same zoom-out transition effect.
The Music Player app has both an interactive notification constantly running to pause/play, skip the song, or close the app and a lock screen widget for pause/play, going back a song, or skipping ahead. Strangely, however, there’s no way to close the app without using the notification. On my Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which doesn’t support interactive notifications, I was unable to close the app at all. I had to go into Samsung’s Task Manager and force close the app.
Another problem is that you can’t click on a music file and choose to play it through SoundSeeder; you have to open SoundSeeder and then find the song. With apps like Apollo or Play Music, you get the option to play them just from clicking the file.
That’s about it as far as features go. There isn’t a whole lot to this app; it’s very simple and easy to use (unless you’re trying to close it). However, using it on a tablet is just silly because it’s just a stretched out phone app. Neither the phone nor the tablet version of either app will rotate into landscape, meaning you better like using your tablet in portrait mode.
The free version allows you to connect only one speaker device for a maximum of four minutes, basically making it a limited trial version. The upgrade process is done through an in-app purchase via the Google Play Store, and it will set you back $3.89 for unlimited streaming for up to 16 speakers. I would like to meet the person who is using this to stream one song to 16 different Android devices.
You can tell that this is a new app. It’s not as polished as some other apps are, but I think it will get there in the future because it shows great potential. With an improved user interface, the ability to select music files outside of the app, and a close button, this app could be a huge success. I envied the Galaxy S4 for its Group Play feature when it was announced, but I think this could soon be a suitable alternative.
And if you’re really into music on your Android device, don’t forget to check out these four great equalizer tools, as well as Shuttle Player, a fantastic music player app for those times when you don’t need to connect to multiple speakers.
Do you know of any other apps that can do what SoundSeeder does? Will you be downloading this app? Let us know in the comments.