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Galaxy S II: The Missing Manual by Preston Gralla

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Chapter 4. Music

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THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S II does a great job of playing and managing music, so much so that you may no longer feel the need to carry around another music player. It includes an excellent built-in music player and manager, and a 3.5 mm headset stereo jack that you can connect to headphones or external speakers. Read this chapter and get ready to plug in and turn up the volume.

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Where to Get Music

BEFORE YOU PLAY MUSIC, of course, you first need to get it onto your Galaxy S II. For details about how to do that, turn to Chapter 12.

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You can also buy or download music via Galaxy S II apps, such as the Amazon MP3 app. It may come with your Galaxy S II. If it doesn’t, download it from the Android Market. Tap the Amazon MP3 icon from the Apps Tray to run the app. You’ll need to have an Amazon account to pay for and download music, so set one up first if you want to use the app.

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Note

If you tap a download link on a web page for an MP3 file in the Galaxy S II browser, the file doesn’t download to your Galaxy S II. Instead, the Galaxy S II plays the music file, but doesn’t add it to your collection.

Using the Music App

YOU PLAY AND MANAGE your music using the Galaxy S II’s Music app. Tap the Music icon in the Apps Tray to launch it. The app organizes your music by five lists, through which you scroll like all other scrollable lists on the Galaxy S II:

  • All. An alphabetical list of every song in your music collection. It shows the song name and artist. Tap a song to play it.

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  • Playlists. Here’s where you’ll find all your playlists—groups of songs that you’ve put together in a specific order for a specific reason. You might have several party playlists, a playlist of songs you like to listen to while you work, another for the gym, and so on.

    Note

    In addition to the Music app built into the Galaxy S II, Google also has a cloud-based music player app. With it, you can upload music from your PC or Mac to big Google computers called servers, and then play that music on your Galaxy S II, without actually having to store the music on your Galaxy S II. (Because your music lives in the cloud—get it?) The service and app are free and work like a charm. Download the app from the Android Market; search for “Google Cloud Music Player.” See Google Music Cloud Player for details about the cloud music player.

    To see the contents of a playlist, tap the playlist. Tap any song to play it from that point until the end of the playlist. To add a song to the playlist, tap the Menu button, select Add, and then select songs to add from the list that appears. (You can also add songs to playlists while you’re playing them, and in other ways as well. See Creating Playlists for details.) When you tap the Menu button, you get other ways to manage your playlist, including changing the order of the playlist, removing songs from the playlist, editing its title, searching through the playlist, and changing settings (although for the entire music app, not just for playlists).

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  • Albums. Lists all the CDs (albums) in your music collection. If a thumbnail picture of the album is available, you see it next to the album listing. Each album lists its name and its singer, composer, band, or orchestra. Tap the album to see a list of all the songs in the album. To play any song, tap it. The music app then plays from that point until the end of the album.

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  • To add songs from an album to a playlist, when you’re viewing an album, tap the Menu button and select “Add to playlist.” A list of all the songs in the playlist appears. Tap any you want to add to a playlist, and then select the playlist you want to add it to, or create a new one.

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  • Artists. Lists every singer, composer, and band in your collection. Tap the artist’s name, and you see a list of all of her songs. To play any song, tap it.

    Note

    When you’re in the music app, at the bottom of the screen, you see the name of the song you’re playing (or if you’re not playing a song, the last song you played). You’ll also see a control for playing the song. Tap it, and you’ll be sent to the full player. (See Playing Your Music for details.)

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    Note

    The Galaxy S II can play a wide variety of music files, including AAC, AMR, MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC+, and MIDI. Android by itself won’t play WMA (Windows Music Audio) files, but Samsung gave the Galaxy S II a special piece of software called a codec so it plays WMA files. For the same reason, it can also play WMV (Windows Media Video) videos.

  • Genres. This lists all the of music you have on your Galaxy S II, such as Blues, Classical, Jazz, Rock, and so on. To see all the music you have in a genre, tap the genre. Tap any song to play it from that point until the end of the listing of songs.

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Note

When you’re holding your phone vertically, the Genres button won’t appear. Swipe over to the right to reveal it.

Playing Your Music

TAP A SONG TO play it, and a screen appears loaded with information, and all kinds of controls and widgets.

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Among other controls, you’ll find:

  • Pause/Play. When music is playing, the button looks like this:. Tap it to pause, and the button then looks like this: . Tap it to play again.

  • Previous, Next. These controls work just as you’d expect. Tap previous to skip to the beginning of the song you’re playing or, if you’re already at the beginning, to skip to the previous song. Tap next to skip to the next song.

    Hold down one of the buttons, and you rewind or fast-forward through the song. As you hold, the speed of rewind or fast-forward accelerates. You’ll hear the music as you speed forward or backward, sounding like a bizarre foreign language.

  • Slider. Underneath the picture of the album from which the song is taken, you’ll see a slider that shows you the progress of the song. It includes the total length of the song, and how much of it you’ve already played. Move the slider to go to a specific location in the song. To make the slider appear or disappear, tap the picture of the album.

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  • Song and album information. Here you’ll find the name of the singer, the name of the album, and the song being played.

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  • List. Tap , and you’ll come to a list of which the song is a part. The list you’ll see depends upon how you’re playing the song. For example, if you’re playing a playlist, you’ll see the entire playlist, and if you are playing an album, you’ll see the whole album. From here, you can tap any other song to play it.

  • Shuffle. The Galaxy S II music player normally plays the songs in your playlist or album in order, from first to last. Tap the shuffle button to have the songs in your current album or playlist play in a random order—you’ll never know what’s coming next. Tap it again to stop the shuffle.

  • Loop. Can’t get enough of the current album, playlist or song? Tap the loop button , and it plays the current song endlessly from beginning to end, from beginning to end, from beginning to…you get the idea. When you tap it, the A in the loop button turns into a 1 . Tap it again, and it plays the current album or playlist continuously. The loop button changes to show the letter A and an arrow to show you that you’re in this mode. Tap the button again to turn looping off.

  • Other buttons. You’ll come across two other buttons of note, just above the controls for pausing and playing. One lets you change the volume, and the other shows the kind of sound mode you’re in; for example, 5.1 sound. See Sound Effects and the Equalizer for details about how to choose different sound modes.

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More Music Controls and Features

Want even more music controls and features? Tap the Menu button and you’ll be able to do all this:

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  • Add to quick list. This adds the current song to the quick list playlist.

  • Via Bluetooth. This lets you share the song via Bluetooth (see Bluetooth Earpieces). You’ll send the song itself when you do this.

  • Share music via. You’ll be able to share the song in a variety of ways, such as email, Gmail, and so on. You’ll send the song itself when you do this.

  • Add to playlist. Tap this to add the song to any playlist.

  • Settings. Lets you change many settings, such as for sound effects, turning on an equalizer, what appears on the music menu, and so on. (For more details about sound effects and the equalizer, see the next section.)

  • Details. This lets you find out details about the current song, including its title, a biography of the musician, and information about the album.

Sound Effects and the Equalizer

When you tap the Menu button and select Settings, you’ll be able to change how your music sounds by changing two settings, Equalizer and Sound Effect. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • Equalizer. An equalizer changes the emphasis given to certain parts of a piece of music—emphasizing bass, treble, or voice, for example. On the Galaxy S II, the equalizer settings are self-explanatory, and for specific types of music: Pop, Rock, Jazz, Dance, and so on. Just pick the kind of music you listen to, and the Galaxy S II changes the settings so that music sounds best. If you want to be a sound jockey, select Custom and you’ll come across a nifty-looking set of controls that only a sound engineer could love. Fiddle around with it until you come up with a sound you like.

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  • Sound Effect. From here you even further customize your sound—make it sound like a music hall, for example, or give it an extra bass oomph. Tap this option and select the sound effect you want.

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Creating Playlists

WHEN YOU TRANSFER MUSIC from your PC or Mac to your Galaxy S II using Windows Media Player, you also transfer over your playlists. But you’re not dependent on that to create playlists—you can also create and edit them from your Galaxy S II.

The easiest way to do this is to tap the Menu key when you’re playing a song, and then select “Add to playlist.” A new screen appears. To add the song to your current playlist or an existing playlist, tap the playlist to which you want to add it. To create a new playlist and add this song to it, tap Create playlist, type a name for the playlist, and then tap Save. The playlist is created with the song, album, or all of the artist’s songs on it. The playlist then appears in the Playlist area.

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Even if you haven’t imported or created any playlists, the Galaxy S II creates several automatically for you—”Recently added,” “Most played,” and “Recently played,” as well as the “Quick List.”

To edit a playlist, when you’re in the list, hold your finger on a song. A menu appears that lets you remove the song from the playlist (it still stays in the Music app, but is removed from the playlist), share the song, or add it to another playlist.

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Note

You can also play music by using your Galaxy S II as an FM radio, or by using an app that streams music wirelessly to your Galaxy S II. To use your Galaxy S II as an FM radio, head to the Android Market and download any one of many apps. There are also many apps that play streaming music to your Galaxy S II, but everyone seems to love Pandora. Find it by searching for Pandora in the Market. If you already have a Pandora account that you use to play music from the Web, all your stations will already be set up when you use the Galaxy S II’s Pandora app.

Using Your Galaxy S II While Playing Music

BECAUSE THE GALAXY S II is built for multitasking, you can play music even when you’re doing something else. Open the Music app, start the music, and then feel free to use other apps and features. The music keeps playing. While music is playing, a small button appears in the Notification bar. Drag down the Notification bar and tap the song playing, and you’ll see a miniature set of controls for playing, pausing, and jumping forward and back in music. To head to the music player, tap the picture of the album.

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Even when your phone is locked, if you were listening to music before the Galaxy S II locked itself, it keeps playing. Turn on the screen, even though the phone remains locked, and you’ll see music controls. You can pause and play music, as well as skip to the next song or go back to a previous song, without having to unlock the Galaxy S II.

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Playing Music and Media on Other Devices

THE GALAXY S II lets you share, view, and play music, videos, and photos using a standard called DLNA, short for Digital Living Network Alliance. The Galaxy S II is DLNA-compliant, which means that it can share media with other DLNA devices, such as TVs, computers, and mobile devices. When you buy a device, look in the documentation to see if it’s also DLNA compliant. You can also look for this logo on packaging or documentation:.

Note

If you’re not sure whether you have a device that’s DLNA-compliant, go to www.dlna.org. In addition to finding out more information about DLNA, you can do a search for your device and see if it supports DLNA.

Here’s just some of what you can do with your Galaxy S II and other DLNA devices:

  • Stream your music, videos, and photos from your Galaxy S II to a DLNA device, such as a TV, PC, Xbox, or Playstation 3.

  • Transfer music files from your phone to your PC.

  • Transfer pictures from your Galaxy S II to your PC.

  • Stream videos from the Galaxy S II to your TV.

  • Browse any videos you have stored on your PC using the Galaxy S II, and then stream the video to your TV using an HDMI cable (see Using HDMI to View Photos and Videos on a TV or Monitor for details about HDMI).

There are more possibilities and permutations with your Galaxy S II and DLNA; this section can’t cover them all. Set up your Galaxy S II as described in this section, and then follow the information that appears onscreen.

To do any DLNA magic, your Galaxy S II needs to be connected to a network or a DLNA device—which means a Wi-Fi connection or a USB cable connection. In the Apps Menu, tap DLNA. From here, you can do nifty things like play media from another DLNA device, copy media to a DLNA server, copy media from a DLNA device to your phone, and share media with others. For example, you can play the Galaxy S II’s videos and music on the computer or play or share music, videos, or photos from your Galaxy S II to a flat-screen TV. Or you can play music and video from a computer on your Galaxy S II.

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After the app launches, select what you want to do—for example, “play media.” Each selection has a different set of screens to follow. You may run into difficulties, because the DLNA devices to which you connect each have a different set of rules, capabilities, and features. Try checking the documentation of any device to which you want to connect or do a Google search, and find out what it can and can’t do. DLNA is still very much on the bleeding edge, so you may not always be able to get it to work.

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Google Music Cloud Player

THE GOOGLE MUSIC CLOUD Player may forever change the way you manage—and even think about—your music. It allows you to play music on your phone that isn’t actually on the device itself, and instead lives in what’s called the “cloud”—basically big Google computers called servers that store your music and stream it to your Galaxy S II (or any other device, for that matter).

To use it, you need to first install the software on your PC or Mac (whichever computer houses your music collection). You then tell the software to upload the music to the cloud. After that, you install the Google Music player on your Galaxy S II (or other Android device). At that point, you can listen to your music from the cloud—as long as you have a 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi connection, of course.

The Music player isn’t a separate application; instead, it integrates directly into the Google Music player on your Galaxy S II. When you go to the Android Market, search for Google Music and then download an upgrade. The cloud player will be installed.

Mostly, the cloud player looks and works just like the normal Google Music player. There are a few differences, though. There will be times when your music won’t be available from the cloud—whenever you’re not connected to the Internet—so you can choose to hide streamed music at that point. You can also set a variety of other options, such as whether to only stream music when connected via Wi-Fi rather than via 3G or 4G.

The cloud player is freely available, so grab it and update the music player on your Galaxy S II—this is one fabulous player.

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