I'm always looking for interesting innovations to enhance my gaming experience. One such nut that I've often tried to crack is easily getting music to the table. I recently stumbled onto a possible solution in a very unlikely source: the Nintendo 3DS.
This venerable device from last decade has a surprisingly robust MP3 player. It has a visualiser with some attractive options, buttons that are easy to tap or access in the moment, and – most importantly from my perspective – built-in speakers. It's not incredibly loud, but the output is more than acceptable for a battle sting or ambient music/atmosphere to set the mood during a session. And the device folds up fairly compact and ruggedly, to reside in a backpack.
The 3DS also allows for self-inserted memory cards with a decent amount of storage (I have a 256gb card in one of mine), so you can keep a bunch of music or sound effects at your fingertips.
It does have drawbacks; not all file formats are supported, and it's sometimes a bit sluggish, especially with huge libraries. The speakers are also quite tinny (although I could add external speakers via a headphone jack if I needed better sound quality). I don't necessarily recommend going out and buying one specifically for this purpose. But if you have one in a drawer you haven't visited in a while, why not give it a try? You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
-- Steven Marsh