We've got a stereo in the panel of the Bonanza. When a transmission is received on the radio, the stereo is muted out. Personally, I don't listen to it. When the boss, etc. wants to, I put myself on "isolate" and go about my business. Its an unnecessary distraction as far as I'm concerned.
I only listen to music while I am in cruise. But when I do, I have a funk classics cd that gets heavy rotation. But my all-time classics are 'Mo Bounce to the Ounce' by Roger and Zapp and anything by the Gapp Band.
ADF is the easiest way. Tends to get you either oldies, or country. Both of which are good background music, since I turn it down lower so I can hear ATC anyhow. Other alternatives I've used:
Wire up my portible intercom into the built in system, to allow for a music input. It will blank out when transmitting (and receiving too I think, haven't used it in a while so I forget).
Wire in a bunch-o-radioshack-style connections. Get what is needed to wire in your walkman, CD player, MP3 player, whatever into the headphone jack on the headset. It works, but is a little harder to deal with turning down all the time to listen to ATC if it drops under your feet.
Use a built in system. Few planes have them, but many audio panels allow for an aux input of some sort. This allows a audio panel on/off by button/switch, and usually integrates a cut out type funtion, like my portable intercom system will do. More common on non-rentals.
Use the built in radio/CD player. Been in a couple planes with them, and they work ok. About the best overall, but again, more common in non-rentals.
I had a friend who told me he put earbud style headphones under his headset, in one ear, on his solo x-country flights. Guess that is an option as well.
In general though, ADF is the only easy option, so the music is either in another language, country, or oldies. There is one soft rock in the bay area that is ok as well I've listened to a few times. So those are generally what are listened to by me.
Another simple thing to do is get a small earpiece like the one for your cellphone and put that in under your earcup. I used to do it all the time. You don't turn it up loud either, but since it's only in one ear you can hear ATC pretty easily through the other.
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Its an unnecessary distraction as far as I'm concerned.
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I know a few people that refuse to have anything going on in the cockpit besides the continuous retuning of VORs and recalculating fuel burn....whatever works.
I love having the music. Just pluug my MP3 player of my CD player in, and the audio panel takes care of the rest. Last night, I was flying over the mountains from Asheville back home to Nashville (hey, I'm a poet, and didn't know it!!!
) and let's just say that except for the occasional Superbowl update, it was pretty much dead. Oh, but Pet Sounds made life soooooo much easier!!!
I would listen to whatever I could find on the ADF but only when I wa scruising, doing some sight seeing in the local area. I would on longer flights get sport score updates, and traffic reports for my way home.