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low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 10, 2018 04:13PM
I have a Pioneer Speaker that supports AirPlay. I love this feature and I would like to hook up some AirPlay source to my ancient stereo to enjoy music. What are my options?

Buy a (refurbished?) Airport Express. I think those were $99 (or 79?) new, and I remember they go as low as $49 refurbished. I believe these have a 3.5 mm jack the provides both Analog and Digital (Optical?) Output. I could be wrong.

Use the Apple TV 4 I have now connected to the TV, I use HDMI out, there should be (may be?) an Optical out that I could connect to the Received. On the other hand, I would like to use that optical input to send Audio from TV to Receiver.

Hack the Pioneer speaker and get a line out to send into Receiver. Probably the most difficult and impractical option.

Is there another type of device (inexpensive) that handles Airplay that I am not aware of? Sure eventually I might upgrade the Receive to a model with Airplay, but until then...

Oh, I have an Echo Dot, but I don't think that handles Airplay, does it?

Thanks all.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: January 10, 2018 04:23PM
If the speaker supports airplay you should be able to connect it to your network and stream from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

edit: Nevermind. I misunderstood what you were trying to do. I have an Airport Express that has a 1/8 jack output for Airplay. It's hard to maintain the Airport Express though because the admin application no longer runs on OS X and there's no web interface.



**************************************
MacResource User Map: [www.zeemaps.com]#



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 04:25PM by ztirffritz.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: January 10, 2018 04:25PM
So you want to replicate the functionality that you have in the newer Pioneer Speaker, but with your old stereo? What kind of inputs do you have available on the old stereo?

AE could work, just use the output to an analog input on your receiver.

ATV4 does not have optical out (that was a nice thing ATV2/3 had), but you can get an HDMI audio extractor that will output to an optical coaxial connection, or even to analog RCAs. [www.parts-express.com]

If I had no other use for the Pioneer speaker, personally I would probably hack it. Partsexpress.com used to sell a small box that would act as an AirPlay receiver that you could connect to any amp, like an Airport Express, but I can't seem to find that anymore.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 04:26PM by mikebw.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 10, 2018 05:05PM
It's hard to maintain the Airport Express though because the admin application no longer runs on OS X and there's no web interface.

Oh, I forgot about that. It sucks.

Partsexpress.com used to sell a small box that would act as an AirPlay receiver that you could connect to any amp, like an Airport Express, but I can't seem to find that anymore.

yeah, that would be an attractive option, I will look for similar options out there.

So you want to replicate the functionality that you have in the newer Pioneer Speaker, but with your old stereo? What kind of inputs do you have available on the old stereo?

Yes, the older larger stereo should sound better than the much smaller and much cheaper speaker. The old one is 15 year old now, it is a low end surround system, I would imagine it sounds better than the compact stereo speaker Pioneer. The Receiver has several inputs: optical, digital coax, and several pairs of RCA jacks (stereo). No HDMI.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 05:06PM by space-time.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: BernDog
Date: January 10, 2018 05:48PM
Quote
space-time
It's hard to maintain the Airport Express though because the admin application no longer runs on OS X and there's no web interface.

Huh? I have an extreme and three expresses in my house. No problems running the app, at least up to Sierra. Unless High Sierra broke it (that would be news to me) it should still work fine.

I’d recommend getting the older express (Last wall-plug version, pre puck-style). You can get them on eBay for $20-30 (at least that used to be the price...haven’t checked lately).

Edit: A1264. They’re even cheaper than I last saw. Should be able to get one for under $20 shipped if you have decent eBay-fu.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 05:54PM by BernDog.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 10, 2018 05:57PM
that was ztirffritz 's words, not mine. The way you made the quotation is misleading.

While I never used an Express, my Extreme now has fewer options in 10.9. With the old Utility in 10.6.8 I had way more options.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: January 10, 2018 06:16PM
[discussions.apple.com]

Apple abandoned the older Airport Express models around Lion I believe. I've managed to modify the old Airport Utility to allow it to install in Sierra, but it isn't ideal.



**************************************
MacResource User Map: [www.zeemaps.com]#
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 10, 2018 08:24PM
There were a couple generations of wall plug-Apple Express, before the puck. The oldest among them can't be administered anymore because support dropped from Airport Utility for them. Somewhere online there's a list of model numbers. The last ones before the puck style should still work with High Sierrra's Airport Utility.

Apple Express renders audio without changing the file when in transport: 16/44 arrives as such. If you use an Apple TV, your 16/44 file will get needlessly resampled to 16/48 because that's the only thing Apple TV's can output. On some stereo systems this will sound noticeably blah. So why even go there if you don't have to? But yeah, you can try it with Apple TV 2 or 3 in your rig since those have the Toshiba Link, er "TOSLINK" optical port.

You can also use Shairpoint running on a Raspberry Pi, which will appear on your LAN just like any other Airport endpoint. The Pi won't have a digital audio out without a suitable HAT also installed, which would drive up the cost.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 10, 2018 08:27PM
You know what, you inspired me to look for a Airplay receiver and I found this. I had no idea these even existed. It is probably exactly what I was looking for, I think, and price is not too bad, Perhaps they have a sale at some point.

[www.amazon.com]
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 10, 2018 10:59PM
I have an airport express that i'd be willing to give you for zero dollars.



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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: January 11, 2018 12:40AM
Quote
space-time
Buy a (refurbished?) Airport Express. I think those were $99 (or 79?) new, and I remember they go as low as $49 refurbished. I believe these have a 3.5 mm jack the provides both Analog and Digital (Optical?) Output.

Correct.

Quote

Use the Apple TV 4 I have now connected to the TV, I use HDMI out, there should be (may be?) an Optical out that I could connect to the Received. On the other hand, I would like to use that optical input to send Audio from TV to Receiver.

I have the same hook-up and it works well for video sources because for all inputs my TV passes multi-channel audio out through its optical connection. Unfortunately, this is the only way to get AirPlay audio to my Apple TV 4K back to my receiver, i.e. I have to have the TV on.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: January 11, 2018 12:53AM
Quote
ztirffritz
It's hard to maintain the Airport Express though because the admin application no longer runs on OS X

There's an enabler that allows you to launch older Airport Utility versions on the latest macOS versions:

[zcs.zyniker.org]

Alternately, you can just run Airport Utility 5.6.1 on Windows.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 11, 2018 05:41AM
Alternately, you can just run Airport Utility 5.6.1 on Windows.

How sad that once Again Apple software has better support in Windows that Mac OS.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: January 11, 2018 07:04AM
I must have the most recent wall-jack Express - I can see and administer it from the Airport Utility.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Gilbert
Date: January 11, 2018 09:30AM
Here is the device from Parts Express, but it is currently out of stock til next month:

[www.parts-express.com]

Quote
mikebw

If I had no other use for the Pioneer speaker, personally I would probably hack it. Partsexpress.com used to sell a small box that would act as an AirPlay receiver that you could connect to any amp, like an Airport Express, but I can't seem to find that anymore.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 11, 2018 10:36AM
Quote
Gilbert
Here is the device from Parts Express, but it is currently out of stock til next month:

[www.parts-express.com]--

I watched their video. That’s more limited than AirPlay and can’t sound as good as Airplay might. It only works from an app on a smartphone and couldn’t see a computer’s larger library. It also is limited to an unnamed lossy codec transmission, for some weird reason, except it’s not Bluetooth. And the WiFi portion only works on 2.4 networks. We have a microwave oven that reliably blasts out enough trash at 2.4 to cease all LAN activity.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: numbered
Date: January 11, 2018 10:36AM
Quote
space-time
You know what, you inspired me to look for a Airplay receiver and I found this. I had no idea these even existed.

I found a different receiver like the one you found a couple of years ago that worked very well for my daughter. It is no longer available, but this concept should work well. And Airplay seems much more stable that BT.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 11, 2018 11:16AM
Quote
space-time
You know what, you inspired me to look for a Airplay receiver and I found this. I had no idea these even existed. It is probably exactly what I was looking for, I think, and price is not too bad, Perhaps they have a sale at some point.

[www.amazon.com]

That’s easily the cheapest adapter I’ve ever seen with AirPlay. Clarification: It’s probably not AirPlay, but Shairport on what’s surely a Linux box. That may not functionally matter, unless Apple tweaks it later. smiling smiley

If $40 is too much to get AirPlay going, you’re not really a customer for AirPlay. The software and ports look like the Dayton brick, so I’d be curious to see if it has a similar “sound quality” setting lossy limitation in the setup. It claims lossless compatibility decoding all the way up to 24/192 (not from AirPlay of course).

If PartsExpress has bothered to include Shairport in their box I’d be tempted to go that way since you can use Cat5 if you want, although the lossy render is a non-starter with that one.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: January 11, 2018 12:00PM
Quote
space-time
Alternately, you can just run Airport Utility 5.6.1 on Windows.

How sad that once Again Apple software has better support in Windows that Mac OS.

Glad I could help, s-t.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 11, 2018 03:18PM
So I'm seeing one from Pyle on Amazon for $50 ... but also this one for $37 and with TOSLink: [www.amazon.com]

It lacks Ethernet but that may not matter to you.

TOSLink is loaded with jitter (timing errors in the audio that can make it sound harsher than say, USB ... ) but if your older receiver's DAC is better (overall) than the type in these little boxes, it might not matter.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 11, 2018 08:05PM
Quote
deckeda
...
TOSLink is loaded with jitter (timing errors in the audio that can make it sound harsher than say, USB ... ) but if your older receiver's DAC is better (overall) than the type in these little boxes, it might not matter.

interesting, I remember reading in my receiver manual that they recommends Digital Coax over Optical, but they did not explain why.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: January 12, 2018 12:51AM
Quote
space-time
Quote
deckeda
...
TOSLink is loaded with jitter (timing errors in the audio that can make it sound harsher than say, USB ... ) but if your older receiver's DAC is better (overall) than the type in these little boxes, it might not matter.

interesting, I remember reading in my receiver manual that they recommends Digital Coax over Optical, but they did not explain why.

Deckeda and space-time, your comments are confusing—the signal is the same whether sent over optical or coaxial cable:

[en.wikipedia.org]
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 12, 2018 01:30AM
Yes the signal sent is the same but that doesn’t have anything to do with HOW it’s transported or received. They both fall under S/PDIF but that’s as far as it goes.

There’s a misconception that digital signals are insanely robust. But try turning your TV antenna a few inches away too far. Try playing a CD with so many scratches that the error correction impedes on the ability to sound good, or even play the song. Or try using a data network with bad packet loss. Why should data packets EVER become lost?? Because digital, that’s why!

There’s just a crap ton of physical, you might say analog, issues with digital tech. Wires and power supplies and much of the rest of the old bugaboos that adversely affect analog audio mess with digital, only in weirder ways sometimes less obvious. The Limitations section of your Wiki link mentions this aspect!

TOSLink, being optical, is immune from RF interference and ground loops that need to be accounted for with coax transmission. But it doesn’t handle clock timing well. We didn’t even KNOW about the effects of jitter until the 1990s, but couldn’t easily deal with it until later, with DACs that got signal straight from the I2S bus and in recent years asynchronous USB. Sony’s initial Perfect Sound Forever advertising was a lie.

That’s another one ... USB isn’t related to any of the S/PDIF protocols, but audio sent via USB can be either better or worse depending on implementation. With audio, everything matters, except when it doesn’t. smiling smiley

Same signal, same song file. Different results. Same as it ever was!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2018 01:34AM by deckeda.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 12, 2018 05:48AM
Quote
Article Accelerator
Quote
space-time
Quote
deckeda
...
TOSLink is loaded with jitter (timing errors in the audio that can make it sound harsher than say, USB ... ) but if your older receiver's DAC is better (overall) than the type in these little boxes, it might not matter.

interesting, I remember reading in my receiver manual that they recommends Digital Coax over Optical, but they did not explain why.

Deckeda and space-time, your comments are confusing—the signal is the same whether sent over optical or coaxial cable:

[en.wikipedia.org]

What is confusing about my comment? Do you want me to scan the manual to prove that it says so in the manual?
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: BernDog
Date: January 12, 2018 07:01AM
Quote
BernDog
Quote
space-time
It's hard to maintain the Airport Express though because the admin application no longer runs on OS X and there's no web interface.

Huh? I have an extreme and three expresses in my house. No problems running the app, at least up to Sierra. Unless High Sierra broke it (that would be news to me) it should still work fine.

I’d recommend getting the older express (Last wall-plug version, pre puck-style). You can get them on eBay for $20-30 (at least that used to be the price...haven’t checked lately).

Edit: A1264. They’re even cheaper than I last saw. Should be able to get one for under $20 shipped if you have decent eBay-fu.

Sorry for the mis-attribution. I knew you were quoting someone, but my eyes weren’t finding the original.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: January 12, 2018 04:10PM
Quote
Article Accelerator
I have the same hook-up and it works well for video sources because for all inputs my TV passes multi-channel audio out through its optical connection. Unfortunately, this is the only way to get AirPlay audio to my Apple TV 4K back to my receiver, i.e. I have to have the TV on.

You should look into the HDMI audio extractor I mentioned in my first post:
Quote

you can get an HDMI audio extractor that will output to an optical coaxial connection, or even to analog RCAs. [www.parts-express.com]

I have a similar one on my ATV4, with the HDMI passing audio & video through to the receiver, and the extracted analog audio essentially going to a separate amplifier. (actually a second zone on the same receiver, which only accepts an analog input)
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: January 12, 2018 04:47PM
Quote
space-time
Quote
Article Accelerator
Quote
space-time
Quote
deckeda
...
TOSLink is loaded with jitter (timing errors in the audio that can make it sound harsher than say, USB ... ) but if your older receiver's DAC is better (overall) than the type in these little boxes, it might not matter.

interesting, I remember reading in my receiver manual that they recommends Digital Coax over Optical, but they did not explain why.

Deckeda and space-time, your comments are confusing—the signal is the same whether sent over optical or coaxial cable:

[en.wikipedia.org]

What is confusing about my comment? Do you want me to scan the manual to prove that it says so in the manual?

Sorry—your manual's recommendation is confusing to me.
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Re: low cost Airplay?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: January 12, 2018 04:51PM
Quote
mikebw
Quote
Article Accelerator
I have the same hook-up and it works well for video sources because for all inputs my TV passes multi-channel audio out through its optical connection. Unfortunately, this is the only way to get AirPlay audio to my Apple TV 4K back to my receiver, i.e. I have to have the TV on.

You should look into the HDMI audio extractor I mentioned in my first post:
Quote

you can get an HDMI audio extractor that will output to an optical coaxial connection, or even to analog RCAs. [www.parts-express.com]

Thanks, Mike. I knew about those devices. I don't consider them to be a good solution because some reviewers consider them to be flakey and, in any case, having my TV on if I want to AirPlay audio isn't a huge deal because it's quite energy efficient and my use of AirPlay audio in this location is infrequent.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 12:02AM by Article Accelerator.
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