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  1. #1

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    Default Installed an Airport Express in my office - Very happy

    I am really impressed with the sound quality of the Airport Express. I bought it used on Amazon and it was the first gen of the AX. I found this on Apples forum.

    For analog audio, the AirPort Express (AX) uses a 16-bit Texas Instruments PCM2705 DAC. The AX only functions at a 44.1kHz sample rate. When you play 48 or 92 kHz data, iTunes sample rate converts the data in real time (to 44.1 kHz) prior to sending it to the AX.

    All I know I am very happy to be able to access the same music I have in my main 2 channel system in my office now.

    The sound quality is very good. Pretty easy set up once I reset it back to factory default.

    I needed an analog connection since my mid 70s Pioneer receiver has no digital inputs.

    My Wright WLA12 preamp and anthem amp 1 will be replacing the Pioneer, will still need analog inputs.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  2. #2

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    I too am happy with mine, I use it to stream to my two-channel rig from the pc. An outboard dac makes a HUGE difference btw, and you don't have to spend a ton either.
    Two Channel-SDA SRS 1.2tl's,modded. Carver a-753x, Technics 1200mk2, Nad 515bee,Soundstage vacuum two pre
    HT-Denon avr3808ci,Carver a-753x,Panasonic ae4000 projector,120" screen,ps3,wii console w/full rockband,Panamax conditioner,dbx120 subharmonic synthesizer,jvc dvd-a player, Polk RTi12 mains,Polk CSiA6 centre, Energy ES-18xl sub,two custom 10" powered subs, Def Tech bp2x surrounds(4),Paradigm monitors-rear(2)

  3. #3

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    Agreed , the Airport Express is a awesome gem in our Industry. With Airplay now your able to send files right from your Iphone / Pad / pod , really cool. An external DAC would make things a bit better. You can convert the output to Optical with the adapter.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  4. #4

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    If the USB could used for audio I would consider an external DAC but for now I like what I am hearing with just the AE.

    I have never cared for optical in an external DAC, prefer Digital Coax or USB.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  5. #5

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    So does this show up on the Remote app like another Apple TV where you can control from there, or do you have to control from the computer?

    How good is the sound quality, is it on par with something like the Squeezebox Touch? I originally bought my first Apple TV to stream music, but I never really liked the sound quality, I wonder if the Express is better...
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  6. #6

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    Default

    I do not know anything about ATV so I have no reference point. I configure it using the mini or my PC. After that I access it using airplay on Itunes using my Ipad that I use to drive the mini headlessly.

    I have no experince with a SB so have no reference but TO ME the AE sounds as good as any CDP I have heard.

    Hope that helps.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  7. #7

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    Do you know the model number of the one you bought?

  8. #8

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    I bought it used off Amazon and is a Gen 1. I bought the AE because I needed something that could stream with analog out.

    My wife has a micro system upstairs and plan to try the Gen 2 (newest model) and see which I like better.

    It should be here tomorrow.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  9. #9

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    If you can let me know which you like better using the analog output that would be most helpful.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  10. #10

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    I bought one for my daughter's dorm room and it works great. Only problem is that during setup, i used her name as part of the network name. Everybody on her floor was asking her for her password. Not too smart on my part!
    Rig1 - Totem Hawks, Benchmark HDR, Parasound A21, Sonus, Samsung 52 LCD, Audioquest Type4
    Rig2 - LFD LE IV Integrated, Harbeth P3ESR, Rega Dac, MF V-Link, IMAC, Audioquest Type4

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    If you can let me know which you like better using the analog output that would be most helpful.
    No problem, Would you use the analog or digital out?

    From Computeraudiophile.com "To make a long story short, yes, the AE First Gen will have a lower jitter and better sound with your outboard DAC, than the AE Second Gen. An outboard DAC can only suppress incoming jitter, but can never remove."

    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/co...rport-express/

    and here

    Please check this thread on issues of the new AEx (square) when connected via toslink to a lot of different DACshttps://discussions.apple.com/message/20359523?ac_cid=tw123456#20359523
    Last edited by thsmith; 01-29-2013 at 10:42 PM.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  12. #12

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    I would be using analog out for now. I've read that article over on CA, but its a bit hard to follow...
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  13. #13

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    The apple support link tells more about the user experience.

    I have no plans to use an external DAC, The AE is doing such a fine job analog out I see no reason to change. It is after all in my office rig.

    http://discussions.apple.com/message...23456#20359523
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  14. #14

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    Curious if you got the new AE in and had a chance to do any listening to the analog side?

    I may just pick one up and give it a shot, but thought I'd circle back first and see if you had any thoughts.

  15. #15

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    I did receive it and will be installing today and will provide my opinion later today.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    Curious if you got the new AE in and had a chance to do any listening to the analog side?

    I may just pick one up and give it a shot, but thought I'd circle back first and see if you had any thoughts.
    My initial impressions are they sound the same. Cosmetically I like the GEN 2 as I can place it with the rest of my gear and looks like it is a part of the system. The Gen 1 will serve upstairs hooked up to my wifes micro sysyem and will be hidden.

    Click image for larger version

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    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  17. #17

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    So you're running a 1/8" to RCA splitter out of the AE and analog ICs into your gear, that sound right?
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  18. #18

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    1/8 stereo out of AE with RCAs on the other end to input on Pioneer.

    I using the bluejeans BJC MSA-1 Audio Cable

    http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/audio/index.htm
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  19. #19

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    First I'd like to say thanks for posting this thread, it's posts like this that spread the word and give people ideas maybe they hadn't thought of.

    I picked up the new version of the AE on Saturday and I have to admit I'm extremely impressed. In fact, I'm impressed enough that I'm replacing my Squeezebox Touch devices.

    My journey of streaming audio started a couple year ago with the Apple TV. I got everything set up easy enough, but was not at all impressed with the sound, and I made sure to make my thoughts known here about it. After some research, I discovered that with the Apple TV everything gets converted to 48khz when played on the Apple TV, and it's my guess that it's this conversion that's messing with the sound and I don't like it. So my search began for another device that would do the same thing and have better sound, and after some research and lots of advice here I went with the Squeezebox. I just assumed the Airport Express had the same approach as the ATV and never even considered it.

    The Squeezebox did (and still does) everything I want and does it very well and has very good sound quality. So I have no complaints whatsoever and really wasn't looking for an alternative when I came across this thread. Honestly I'm not sure what my motivation was for trying it out than just curiosity, but I'm glad I did.

    Both devices (Squeezebox Touch and the new Airport Express) use AKM DACs and as a result both have a very similar sound signature. The DAC in the AE is a little newer than the DAC in the Squeezebox Touch (AKM4430 in the AE vs AKM4420 in the SBT) and the result is a sound that is...well it's the same actually. I don't know how two devices can sound so much alike, but I'm happy with the end result. I love the added functionality of how it integrates with iTunes and iOS devices as just another Airplay device on your network, makes things really convenient. I also love how iTunes can stream to multiple Airplay devices simultaneously so doing a multi-zone setup is super easy and you get playback all all devices in perfect sync (something I could never get working right with the Touch although until now never thought I needed it). I control everything with the Remote app on the phones and tablets, which works basically the same way iPeng does for the Touch.

    This is definitely worth checking out if you're in the Apple world and what I've described above sounds enticing.

    The one thing the AE gives up to the Touch is the ability to play hi-rez files in their native nitrate, so everything gets converted to 16/44. The DAC itself is capable of hi rez files, but the unit overall does not output them in their native resolution so if you have alot of hi-rez material that you want played in native resolution the Touch is a better choice. I have a good bit of hi-rez material so I'm going to keep a Touch in the mix for the main system, but my other rigs have been changed to these.

    Oh, and by the way, this thing is also apparently a wireless router and access point as well
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  20. #20

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    I own 2 now and am happy with them, glad it worked out and you like it.

    My main rig is where the hi rez stuff is played, I am happy with the AE abilities in my office rig and my wifes micro system.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  21. #21

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    I'd like to figure out how to get Amarra to play through the AE at some point, but information on how to get that working seems to be scarce...
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  22. #22

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    Danny, if you decide to move the SBT down the road, let me know. I'd love to get my ears on it on my system as I hear great things about it, but haven't ever even seen one in person. It'd be cool to meet up with you again and get your thoughts on all things digital. The DAC world is somewhat overwhelming and I really just don't know the best route for my system, functionality-wise or sound-wise. I was hoping to get to see you at LSAF again, but it'd be nice to do it when there isn't the mentality of "so many systems, so little time".
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    I'd like to figure out how to get Amarra to play through the AE at some point, but information on how to get that working seems to be scarce...
    I have not tried but I bet you have to go into midi setup and change output .
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    So does this show up on the Remote app like another Apple TV where you can control from there, or do you have to control from the computer?
    If I'm not mistaken you can control it with and iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. My neighbors have it set up so they can access via their iPad & iPhones.

    Also if you want to control directly from computer you could use your Apple Remote,

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC...A/apple-remote
    Last edited by vstarkwell; 02-05-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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    "He had no conception of the instrument, He was blowing into it. He loved his cello." ~ Take the Money and Run

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    I'd like to figure out how to get Amarra to play through the AE at some point, but information on how to get that working seems to be scarce...
    I believe this will work

    http://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/mac/
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  26. #26

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    Airfoil is great on the mac. I have been using it for years to send Pandora or Spotify around the house.

  27. #27

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    On another note, you should try the optical out to a DAC. The sound quality will improve immensely.

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    UPDATE - 04/05/2013 - New Airport Express + DAC = FAIL

    I've done a couple upgrades on the headphone rig recently and as a result ended up with an extra Peachtree DAC laying around that I decided to move into the living room. I still think the DAC in the AEX is good and that you get a good sound coming right out of the analog jack, but figured I'd throw the Peachtree in the mix and see how much it improved the sound (if a big improvement I'll keep it otherwise I'll sell it). Initial impressions were very good, but I noticed that the audio would occasionally dropout. I checked all my connections and everything was good, changed sources, changed DACs, etc. The problem was very clear, this airport express is not capable of sending my DAC a good signal.

    I did some looking online and seems many others have the same issue with various DACs. It's not widespread with all DACs, but is for enough of them that it's not hard to find results for this issue in a google search. The running theory is that the new AEX has more jitter on the digital output and that this causes problems for some DACs, basically they can't lock on to the signal.

    Well, I THINK I hear enough of a difference to convince me that I want a DAC in the mix, so I started down the path of finding a new DAC that would play well with the AEX and then realized that's dumb, I like my Peachtree why would I want a new DAC? I decided instead to try my luck with a previous generation airport express, as I've only read about the issues on the newest model.

    I picked it up yesterday, plugged it in and it works beautifully with my Peachtree Dac-IT. It doesn't do hi-rez audio obviously but other than that sounds just as good as my Squeezebox Touch and Sonos did with the DAC in the mix and since we're an Apple household it's more convenient than either of those solutions. To my ears it also sounds materially better than my Apple TV does using the same DAC, so I assume the ATV is doing something to the music that the AEX is not?

    High Resolution support would be nice, but given the variability in quality on HDTracks stuff I tend to buy that stuff on SACD anyway. So while I can see it being a drawback for some, not a big deal to me.

    I've got a friend coming over this weekend who's gonna help me do some blind testing between the new AEX using Analog outputs and the older AEX with the DAC in the mix, we'll see how much of a difference I can hear and how reliably I can hear it. While the analog output on the newer AEX is good, early indications are that the other setup will yield significantly better sound.

    If it works out like I think I'll need to buy another one of these older AEX units as a spare while I can still find them.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    UPDATE - 04/05/2013 - New Airport Express + DAC = FAIL

    I've done a couple upgrades on the headphone rig recently and as a result ended up with an extra Peachtree DAC laying around that I decided to move into the living room. I still think the DAC in the AEX is good and that you get a good sound coming right out of the analog jack, but figured I'd throw the Peachtree in the mix and see how much it improved the sound (if a big improvement I'll keep it otherwise I'll sell it). Initial impressions were very good, but I noticed that the audio would occasionally dropout. I checked all my connections and everything was good, changed sources, changed DACs, etc. The problem was very clear, this airport express is not capable of sending my DAC a good signal.

    I did some looking online and seems many others have the same issue with various DACs. It's not widespread with all DACs, but is for enough of them that it's not hard to find results for this issue in a google search. The running theory is that the new AEX has more jitter on the digital output and that this causes problems for some DACs, basically they can't lock on to the signal.

    Well, I THINK I hear enough of a difference to convince me that I want a DAC in the mix, so I started down the path of finding a new DAC that would play well with the AEX and then realized that's dumb, I like my Peachtree why would I want a new DAC? I decided instead to try my luck with a previous generation airport express, as I've only read about the issues on the newest model.

    I picked it up yesterday, plugged it in and it works beautifully with my Peachtree Dac-IT. It doesn't do hi-rez audio obviously but other than that sounds just as good as my Squeezebox Touch and Sonos did with the DAC in the mix and since we're an Apple household it's more convenient than either of those solutions. To my ears it also sounds materially better than my Apple TV does using the same DAC, so I assume the ATV is doing something to the music that the AEX is not?

    High Resolution support would be nice, but given the variability in quality on HDTracks stuff I tend to buy that stuff on SACD anyway. So while I can see it being a drawback for some, not a big deal to me.

    I've got a friend coming over this weekend who's gonna help me do some blind testing between the new AEX using Analog outputs and the older AEX with the DAC in the mix, we'll see how much of a difference I can hear and how reliably I can hear it. While the analog output on the newer AEX is good, early indications are that the other setup will yield significantly better sound.

    If it works out like I think I'll need to buy another one of these older AEX units as a spare while I can still find them.
    Interesting. I wonder if it could be an issue with your wireless network? I have an AEX (older version) and have been wanting to add a stand alone dac like DAC IT or DacMagic. Give us an update after you spend more time with it!

  30. #30

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    assimilated, see post 11 above. FOr Gen 1 vs Gen 2. There is a link to ComputerAUdiophile that talks about the jitter issue.

    Also, Apple sells the Gen 1 refurb for a good price. $69

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB...n-and-airtunes
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

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