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How's the Airport Express?


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#1 of 20 DaveF

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Posted January 04 2008 - 05:02 AM

Anyone have an Airport Express they use to listen to iTunes wirelessly on their stereo? I've been thinking about getting one recently. I don't listen to much music on the home stereo, but when I do I usually plug in my iPod with a simple 1/8"-to-RCA stereo. Having done that a few times, I'm thinking having an AE to talk directly to my my MacBook Pro (or my wife's Mac G5) would be easier. But I don't know much about how the system works and if it's really worthwhile.

Comments?

#2 of 20 Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 04 2008 - 09:27 AM

Well, I can talk a bit about Airport Express but not for the
reasons you may want....

I use it in conjunction with my Mac Pro and my printer.

My router transmits wirelessly to Airport Express which is
hooked to my printer via a USB connection.

Works like a charm!

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#3 of 20 Ken Chan

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Posted January 04 2008 - 10:34 AM

I have one. It Just Works. What else is there to say? Posted Image

Once it is in your network, any iTunes -- on Windows or Mac, wireless or wired -- can access it, and play music through it. It has a mini-jack that can be used for both optical and analog.

#4 of 20 Cameron Yee

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Posted January 04 2008 - 10:56 AM

I've had positive experience with the AE as well. You may want to look at the AirFoil application too, which will allow you to send more than just iTunes audio.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#5 of 20 ErichH

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Posted January 04 2008 - 12:52 PM

Distance and number of networked items are key.
Works quite well if you don't test the limits.

#6 of 20 DaveF

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Posted January 04 2008 - 04:07 PM

Thanks for the comments. This would work well for me -- it's only 20 feet from my AEBS to the stereo. But unfortunately, I found that it's still "g", and I use my AEBS at 5 GHz "n". And it's still $100, which is pricey for my purposes, when a $5 cable I bought 10 years ago suffices. If it were $30 and "n", no brainer. Or if it did video too, that would be much more intriguing. (I connected my Mac to the TV & stereo for music and visualizer graphics at our New Year's party.)

Maybe it will be refreshed at MacWorld... (hope springs eternal)

#7 of 20 JohnRice

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Posted January 05 2008 - 03:13 AM

I am still wanting to use some of these to distribute music with my new-to-me old iMac. Unfortunately, I need to find something to send the signal from the iMac. It never needs to go more than about 40 ft. Has anyone ever used something like This?

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#8 of 20 Cameron Yee

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Posted January 05 2008 - 04:43 AM

When I first got the AE I was using a Windows computer and in fact used a USB adapter since I'd run out of slots for a wireless card. It worked fine.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#9 of 20 McPaul

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Posted January 05 2008 - 07:45 AM

I use AE for music myself and have nothing but good things to say.
only thing, I don't use it that often. my computer's upstairs. hard to control. Also doesn't do coverflow.

#10 of 20 DaveF

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Posted January 05 2008 - 09:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
I am still wanting to use some of these to distribute music with my new-to-me old iMac. Unfortunately, I need to find something to send the signal from the iMac. It never needs to go more than about 40 ft. Has anyone ever used something like This?
I've not used anything like that, but for $10 more you can get a full wireless router.

#11 of 20 JohnRice

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Posted January 06 2008 - 04:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
I've not used anything like that, but for $10 more you can get a full wireless router.
Part of the problem is I am a networking virgin. I thought all the non-Apple wireless routers didn't work on Macs due to lack of drivers, but that one says it is Mac compatible.

Here is my setup. My desktop and iMac are on a wired network. The DSL modem (which has a built-in router) is next to the desktop, then distributed with a regular switch to the Desktop and iMac. That part of it will stay wired, for speed and because it is already wired. The desktop is downstairs in my office and the iMac is upstairs in the dining room. It is the one I use to play music in the house. FWIW, the actual music files are on the desktop Mac but the iMac is far more accessible.

So, I don't need another router, but can I take the wireless router/switch linked to and just use it as a ethernet switch, connected to the iMac, as well as using it to broadcast to the AEs? This could have some benefits, since the old iMac does not have USB 2, and I would have greater potential bandwidth by connecting to the Ethernet network than USB 1.1. Of course, only using it for music, it probably wouldn't make a difference. Once I added shipping to the USB dongle I linked to, it would be virtually the same price as the wireless router/switch.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#12 of 20 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 06 2008 - 06:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
Part of the problem is I am a networking virgin. I thought all the non-Apple wireless routers didn't work on Macs due to lack of drivers, but that one says it is Mac compatible.
I use a Netgear WGR614 in my apartment and my roommate's two computers — a PowerBook G4 and an Intel Duo iMac — both interface with it beautifully. My iTunes detects his libraries and his iTunes detects my libraries with rare exceptions. We share files over the router from my Dell Inspiron XP machine and his Macs without problems.

#13 of 20 DaveF

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Posted January 06 2008 - 07:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
Part of the problem is I am a networking virgin. I thought all the non-Apple wireless routers didn't work on Macs due to lack of drivers, but that one says it is Mac compatible.
I'm not highly networking savvy, but I think that's just bad (or out of date) info. I'd expect any router to work with the Mac these days. I'd be completely surprised to find a mainstream, brandname device -- like NetGear -- not work with a Mac.

NetGear's website says its Mac compatible and Adam's using the same one with his Mac. It should work. Posted Image

Quote:
Here is my setup. My desktop and iMac are on a wired network. The DSL modem (which has a built-in router) is next to the desktop, then distributed with a regular switch to the Desktop and iMac. That part of it will stay wired, for speed and because it is already wired. The desktop is downstairs in my office and the iMac is upstairs in the dining room. It is the one I use to play music in the house. FWIW, the actual music files are on the desktop Mac but the iMac is far more accessible.

So, I don't need another router, but can I take the wireless router/switch linked to and just use it as a ethernet switch, connected to the iMac, as well as using it to broadcast to the AEs? This could have some benefits, since the old iMac does not have USB 2, and I would have greater potential bandwidth by connecting to the Ethernet network than USB 1.1. Of course, only using it for music, it probably wouldn't make a difference. Once I added shipping to the USB dongle I linked to, it would be virtually the same price as the wireless router/switch.
This exceeds my networking knowledge Posted Image but I think you can replace your switch with this router -- unless you're using a 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) network; this router is 10/100.

But as you've already got a router and a switch, it might be easier to get a simple plug-in wireless solution.

#14 of 20 Cameron Yee

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Posted January 06 2008 - 07:50 AM

I had also had a Netgear WGR614 wireless router, which worked fine independently but I could never get the AE to join the wireless network it created. Here's some folks with similar problems:
macosxhints.com - AirTunes/Airport Express, WEP, and Netgear routers
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#15 of 20 JohnRice

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Posted January 06 2008 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for all the info guys.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#16 of 20 Ken Chan

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Posted January 06 2008 - 12:56 PM

Quote:
I thought all the non-Apple wireless routers didn't work on Macs due to lack of drivers
Drivers are required for the computer to use its networking hardware. Everyone's networking hardware (cards, routers, and switches) are all designed to work together. So drivers are not an issue. Otherwise, a Macbook might not work at any given Starbucks or airport -- they are not all using Apple routers.

One difference is that configuring the router might be more difficult from the Mac. Some routers provide Windows-only "easy" configuration software, in addition to their web-based configuration. Also, entering WEP/WPA passwords might be more of a hassle: instead of typing in just a regular password, you may have to enter a crazy-long cryptic key.

#17 of 20 Michael_K_Sr

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Posted January 07 2008 - 07:47 AM

Quote:
I've not used anything like that, but for $10 more you can get a full wireless router.

I don't really have any need for a full wireless router. I use my Express to extend my wireless network range and to print wirelessly. The AirPort Express is inconspicuous, taking up no desk or table space. It also has a built in USB printing bridge, which most wireless routers don't (I have no need to network my printer via Ethernet.)

#18 of 20 LDfan

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Posted January 07 2008 - 08:01 AM

Well I can't comment on what you want to use it for but after screwing around with weak wireless coverage in my townhouse from my linksys router and several failed attempts with many different types of wireless repeaters I gave up.
Bought an apple airport extreme router and a airport express (setup to repeat). Never been happier with the setup. Stuff works great!

Jeff

#19 of 20 Tim_Stack

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Posted January 09 2008 - 09:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
I've had positive experience with the AE as well. You may want to look at the AirFoil application too, which will allow you to send more than just iTunes audio.
Exactly - Airfoil is great for me since I have Sirius Sat. Radio - so I can listen to Stern downstairs via streaming Sirius in Safari > Airfoil > Airport Express > stereo, without having to buy a separate Sirius reciever and pay another subscription fee.

#20 of 20 Yumbo

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Posted January 16 2008 - 05:44 AM

I have 2! The best thing about the new iTunes is simultaneous listening on all 3 of my zones. If a Mac user - a must!


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