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AirPlay speakers and iMac

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by DianeK, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    In all the reading I have been doing on the internet about AirPlay enabled speakers they all talk about connectivity to an iOS device. There is never any mention about connectivity to an actual computer. Can I use AirPlay speakers with my iMac, and not an iPad, iPod, iPhone? I'm looking to stream music from my computer in my home office to my living room.
  2. macrumors 68020

    it will work directly from iTunes. no iphone/ipad/ipod needed

    if you're running mountain lion, you can change the system audio output to an airplay device.

    There is also a 3rd party program called airfoil that will let you send audio from any one program (or the entire system audio) to an airplay device.
    helpful if you want to send audio from something like pandora or rdio. as you can point airfoil at your browser.

    *one thing to note, depending on what you're doing, there can be a delay in the audio in relation to what you're seeing on your screen, it's about 2 seconds behind due to buffering.
    Apple gets around this by delaying the interface on the computer to match the audio.

    **another thing, when sending from a computer, you can send to multiple devices at the same time, all in sync with each other. (your computer is included in this, so you can have the same music coming from your airplay speakers and your computer speakers at the same time, or 2 sets of speakers, or whatever you have)
    iOS only lets you send to one location at a time.
  3. macrumors regular

    Great set of information - thank you!
    Another question: if my AirPlay speakers are synced (for lack of a better term) with my iMac, does that preclude me from using them at a different time with an iOS device. I'm thinking about this because you can sync an iOS device with only one computer so I'm wondering if the app for the AirPlay speakers would work the same - only one device allowed, the one you used to install the app?
  4. macrumors 68020

    you can't use them at the exact same time from 2 different devices, but once you disconnect a source, you'll be able to connect another.
    much like headphones, you can't plug them in 2 places at once, but you can move them around as much as you want.
  5. macrumors regular

    Thank you.
  6. macrumors 65816


    If you select your Airplay speakers as your iMac's default output (Sound Pref panel) all program and os sounds will go through the Airplay speakers. No third party software needed.
  7. macrumors regular

    Thank you. Now I just have to decide which speaker to get.
  8. macrumors 6502

    They can be expensive.Pioneer just reduced their cost by half to $199on their 2 main airplay speakers. One, the A3, has a battery and is for outdoors, but the sound is nothing like the A4. I doubt if you could find anything at that price point that even comes near. I am retired and not a salesman for anyone. I really like this speaker and suggest you listen to one.
  9. macrumors regular

    Thank you. I will certainly check them out.
  10. macrumors member

    You can also use and Airport Express (not the Extreem) and connect any set of speakers to it (powered speakers directly, loudspeakers via an output on a receiver)

    from what I've seen AirPlay enabled speakers seem to be demanding a VERY high premium, I used the "get a nice set of speakers, a good receiver, and then use an AirPort to AirPlay enable them" route to save money :)
  11. macrumors regular

    Looking at the schematics for the Airport Express, the only "out" is an optical and the optical "in" on my receiver is already taken up by the CD/DVD player.
  12. macrumors 68040


    We love our Zeppelin Air more than any other gadget.

    I can pause my iPhone's music and my wife can begin her music within five seconds. We frequently use an Air running 10.8 to play any sound through the Zeppelin.
  13. macrumors 68020

    the out is a combo optical/analog, so a 1/8" (regular headphone plug) to RCA (red/white) would work if you have those inputs.

    or if you have an HDMI input, you can go with the :apple:TV for the same price as the express.
    you need a television to get it all set up, and a TV would be good to have close.
    but, to stream music, if your aTV is hooked to a receiver, you can listen to music with the TV off.
  14. macrumors regular

    We do have an :apple:Tv but it is hooked up to the Onkyo home theatre AV receiver in the basement. We have a separate Denon receiver upstairs in our living room for the stereo (Wharfedale speakers) but it is older and does not have HDMI. So I would either hook it up to an Airport Express with headphone-to-RCA cable or look at getting the Zeppelin Air. Would I be losing sound quality with the RCA hookup? Or even if I did, would it still be better than the Zeppelin Air? I want to keep the Denon connected to the CD player via optical because when I have the original CD I would rather play that than stream from iTunes.
  15. macrumors member

    A good quality cable between the two should be fine, I've not been able to tell the difference. There are groups out there that spend thousands on power cords and cables for audio setups, so I must not possess the "special ears" that can hear the difference :rolleyes:

  16. macrumors regular

    Thank you. I don't have special ears either ;).

    And another question just popped to mind for you and anyone else to answer. We have a Time Capsule for our home network but it cannot be moved into the same room as my sound system. If I got an Airport Express for the sound system, would the wifi's from AE and TC start interfering with each other and cause "cyber confusion"? They would be about 30 feet from each other in an old house with gypsum plaster walls.
  17. macrumors member

    You have a couple of options at that point, you can disable the Time Capsules wireless network (and just run the AirPorts network, and wire it to your network with CAT5 cable) or extend the wireless network (setup the new airport to "extend an existing network" that way it will just act as a repeater.

    I would pick option 1 if you have a network port available for use, just for a ease-of-setup :) but option 2 should work as well.

  18. macrumors regular

    Would I not have to pick option 2 if I need the Airport Express to be near the AV receiver for RCA hookup as that would put the AE too far away from the internet station for CAT5 cable connection?
  19. macrumors member

    I've done two of these installs (the first was in my home where I had the house pre-wired with cat5 when it was built) so I picked option 1.

    The install I did last week was at my parents house, and I picked option 2 (no cat5 jack within reach of the airport) so I simply extended the network on the first gen time capsule in the basement (I had to delete and re-add the wireless network to get the "extension" to work correctly since the network was built with a very old version of the Wireless Utility) but after that it was quite easy to configure: plug in new AirPort, select it from the WiFi menu as an unconfigured device, start the configuration and select "extend an existing network" (after naming the device correctly mine was "AirPort - Library" since this is the name that will show up in iTunes, etc)

  20. macrumors 65816


    The Express does not have to be used as a router. If you connect it to your existing wireless using the "Join an existing network" option it will connect like any other client (i.e. desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.). No worries about extensions or "cyber confusion." :)
  21. macrumors regular

    Thank you. The person at the (un)Genius Bar has confused me. I seem to get better advice here:)
    We cannot get wi-fi signal on our front deck and where I would be placing the Airport Express is half-way between the Time Capsule and the front door - just about where the signal drops from 3 bars to 2. So I think we would like to use the Airport Express as a extender plus connect it to the audio receiver. If used in extender mode, will it still have audio signal coming from its toslink out-port?
  22. macrumors 65816


    Yes. The Airplay feature works as long as the device is connected to the network, regardless of the mode.
  23. macrumors regular

    Thank you very much!
  24. macrumors 65816


    You're welcome.

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