Music through 2 Apple TVs not in sync

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by tekno, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2011
    I have an Apple TV in the kitchen and a 2nd gen ATV in the lounge and have finally hooked them each up to a sound system hoping to have the whole of the ground floor filled with music.

    But the old Apple TV is about a second ahead which seems to make the 'multiple speakers' option in Airplay useless.

    Is there a way of getting them in sync?
  2. macrumors regular

    May 24, 2007
    Are they hooked up to completely different sound systems (i.e. make, model, age etc)? Could be that one sound system processes the digital signal faster than the other, in which case you'll struggle to get them in sync. Possibly (and other people may argue differently) you could buy two digital-analogue converter (DAC) units and feed an analogue signal into your amps - that would be the closest you'd get, IMO.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2011
    Well, he could swap the positions of the old and new ATV, to see if that is the issue.

    In the event that it isn't, either get a new ATV (so both match), or maybe a new Airport Express (which also has AirPlay).
  4. macrumors regular

    May 24, 2007
    Fair point - I hadn't digested the fact that it was an old and a new Apple TV when I made my original reply.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    I have used both gen 1 and 2 to airplay with no sync issues. I presently use 2 ATV2's, and 2 Airport Expresses, and 1 ATV1 to play music in my house and yard at the same time. some wireless, some wired.

    I certainly would swap the 2 and see if it changes.
  6. macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I run 2 zones through one receiver, with an ATV connected by HDMI for zone 1 and separate analog audio cables for zone 2. They are always out of step, even if I cancel the audio retardation on the digital connection (which is necessary to hold back the audio to allow the video processing to catch up).
  7. HobeSoundDarryl, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012

    macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    This is just timing conflicts. The OP is trying to do something this software is not designed to do. It would be the same if he hooked up 2 CD players and had someone try to push play at the same time... only this is worse because there is no way to ask the system to even try to synchronize the music playback.

    In this case, there are 2 separate devices with 2 separate CPU's. Yes, they may be linking into the same iTunes library on the same wired or wireless network. But pull those :apple:TVs out of the equation and try to do the same with a couple of iDevices (also with independent CPUs). Without some software running to synch up the devices, they have no way of knowing when to start playback in unison with the other device.

    It sounds like what the OP needs is for Apple to make multiple-Airplay functionality have some added code for synching. I doubt that's there now.

    Instead of trying to do this with 2 largely independent systems, I suggest buying something made for this... something to take the output from a single :apple:TV and push it to the 2 independent sets of speakers. Something like this:

    If the OP has a receiver, I'd run the audio out of the :apple:TV into the receiver and then use the receiver to push the signals to more than one room. Someone mentioned a zone 2 receiver earlier. THAT (too) will work.
  8. macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2008
    That's a rather strong statement. I've had two Airport Expresses *and* my local Mac all playing from one iTunes instance in perfect synchronization for hours at a time. It's obvious to anyone who has done it that Apple is delaying the local iTunes output enough to sync it with the Airport Express.

  9. macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Alrescha, you're right. I don't work at Apple so I can't know for sure if they've anticipated such a scenario and wrote it into the Airplay code. I guessed that this would not be widely anticipated and thus NOT be in the code. You and EvilC5 have now both suggested that it will work. The OP might now take your evidence to know that it can be done, and that he should simply experiment and/or describe what (else) he's tried and the result (seeking more help). My apologies for jumping to a conclusion that was apparently wrong.
  10. fred.bloggs, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012

    macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2011
    Sorry, but I thought this was the whole point of the airport express, and now airplay. Multiple rooms all in sync.

    From the apple air play web page "Hear everywhere at once. Say you have one set of speakers in your bedroom, one in the office, and one in the living room. For the ultimate sonic panorama, you can stream your tunes to more than one room simultaneously, so you’ll never lose the beat, no matter where you are in the house."

    Hardly a sonic panorama if they are all out of sync!

    As has been suggested I'd rule out digital processing delays in the amp by swapping about.
  11. macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    or maybe you're commenting on something you have no clue about?

    I've been using multiple airports in sync for at least 5 years (although previously was called airtunes)
    i don't have an first get appleTV though. but i do use 3 airport expresses, and appleTV2 and a denon airplay capable receiver. and all playback in sync.

    from an iOS device, you can only stream to one thing at a time. from iTunes you can stream to multiple.
    or with airfoil you can pick any program to stream from, and send to AirPort Expresses, Apple TVs, third-party AirPlay devices and in addition Mac, Linux, Windows, and iOS devices.

    to the OP
    it should work.
    try rebooting all of your network gear (anything the signal passes through)

    if that doesn't work as has been mentioned try swapping stuff around to see if the delay is happening after the apple gear.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    Well I can't comment technically, but I have a similar set up to the OP and have no issues with synchronisation.

    I have an itunes library on my iMac Apple TV 1 (with Denon amplifier) in the living room, Apple TV2 (with Cambridge Audio DAC and Cambridge Audio amplifier) in the music room and speakers connected from the iMac in my office.
    When I play music to al 3 sets of 'speakers' selecting this at iTunes, I get music from all 3 systems and it's perfectly in sync.

    The only difference is that my system is hardwired, perhaps this has something to do with it?
  13. macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2006
    The most aggravating thing for me is that my three sets of speakers are *almost* in sync but not quite, so I've got this sort of *chorus* effect which is making my girlfriend nuts.
  14. macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Often due to processing delay inside the audio equipment once the signal leaves the AppleTV.

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