Airplay 2 Compatibility with Airport Express

Populism

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Original poster
Jun 11, 2014
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Have looked through the news and the forums and don't see any new information beyond the guesswork in June 2017 when Airplay 2 was announced. Apologies if I've missed something obvious.

Do we know yet whether Airplay 2 will play nice with Airport Expresses?

Thanks.
 

Populism

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2014
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@Populism Apple has not issued any specification on whether AirPlay 2 will work with the AirPort Express. However, the existing AirPlay functionality will continue to function.[/QUOTE]

Thanks. I have invested a lot of money/time into several airport expresses over the years to work with my older stereo equipment. I can't figure out which direction Apple is heading in with the AirPort Express. We'll see.
 

dfnj123

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2007
538
71
New York, New York
Currently struggling with a similar problem (though I have not invested into any Airport Expresses yet).

I currently use an Apple TV 4th Gen for Airplay, and would like to hook up a second (separate) set of speakers to sync with my existing Airplay setup for music. I'm concerned that if I buy an Airport Express now it may not be updated to support Airplay 2. Apple could also be planning to release an new product to add Airplay 2 to existing speakers (be it a new Airport Express, a competitor to Google's Chromecast Audio, or something else altogether...)

Anyone know any solutions to this situation, or am I better off waiting for Airplay 2's official release... which I assume will be whenever the Homepod comes out...
 

Populism

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2014
186
2,970
Currently struggling with a similar problem (though I have not invested into any Airport Expresses yet).

I currently use an Apple TV 4th Gen for Airplay, and would like to hook up a second (separate) set of speakers to sync with my existing Airplay setup for music. I'm concerned that if I buy an Airport Express now it may not be updated to support Airplay 2. Apple could also be planning to release an new product to add Airplay 2 to existing speakers (be it a new Airport Express, a competitor to Google's Chromecast Audio, or something else altogether...)

Anyone know any solutions to this situation, or am I better off waiting for Airplay 2's official release... which I assume will be whenever the Homepod comes out...
I don't have an answer to your question, but would like to ask you what may be a dumb question.

To use an Apple TV for airplay, does the TV have to be on? Does the Apple TV stay on all the time (like an Airport Express)?
 

dfnj123

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2007
538
71
New York, New York
I don't have an answer to your question, but would like to ask you what may be a dumb question.

To use an Apple TV for airplay, does the TV have to be on? Does the Apple TV stay on all the time (like an Airport Express)?
I think you could do this with a 3rd Gen Apple TV since there was an optical audio output on it in addition to HDMI. You could just connect the audio and video inputs separately. Unfortunately the 4th Gen Apple TV only has an HDMI output. You'd need to mess around with adapters to get it to work independent of a TV.
 
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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
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Elkton, Maryland
Thanks. I have invested a lot of money/time into several airport expresses over the years to work with my older stereo equipment. I can't figure out which direction Apple is heading in with the AirPort Express. We'll see.
It is a bit unknown where Apple is going with the entire AirPort line - on one hand there was a report that they moved most of their staff on that team to other projects, but they continue to sell the AirPorts and they have never been the quickest to deploy new standards.

I currently use an Apple TV 4th Gen for Airplay, and would like to hook up a second (separate) set of speakers to sync with my existing Airplay setup for music. I'm concerned that if I buy an Airport Express now it may not be updated to support Airplay 2. Apple could also be planning to release an new product to add Airplay 2 to existing speakers (be it a new Airport Express, a competitor to Google's Chromecast Audio, or something else altogether...)
AirPlay 2 is designed to supersede AirPlay, and all AirPlay (original) devices will continue to be supported regardless of where Apple goes with AirPlay 2.
 
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dfnj123

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2007
538
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New York, New York
It is a bit unknown where Apple is going with the entire AirPort line - on one hand there was a report that they moved most of their staff on that team to other projects, but they continue to sell the AirPorts and they have never been the quickest to deploy new standards.



AirPlay 2 is designed to supersede AirPlay, and all AirPlay (original) devices will continue to be supported regardless of where Apple goes with AirPlay 2.
I realize that. What I'm not sure of is if multi point Airplay playback will be supported on legacy Airplay devices. If I have two separate Airplay speakers that I want to sync up with playing the same audio at the same time I can currently only do that through iTunes on a MacOS computer. Airplay 2 adds synced multi device audio support through iOS devices, which was previously not possible.

I realize my existing Apple TV 4th Gen will be upgraded to Airplay 2 (as will my MBP, iPhone, Apple Watch, etc.). What I'm not sure of is if the current Airport Express will be updated to support Airplay 2. Therefore I am not sure if I would be able to play audio simultaneously through an Apple TV and a Airport Express at the same time through an iOS device if the Airport Express is not upgraded.

Does that dilemma make sense for why I'm waiting to know for sure if the Airport Express will either be upgraded to Airplay 2 or if a new model of the Airport Express with Airplay 2 support is announced?

I guess my confusion is regarding if legacy Airplay 1 devices gain the features of Airplay 2 if the device controlling/sending the audio supports Airplay 2. Otherwise it would be pointless to buy an Airplay receiver/speaker right now, as there is uncertainty if it will support the new features of Airplay 2.

(finding this whole situation confusing/convoluted to explain... haha. I'd love it if Apple released more information on Airplay 2 to clarify potential compatibility issues)
[doublepost=1506470988][/doublepost]Here's a tech analogy explaining my confusion. Just because a blu-ray player is backwards compatible with DVDs doesn't mean a blu-ray player can magically upgrade the context of a DVD to blu-ray HD visual/audio quality.

For Airplay, while I'm aware Airplay 1 devices will work with Airplay 2 devices, what I am confused about is if Airplay 1 devices used with Airplay 2 will be limited to only Airplay 1 features, or if they will be able to take advantage of new Airplay 2 features.
 
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slamin97

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2009
1
0
A great trick: Use a computer running iTunes to AirPlay to multiple audio destinations. (I've done it from a Mac, haven't actually tested this from Windows but believe that works too.) Use the Remote app from iPhone/iPad to control the iTunes library AND independent volume of each audio destination. This also helps cut down on audio-drop outs if you're AirPlaying from a iPad/iPhone and moving around.

Have looked through the news and the forums and don't see any new information beyond the guesswork in June 2017 when Airplay 2 was announced. Apologies if I've missed something obvious.

Do we know yet whether Airplay 2 will play nice with Airport Expresses?

Thanks.
 

Populism

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2014
186
2,970
A great trick: Use a computer running iTunes to AirPlay to multiple audio destinations. (I've done it from a Mac, haven't actually tested this from Windows but believe that works too.) Use the Remote app from iPhone/iPad to control the iTunes library AND independent volume of each audio destination. This also helps cut down on audio-drop outs if you're AirPlaying from a iPad/iPhone and moving around.
That's a great idea! If I'm reading correctly/between the lines, my iPhone's iOS won't send music to multiple Airport Expresses simultaneously, but a computer running iTunes can. SO if I have an old clunker computer/iTunes always on, I simply use my iPhone's Remote app to control that computer/Airport Expresses. At least I hope that's what you meant, and that it works. Will try it. Thanks!
 

lancemcv1

macrumors newbie
Jan 12, 2010
6
0
This stinks because you can't stream to older airport express or older apple tvs vai airplay 2 only ATV4 and ATV5 4k etc. The issue with using itunes on your computer works to stream to older multiple devices but you have to use itunes on your computer to use apple music, it can't be accessed from your iphone with the older remote app. If you add the record to your library you can then stream but you can't play records via apple music without first adding it to your itunes library. If it works with itunes I don't see why older devices are left out of Airplay2?

AirPlay 2 system requirements

The following devices support streaming with AirPlay 2.

Devices you can stream from
*iTunes has limited support for playing music to multiple speakers.

Devices you can stream to
 

Populism

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2014
186
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This stinks because you can't stream to older airport express or older apple tvs vai airplay 2 only ATV4 and ATV5 4k etc. The issue with using itunes on your computer works to stream to older multiple devices but you have to use itunes on your computer to use apple music, it can't be accessed from your iphone with the older remote app. If you add the record to your library you can then stream but you can't play records via apple music without first adding it to your itunes library. If it works with itunes I don't see why older devices are left out of Airplay2?

AirPlay 2 system requirements

The following devices support streaming with AirPlay 2.

Devices you can stream from
*iTunes has limited support for playing music to multiple speakers.

Devices you can stream to
Ugh - you're right. This really does stink.

I have several older, vintage receiver/amps that I've used for years via a simple Airport Express. Use them every day in that regard. I have zero interest trying to pair a vintage reciever/amp with a Apple TV and television. I don't have and don't want a television/Apple TV in all of the rooms I fill with music.

If I'm reading this information incorrectly, someone please let me know. Thanks.

EDIT:

Just looked at the apple.com sales page for the Airport Express. They are still selling. It says it plays nice with "Airplay". If that's them splitting hairs between "Airplay" and "Airplay 2", that is really really lame.

I do not want one of the Apple music speakers. I want to stream music to my old stereo gear, just as I've done for literally over ten years.

Again, I hope I am reading this wrong.
 

christsay

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2017
20
7
Ugh - you're right. This really does stink.

I have several older, vintage receiver/amps that I've used for years via a simple Airport Express. Use them every day in that regard. I have zero interest trying to pair a vintage reciever/amp with a Apple TV and television. I don't have and don't want a television/Apple TV in all of the rooms I fill with music.

If I'm reading this information incorrectly, someone please let me know. Thanks.

EDIT:

Just looked at the apple.com sales page for the Airport Express. They are still selling. It says it plays nice with "Airplay". If that's them splitting hairs between "Airplay" and "Airplay 2", that is really really lame.

I do not want one of the Apple music speakers. I want to stream music to my old stereo gear, just as I've done for literally over ten years.

Again, I hope I am reading this wrong.
I bit the bullet and replaced one of my Airport Express with a Apple TV 4K. Before I had the AX feeding a DAC over optical, the Apple TV (4th Gen) and the Apple TV 4K both don't have an optical out so I also picked up a HDMI audio extractor for ~$25.

Setup the new ATV 4K hooked up to a television, updated to tvOS 11.4, told it what room it was in and enabled automatic software updates. Then moved it to where the speakers are and am running it headless. Works great.

I think the fact that the Airport Utility hasn't been updated for the iPhone X speaks volumes...

-chris
 

Populism

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2014
186
2,970
I bit the bullet and replaced one of my Airport Express with a Apple TV 4K. Before I had the AX feeding a DAC over optical, the Apple TV (4th Gen) and the Apple TV 4K both don't have an optical out so I also picked up a HDMI audio extractor for ~$25.

Setup the new ATV 4K hooked up to a television, updated to tvOS 11.4, told it what room it was in and enabled automatic software updates. Then moved it to where the speakers are and am running it headless. Works great.

I think the fact that the Airport Utility hasn't been updated for the iPhone X speaks volumes...

-chris
Appreciate your post. Call me dense but I don't understand your last sentence - what does that say to you? That they are going to do away with the Airport Utility/Airport Express altogether? Thanks.

Edit:

Never mind - I managed to miss the news that Apple has announced the abandonment of the entire Airport line. So indeed the Airport Utility is essentially unnecessary.

Oh well. Have enjoyed my AXs. I guess I’ll try your setup now.
 
Last edited:

christsay

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2017
20
7
Appreciate your post. Call me dense but I don't understand your last sentence - what does that say to you? That they are going to do away with the Airport Utility/Airport Express altogether? Thanks.

Edit:

Never mind - I managed to miss the news that Apple has announced the abandonment of the entire Airport line. So indeed the Airport Utility is essentially unnecessary.

Oh well. Have enjoyed my AXs. I guess I’ll try your setup now.
yep, for reference this is the HDMI audio extractor I am using:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KBHX072/

-chris
 
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BeachDuc

macrumors member
May 18, 2014
35
9
NSW Australia
Ugh - you're right. This really does stink.

I have several older, vintage receiver/amps that I've used for years via a simple Airport Express. Use them every day in that regard. I have zero interest trying to pair a vintage reciever/amp with a Apple TV and television. I don't have and don't want a television/Apple TV in all of the rooms I fill with music.

If I'm reading this information incorrectly, someone please let me know. Thanks.

EDIT:

Just looked at the apple.com sales page for the Airport Express. They are still selling. It says it plays nice with "Airplay". If that's them splitting hairs between "Airplay" and "Airplay 2", that is really really lame.

I do not want one of the Apple music speakers. I want to stream music to my old stereo gear, just as I've done for literally over ten years.

Again, I hope I am reading this wrong.
I’m pretty sure that Airplay still works with Airplay devices. It’s just that your Airport Express won’t do Airplay 2 stuff.
 
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christsay

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2017
20
7
I’m pretty sure that Airplay still works with Airplay devices. It’s just that your Airport Express won’t do Airplay 2 stuff.
This is true. I only made the change to Airplay 2 so that I can tell Siri on the HomePod to 'play this in the <insert room name here> also". Added bonus that you can Airplay 2 from an iOS device to multiple endpoints, with Airplay 1 this is only possible from iTunes on the Mac (or some other third party solution).

-chris
 

christsay

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2017
20
7
One caveat, you'll need the Apple TV hooked up to a TV the first time you try and airplay to it from a Mac for the Airplay code...

-chris
 
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Fant

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2009
169
1
I bit the bullet and replaced one of my Airport Express with a Apple TV 4K. Before I had the AX feeding a DAC over optical, the Apple TV (4th Gen) and the Apple TV 4K both don't have an optical out so I also picked up a HDMI audio extractor for ~$25.

Setup the new ATV 4K hooked up to a television, updated to tvOS 11.4, told it what room it was in and enabled automatic software updates. Then moved it to where the speakers are and am running it headless. Works great.

I think the fact that the Airport Utility hasn't been updated for the iPhone X speaks volumes...

-chris
How has this worked so far after a few weeks? Any issue with running headless long term?
 

christsay

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2017
20
7
How has this worked so far after a few weeks? Any issue with running headless long term?
Still working great, I thought I saw some rumors that the airport express' are showing up in the Home app in the latest betas so maybe wait to see if that happens? I doubt that that will come to fruition myself.

-chris
 
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