AppleTV for Music Only, using TOSLINK No HDMI

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Policar, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    I want to use an AppleTV using AirPlay (AppleMusic) for music listening.

    I won't be hooking it up to a tv, but I can temporarily hook one up for set up. It would just be there in case I want to listen to music and stream music.

    The reasons I want to do things this way are complicated. I have a TOSLINK-compatible DAC that I particularly like the sound of and I want to hook it up to some headphones without having to tether down my MacBook Pro.

    Is this possible?
  2. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Why not use Airport Express then?
    Most of appleTV's functionality (ergo - price) is related to images, so you would spend on something you do not want to use from the onset.
    Airport Express does music streaming, has Toslink, and is the size of aTV. Just white in color.
  3. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Very interesting.... I assumed it didn't have TOSLINK due to the 1/8" out, but it looks like it supports optical, too, with an adapter:

    Do you know if these go up for sale refurbished often? At $49, it looks like a steal.

    I'd have to reorganize my apartment (move my modem and router and printer placement) and sell my old router, but I've been looking for an excuse to do that anyway...
  4. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
  5. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    priitv8 is absolutely right. I would normally push :apple:TV for this kind of thing so that you have the bonus of the rest of what an :apple:TV can do, but for what you want to do, AE will be the best option.
  6. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Thanks! I found an open box Airport Express at Best Buy for $60.

    Just to confirm, I'll be able to play Airplay from Apple Music at highest available streaming quality and also stream audio from my iPhone and MacBook Pro this way using Airplay?
  7. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    airplay streams using the apple lossless codec.

    there is some debate as to if the airport will support airplay 2.

    the main advantage to airplay 2 is being able to stream to multiple locations from your phone at the same time
    also some backend updates that should make it more reliable.

    you can stream to multiple airplay 1 devices from iTunes simultaneously.

    there's also a program called airfoil that will let you stream from any 1 program on your computer (windows or mac) at a time (or whole system audio) to multiple devices.
  8. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
  9. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    OP, I missed this thread until today and would have offered the Express too. If you need a bit more reassurance, Ken Rockwell broke down sound quality on this unit around 4 years ago. I still love my Express...
  10. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    My ATV3 is connected to my TV via HDMI and at the same time to my digital preamp via toslink for listening to music using AirPlay. Most of the time My TV is off and I just listen to music. However, when I want to use the ATV for watching stuff on the TV, I use it as it is intended.

    The only thing is, there is a delay in sound between the HDMI and toslink. So when both the TV and my sound system is on, the sound echoes. As a result, I either turn off the sound system and use only the sound of the TV, or mute the TV and use the sound system alone but not both of them simultaneously.
  11. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    It has been a while, but back when I had a receiver on my main TV, I had the ATV3's optical out going to it. I don't remember the HDMI out of sync when I had both on.

    I do remember a way to adjust this, either on the TV, or on my receiver, but I didn't need to.
  12. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    I didn’t test to find out whether the delay is caused by the source (ATV) or introduced by one of the components namely the TV or the Preamp. It is in the order of milliseconds but enough to cause the echoing effect.
  13. Policar, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018

    Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    It works! But it sounds bad. Actually, it's difficult to tell how it sounds because it skips so much, it might be fine but the skipping is so distracting.

    It's fine from the analog out but toslink to DAC skips.

    This is all I could find on my problem:
    --- Post Merged, Apr 22, 2018 ---


    Looks like the issue is more jitter than my DAC can handle.

    Not the end of the world! I'm just going to go back to my old router and move my "hi fi" headphones to another room, but something to be aware of if you have a DAC.

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