Can an MBA, a Time Capsule, an Airport Express, and a stereo be a happy family?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Actie, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Actie macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    The MBA is wonderful, but, as we all know, not very capacious. My compromise is to store my iTunes media folder on an external hard drive, meaning that I can't play music unless the external is plugged in. When I want to play music on my stereo, I plug the stereo into my MBA, which is itself plugged into the external. Not very elegant!

    I've thought of a potential solution, but not sure whether it's feasible.

    Would I be able to use the Time Capsule as an external HDD—leave all my whole iTunes library on there and stream it wirelessly to my MBA without incident?

    If so, could I then "re-stream" the music to an Airport Express, which would be plugged into the stereo?

    I actually have the Express already, but it's plugged into the modem, which is not in the same room as the stereo. So, in theory, all I'd have to do is buy a Time Capsule, transfer my music to it, point iTunes to the new media library, plug the TC into my modem, set the Express to extend the TC's network, plug the TC into my stereo, and. . . voila, I can bring my MBA anywhere and still play any of my music through my stereo. And I'd also have a nifty 2 TB wireless external, certain to last me a very long time.

    That's the theory anyway! Would it actually work? Is there a better solution? Thanks!
  2. kyjaotkb macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    London, UK
    very interesting topic!
    I'm seconding you in that request...
    plus would anyone on my home network be able to browse my media like a shared library? different iTunes accounts so no homesharing here...

    thanks to everyone who could help!
  3. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    It's absolutely possible. And there's no need to have the express extend the network. You'll be able to stream music to it as long as its just a part of the network.
  4. Actie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    Well, what else would I do with the Express except use it as a network extender? The Time Capsule doesn't have an audio jack, so it can't plug into the stereo. But the modem is in a different room, so I have to put the Time Capsule there, and use the Express in the stereo room (since it has an audio jack).

    Glad you think this will work!
  5. BluePhilG macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2010
    Lossless :)

    This is exactly what I do and its brilliant!

    I have a separate iTunes library on the MBA which references 350GB of lossless files on the Time Capsule, and AirPlay them to my hifi which is connected digitally to the Airport. CD Quality without CDs. Love it.
  6. Actie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    Awesome. Glad this is in the cards. This fix brings the deficits of the MBA to just one—screen size—which will be addressed in Mountain Lion via Airplay Mirroring. Then the MBA will be the perfect machine!
  7. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    I do that too. I have iTunes on an external drive which I plug into my Time Capsule--it can be left on all the time--portable drive gets its power from TC. I have an Airport Express and ATV--so I can port music anywhere I want to. Airport Express/ATV make whole whole sound an easy and inexpensive solution. :)
  8. Actie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    Sounds awesome. But I don't understand the point of the plugging the other external into the TC. Why not store iTunes directly on the TC?
  9. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    In my case, my TC is full--so it is only used for backups. Plus it allows some flexibility of being able to plug the external directly into your computer.
  10. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Also, Time Capsule storage is expensive on a per GB basis compared to an ordinary external. So I try to keep it for backups only.
  11. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    You can just keep it on the TC, but that is ideally used for backups, which will grow over time.

    By keeping it on an external you can still access it the same way, but you'll also have the option of unplugging it and taking it with you should you ever desire to do so. That's not so friendly with the TC.

    You can also keep a copy of whatever is on that external on your TC as a backup as well.
  12. Actie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    Well, this is silly. I've got everything set up—the Time Capsule, with the iTunes media folder on it; the Airport Express, plugged into the stereo; my MBA with iTunes at the ready—yet when I tell iTunes to choose the library on my TC, iTunes instantly crashes (unknown error #13001).

    I know it's not a matter of running it from an external. It works just fine when I select the library on my (wired) external. Everything on my existing external I backed up on the TC. Any individual music file works fine from my TC, just not the Library file.

    Any ideas?
  13. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    I have a similar setup, but not quite. I told my iTunes to not copy files around. I have all my movies and music on the time capsule share, and iTunes references it there. I just drag in the media from the share to iTunes. It works fine. Apple TV references my iTunes library.

    If my network had a personality, it would be rolling its eyes at me. Data is read from the time capsule, transferred over wifi to my macbook air to iTunes. From there it is sent back over the wifi to the router (the time capsule) which sends it over ethernet to the apple tv. oh well, it works. Apple should just allow media to be played from the time capsule.
  14. Actie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    My network's rolling its eyes, too: music is stored on an external plugged into my Time Capsule, is transferred wirelessly to my MBA into iTunes, then is sent back to the TC (which is also my aiport base station), beamed into my Airport Express (which extends the network and is connected to my stereo)—voila!

    Still would love to figure out why iTunes has no problem accessing a library that's stored on an external plugged into a TC, whereas it won't tolerate accessing the library on the TC itself. Bah.
  15. jeffzoom91 macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2005
    In short? Yes.

    Simple version:

    Take your whole library (including the .itl files) and put it on the Time Capsule. With your MBA connected option click iTunes and when it asks where the library is, point it to the library file on the Time capsule. It'll function like a local library.

    Just keep in mind if you open iTunes and it can't get to that .itl file it'll prompt you. If you have iTunes open and you lose your connection to the Time capsule the next time you hit play it'll loop through your whole library and put '!' next to every track. Don't try and "locate the files", just close iTunes and the next time you have access to the library open iTunes again and the '!' will go away.

    My suggestion is that you pay for iTunes Match and build a separate local library that is logged into iTunes match so that you have your whole library on the go, and then option click iTunes and select your Time Capsule library when you're home. A bit of a pain, but depending on how much you love music, it's worth it.
  16. ehpedro macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    So i'm rapidly running out of space on my MacBook hdd and am wanting to move my iTunes library to an external drive plugged onto the back of my airport extreme. If I re-reference my library in iTunes, will this work ok, even if my iPhone/iPad syncs whilst the external hdd is either unplugged or not powered?

    Also with this set up, will I be able to stream to apple tv(3) ok, or do people experience lag/buffering during movie playback for example?
  17. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    Take note that the Airport express also has an optical out, which you really should use if you want the best sound quality.

  18. strandgut2013 macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2013
    Does it also work with an Ipad?

    The solution descibed in this thread is regarding the MBA to play and control the music...what about an Ipad? Can I also stream music to the express with the Ipad where the music source is stored in the TC?
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    1. If the music is only on the Time Capsule then it isn't backed up.
    2. If it's on an external 2.5" drive that doesn't need a power supply, then you can take the drive with you and plug it into your MacBook if you take your Mac away.

    It works, but it's not backed up.

Share This Page