How best to integrate an Airport Express into my music setup?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by BadboyHouse, May 23, 2012.

  1. BadboyHouse macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    #1
    I want to get an Airport Express. The ability to play my iTunes music wirelessly from my MBP and iPhone is definitely something I need.

    I can't really figure out though how to integrate this into my setup. The setup itself is fairly simple but there's one caveat as you'll see below.

    Any advice or tips on what cables or best way to do this would be much appreciated.

    My current setup looks like this:

    Stereo/HiFi System
    (Aux In is RCA L/R cable connection)
    |
    |
    iPod Dock
    (RCA L/R cable connection)

    I *need* to keep the iPod dock connected as the Mrs has an iPod and has it connected to the dock for music a lot of the time. The dock uses a L/R RCA cable to connect to the stereo aux in. There are no other aux in connections on the stereo.
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #2
    You could use an RCA switch to gain a second AUX-in for your stereo. I don't think I've seen them specifically for stereo, but they make them for AV ... just don't use the yellow cables.
     
  3. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    Do you have an unused inputs for TAPE or CD or DVD? Otherwise tell the wife to "suck it", the AE is way more fun to use :) (I kid)
     
  4. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    #4
    Sadly not.

    I'm favouring just having the airport express connected as default and then plugging the dock in as and when she needs to use it.

    I'd prefer not to have a switch box.
     
  5. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Colorado
    #5
    Connect the AE, show the wife how to stream from the computer or iPhone. She'll never look back. Once mine got the hang of remote streaming she loved it.
     
  6. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502

    gr8whtd0pe

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Belle, WV
    #6
    Is the dock for your phone?

    I use an airport express to stream from my imac to a stereo out by the pool. Then friends come over and use their phones to control iTunes DJ.

    You could stream your phone, iPad and macs to the stereo.

    Also there is an app that allows your iDevices to become an airplay device.
     
  7. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #7
    You just need two RCA splitters. One for R and the other for L. Then a 3.5mm to RCA cable for the Express. Simple.
     
  8. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    #8
    Could you elaborate on that? Not sure how that would all connect up.

    Wouldn't the separate L and R connections result in mono sound?
    ----------


    That's basically what I will be doing, however I still need the mrs to be able to connect her iPod nano to the dock which also connected to the stereo aux in.
     
  9. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502

    gr8whtd0pe

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Belle, WV
    #9
  10. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #10


    No, this method wouldn't result in mono sound. You would individually split the L and R inputs on the stereo. So now, you'd have two L inputs and two R inputs. The dock would connect to an open L and an open R. The AEBS would connect to the two remaining connections.

    The upside to this is that there's no switching involved. The downside is that you could have situations where both devices are on and you'd mix the audio. Also, either the AEBS or the dock could output even when they're off, so you might get some added static.

    Personally, I'd rather use a switch, but that's just me. If you have to physically dock the iPod, it's not that hard to flip the switch. Then, when you remove the iPod, flip it back to the AEBS.

    There may also be some automatic switches that will swap the inputs when it detects a signal. Not sure if they work by detecting a video signal or an audio signal ... or both.
     
  11. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #12
    DO NOT USE SPLITTERS. A splitter is designed to take a single source and route it to two inputs. They are not designed to take two outputs and connect them to a single input. If you do this, you are taking a chance at damaging the two sources (the two outputs will try to drive each other)

    If you want to connect two outputs to the same input, you either need to use a switch or a mixing circuit.
     
  12. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 1, 2011
  13. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502

    gr8whtd0pe

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Belle, WV
    #14
    Ive never had an issue with them, but that's just me.

    I did however find an a/v switcher from radio shack if you want it. Just don't use the yellow and it will suit you. PM if ya like.
     
  14. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #15
    Here's a question for those who thinks it's okay to use splitters to connect two sources to a single input: would you ever connect the output of an amplifier to the output of another amplifier? That's exactly what using a splitter in this fashion does. It should never be done. Now, connecting two line level outputs (like an iPod and an Airport Express) isn't as bad as connecting two power amps together. However, it is just a really bad idea.

    Don't take my word for it (and I'm an electrical engineer and musician, for whatever that's worth), check out this page on the Rane website on Y-connector (aka splitters):

    http://www.rane.com/note109.html
     
  15. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #16
    The chance at overloading the input is pretty much nil.

    OP, you could use an automatic switcher as someone else mentioned. It'll cost more but if you're concerned about the slight chance of overloading the input then that's your safest bet.
     
  16. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #17
    What do you base these statements on? What engineering analysis do you have to say that the chances of damaging equipment is “nil”? I’m sure the answer is purely that you’ve done it and your stuff didn’t break, because I know no engineering analysis shows that this is okay.

    These outputs are amplifiers (line level or headphone level, perhaps, but still amplifier outputs). To recommend that someone should connect an amplifier output to another amplifier output is bad advice. Yes, odds are these devices will survive, but they might not. Furthermore, there's a pretty good chance that the reliability of one or both devices would be compromised. In other words, they might fail a year later, and you'll have no idea why. There is a reason why professionals use mixers or switches to combine outputs. A splitter should only be used to take a single output and send it to multiple inputs.

    As an electrical engineer, we are taught that you never tie two outputs together unless the circuits are designed to work in this fashion. Commercial electronics are certainly not designed to work this way.

    By the way, the link I posted earlier tells you how you can design a simple mixing circuit to allow you to connect multiple inputs together. If you don’t want to use a switch, it would be very easy (and cheap) to build a mixing circuit.
     
  17. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502

    gr8whtd0pe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Belle, WV
    #18
    1) chill

    2) I offered to give him one, he never messaged me.
     
  18. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #19
    I based my recommendation as an audio engineer.
     
  19. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    #20
    Got the Airport Express. Decided we'll unplug the AE and connect the dock when the mrs wants to use it. Of course if I can convince her to use her iPhone for music instead of her nano then we won't even need the dock.

    As the AE is connected to my existing network, is there any way to extend my wireless network with the AE? For instance, if I'm in the garden, which is closer to the AE than the wifi router, can I configure the AE to extend the main wifi to the garden and elsewhere in the house?
     
  20. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502

    gr8whtd0pe

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Belle, WV
    #21
  21. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #22
    Why not just get a switch and you won't even have to mess around with plugging/unplugging wires? Just push a button when you need to.

    The AExp can extend the range of an AEBS/TC or another AExp. What kind of router do you have as the primary? There are some other routers that AExp's can extend, but they're limited and require some "hackery". One in particular is the Linksys 11g routers from a few years ago. You could swap the firmware with some open source stuff and the AExp will recognize it to extend.
     
  22. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    #23
    Cheers.

    I see that there's a firmware update for the AE but I've also read a number of reports online saying that the latest firmware can cause problems.

    Presumably best to leave it i.e. if it aint broke etc
     
  23. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #24
    The firmware that I was referring would be for the Linksys router, not the AExp.

    Incidentally, what make/model is your primary router? This info could be helpful in determining what your options are.

    ft
     
  24. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    #25
    Been using the AE all day and it works brilliantly.

    I was expecting that streaming from my iPhone to the AE would kill the battery but far from it - it used about 4% battery with just over an hours constant streaming.

    Plus the iPhone was cold during the streaming - didn't even get slightly warm.

    ----------

    Router is a Netgear DG834G. AE connects to it via wifi not Ethernet.

    Unless there are some good new features in the newer firmware I will leave it as is.
     

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