How to play speakers 2 feet from router. Do I really need an APExpress?

dmaxdmax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 26, 2006
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133
I've just turned on iTunes Match and have about 12,000 songs on a shared drive that's plugged into an AirPort Extreme. I want to play iTunes through a pair of powered speakers on top of the cabinet holding the electronics. Will I really need to get an APExpress to plug into the *same powerstrip* as the APExtreme?

An APExpress is the same price as an AppleTV. Can an ATV work with audio only without a screen to run the menus? Is it possible to control it using an iPhone or iPad?

For now I'm simply plugging the speakers into a 1G iPod Touch which limits me to stored playlists but it has the advantage of being both free and bulletproof (no network streaming issues).

Thanks
 

dmaxdmax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 26, 2006
680
133
thanks blueroom - that's almost good news since I don't have optical in.

Would the ATV2 get its music from the disk or the cloud? (Match)
 

blueroom

macrumors 603
Feb 15, 2009
6,381
25
Toronto, Canada
I believe it does, but we're still waiting for iTunes Match here in Canada so I can't say for sure. An AirPort Express has both optical and analog out and will work as a basic AirPlay device.
 

warvanov

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2011
504
7
I've never used one of those before but it looks like that's exactly what you would need.
 

dmaxdmax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 26, 2006
680
133
Oops - not so fast - that converter goes to RCA jacks. There must be an equivalent that goes to a mini.
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2011
3,430
394
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Will I really need to get an APExpress to plug into the *same powerstrip* as the APExtreme?

An APExpress is the same price as an AppleTV. Can an ATV work with audio only without a screen to run the menus?
Rather than an ATV, D/A converter, and RCA-3.5MM adapter... you can get the APExpress refurbished from Apple for $69.00. The ATV2 really isn't buying you any extra features, so why spend the extra money?

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB321LL/A
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,331
12,855
Midlife, Midwest
There is *some* overlap in the functionality of the AirPort Express and the AppleTV: ie. It is possible to stream audio from iTunes to both of them, using the "Multiple speakers" tab in iTunes.

But its not ALWAYS a better idea to get the AppleTV 2 instead of the AirPort Express. The AirPort has some uses that the AppleTV doesn't have.

1) You can use the AirPort as a portable wireless router. Some hotel rooms have only wired DSL internet. With practice, you can establish an ad-hoc wifi network in less than five minutes using an AirPort Express. Its also nice to have the AirPort Express as a backup in case your regular wifi router does down for any reason (as mine did about a month ago.)

2) You *can* run AppleTV without a screen. But its awkward to do so. If your are mainly going to be streaming music to a set of remote speakers, the Airport Express, with its simple mini stereo plug, is probably easier to connect to a small (or old) amplifier or receiver than the ATV, which requires either HDMI or Optical input jacks.

3) You can also use the AirPort Express to turn a printer into a wireless network unit. Kind of handy if your ever have the need to do so.

Again, I'm a big fan of the AppleTV. But if you are planning on running it without a screen, you *may* be better off with the AirPort Express.
 

OptyCT

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2008
360
4
Buy the AppleTV and be done. My guess is that the AirPort Express won't be supported by Apple too much longer. It was good for AirTunes before the advent of AirPlay.
 

warvanov

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2011
504
7
Buy the AppleTV and be done. My guess is that the AirPort Express won't be supported by Apple too much longer. It was good for AirTunes before the advent of AirPlay.
I strongly disagree here. Discontinued? Maybe. But no longer supported? I seriously doubt it. I'm curious about what your reasoning is for this.

In a market where you can buy a $25 wireless router at Frys, Apple needs an entry level wireless router. Even if that router is $99, that's a lot more appealing than the $179 AirPort Extreme to somebody who's just looking to set up a basic wirelss network and wants the reliability of the Apple brand.
 

dmaxdmax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 26, 2006
680
133
Just as I was set to pull the ATV trigger I discovered you can't use it to control volume.

APExpress refurb at Apple for $69. The boring path of least resistance.
 

adbe

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2008
621
141
Buy the AppleTV and be done. My guess is that the AirPort Express won't be supported by Apple too much longer. It was good for AirTunes before the advent of AirPlay.
This seems backwards to me. Prior to the big marketing push for AirPlay, only geeks new about and could usefully leverage AirTunes. For years the AE has been a tough sell even to techies who appreciate a decent networking utility knife.

The concept of streaming audio to amplifiers from iTunes or iOS devices is now becoming mainstream, and without remote admin á la the AE, the ATV is a poor choice for that task.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,685
3,289
Just as I was set to pull the ATV trigger I discovered you can't use it to control volume.

APExpress refurb at Apple for $69. The boring path of least resistance.
What do you mean by this? Volume is controlled by the host computer or iOS device.

In any case, I think the AE is a much better choice for audio only. In my experience the ATV is not terribly reliable at receiving an audio stream from AirPlay. I often have to try multiple times, or sometimes even reboot by pulling the plug. I've been using the AE for what, 6-7 years now, and they are near 100% reliable. Also, afaik, the ATV must be updated through the video interface, whereas the AE can be managed from a utility on a computer on the same network.
 
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