Multiple airport express speaker points in large room

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by andynaismith, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. andynaismith macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010

    I have looked into this before but never taken it any further but again find myself pondering over the feasibility of using multiple Airport express points along with small speakers to pump low volume background music and pre recorded announcement broadcasts from iTunes throughout a 1,000 sqm room filled with a shell scheme for an exhibition.

    I can't have music too loud in any single area - instead will need a blanket coverage but would like if the majority of people in the room (up to 500+ people at a time) can hear both the music and more importantly announcements.

    I was thinking of 8 airport expresses and 8 single speakers - I can have power points located 10 feet off the ground on top of the shell scheme and dotted equally around the room to maximise coverage.

    I will be centrally located within room with a macbook Pro running itunes (also have an ipad2 and iphone4 which would be good to run playlists and announcement from).

    Is this doable? and if so would i need an airport extreme as well as the airport expresses?

    I have a budget of around £1,000 and if this works would be able to use this system annually and ideally also at 3 other events.

    I can probably get in an AV company who would charge around the same money but I would then have the expense every year at every event - so costing me maybe £4k a year instead of £1k. Also - it would be overkill to have a big loud PA system when the music has to be so quiet anyway that people can hear themselves talk over it.

    Can anyone with experience of Airport Express and speakers give me any pointers on this and advice on decent speakers to use would also be very much appreciated - a single speaker at each point would be preferable.

    Many thanks in advance for any assistance.

  2. MacForScience macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2010
    Yes this is doable, no you do not need the airport extreme, though it may make management easier.

    You essentially set up on the airports as network extensions of each other. Essentially you are tying them together to form a single network. I am not aware of any limits on how many can be tied together.

    As far as speakers no idea.

  3. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Yeah, this is a cool idea :)

    For management reasons, I'd get one router and have it be the master in charge of the rest. This could be another Airport Express even. Plug the laptop into it so that it doesn't have to transmit wirelessly. No need for an Extreme though - an Express or other-brand one would do fine. Have the dispersed Expresses connect to the "master" router, instead of having them bridge each other. It will be easier and quicker for iTunes to sync the streams that way.

    Also, when you buy them, take a look HERE. Apple sells Expresses as refurbs for $30 off.
  4. BreakGuy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2009
    NZ, South Pacific
    As for the volume control, iTunes has a master volume controller. You can select all the AirPort Express units that appear in the list and you'll be able to control the volume on them all with a single slider.
  5. andynaismith thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    wow, thanks guys - I'm pretty stoked that this might work - will save me so much time and money in the future.

    If the network is exclusively for this purpose would there be any issues with latency or syncing of sound between the expresses (considering they will all be within 50 meters or so from base station and at most 15 to 20 meters from each other)
  6. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Should be alright as long as you don't have them set it bridge each other (setting them up as a big chain) but rather have them just connect to the master router. You'll notice when you start playing iTunes will take a second or two to sync the streams, then they'll be lined up very precisely.
  7. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    The Airport Express boots out of the box as a standalone Airplay device. I have read of folks using as many as 5 devices simultaneously.

  8. andynaismith thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Cool - the local apple store have confirmed that if it doesnt work i have 14 days to return equipment which is perfect.

    I think I'll try running 8 - but if only 5 or 6 work it will still be pretty good - and certainly better than either having nothing or paying the best part of a grand to hire a system that involves 100s of metres of unsightly cables!

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