Using AirPlay on existing stereo's

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by arbitter, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. arbitter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #1
    Hi peeps.

    I've read a lot about AirPlay and how to use it, but Apple's site lacks many details. Currently our home has a router & AP (none from Apple), we have LAN in every room as well. We also have several stereo systems throughout our house - one in each living room (accompanied by a TV, where the stereo is also a DVD player) and another one.

    We don't have any Macs in our household, however we have a a pair of iPad's and some iPhone users. Currently to play music on our stereos, if we don't play a CD, we have to connect an iPad via an auxiliary port to the stereo. As a belated fathers day we would like to step over to AirPlay. From the information I've gathered I think it's possible with Apple TV or an Airport Express.

    Now I'm not sure how all of this works. One tutorial told me Apple TV could only do digital and no analog signals or something, whilst the Airport Express could do both. Now from what I understand, Airport Express is a Wifi-station, so a router. Using this would mean creating 3 extra networks, or at least 3 extra signals, which would be a bit absurd. Now Apple TV you'd think would give more possibilities, but we live in Europe so we don't have Netflix/Hulu/whatever, so I don't quite see any use to it other than being able to do AirPlay & ofcourse mirroring screens to the televisions.

    Looking at the connections of the two devices, using the Apple TV would mean the TV should be on to then route the sound from the TV to the stereo.

    Am I correct to assume using Airport Express-stations and connection the stereos with the aux-cable in the Airport Express and aux/..-cable in the stereo? Does the Airport Express connect to the same network as other routers? Does the Airport Express require a LAN or can it also connect to another network over Wifi?


    TL;DR: Have existing network of non-Apple routers, have existing non-Wifi-stereoinstallations, want to play music over AirPlay -> How?

    Sorry for the wall of text, I'd just like to sketch a detailed image of the situation for best results.
     
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #2
    Airport Express is what you want. It's capable of being a Wi-Fi router, but you can configure it to simply join your existing network as a node (either Wi-Fi or Ethernet). It has both analog and optical/digital outputs for audio.

    I suggest you get the prior generation from the Apple Refurb store if it's to be used just as an AirPlay node. The design is slightly different - often more convenient, as there's no power cord to bundle up - and it's less expensive.

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...express-base-station-with-80211n-and-airtunes

    If you prefer the current generation's design, it's only $16 more refurbished:

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC414LL/A/airport-express-base-station-june-2012
     
  3. arbitter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply! Airport Express is what it will be then! Perhaps we can remove our AP then and use one of the Airport Expresses since it needs to be plugged in anyway.

    Just to check, my stereo's don't need any special capabilities whatsoever? If I'd plug in headphones in the Airport Express it'd work fine as well right?

    Can't seem to find any refurbished or old ones in the Belgian online Apple store though. I think the new design - with cable - would fit better in our already crowded power-boxes.
     
  4. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #4
    Nope. Just a line input.

    You probably don't want to plug in headphones to a line level output without some sort of volume control. Though it looks like iTunes allows you to adjust relative levels.
     
  5. arbitter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #5
    The headphone thing was just hypothetical of course!

    Anywho, I'm having some trouble. I have a Airport Express that's connected to the modem and makes the network. It also has a cable going to a switch. Now, When I plug in a second Airport Express, it connects wirelessly and AirPlay works. However, I'd like it to connect through a wired connection and make an AP of it, as well as connect to AirPlay. However, whenever I connect a LAN cable, the whole network just doesn't work anymore...
     
  6. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #6
    Have you set this Express into bridge mode, so it won't attempt to be a router?
     
  7. arbitter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #7
    Don't quite see that option. Currently it's in the mode to extend a wireless network. It extends, but I'd like it to extend through the ethernet port instead of using the wifi signal.
     
  8. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #8
    Extend is not what you want, that will only extend an existing wireless network, and an Apple (or WDS compliant) one at that. Assuming your existing modem provides DHCP service you may want to consider:

    Express 1: connect via ethernet to the modem and place in "create network mode"
    Express 2 & 3: connect wirelessly to the wireless network created by Express 1

    Airplay for music is not throughput intensive and will operate just fine wirelessly.
     
  9. arbitter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #9
    But I do want to extend my network as well... But I want to do so via cable and not extending the there-received-wifi-network, as this causes a weaker signal.
     
  10. marzer, Jul 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013

    marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #10
    Yes, that's the configuration I described. Again, connect an AE to your primary router via ethernet cable and set wirelss mode to "create wireless network". "Extend wireless" option ONLY WORKS OVER A WIRELESS CONNECTION and reduces your throughout, which is not what you want.

    Edit: to clarify - Express 2 & 3 connect using the "join network" option to connect them wirelessly as clients and not routers.
     
  11. arbitter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #11
    God I really don't understand... Using the AirPort utility 5.6.1, when looking at the 2nd AirPort, in the 'Base station' tab I don't have any options other than name, password and time. Next step is the 'Wireless' tab, where I have 4 options for "Wireless Mode": 1) Create a wireless network. 2) Join a wireless network. 3) Extend a wireless network. 4) Off.
    When in "Extend a wireless network"-mode, in the "Internet" tab, under the "Conect using" part, I have no option of selecting anything, it is standard "Wireless network".
     
  12. arbitter thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #12
    Okay I found my solution here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260

    Pretty big workaround to just get the thing working properly over ethernet. BS that you have to 'create a new wireless network'.
     
  13. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #13
    I actually operate 2 AirPort Extremes in similar setup and I've given both the same SSID & WPA2 passwords. The roaming wokrs well for me.
     

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