Using the iPad as a remote to control external music library?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Photomax, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
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    Seattle
    #1
    Not sure if this is possible or not?

    Lets paint the picture:

    * Upstairs we have our home stereo system (older receiver ((made by Rotel)), speakers, CD player).
    * Downstairs we have a Mac Pro with several hard drives and an Apple Airport Extreme to handle the Wifi for the house.
    * Also upstairs we have two Apple laptops and a brand new iPad 2.

    Question: is there a way to put our music archive on a hard drive, connect it to the stereo system and have the iPad remotely control the music through the air? I think we need an Airport Express connected to the drive and the stereo? But I am not sure if its that simple or not?

    What do we need here? Or is this even possible? I would love the iPad to be a virtual jukebox to control all our ripped CD collection etc...

    Thanks!

    Max
     
  2. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    Location:
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    #2
    Download Remote for iPad (by Apple). Use it to access your Mac Pro's iTunes library. Connect the Mac to the stereo and you're good to go. Mac will need to be on when you want music.

    There are likely other options, but this one is free, app wise.
     
  3. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Sounds intriguing. What do I need to connect my Mac Pro to the stereo? This might be issue. My Rotel receiver is a real high quality component but it its about 1996 vintage. It does have some external input jacks though...
     
  4. ani23 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Stereo to RCA I think. Connect mac headphone jack to RCA input on stereo.

    You will have to move your Mac pro upstairs for this to work.
     
  5. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #5
    Well if you have high quality lossless files (wav or Apple Lossless Codec) in iTunes, you might consider a USB DAC. Mac>DAC>Stereo via RCA in.
     
  6. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Thanks MCDJ.

    I downloaded Remote and in about two minutes I was able to use the iPad to wirelessly control my iTunes library on the Mac Pro downstairs! Its only playing through the wired computer speakers connected to the Mac but this is a great start.

    I think I will look into creating a new storage system using Apple Lossless files for the archive. I think the next step is connecting that drive to the upstairs receiver and then adding an Apple Express to connect to the Apple Extreme downstairs? Is the cable from the Rotel to the Apple Express and storage drive that I need to be concerned about, I think...
     
  7. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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  8. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #8
    Not necessarily. You could get an AirPort Express, connect it to the stereo receiver via a headphone-to-RCA adapter, and then wirelessly stream the music from the Mac Pro through the AirPort Express and then through the receiver.
     
  9. kuebby macrumors 68000

    kuebby

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    #9
    That's definitely what you want, but you could make it work by running a cord through the ceiling, if they're near each other on different floors.
     
  10. mcdj, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011

    mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #10
    Just remember your storage drive has to contain your iTunes library, and your Mac has to use that drive for iTunes, thus the Mac must be on to serve iTunes.

    Previously, you could buy a NAS server box that had an iTunes server built in, meaning no computer needed, but since Apple has implemented Home Sharing, you need to be able to enable home sharing on the machine that stores the music. AFAIK, no iTunes server NAS has that capability yet.

    Alternately, you could get an Apple TV. It has wifi built in and streams from any iTunes library with Home Sharing turned on. It has optical audio out, which you can pass through to a DAC. And it works with Remote. This is what I use. Again, it needs a computer to be running all the time, and a TV. If you leave it on all the time and only use the Remote app, you can turn the TV off.

    If you don't want a computer running all the time, don't mind a bit of older tech, and have less than 160GB of music, you could get a previous gen Apple TV, which had the advantage of being able to sync music to its built in hard drive, as opposed to just streaming it.
     
  11. Photomax, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011

    Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Interesting array of options. A friend of mine runs a NAS box for backup and his Apple Lossless iTunes Library. I think he also uses a SONOS device in there somewhere? I need to ask him. He does not have an iPad yet but he can control all his music files with the iPhone.

    I have no issue with the placement of the drive that stores iTunes though. It makes sense to have to right there connected to the Mac Pro. As far as connecting the stereo goes: I could run a wire through from the upstairs to the downstairs but I think I would I would prefer the wireless Airport Extreme and Express combo.

    I really appreciate the input there though!
     
  12. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #12
    Sonos is another way to go. It has its own remote app. Pricey system though, especially since you have 99% of what you need already.
     
  13. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

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    #13
    The simplest way is to get an Airport Express.
     
  14. Beardy man macrumors regular

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    Dec 4, 2007
    #14
    Works for me. I have a Belkin router in my office with a MacPro, an Airport Express in the living room plugged in behind the hi-fi. An RCA cable goes from the Airport Express into the AUX socket on the hi-fi.

    Remote on an iPhone (soon to be on an iPad ;)) control s the whole lot - as the OP said, a virtual jukebox, capable of switching between multiple playlists and giving non-stop sound for as long as required. Handles requests pretty well too!

    My only problem is the Airport Express and Belkin are on the edge of their ranges, occasionally I get a drop off of sound. Might see if an Apple Airport Extreme is more capable
     
  15. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    I had the old Linksys router but now have the Airport Extreme. Really happy with the performance and being able to easily tether my Xerox laser printer.
     
  16. XXFirefighter macrumors regular

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #16
    Yup...
    I have a one here in Alaska, and can access and play music from @ home in Cali...
     
  17. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    OK All, the OP here...

    I went out this afternoon and bought an Apple Airport Express. I initially had some trouble getting the network to see the Express. After a while I realized that I do not have an Airport card in the Mac Pro! But once I switched over to setting up the Express while using my MacBook I was set to go.

    It works! I now see more options with the iTunes system on my downstairs Mac Pro. The new iPad also controls all the music from anywhere in the house using the Remote App.

    The only issue is that the base and treble controls on the upstairs stereo receiver don't control the sound quality? I have an adaptor cord with a 3.5mm stereo plug on one end and a dual RCA plugs on the other. I have the plugs connected to the Rotel's phono jacks as I am not using a turntable. It seems that I can control all the bass and treble response using the iTunes Equalizer function.

    I also need to switch over to completing an Apple Lossless Library as the source for the music rather then the compressed iPod files. I think the new version of iTunes negates the need for keeping two versions of the Library running? When you sync an iPod the system gives the iPod the compressed files even if you are using Lossless files. AFAIK, anyways...

    But the Remote app on the iPad is soooooo cooool...

    Thanks to all!
     
  18. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #18

    Noooo! Never connect anything but a turntable to a phono jack. It has specific RIAA equalization meant for turntables only, and will sound like crap. Apple even tells you this.
     
  19. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    Thanks! I switched it to an available tape output and the bass/treble levels and overall sound quality picked up immediately...
     
  20. ani23 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 22, 2008
    #20
    Just curious how the airport works.

    Can you have two of them in the house with the same Internet connection?

    How do you select which one to stream through?

    Apple remote let's you select airports?
     
  21. pkshiu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #21
    You can have as many airport express as you want. You give they names. You can even have them play simultaneously, and the software will make sure the sound sync up.

    IF you have a newer receiver that accepts toslink input (optical), you have a pure digital path from your itunes library all the way to the receiver. The airport express is a wonderful little device.

    P.K.
     
  22. Photomax thread starter macrumors regular

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    Seattle
    #22
    I already owned the Airport Extreme to handle the router/Wifi duties for the house. You can also add a printer as well.

    Today I spent $115 for the Airport Express and the cable to connect it to the stereo receiver. Now that I have it all set up its great. Well worth the money. The Remote app is great on the iPad. You get the album art, song listings, etc. All with that new cool finger motion navigation. I am totally happy with this...
     

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