Airport Express vs SB3

Nico72

Active Member
I've started ripping my CDs as FLAC files on my laptop and I'm looking for a player that streams wirelessly to my stereo.

While I'm waiting for the SB touch to be out and reviewed, I am considering cheaper options like a 2nd hand SB3 or duet.

However someone mentioned to me an even cheaper option, which is the Apple Airport express. I have a few questions:
1)Does the Airport support FLAC at all?
2)How does it compare with an SB3 in term of sound quality via analogue out?
3)Does the digital output on the Airport offer the same quality as the SB3's? (I have spare digital inputs in my AV amp)
4)Can the airport be contolled remotely with an iphone or similar?
 

amcluesent

Well-known Member
1)Does the Airport support FLAC at all?
Nope

2)How does it compare with an SB3 in term of sound quality via analogue out?
Lame

3)Does the digital output on the Airport offer the same quality as the SB3's? (I have spare digital inputs in my AV amp)
Debatable

4)Can the airport be contolled remotely with an iphone or similar?
Yep. Free Apple app will control iTunes.
 

Nico72

Active Member
Well the first answer kills the Airport as far as I'm concerned as all my files are FLAC and that's not going to change. It's probably going to be a 2nd hand SB3 then. Thanks.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
They are in completely different ballparks. Think of the Airport as just a snazzy wireless audio sender, just for iTunes (although the Airfoil software is work a look). If you dont have a iPhone handy, you will need to run back and forth to your PC all the time, plus it has no mutliroom support (will play the same music in different rooms, but not different tracks), no support for online services either (BBC iPlayer, Last.fm, napster, etc)...

If you want a cheap but decent option, get a single Squeezebox receiver. Setting it up without a Squeezebox Controller is a bit of a fiddle, but can be done in a few minutes.
 

Nico72

Active Member
I thought of a "receiver only" solution, as I understand it can be set up without the controller.

However I'm not an iphone or ipod user. Any cheaper alternatives to contol the receiver remotely?

Is it true that whatever one uses, controlling the receiver will drain the batteries very quickly?

If so, the SB3 with its IR remote sounds more appealing to me.
 

wzhaoca

Standard Member
Hi,
I've been using itunes / airport solution for a couple years and I'm in the process of deciding whether to switch to squeezebox. While the itunes solution has worked well for a while, I have found it to be unreliable sometimes. My two airport express stations would sometimes randomly drop off the network. The one on wifi does it more often than the wired one. Sometimes itunes can't even find the wired one. When I go to airport utility to manage them, it sometimes can not find both either. It just takes too much fiddling to get them to work. Sure the iphone remote is nice, but squeezebox also has ipeng which seems to be equally good.
The other gripe I have about the airport is that every time you start a song or seek within a song, there's at least one or two second delay before the music will start playing from the airport. It does get annoying after a while. Squeezebox doesn't seem to have this problem.

Of course airport does not support FLAC either, which is a deal breaker for some people.

Just my two cents.

They are in completely different ballparks. Think of the Airport as just a snazzy wireless audio sender, just for iTunes (although the Airfoil software is work a look). If you dont have a iPhone handy, you will need to run back and forth to your PC all the time, plus it has no mutliroom support (will play the same music in different rooms, but not different tracks), no support for online services either (BBC iPlayer, Last.fm, napster, etc)...

If you want a cheap but decent option, get a single Squeezebox receiver. Setting it up without a Squeezebox Controller is a bit of a fiddle, but can be done in a few minutes.
 

metropolis

Well-known Member
Hi,
I've been using itunes / airport solution for a couple years and I'm in the process of deciding whether to switch to squeezebox. While the itunes solution has worked well for a while, I have found it to be unreliable sometimes. My two airport express stations would sometimes randomly drop off the network. The one on wifi does it more often than the wired one. Sometimes itunes can't even find the wired one. When I go to airport utility to manage them, it sometimes can not find both either. It just takes too much fiddling to get them to work. Sure the iphone remote is nice, but squeezebox also has ipeng which seems to be equally good.
The other gripe I have about the airport is that every time you start a song or seek within a song, there's at least one or two second delay before the music will start playing from the airport. It does get annoying after a while. Squeezebox doesn't seem to have this problem.

Of course airport does not support FLAC either, which is a deal breaker for some people.

Just my two cents.
i used to have major dropout problems with my airport but since i got a new laptop not had any probs.
 
You could of course use something like DBPowerAMP to convert your FLAC files to Apple Lossless and vice versa. Remember that the these are only really containers for the audio format so swapping between the two formats is pretty quick because it is really only the header data that is different (ok it is probably more complex than that but that is an easy to understand analogy - well it is to me :))

You can pick up a cheap Squeezebox Classic in the classifieds section of this site or on eBay.

In answer to your questions.

1. No, but see above
2. SB3 is much better than an Airport Express
3. You won't notice much difference if any on an AV amp - you should be asking if the DAC in the AV amp is better than the one in the Squeezebox
4. Yes both Airport Express and SB3 can be controlled by an iPhone/iPod Touch app (multiple ones for the SB3)

HTH

Paul
 

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