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Apple TV, Express, Airplay & DAC help needed

jason44mag

Well-known Member
Hey All,

Just wondered if someone could give me a bit of guidance?

I am currently building a decent hi fi system and have settled on a Naim amp with a separate DAC.

My music collection is stored on my macbook pro (obviously via Itunes) and I would like to know if I can hook something like apple tv, airplay, airport express etc to play my music collection through the DAC to make it sound awesome!!

Apologies if this is the wrong forum or a simple question but I am completely new to apple products like those mentioned above.

The other question I had (assuming the above is possible) do any of the devices work when the laptop is closed? Or do I need to operate everything using the macbook?

Cheers
In advance
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member
Airplay isn't a device but software to allow you to stream music.

A Apple TV or airport express will do what you want, however you do need either the macbook on in order for them to access itunes, or alternatively if you have a iphone (>3G), ipad or ipod touch, you can use airplay to stream music to them.

With the apple TV you can control the music from itunes via the device itself (you'll need it connected to a TV), for airport express you'll have to use your Mac or other idevice.
 

jason44mag

Well-known Member
Airplay isn't a device but software to allow you to stream music.

A Apple TV or airport express will do what you want, however you do need either the macbook on in order for them to access itunes, or alternatively if you have a iphone (>3G), ipad or ipod touch, you can use airplay to stream music to them.

With the apple TV you can control the music from itunes via the device itself (you'll need it connected to a TV), for airport express you'll have to use your Mac or other idevice.

Thanks for the info can i ask a couple of more questions?

Would both TV & Express be able to connect to the DAC and the TV (in the case of apple TV)? also would the macbook need to be physically connected to the apple tv or apple express (if not does wireless effect the sound quality)?
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member
They both can be wireless, not sure what your inputs are on the DAC, but apple express has a combined analog/optical output via 3.5mm jack and apple TV has HDMI and optical output.

Being wireless shouldn't affect the sound quality, its still only sending digital data, however i believe the airport express will downsample everything to [email protected], I don't notice any difference (not sure even what my source files are sampled at).
 

jason44mag

Well-known Member
tbh I havent bought the DAC yet just putting a wish list together;)

It seems both express and tv will do the job? what are the main differences between the two? appart from the obvious!

am I right in saying both will output digital sound via the 3.5mm out? will the apple tv leave the signal as is & let the DAC convert the sound?
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member

jason44mag

Well-known Member
Thanks again for the info, it sounds like apple tv would be the way to go (I would like the DAC to do the conversion).

I assume the optial out would be as equal quality to the 3.5mm jack?

Sorry for all the newby questions!!!
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member
The 3.5mm jack output on the express is an optical output (as well as a analog one), it carries the same signal a normal optical would just a different connector is needed.
 

wysinawyg

Active Member
dwhite you have it back to front. The AppleTV downsamples but the Airport Express is bit perfect.

If you only want it for audio the Airport Express is definitely the one to go for.
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member
Are you sure?

Quick google finds nothing about ATV2 but AX has plenty of threads on it downsampling:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1607819?threadID=1607819

AirPort Express' digital out... [Archive] - MacRumors Forums

EDIT: Found something, it appears we are both right (and both wrong ;) ) AppleTV... Optical Audio Formats and Sample Rates - AVS Forum The Apple TV downsamples to 48KHz the AX to 44.1 KHz so they both do something if the signal isn't these frequencies. Personally I don't notice either way, they both sound good to me.
 

Somnambulist

Well-known Member
CD audio (i.e 99% of all music) has a sampling rate of 44.1khz, the ATV2 isn't bit-perfect because it does everything to 48khz, the AE is. Whether you'll hear any difference... Same for Macs themselves, output at 44.1khz assuming you don't enable EQ on iTunes or mess about with sound effects e.t.c.
 

jason44mag

Well-known Member
Still a little unsure of which option to go for???

Can i double check:
Express - the macbook would be the interface so wouldnt need to have the tv on to choose & play music.

ATV - The tv is the interface so would need to have both the tv & macbook on to choose & play tunes? Is it possible to use the macbook as the interface with apple tv (and not have the tv on?)
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member
With the atv either the MacBook or the atv can be used to select your music.
 

Jaunty

Well-known Member
Still a little unsure of which option to go for???

Can i double check:
Express - the macbook would be the interface so wouldnt need to have the tv on to choose & play music.

ATV - The tv is the interface so would need to have both the tv & macbook on to choose & play tunes? Is it possible to use the macbook as the interface with apple tv (and not have the tv on?)

The ATV can act like an Express as well, you do not need the TV on. I would get ATV if your main system is with your TV as you have many more options with it.

With both you will need iTunes open and running. With both you can use iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) to control tunes as well as the Macbook itself. The ATV comes with a small remote you can use to control the interface on the TV.
 

jason44mag

Well-known Member
Can i just check, with apple tv will it pick up what ever is on the mac (i.e. on the desktop or does it have to be in itunes for apple tv to find/play it?
 

dwhite

Distinguished Member
Tightly integrated with iTunes, I'm afraid, it's one of the disadvantages of it, but you could jailbreak it to remove this restriction.
 

jason44mag

Well-known Member
Jailbreaking sounds complex :(

Can I ask a couple of more questions before taking the plunge!

1. Does apple tv works when the macbook is on but with the lid closed? (I assume that you would need a bluetooth mouse to keep it awake etc).

2. If I add a NAS to my system with the itunes library stored on the NAS (but with the programme still on my Macbook) would apple TV still be able to play the songs/movies etc?

Sorry for all the questions!
 
Last edited:

Jaunty

Well-known Member
Jailbreaking sounds complex :(

Can I ask a couple of more questions before taking the plunge!

1. Does apple tv works when the macbook is on but with the lid closed? (I assume that you would need a bluetooth mouse to keep it awake etc).

2. If I add a NAS to my system with the itunes library stored on the NAS (but with the programme still on my Macbook) would apple TV still be able to play the songs/movies etc?

Sorry for all the questions!

1. Yes but only if the Macbook is set up to run with the lid closed and you have iTunes open. ie the question is more to do with your Macbook than the ATV.

2. Not sure to be honest. If it can, it is not super easy or user friendly.The iTunes servers built in to some NAS can only be accessed from the iTunes application on a desktop/laptop, AFAIK.


I have my library on an external drive connected to my iMac which is never turned off apart from extended holidays, it just sleeps when not in use. EDIT - I am still waiting for Apple to bring out an iTunes/Mac plug and play homserver/NAS for all your content. Can't believe they still don't have one.
 

Jaunty

Well-known Member
You'd create a music folder on the NAS and have iTunes use that as the standard library location.

I appreciate you can store music on the NAS, I just don't think you can use the NAS only for iTunes with the PC/Mac turned off (which is why you would tend to want to use a NAS).
 

esferic

Standard Member
Hi All.

First of all an apology for my bad English.

I wonder if the apple tv from itunes 2 I can equalize the music I hear in my HiFi amp, or just listen to music flat.

I can not find an answer to this on any side and I'm going crazy

Thanks in advance
 

Somnambulist

Well-known Member
There are no EQ settings on the ATV2, it just plays what it's being streamed from iTunes so if you wanted to EQ for room correction or whatever, you'd either have to use a decent hardware equaliser or have an amp with EQ tech like Audyssey.
 

esferic

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply. Then the airport definitely be a better choice for music? with whether you can have the itunes equalizer or am I wrong? Had considered the apple tv for the video as a plus for the same price of the airport express ... but I think that's not what I really need
 

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