Have your say & ask the experts!

AirPlay and a DAC

9 replies [Last post]
areluc's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 18

Based on the diagram below, the router has to be connected to the Airplay-compatible device directly via Ethernet. Does that mean it precludes the use of a DAC? If so, it would mean the technology doesn't support high quality sound. Or am I missing something?

AirPlay

professorhat's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Dec 2007
Posts: 11011
Re: AirPlay and a DAC

The DAC is built into the Marantz.

If you wanted to split the components out, you could using an Airport Express (or Apple TV 2), an external DAC and an amplifier of your choice. The fact that the Marantz has this all built in makes everything tidier and simpler.

 

areluc's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 18
Re: AirPlay and a DAC

So basically you have to do with the on-board DAC right? How good in the DAC in all-in-one systems such as Marantz M-CR603?

professorhat's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Dec 2007
Posts: 11011
Re: AirPlay and a DAC

How long is a piece of string? By all accounts, that Marantz has got good reviews for its price range so I'd assume it's using a pretty good DAC compared with other similar products of the same price range. But of course, I can't say it couldn't be bettered. Possibly a pop down to your local Marantz dealer for an audition would be the next step.

 

areluc's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 18
Re: AirPlay and a DAC

Well what I meant is that if for instance many people complement the Arcam Solo Mini with rDAC for connecting to a computer/NAS, it must give better results than going through the DAC built into the Mini. So the fact that AipPlay doesn't permit such a solution must surely be seen as a serious limitation of this technology.

professorhat's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Dec 2007
Posts: 11011
Re: AirPlay and a DAC

It's not that AirPlay doesn't permit this, it's that in the solution you proposed above, the AirPlay receiving device is built into the Marantz, as is the DAC and the amplifier. It's an all in one device designed to make streaming from your iTunes library / iPod Touch / iPhone very simple.

However, as I said in my first post, you could purchase an AirPlay streaming device like the Airport Express or Apple TV 2, then connect this into any external DAC of your choice (e.g. the Arcam rDAC) and connect this into any amplifier of your choice (e.g. the Arcam Solo Mini). So you can use AirPlay with as expensive and as high end a solution as you like. As with any solution though, you need to examine the source i.e. the format of the music in your iTunes library and decide whether it's worth spending buckets of money on the other components.

 

hankort's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
RE: Re: AirPlay and a DAC Re: AirPlay and a DAC

My interest is in optimizing a wireless link from multiple Apple devices to my main audio set. For that purpose I'm currently using an Airport Express directly connected to a pre-amp to unexpectedly good effect. How does the standard DAC in Apple's Airport Express (using Airplay) stack up to the best of the bespoke DACs? To phrase the question differently: how much quality gain could be expected from running the Airport Express' digital/optical out through for instance the Arcam rDAC 300 in stead of directly plugging into the pre-amp?

leadears's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Mar 2010
Posts: 22
RE: Re: AirPlay and a DAC Re: AirPlay and a DAC

[quote=hankort]

My interest is in optimizing a wireless link from multiple Apple devices to my main audio set. For that purpose I'm currently using an Airport Express directly connected to a pre-amp to unexpectedly good effect. How does the standard DAC in Apple's Airport Express (using Airplay) stack up to the best of the bespoke DACs? To phrase the question differently: how much quality gain could be expected from running the Airport Express' digital/optical out through for instance the Arcam rDAC 300 in stead of directly plugging into the pre-amp?

[/quote

I briefly ran a 2nd system with the DAC from an AE and felt I wasn't getting the most from it (audiolab 8000, B&W 685s). I 'borrowed' the Dacmagic from my other system and was much impressed by the result such tthat I could no longer listen to the AE DAC (once aware what I was missing), I tried a Squeezebox Touch as a replacement for the AE DAC and am very happy with the result sonically. Different to the DM but I wouldn't say either was better.

So, all subjective but I'd say the AE DAC can be substatially improved upon, detail was the main area of improvement for me, closely followed by soundstage.

__________________

Airport Express ->Dacmagic -> Denon AVR4306 -> Kef Iq9
Squeezebox Touch -> Audiolab 8000 -> B&W 685
Above fed from synology NAS

hankort's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
RE: Re: AirPlay and a DAC Re: AirPlay and a DAC

Thanks, that means that I'll just have to try for myself. Smile

iMark's picture
Offline
Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 285
RE: Re: AirPlay and a DAC Re: AirPlay and a DAC

I can confirm that the combination of Airport Express and DAC Magic sounds much better than the DAC in the Airport Express.

We've had this setup for a couple of years now and really like it. Our TV has optical out which I route through the Airport Express. This means that signals from our Humax box and our Bluray player also run through the TV via HDMI . The best thing about it is that is has decreased the number of cables. The only thing missing is a remote control for the DACMagic. Smile

__________________

Mac Mini (2013), iTunes (ALAC), Airport Express, Cambridge Audio DACmagic, Yamaha R-S500 stereo receiver, Infinity Overture 1 speakers, Sony KDL40HX750, Sony BDP-S-590, Humax iHDR 5200c, Pro-Ject 1Xpression III Comfort with Ortofon 2M Red, Logitech Harmony Touch, Atacama Eris Eco HiFi stand