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Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amplifier

Hello, 

I am quite new to this and would appreciate some assistance. 

My wife has finally allowed me to buy a proper stereo  :cheer:

I have not decided yet on what components I am going to go for but I have looked at the Rotel RA-12 and plan to try it with, MA Silver RX6, Tannoy Revolution DC6T SE, and B&W CM8. 

However, there are a couple of things that I still haven't got my head around. I use my computer as my main source for music through spotify. To my current system (HK AV and Kef 2005.2) I streamed the music through an Airport Express into the HK amplifier. However, since I understand there is no proper DAC (except the cheap one in the Airport Express) between the Airport Express and the amplifier I assume I don't get the best sound quality possible. So here is my question, if I connect my Airport Express into the Rotel RA-12 will the Wolfson DAC in the amplifier scale up the signal to better quality or do I need to buy an additional DAC (like the Arcam rLink) and connect the Airport express directly to the rLink through USB (if that's possible) to get the benefit of the better signal?

If it doesn't work to send the signal through the airport express, am I required to get a streamer such as the Denon DNP-720AE to be able to use spotify with good quality in my new system or connect my computer through the rLink with USB?

Any advice would be much appreciated since I don't want to spend a heap of cash on a new system if I send signals into the system that doesn't utilize the power and features of the new system.

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

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RE:

Hi Narva,

If you can get the AE's digital to the Rotel that's a pretty good option as far as I can see. Try that first and see what you think. I'd imagine the rLink to only give a modest upgrade to that if anything. 

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RE:

...

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12

Hi, 

Thanks for the reply. Can I get the digital from the AE through a toslink to optical cable? 

Sorry for stupid questions but I'm not sure if I understand whether the AE DAC transforms the signal to analog or if it's possible to bypass the conversion in the AE and have it in the amplifier instead?

 

Juzzie Wuzzie's picture
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12

Yes - at one end you'll need an (easily available) Toslink to 3.5mm plug adaptor - but it will still carry a digital signal.  The amplifier will then do the D to A conversion.

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12

Ahhh, sweet Thank you very much for your assistance... Now I just need to decide on what system to go with... not an easy task either Smile 

 

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

Hi Narva,

I could have posted a request with excactly the same title and with exactly the same  two first paragraphs.

Anyhow, I went to the local audio-freak store and they gave me good advice. I will buy the RA-12 and hook up the AE which I bougt already. Connects perfectly to the wifi and - to answer your question - has digital output which I connected to an old receiver with digital in. No problem whatsoever You just need the special cable - go to the Apple store.

BUT - considered buying the Apple TV to use as an AE instead. Disadvantage - you will need to connect it to a tv to install it. Advantage; it powers down automatically, has dig-out, and - if you need it later - has a hdmi out.

If anybody can help me with the following, then I would be extremely pleased.

1. The Audio-freaks in my local store told me that AE would never produce good quality - but if I use a digital out of the AE - and I stream Applelossless (or, in my case, Flac ripped cds - using media;connecter from the app store) - will I not get 16/44.1 i.e. the same as CD quality ??? and will the sound quality not ONLY depend on the DAC converter in the Amp - in this case the inbuilt DAC of the Rotel RA-12. The explanation the audio-freaks have given me do not make sense as the signal may be compressed and decompression for the purpose of transmission to the AE - but the output ...in this case the digital output .. should be the same as the source ..ie. CD quality. No?

 

2. I understand that I will need a better streamer if I wanna benefit from higher qality recordings (24/96 or higher) and that the AE will not be fit for that. Ok - I will buy a streamer later - but I want to keep my now ripped cd-flac collection on my NAS: Why do the  audiofreaks INSIST that I need to cable the streamer to my NAS ? I understand that the streamer needs to be cabled with the amplifier but why also with the NAS? or the rest of my homenetwork for that matter.

(Narva - if you have similar thought for upgrade at a later stage...save the +2 months I used to look for a streamer - and google "Olive one" )

 

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

Hi Narva,

I could have posted a request with excactly the same title and with exactly the same  two first paragraphs.

Anyhow, I went to the local audio-freak store and they gave me good advice. I will buy the RA-12 and hook up the AE which I bougt already. Connects perfectly to the wifi and - to answer your question - has digital output which I connected to an old receiver with digital in. No problem whatsoever You just need the special cable - go to the Apple store.

BUT - considered buying the Apple TV to use as an AE instead. Disadvantage - you will need to connect it to a tv to install it. Advantage; it powers down automatically, has dig-out, and - if you need it later - has a hdmi out.

If anybody can help me with the following, then I would be extremely pleased.

1. The Audio-freaks in my local store told me that AE would never produce good quality - but if I use a digital out of the AE - and I stream Applelossless (or, in my case, Flac ripped cds - using media;connecter from the app store) - will I not get 16/44.1 i.e. the same as CD quality ??? and will the sound quality not ONLY depend on the DAC converter in the Amp - in this case the inbuilt DAC of the Rotel RA-12. The explanation the audio-freaks have given me do not make sense as the signal may be compressed and decompression for the purpose of transmission to the AE - but the output ...in this case the digital output .. should be the same as the source ..ie. CD quality. No?

 

2. I understand that I will need a better streamer if I wanna benefit from higher qality recordings (24/96 or higher) and that the AE will not be fit for that. Ok - I will buy a streamer later - but I want to keep my now ripped cd-flac collection on my NAS: Why do the  audiofreaks INSIST that I need to cable the streamer to my NAS ? I understand that the streamer needs to be cabled with the amplifier but why also with the NAS? or the rest of my homenetwork for that matter.

(Narva - if you have similar thought for upgrade at a later stage...save the +2 months I used to look for a streamer - and google "Olive one" )

 

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

Obs - by the way - forgot to mention. They audio-freaks HATED the AE option - and anything wireless - but to obtain "only" cd-quality they were not able to explain why. They did recommend me buying tons of Linn products though Smile

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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

Agree on the Apple TV option for an extra £20.  I think you can set it to "never power off" to answer one of the concerns above.  Note the new AEX's can be an internet hub, if that is of any use.  For instance, I have my Sky HD+ box plugged into it for Sky Anytime.

I run AEX --> Naim 5i-2 --> Neat Iotas and am happy with the set up (for <£1k).  I may shift to a Uniti Lite in order to a) get a better DAC than in the AEX and b) have direct access to internet radio (and especially Radio Paradise at high bit-rate).  I've also run the AEX --> CYP 3 DAC into the aforementioned, but didn't notice a substantial difference.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

Hey Newwannabe, 

 

Thanks for your reply. It was really interesting to hear. So if I go with the Apple TV instead of the AE, will that mean that I can stream Spotify through airplay into the ATV which then forward the digital signal into the amp where the digital signal will be transformed into analoge with the Wolfson DAC? The AE I have now, have a regular 3.5 output so maybe that's why you get issues with the conversion of the signal and can't get the higher quality. The way I understand your response is that the ATV can forward the signal from the computer without any alteration, while the AE will transform it eventhough it will forward a digital signal as well, is that correct?

 

I'm also curious to hear how you like your system? Did the Rotel RA-12 and the MA RX6s work out well together?

Just like you I'm planning to upgrade further on with a streamer or equivalent, haven't found any streamer with a nice enough interface yet so I think I'll wait a while to see what comes up next. I'll look into the Olive one for sure, looks pretty neat Smile

Cheers, 

//H

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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

"My wife has finally allowed me to buy a proper stereo"  

Really, did you really type that?

Cojones check amigo!

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

"The way I understand your response is that the ATV can forward the signal from the computer without any alteration, while the AE will transform it eventhough it will forward a digital signal as well, is that correct?"

No / not how I understood it.

Because the signal is sent via a player on an iOS - it is sent so by means of the transport offered by Apple: compressed at exit (it tells the router to send xxx) and decompressed by either ATV or AE. That proces only allows transmission in CD quality. (44.1/ 16) which should be fine if you ripped your cd in high-quality format. The ATV or AE both decompresses exactly what was sent compressed - there should be no difference. The signal is then transformed to an audible format by the d-a converter. In summa: ATV and AE would do the same job. The reason why I would (now) go for the ATV is because you only need to connect it to a tv for the set up (Wifi codes etc) and then it is generally cooler; powers down - does not have a screaming green led - and ,,, you can later hook up at tv Smile

But I have not yet found anybody who could explain me why the wireless transmission as opposed to a wired is a problem provided that the conversion is not done by the AE or ATV ? Anybody?

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie Airport Express to Rotel RA-12 or equivalent amp

Smile

Nice stereo config..

But - why the wires ? - if the conversion is not done by the AE or ATV but by the Rotel or another DAC - what advantages does the wires give if one only aims for CD quality?

 

 

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