Airport Express First impressions (Sound Quality).
After a lot of deliberation I decided I wanted to digitize my collection and after even more thought I decided on the Apple route starting with an express and eventually upgrading to a TV, Well I got a NAS and an Express this week, still having a little fun (NOT) setting up the NAS, but had time yesturday for a proper listen to the Express and compare it directly to a CD. I have MY CD Player feeding digitally in to MY AV Amp and I have done the same with the Express.
I assume the iTunes Volume setting are in the Digital domain when applied to the Express so I have the iTunes Volume on MAX so as not to loose data resolution and I am using AMP to control volume, am I incorrect in my assumption?
Initially I was fairly disappointed, it sounded good until I switched to CD (was playing Bonnie Prince Billy Jot and Jubilee in sync and switching between sources) Immediately I much preferred the CD. I wondered if any settings would improve things much so I switched off the track blend and volume levelling in itunes which improved it a little, After a bit of thought I remembered my iTunes library was MP3 high bit rate at 320k but still I decided to pull the CD out and rip it to Apple lossless (The whole collection will be re-ripped to losless anyway so why not start now) 10 minutes later and I was back in the front room. and I must say I am really impressed I could not really perceive a significant difference between the two sources so I must say I am really impressed with it, and the flexibility it gives for browsing and playing audio is fantastic.
I have yet to do a detailed comparison at an optimum listening time and comparing different music types to see if there are any small differences but I am most likely now to be using this as my primary audio source for a while, and if you arer considering going WiFi I would say go for it I have not been disappointed so far.