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MiddleMan's picture
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Apple Airport Express or Apple TV
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Am looking into adding/or replacing music streaming to my CD set up.

I was looking into buying the new ATV for its movies stream/rent capabilities, but am now looking more at ways of streaming audio to the hifi. Is the Apple TV a better option to the AirPort? If I bought the AirPort, I could connect this with 3.5mm to RCA lead straight into my amp and get going straight away and then perhaps add a DAC to improve sound later.

 However, if I got the ATV, although this would add the video extras, I would have to plug this into my ageing surround sound amp via optical, as my hifi amp does not have opt input. Once I got a DAC then I could go into the hifi via this from the ATV with the sound quality I want.

So any advice what I should do at this stage. Is there anything I am missing about connecting the ATV which would make more sense to buy now or do I just go with the AirPort? Airport only cheaper option or ATV + DAC needed from start?

Secondly, how do I add Spotify to the streaming equation. I have an Ipod Touch. Is it Airfoil I need and do I need Spotify Premium too?

 Any help appreciated

 

roger06's picture
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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

I'd go for the Apple TV option. It's a brand new, dedicated device for audio and video streaming. The Airport Express was fundamentally a device for expanding an Apple wireless network but with the audio bit added.

Also bear in mind there's no interface for AE whereas ATV you can control it all on the telly. Mine's currently plugged into my AV amp with pre outs to my Naim 2 channel amp and it sounds great.

I use a £20 app called AirFoil which will stream Spotify to your ATV from a computer to your ATV.

I think ATV, now the market is maturing and it's such an affordable device, has a great future. I think we'll see plenty of software upgrades for it in time.

 

 

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV
MiddleMan:Am looking into adding/or replacing music streaming to my CD set up.

I was looking into buying the new ATV for its movies stream/rent capabilities, but am now looking more at ways of streaming audio to the hifi. Is the Apple TV a better option to the AirPort? If I bought the AirPort, I could connect this with 3.5mm to RCA lead straight into my amp and get going straight away and then perhaps add a DAC to improve sound later.

 However, if I got the ATV, although this would add the video extras, I would have to plug this into my ageing surround sound amp via optical, as my hifi amp does not have opt input. Once I got a DAC then I could go into the hifi via this from the ATV with the sound quality I want.

So any advice what I should do at this stage. Is there anything I am missing about connecting the ATV which would make more sense to buy now or do I just go with the AirPort? Airport only cheaper option or ATV + DAC needed from start?

You've pretty much weighed up the arguments for yourself - do you ever foresee yourself using the video capabilities of the ATV? If not, not really any point in getting it over the AE. It might be useful to post what equipment you currently have and what sort of price you'd be looking to spend on a DAC now and what you might look to buy if you could in the future to help people determine whether it's worth getting just the AE now and saving up for a DAC or just going with DAC + Apple TV now.

MiddleMan:Secondly, how do I add Spotify to the streaming equation. I have an Ipod Touch. Is it Airfoil I need and do I need Spotify Premium too?

If you're streaming Spotify directly from the iPod Touch (2G or above as must be running iOS 4.2), then no need for Airfoil as you just use the new Airplay feature to stream direct to the ATV or AE. You'd need to have Premium to use Spotify from the Touch in the first place I think?

If you're streaming from Mac / PC, then you do need Airfoil, but not necessarily Spotify Premium. Arguably, it would be worth upgrading though just to take advantage of the higher bitrate provided.

 

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

Thanks for that Roger and Professor.

 Obviously I can output the sound (from the ATV into the the AV amp) straight into my Rotel RA-03 amp with RCA for now, but I dont think the sound will be as good as direct connection. This is my dilema about cost. To go ATV with optimum sound, I have to get a DAC to go with it, whereas the Airport can connect directly into the Rotel. Both would sound better with a DAC of course, but I am upgrading one bit at a time. If i think long term, then I guess the ATV is best for when I get a DAC (plus I was looking at getting the ATV recently anyway). Short term quick solution is the Airport.

 I didn't want to upgrade to Spotify Premium and stream via the Ipod, so how do you selct and change tracks from the PC stream to either the Airport or ATV. Do you get any onscreen visual for Spotify for ATV?

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

You do know that you can output via digital optical from the Airport Express as well? Which is why I asked about the video streaming, as if you want this in the future, you need the Apple TV, but if you don't, it doesn't really offer anything more than the Express (in terms of streaming music).

On the controlling Spotify remotely question, there was a recent post about this - I'll see if I can find it. As far as I'm aware, there's nothing on the Apple TV for controlling Spotify - it's all done via the PC / Mac app.

EDIT - here it is.

 

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MiddleMan's picture
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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

Equipment update

MiddleMan's picture
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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

Yes, i knew that Professor.

I know that the ATV doesn't have any audio advantage over the Aiport, only video, (which is a plus point to me), just harder to integrate into my hifi set up without adding a DAC at the same time (though can be done via the AV amp, which I was trying to avoid)

 

Thanks for the link as well.

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

Prof

 

AirPlay only streams iTunes to Apple TV doesn't it? 

 

 

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV

You can stream Spotify too.

Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi? and whathifi.com

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV
Andy Clough:You can stream Spotify too.

 

Ooh that's quite exciting. How? I downloaded the Spotify App yesterday and it wasn't apparent...

 

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV
roger06:
Andy Clough:You can stream Spotify too.

Ooh that's quite exciting. How? I downloaded the Spotify App yesterday and it wasn't apparent...

Click on the link I posted earlier - it'll take you to a thread where JD's put instructions (and screenshots) on how to do it.

 

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Re: Apple Airport Express or Apple TV
professorhat:
roger06:
Andy Clough:You can stream Spotify too.

Ooh that's quite exciting. How? I downloaded the Spotify App yesterday and it wasn't apparent...

Click on the link I posted earlier - it'll take you to a thread where JD's put instructions (and screenshots) on how to do it.

 

 

Cool thanks!  Looking forward to having a play with that tonight...

 

 

 

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