Airport Express as whole home audio Solution - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-28, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Airport Express as whole home audio Solution

I wanted to clarify some points as I too have a whole house system I would like to set up.

My situation: Whole house is wired for approx 10 zones speakers in wall/ceiling, home run to basement central area.

I am considering Airport Express with a Dayton Audio MA1240a Multi-Zone 12 Channel Amplifier or something like that.

I would have 1 Airport Express per zone.

I have 1 mac Mini that would be a media server, as well I have a DNS 323 NAS that has a itunes media server option. My apple remote app sees both libraries.

I use airport extreme with mac mini so I cant really test everything out yet.

But I want the following

each zone: Airport Express + Amp (MA1240a or equivalent), speaker wire and pair of speakers.

It sounds like I cannot play from one iTunes library to multiple locations as separate streams, ie different music to each zone.

If I used an Apple TV instead of Airport Extreme, would that change things?

Also, since Airport Express is Airplay compliant, each iphone, itouch or ipad can stream whatever source they have on their device directly to their zone. Most likely, (4 kids in the house) they would have all the media or streaming services on their ipad that they would want to hear anyway.

Any additional thoughts on this?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-29, 10:59 AM
 
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Quote:
I would have 1 Airport Express per zone
Why?? Do you really need 12 different sources? You will also need 12 instances of iTunes.

Personally, I would consider going with Sonos combined with multizone amp. Sonos supports Android and iOS and you probably only need four or five sources unless you really want 12 unique sources running concurrently.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-29, 12:49 PM
 
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+1

As much as I like my AirStuff and iDevices, I would look at Sonos or a combination of wired speakers and wireless devices for that number of zones.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-29, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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For a wired system

Sonos connect $400+ tax
Amp $100/2 channel or $500for a 12 channel MA1240a or equivalent

Approx $500/zone (full customization of music to each zone)

iTune
Airport Express ~ $100
Amp $100/2 channel or $500for a 12 channel MA1240a or equivalent

Approx $200/zone (Limited music to each zone based on itunes library)
Airplay is unlimited based on the i device.

I really think this is a great alternative to Sonos. Certainly the price is right.

Are there any stability or connectivity issues? I will have wired airport express and wireless ipads and itouches.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-29, 06:14 PM
 
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Just want to make sure I'm clear on your configuration and plans.

What you are proposing is there would be a power bar full of Airport Express units in the basement, one per zone, each connected to the individual analog L/R inputs on the multizone amp, then each zone running out to the existing hardwired speakers?

The Airport Express units would then be named by zone/room to identify where the source was streaming to, then enabled/disabled from a remote iDevice?

How would you volume control to each individual zone when you are in that zone? Are there L-pads or some kind of speaker controller in wall near the existing wired speakers?

Is there currently any Cat-5 running to the same rooms, zone by zone?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Right

The volume control would be through the ipad remote app. Each i device can control the zne through the remote.

I have cat 5e in each room but it wouldn't be needed for this configuration. Only the i device would be used to control the zone.

Sources are either the nas iTunes server or the Mac mini iTunes server or any of the individual apple I devices using airplay.

Does this type of setup work and has anyone trid it?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 08:10 AM
 
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I have a mac (but historically a Windoze user) at home, 2 iPads, and 2 iPhones with 3 ATV's and an Airport Express. I also operate this with a Cisco router. I like AirPlay and have four separate devices for playing music.

I find it very useful for free streaming sources such as Songza. I can choose, play, pause, and FF content and adjust volume from an iPad, etc.

For me, Airplay works flawlessly, and has streamed music for hours without a glitch. I have even used it in other venues and flexibility is great. I use the Airport Express because it has analog/optical out. The ATV only has HDMI and optical out but no analog out. Basically the Airport Express lets you easily turn any powered speakers into Airplay speakers.

Last edited by Danno10000; 2013-05-30 at 09:35 AM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 10:16 AM
 
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you will run into an issue when you want to play different music to different sources.

you need to have multiple instances of itunes open on your main machine with different names
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 10:56 AM
 
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AirPlay doesn't need iTunes running, it can be streamed from iOS devices directly. Another thing the OP might want to consider is a Synology NAS to store all your multimedia (it supports AirPlay) and has Android & iOS apps available.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 11:35 AM
 
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I'd raised the Cat5 question earlier in the thread because Apple TV's were thrown in to the mix.

12 zones implies a large home. My personal preference is to run my Apple TV's wired versus wireless, especially with an unknown amount of other wireless activity at the same time.

If you plan to use an Airport Extreme as your router and switch you may find it pushed over the edge quite quickly subject to your overall network traffic.

As Danno had mentioned, keep in mind that Apple TV 2/3 does not support analog audio. Rooms with HDMI TV's could use the TV speakers for Airplay from the AppleTV.

And as blueroomelectro mentioned, an Synology or QNap NAS might help you eliminate some complexity. The DLink is unlikely to last forever and you can configure a NAS for redundancy and storage expansion.

If you decide to buy a bunch of Airport Express units, pick up refurbs @ 69.00 each.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueroomelectro View Post
AirPlay doesn't need iTunes running, it can be streamed from iOS devices directly. Another thing the OP might want to consider is a Synology NAS to store all your multimedia (it supports AirPlay) and has Android & iOS apps available.
Tried that, didnt like it. Wifi just isnt good enough because theres no buffering on Airplay.

I have a three zone AirTunes (wired) system running off a Mac server to AppleTV and a couple Airport Express and it works well, but if you truly want multi-source, you wont be pleased with it. i hear Sonos is good for this.

Ironically, I used to be able to multisource using a Mac and a first-gen Apple TV because it could be a media server, but recent models don't do it anymore.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-05-30, 02:34 PM
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@coxwain,

As someone who has used both AirPlay and Sonos, I want to say that Sonos does multi-source/multi-zone very well. AirPlay just wasn't built for it.

I appreciate that Sonos is a more expensive solution, but I can tell you that in my case (I've got 5 zones in my house) it was totally worth the money.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-06-03, 02:02 PM
 
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I looked into Sonos and it is a very neat system. From what I read you can also hook up an Airport Express to one Sonos device and share that with all other speakers. Looks like my next purchase will be the Sonos with the S5! Anyone have any personal thoughts on the S5? Is the additional woofer really needed (I don't need to blast music at my age)? What if I already have a 300 watt powered sub-woofer, any idea if I could hook it up to the Sonos S5 (e.g. looks like the headphone jack does the standard muting of the host system).
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-06-26, 09:33 AM
 
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I have 5 zones right now... master bathroom, playroom, living room(pioneer 1021 w/ airplay built in), garage and outdoor deck.

i used the airport express/2 ch amp combo. I picked up 4 airports on kjiji for $40 each. i bought 4 osd audio amp120's from amazon, $99 each(wish i knew about the 12 ch dayton!). I used in-ceiling speakers for the play room and master bathroom (speaker wire ran through attic down conduit to basement AV rack) The garage has two bookshelfs, the living room has two full range speakers which also double has my Front left/right for my home theather and the back yard has two outdoor speakers.

The source is an itunes library on my always on server or rdio on our iphones.

Everthing works flawless. i understand the gripe about using itunes with regards to one source at a time but i'm fine with it, hasn't effected me yet.
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