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Bluetooth versus Airplay


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Afternoon all and apologies if the following enquiry is fairly basic, however I'm an old school vinyl and cd audiophile and networking is a mystery to me. As a secondary source of music I'm thinking of subscribing to the lossless streaming service called Tidal. I use Apple devices at home. At the moment the choice seems to be between buying something like an Arcam miniblink and streaming via bluetooth without the aptx codec (as Apple don't support it on the iPad), or getting a much cheaper device such as Neet or Veetop, with an inferior dac chipset, but with the ability to support lossless airplay. Any thoughts on whether it's better to live with the inevitable compression via bluetooth supported by a superior dac, or to use airplay via the inferior dac? Music is to be streamed to a high-end hi-fi set up but I don't expect to recreate what I get from my turntable or SACD player. It's for 'casual' listening. The alternative of course is Spotify with its 320kbps compression.

 

Many thanks in advance.

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I recently set up an Airport Express with Tidal and, as of yesterday, an iPad Mini. Here are some observations:

 

My AE is the model made between 2008 - 2012. Some posters on CA say that that is the best model. The later model has more dropout problems. I did not try the latest model so I can't comment on that.

 

The Airport Utility version that works without dropouts is version 7.6.1. So resist the urge to upgrade firmware on this utility. But if you do, you can downgrade back to 7.6.1. It is one of the few devices that allows this.

 

Finally, I am convinced that Tidal put all of there resources on app development into iOS 8. It is rock solid, and a pleasure to use. I tried them all: Android is not bad, but the rest all seem to be plagued with glitches. I have been amazed at how flawless Tidal works with iPad mini / iOS 8 / Airplay / AE / AU v. 7.6.1.

 

Buy yourself a decent toslink cable and bypass the AE DAC. Bluejeans cable sells a nice one and an adapter plug for the mini plug.

 

If you experience problems it is difficult sometimes to tell if it is Tidal or if it is the AE. My experience is that the very short "hiccups" are AE related and longer dropouts are Tidal related.

 

And of course, you need a robust WIFI setup.

 

Finally, I have been with Tidal since the first day of the USA introduction. I have had many problems, but Tidal seems determined to make it work. There support has been excellent and when I lost service for a one and a half days, they gave me a free week of service.

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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I recently set up an Airport Express with Tidal and, as of yesterday, an iPad Mini. Here are some observations:

 

My AE is the model made between 2008 - 2012. Some posters on CA say that that is the best model. The later model has more dropout problems. I did not try the latest model so I can't comment on that.

 

The Airport Utility version that works without dropouts is version 7.6.1. So resist the urge to upgrade firmware on this utility. But if you do, you can downgrade back to 7.6.1. It is one of the few devices that allows this.

 

Finally, I am convinced that Tidal put all of there resources on app development into iOS 8. It is rock solid, and a pleasure to use. I tried them all: Android is not bad, but the rest all seem to be plagued with glitches. I have been amazed at how flawless Tidal works with iPad mini / iOS 8 / Airplay / AE / AU v. 7.6.1.

 

Buy yourself a decent toslink cable and bypass the AE DAC. Bluejeans cable sells a nice one and an adapter plug for the mini plug.

 

If you experience problems it is difficult sometimes to tell if it is Tidal or if it is the AE. My experience is that the very short "hiccups" are AE related and longer dropouts are Tidal related.

 

And of course, you need a robust WIFI setup.

 

Finally, I have been with Tidal since the first day of the USA introduction. I have had many problems, but Tidal seems determined to make it work. There support has been excellent and when I lost service for a one and a half days, they gave me a free week of service.

 

Be aware, AE will only pass 16/44.1 signal to external DAC. If Tidal has true 24/192 then AE will down-sample.

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The new design should offer better wireless performance with its simultaneous dual-band design, compared to the older models.

 

Altoon seems to be looking for a device with its own DAC, not a receiver to then hook up an external DAC - though the AirPort Express should offer good performance in both areas.

 

Tidal is only streaming 16/44, so it does not matter that AirPlay only streams 16/44 for music.

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