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iPad - Airport Express - DAC (to preamp) System Suddenly Stopped Working?


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I have a system in my work area which, among other things, provides streaming of a music service that I subscribe to (Music From The Hearts of Space) to my audio system. The iPad contains the app for the music service, and it routes it via the Airport Express (approximately 5 feet away) to my DAC, which then routes it to the preamp. I listen to this music service for the final two hours of every evening to effectively wind down before going off to bed. While there once were occasional glitches with the iPad, and the Airport Express, all of those ended completely when I upgraded to a world class router about eight months ago. Since then, not a single glitch.

 

About five nights ago, I went to listen to the music service, I started up the iPad app, connected to the music service, touched the prompt to route it to the Airport Express, and saw the DAC pick up the signal. When turning up the volume on the preamp, however, there was no sound. Since then, I have rebooted the router, rebooted the Airport Express several times, restarted the iPad countless times, and verified that there are no problems with the music service itself (it runs perfectly on the iPad and it's own speaker. I have also checked all connections, verified that the preamp handles anything else without issue, and am now at a complete loss to understand what is going on.

 

Clearly, if the DAC indicates that it is receiving the signal, it is. If the preamp works with everything else, I am baffled. Any thoughts, recommendations or other assistance would be greatly appreciated. Listening to the iPad on it's own, the past few nights has been hard to bear.

 

JC

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I have a system in my work area which, among other things, provides streaming of a music service that I subscribe to (Music From The Hearts of Space) to my audio system. The iPad contains the app for the music service, and it routes it via the Airport Express (approximately 5 feet away) to my DAC, which then routes it to the preamp. I listen to this music service for the final two hours of every evening to effectively wind down before going off to bed. While there once were occasional glitches with the iPad, and the Airport Express, all of those ended completely when I upgraded to a world class router about eight months ago. Since then, not a single glitch.

 

About five nights ago, I went to listen to the music service, I started up the iPad app, connected to the music service, touched the prompt to route it to the Airport Express, and saw the DAC pick up the signal. When turning up the volume on the preamp, however, there was no sound. Since then, I have rebooted the router, rebooted the Airport Express several times, restarted the iPad countless times, and verified that there are no problems with the music service itself (it runs perfectly on the iPad and it's own speaker. I have also checked all connections, verified that the preamp handles anything else without issue, and am now at a complete loss to understand what is going on.

 

Clearly, if the DAC indicates that it is receiving the signal, it is. If the preamp works with everything else, I am baffled. Any thoughts, recommendations or other assistance would be greatly appreciated. Listening to the iPad on it's own, the past few nights has been hard to bear.

 

JC

 

Try plugging iPad directly into your Dac first to make sure dac / preamp connection is working properly. If that works, then the culprit is most likely airport express. On the airport look to see if little light's orange or green. If it's orange it probably needs a software update which is accompliished using the Airport Utility app on your iPad.

Try those things first.

David

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Have you tried playing music from another app, the Apple Music app would be a good place to start. Could there have been a update (firmware or to the app) which has broken airplay for it?

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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+1

 

I suppose it's possible to have some sort of AirPlay encryption failure when using the Hearts of Space provided app, deliberate or otherwise. I can't imagine a sound producing app not requesting iOS to restrict its audio output from being streamed via AirPlay, being prevented from doing so - assuming that it is actually properly producing some sort of sound on the iOS device in the first place.

 

It might be worth checking if you now have to pay (extra?) for the privilege of using AirPlay with the provided app or that it may even have been stopped altogether.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and suggestions. I will implement all of them when I get home tonight and report back. And Cebolla, your input is always appreciated as you have provided assistance to me on so many things. However, I have subscribed to Hearts of Space for a number of years, and there has never been any problem streaming it through Airplay. I did check with them, and there have been no changes to their cost or new limitations imposed. And yes, it still plays perfectly on the iPad alone.

 

JC

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Try plugging iPad directly into your Dac first to make sure dac / preamp connection is working properly. If that works, then the culprit is most likely airport express. On the airport look to see if little light's orange or green. If it's orange it probably needs a software update which is accompliished using the Airport Utility app on your iPad.

Try those things first.

 

Very good idea, David, but unfortunately, I do not have an Apple connectivity cable at hand to allow me to connect it to the DAC directly. The strange thing is that the DAC itself specifically turns on it's indicator light, which only happens when it is receiving the signal from the iPad/Airport Express, there is simply no sound when you turn up the volume .

 

As far as the Airport Express, it is orange half the time and green half the time, and has been since I purchased it, regardless of software updates.

 

JC

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Have you tried playing music from another app, the Apple Music app would be a good place to start. Could there have been a update (firmware or to the app) which has broken airplay for it?

 

Thanks for your help Eloise, I will load something to try tonight. I simply can't, in principle, use Apple Music based on the unfathomable damage they have done to music and music listening over all these years. I only own the iPad (an old version 2) because a couple of critical apps only work with IOS and not Android devices.

 

JC

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Thanks for your help Eloise, I will load something to try tonight. I simply can't, in principle, use Apple Music based on the unfathomable damage they have done to music and music listening over all these years. I only own the iPad (an old version 2) because a couple of critical apps only work with IOS and not Android devices.

 

JC

You don't even have music transferred by iTunes? I meant that rather than Apple Music streaming.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Shouldn't even need to play locally stored music on the iPad, to test the iPad's AirPlay connection. Just use any app that can produce a sound, eg, use the web browser on a site you know you can get a sound out of, play a YouTube video, etc.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Very good idea, David, but unfortunately, I do not have an Apple connectivity cable at hand to allow me to connect it to the DAC directly. The strange thing is that the DAC itself specifically turns on it's indicator light, which only happens when it is receiving the signal from the iPad/Airport Express, there is simply no sound when you turn up the volume .

 

As far as the Airport Express, it is orange half the time and green half the time, and has been since I purchased it, regardless of software updates.

 

JC

David's suggestion should be treated as a prerequisite, ie, there's no point even suspecting an AirPlay/iPad/Airport Express problem, if you cannot establish that the DAC and its connection to the preamp part of the audio chain is working.

 

Do you have another device with an optical output to test with? For example your Marantz NA8005 mentioned in your other threads has an optical output.

 

Thinking about it the NA8005 also supports AirPlay, so you could use it to see if it also has a similar issue.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for the delay in responding, and thanks to everyone for their helpful suggestions. I have been out of town visiting my brother in Wyoming for the past three weeks and could not do further troubleshooting until now. I decided to eliminate the Airport Express altogether and hopefully eliminate the problem, while also verifying any issues with a direct cable solution. I purchased an Apple camera connection kit for my iPad, attached the connector to the iPad, then connected it via USB cable to the DAC. Now I get an error on the iPad saying

 

cannot use device

USB-SPDIF - The connected device is not supported

 

JC

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Your DAC probably draws too much power from the USB port which is why you can't power it with your iPad via the camera connection kit. I really don't understand this Hearts of Space thing but as someone has said, you should be able to use AirPlay with the Airport Express. So with iOS 10 and with music playing in iTunes Music app or in a podcast app, just switch to AirPlay and make sure your volume is turned up on the iPad. I've had no sound many times and it turns out I just forgot to turn up the volume every time I send music from my iPad to the Airport Express through AirPlay. Remember that if you're not in AirPlay mode, your speaker or headphone volume is set differently than your AirPlay volume so hearing sound from the speaker is not a guarantee that you have the volume turned up on the iPad when using AirPlay to stream to Airport Express. If changing the iPad AirPlay volume doesn't work, then I would slowly troubleshoot through each component as you've previously planned.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Try plugging iPad directly into your Dac first to make sure dac / preamp connection is working properly. If that works, then the culprit is most likely airport express. On the airport look to see if little light's orange or green. If it's orange it probably needs a software update which is accompliished using the Airport Utility app on your iPad.

Try those things first.

 

I purchased an Apple camera connection kit for my iPad, attached the connector to the iPad, then connected it via USB cable to the DAC. Now I get an error on the iPad saying

 

cannot use device

USB-SPDIF - The connected device is not supported

 

Shouldn't this have worked, per your original suggestion?

 

JC

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