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Extending music wirelessly


lamstones

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Got the main set up going, now trying to extend it to kitchen wirelessly. 2 options come to mind;

 

1) Airport express + a pair of active speakers (hard to put any DAC or amp there). But this would need to go through iTune on Mac Mini.

2) Squeezebox Boom accessing music files directly on NAS

 

Can anyone comment on the relative stability and sound quality of the two options?

 

 

Mac Mini (iTune) + ALAC on Synology 409 NAS > Transparent USB cable >Benchmark DAC1 >Neutrik XLR >Jeff Rowland Continuum Integrated Amp >B&W 802 speakers

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We have experimented with the following setups, and none met our expectations for audio quality:

 

1. Apple Express and Apple TV. The D/A conversion on the receiving end just doesn't cut the mustard. Even with a good DAC connected to the digital optical output, the results were very disappointing (smeared image, poor sound quality).

 

2. Logitech Squeezebox. Again, the D/A conversion on the receiving end was not very good. Again, an external DAC connected via SPDIF didn't help much. Also, the interface / integration with iTunes was not as convenient as using an iPod Touch / iPhone to control iTunes.

 

3. Logitech Transporter. Slightly better results, but still not as good as a properly configured wired solution.

 

We have found that even for background listening, it is worth going with a wired solution. AES/EBU can be buried in walls over several hundred feet. With appropriate clocking, you can send a very robust signal this way to multiple DACs throughout your home/studio.

 

That said, I'd love to hear if others have achieved better results wirelessly, and if so, how.

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

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While Sanjay is probably right at the top end and I don't think his reply is really relevant.

 

I think you'll find that an Airport Express (or Apple TV) plus powered speakers is a good solution. The Squeezebox Boombox would be a more compact solution, or you could go with a Squeezebox Duet system and the powered speakers - which would allow you the better speakers with direct access to files on the NAS (assuming the NAS runs Squeezeserver). Both can have issues with wireless signal and dropout but can't really tell until you get them into your own environment.

 

Eloise

 

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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This set up is in the kitchen so, while not aiming for the high end, the sound would still needs to be not tiring on the ears. I am a bit worried about the WiFi stability especially when I live in Hong Kong with internal concrete walls. Does anyone know whether the Aiport Express is a better wireless streamer than the SB? My router is a Linksys supplied by the phone company, not Aipport Extreme.

 

I can try to use Ethernet over Power to extend network to the kitchen but has any one had good experience with 'wired' streamers other than SB?

 

 

Mac Mini (iTune) + ALAC on Synology 409 NAS > Transparent USB cable >Benchmark DAC1 >Neutrik XLR >Jeff Rowland Continuum Integrated Amp >B&W 802 speakers

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I have a an SB3 that I've pulled out of my system, replaced by an airport express. I was having issues with the Squeezebox server software on OS 10.6. It would suddenly "forget" where my itunes library was and I would have to go through the process of rescanning. In comparison, the airport express just always seems to work.

 

The remote options (if you have an ipod touch or iphone), are also better on the airport express. Not to take away from the amazing work that has been done on ipeng, but it you already have an apple set up, and you are already using itunes as your music catalogue software, squeezebox server is just one more piece you don't necessarily want to fiddle with: the airport/audioengine/ipod/itunes cocktail has been pretty foolproof in my kitchen setup.

 

That said, if you don't have an ipod, the boom comes with a small plastic remote.

 

If it's the kitchen we are talking about here, you are trying to set up background music. An airport express into a pair of Audioengine speakers, or a sb boom are both going to be similar fidelity wise. I think the decision should be more based on what you are comfortable tinkering with on the back end. If you already used an airport product (extreme or express) to serve wireless to your house, and you have a way to control the music in your kitchen (ipod) then get an airport express and avoid setting up squeezebox server all together. The linksys is the missing link I'm not familiar with (not to mention the concrete walls). My assumption is that given that all wireless music servers seem to still serve up 801.11g instead of "n", the range of an sb, an itunes express, or an olive 2, will be similar. Will an airport express connect to the linksys wirelessly?

 

If you already have sb server running on your main system and you want to extend it, or if control via the speakers is a big issue (ie. the ipod/computer are in another pocket/room all the time) go with the boom because the controls are right on the front.

 

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Have put the SB Boom in for 3 days now and the wireless drop out - especially on streaming Internet Radios - is regular enough to be annoying. Next step will set Squeezebox server up on my Synology and test how music within the same network will fare. I do not have any Aiport Extreme or Express in the 'music' network except for the remote iPhone (the Mac Mini is wired and its wifi turned off to keep processing on the machines minimal). Next I will try a pair of Ethernet over Power plugs to see if it will improve the drop out.

 

Reason for opting for the SB Boom is the ability to play different music in different rooms. Also the iPhone is already working hard enough without fear of being dropped into boiling water!

 

Sound wise it is good enough for background music but for my ears it is very forward and a bit "tinny" - but then I am used to listening to speakers in wooden boxes!

 

Mac Mini (iTune) + ALAC on Synology 409 NAS > Transparent USB cable >Benchmark DAC1 >Neutrik XLR >Jeff Rowland Continuum Integrated Amp >B&W 802 speakers

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