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Apple Airport Express/iTunes dropouts...


timbo

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Hi folks - great site Chris!!! Well being a Squeezebox user I wanted to see what all you guys are enjoying being able to dial up iTunes and play straight from that sexy interface...so...went down the local apple shop and got me an AX (just to play, prob think about mac mini if it works!) and optical Toslink to mini-toslink lead (they had never heard of such a thing and I even had to explain that the optical digital out is in the headphone jack...doh!!!). Anyway, long story short - surprised at how close it sounds to my SB3 - but - dropouts, and losing 44khz lock on my Meridian DAC.

 

Found this thread on apple board and contributed, nothing back yet - anyone here having probs I wonder? This is a bit of a non-starter so far :-/

 

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1712833&tstart=0

 

Tim.

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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Hi Tim - Welcome to Computer Audiophile, thanks for the kind words about the site. I don't think there is an inherent issue with the Airport Express, but I do think wireless networks have much to do with performance. I've done a lot of testing and experienced different issues myself. Since I set my network to 802.11n / 5 GHz only I've had zero problems. Of course this means I had to setup a different 802.11b/g network for my iPhone and iPod Touch to connect wirelessly, but oh well.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Tim,

 

Hiya. I've been doing some research on this.

 

It would appear to be a real issue in the latest version of iTunes only. I've not rolled back to a previous version yet but intend doing so tonight.

 

I'm experiencing the same on my PC. It's annoying given that the quality of playback is similar to that I had on my Mac Mini a few weeks back .. just very annoying.

 

I'll attempt to roll back tonight and see if it fixes the problem.

 

But from looking around- it certainly appears to be a problem in the iTunes software.

 

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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I have had problems with wireless drop out, using an Apple TV and a D-Link draft - n router.

The router is aprox. 20 feet away in a second room, so 2 or so walls to travel through.

I just ran cabling yesterday to hard wire the ATV to my iMac.

 

Instructions on going "n" only would be appreciated.

 

I think I have that set up in my router, but still experience problems.

 

Is it possible that a newer router would help? This one is only a year old.

 

Jeff

 

\"It would be a mistake to demonize any particular philosophy. To do so forces people into entrenched positions and encourages the adoption of unhelpful defensive reactions, thus missing the opportunity for constructive dialog\"[br] - Martin Colloms - stereophile.com

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Hi Jeff - I've tried just about every router type and brand available here in the U.S. and I've settled on the Apple Airport Extreme. It honestly works better than any other product I've had. I'm not sure how to config your specific D-Link for N only. In my AE I can select 802.11N / 5 GHz only. This keeps slower clients off the wireless network because the wireless part will only go as fast as the slowest client. So, if a 54 Mbps 802.11 G computer connects to your 802.11N router, the whole wireless portion of the router is now operating at 54 Mbps.

 

Of course this will require your computer to have an 802.11N card in it as well. One thing that I've also done is to eliminate WEP and WPA. I use Mac Address filtering and don't broadcast my SSID/Network Name. Sure someone could probably get in by spoofing my Mac Address and picking up the SSID in clear text by sniffing the network, but the chances are greater someone will get into an easier network in the neighborhood. There's much more low hanging fruit around here :-)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Cool, I really would like to try it.

 

Do you think that I could stream music and movies on my Apple TV without it dropping out if, I use an

AE "n" ?

 

At this point the ATV is un-usable wireless, it is so bad.

 

Thanks,

 

Jeff

 

\"It would be a mistake to demonize any particular philosophy. To do so forces people into entrenched positions and encourages the adoption of unhelpful defensive reactions, thus missing the opportunity for constructive dialog\"[br] - Martin Colloms - stereophile.com

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I have already applied the "n" settings to my d-link router, and still get poor performance.

Any idea how much improvement I should expect if I turn off encryption?

 

Also, I live in an urban area, if I go without encryption, and use the mac address filtering, and turn off SSID,

how difficult is it to spoof my mac address?

if I need to search for my own SSID; like when I cycle airport on and off, how do I find my own network to choose?

how secure is it, if I am buying online using a credit card etc?

 

I may have a line on a used AEB, not a bad deal I read now the USB attached hard drive will work to back up with Time Capsule with the latest firmware.

 

Thanks,

 

Jeff

 

BTW, Regina Spektor is awesome!

 

 

 

\"It would be a mistake to demonize any particular philosophy. To do so forces people into entrenched positions and encourages the adoption of unhelpful defensive reactions, thus missing the opportunity for constructive dialog\"[br] - Martin Colloms - stereophile.com

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Hi Jeff - Yes, Regina Spektor is awesome!

 

You can always test turning off encryption for a few minutes to see if there is a benefit for you. A no cost audio tweak :-)

 

The chances of someone spoofing your mac address are far less likely than someone digging through your garbage to get your personal information. As long as you know your SSID you won't have to search for it. You set it up as a known network on your computer and your fine. If you reset the router SSID will be broadcast again, so no worries.

 

All encryption is the same as a lock on your door. It's only a delay device. All locks and all encryption will be compromised eventually. Fortunately there are wireless networks with much less security than mac address filtering and a hidden SSID. Those people are the low hanging fruit that get targeted long before you will ever get targeted.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hi all and thanks for advice :-) Hi Matt - yes this is the conclusion I was coming to, but I couldn't be sure as I only just got my Airport Express to play with after I upgraded to iTunes 8. Anyway, I rolled back to iTunes 7 on my laptop last night and imported a few tunes from my server and yeh!! Lock light nicely lit on my DAC, 44khz light too and beautiful music coming out of my system and no sniff of dropouts - that is played from iTunes on my Win XP laptop to the AX with the files pulled from my Windows Home Server - all wirelessly!! The dropouts don't sound like network probs Chris, more like a audio file glitch (if you know what I mean) and the fact that the 44khz light wavered in time to the Dropouts was a clue something wasn't right. Anyway at least I can test the AX now and so...who tells Apple they cocked up? :-/

 

As an aside on an audiophile note, it just goes to prove that ignoring the AX for years and playing with the awful Slimserver/SqueezeCenter interface, was probably a result of too much internet forum searching and jitter bugging :-) Although I am not criticising the SqueezeBox or the sound it sends out via its digital interfaces - it is amazing and the reason I got into computer audio!!

 

Now - all I have to do is decide on whether I go for Mac Book and AX (with Mac Book sometimes connected to Toslink direct sat on top of my hi-fi rack), Mac Mini headless (no AX) with Mac Book (my laptop is dying anyway!) and iTouch (for times I don't want to sit with laptop surfing whilst I listen) or all of said and use the AX in another room with powered speakers...I can see an expensive trip to Apple store looms :-)

 

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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Tim - This is excellent to hear! I'm glad everything is working. I suggest going the MacBook route. It's just much easier to have a built-in monitor and keyboard. You'll end up using them more than you think. A headless Mac Mini is very nice, but you have to plan things out to use it :-)

 

Your proposed system Mac/AX/AVI ADM9.1's is very compact and can deliver some really great sound.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Tim,

 

I'm pleased that you've got it working but I'm rather annoyed at Apple's lack of input. On forums discussing this problem they have not come forward with any solution.

 

They have completely ignore user requests for help and have not confirmed that iTunes 8 is the issue, even though there are two people here (yourself and I) and many others with the same problem.

 

I've spent most of the evening comparing my Airport Express to my C-Media soundcard with Dogbers drivers. I really can't tell which is the better or whether there is any difference so I think I'm going to move to MediaMonkey, sell my Airport Express and put the money towards a nice firewire audio interface.

 

I wonder how widespread the issue is?

 

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Well Chris the all new MacBook is sat on my lap (my goodness they do charge the earth for what would be a fairly standard spec PC laptop - but then it is carved from a solid billet of metal!!!), Cassandra Wilson is emanating from my speakers and all is well with the world - damn, whats that cmnd key do again and where's the Del key and the right mouse button and... oh who cares, this is one sexy baby...:-)

 

You are right Matt Apple should try harder, if they want to hold this premium price luxury product sector of the market - the tech guy in the Apple store said it might have been a bit rash updating whilst the revisions were still in .01 area - the problem is I now can only play with a subset of my library till they get it fixed, I am certainly not going to import all my music folder as it will take for ever plus it isn't bringing all the album art over as some of it is not in the file itself so iTunes goes and gets a low res copy instead...yuk!

 

I am off to see Ashley on Friday so will report back on how I feel about the ADM9.1s - no one local does them but he is only an hour and a half away and will be nice to say hello in person. I was a bit worried I might miss the bass extension of my Ruarks, but I have been asked by Ashley to be open to having my ears re-programmed! :-)

 

 

 

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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Hi Tim - Great to hear! The MacBooks are very nice. I don't think it's fair to compared a MacBook v. a PC spec-to-spec. The MacBook is a complete system and works much like Mercedes where as a PC with the same specs works like a VW. At least that's my opinion :-) I have both, have used both extensively, and have no vested interest in using either platform.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Tim,

 

Let me know what you think. I'm enjoying my ADM9.1s so much.

 

They do sound different to anything I've had before, I guess they're more like monitors than speakers.

 

Ashley will tell you that you'll get a great sound from the Mac directly into the AMD9.1's, which you will ... but like me, I'm sure you'll be unable to resist wondering what happens if you can output you digital stream from a Lynx card or a firewire audio interface. Hopefully, unlike me, you can afford one !

 

Good luck - I can't wait to hear what you think of them.

 

 

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi folks - are people still having this problem? I have recently been playing with a pair of AVI ADM9.1's direct from the AX with no problems from iTunes 8! I still get dropouts with my main Meridian DAC though and I can see clearly what is happening - as I have lights that tell me I have a lock to the signal and what khz that lock is - my lock lights but no khz light, then the 44khz light is lit for a few seconds then drops - which is when I get the dropouts. Maybe the ADM's are less susceptible to a break in the signal?

 

So it is obviously a problem with the 44khz optical out integrity - is the AX not sending clean data? I really wish I could talk to Apple about this but sadly there is no way to lodge a support ticket - I only get the option to phone. which I have done but no resolution as yet :-/

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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Good to hear back from you.

 

My drop outs continued so I installed iTunes 7.6 which works fine - it's most definately a software issue. I'm slowly moving all my music over to Media Monkey and once complete I'm sorry to say I'll probably rid of the Airport Express.

 

I tried Live help on Apples website, but after typing in your serial number you are just told that help s not available for the product.

 

How are you finding the AMD's Tim ? I'm very happy with mine.

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Hi Matt - its funny I don't have the dropout problem with the ADMs through the AX? I might go Apple throughout the network in the future though, Airport Extreme or maybe Time Capsule as router/wireless hub/backup and server - sounds like a bargain to me!!!

 

As for the ADM 9.1's - I have resisted posting so far as I have had a bit of a head cold and you know how that messes up your hearing for evaluating hi-fi components, though it might be my imagination but they seem to be getting better and better. I went back to my Meridian setup after a long time leaving the ADMs playing to themselves and my initial reaction was the ADMs sounded shut-in compared to my Ruarks/Meridian presentation - however the top end on my Ruarks was decidedly coloured in comparison - not nastily so, but it added a nasal edge to extreme tops/voices/symbals etc (crossover effects or tweeter just not up to the job? Ashley might have an idea perhaps?).

 

Taking grills off the ADMs seemed to help a little with the shut-in effect, plus this morning I noticed the track I was playing at the time was a bit shut-in anyway! I ran through an old recording of Burt Bacharach songs from various artists and studios - Ian at V'Audio years ago used the CD as a demo disc as you can quite clearly hear the production involved. Indeed the Dusty Springfield track sounded like they recorded her in a box! Going back to my Meridian system confirmed this was so, but less pronounced - the Ruarks made less of the situation.

 

Then I also noticed the channels seemed to be reversed on the ADMs - Doh! I had 'em the wrong way round! So, on placing them in the correct left/right order (it helps when you are trying to compare speakers alongside one another I find!!!) I also took the opportunity to space them a bit further apart and a bit further away form the Ruarks (two sets of speakers in the dem room is not ideal but does make comparison easy!) - this has helped the shut in feeling immensely.

 

Anyway, they are a very interesting digital active speaker system, and I am taking particular care in giving them a proper audition with my existing system in place. By way of a comparison, my Meridian and Ruark combination took literally months to get to the sound it delivers right now. The speakers in particular are on granite (small!) slabs, on spikes into cross head screws into the floor - with Russ Andrews oak cones between the slab and base of speaker rather than metal spikes - I know this sounds excessive, but it was by trial and error the only way I could get my suspended chipboard floor out of the equation! It worked, they are tight and still go low :-)

 

I am very aware these little ADM 9.1s (very possibly!) will be replacing probably around £7k worth of kit/cables/etc. My Meridian system is fed by a Russ Andrews mains block (wow did that add bass... don't ask - Ashley will say I am an 'orriblbly deluded audiophile!) and Kimber mains cables and joined together with Van den hul the first XLR cables...well you get the idea! The ADMs on the other hand are not even spiked, fed from a B&Q 4 way adapter and crammed in too close to my Ruarks!! If they do end up replacing my main system, then I may well plug them in the power block and get 'em a nice pair of stands commensurate with their newly elevated status :-)

 

Sorry about the long post but you did ask!! Will get some more listening in and stop blathering :-)

 

 

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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Tim,

 

Don't apologise for the long post, it made for an interesting read. Mind you, I am worried that I spend too long on this site; over the course of an evening listening to music I find myself regularly checking CA for any interesting posts !

 

I'm glad you're giving them a fair run and it sounds like they've got their work cut out competing with a much more expensive system. Mine replaced a far lesser system than yours, though it was still worth more than the ADM's by some margin.

 

Once your cold clears I'd be grateful if you could keep posting back with updates. I hope it clears sooner rather than later.

 

My brother and I did some comparisons a short while ago. The ADM's vs his NAD / ProAc combination. I don't think we conducted a fair comparison, flicking almost too quickly between the two systems. Anyhow, he has since sold up, sold on the active approach to loudspeakers and taken the pro-audio route, purchasing a pair of Mackie monitors, which, I'm pleased to say sound fantastic. Far more neutral than his last setup which I thought coloured the sound, though they sounded good. The Mackie's, like the ADM's, simply seem to reproduce what's there without adding anything.

 

I'm gabbling now! Do keep us updated.

 

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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A common issue is how people choose to stream. For instance if you have sharing set up on itunes with your computers and are sat in front of the hifi with your lappy but the music is on another computer the following occurs:

 

You pick a tune from your shared library, the server library dishes the tune to the router then to your lappy then from your lappy back to the router then to the express. This frequently causes drop outs.

 

You might try VNCing the other computer and picking music directly in this way the server itunes only fires via the router to the express ignoring your lappy. Or you could use an ipod touch connected directly with the server library with itunes set to deliver music to the express. In either of these configs you half the amount of toe and froing with itunes.

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

My AE is connected to the network via the Ethernet port rather than wirelessly. Still, I experienced dropouts when stream radio from itunes to the AE. Checked all sorts of things, but couldn't figure it out. Out of desperation, I tried something that really shouldn't work: I decided to turn Wireless off on the AE using the Airport Utility. But, lo and behold, now radio streams rock-steady. Just wanted to share.

 

But also to ask: how is the AE designed that turning wireless off should affect it's ability to stream a radio station over the wired Ethernet connection?

 

Peter

 

 

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