Airport Express: Best $100 source?
Mar 3, 2005 at 7:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

blessingx

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Okay, it requires a lot of support (computer, iTunes, wireless network), but I'm more and more impressed in the Airport Expresses sound. Hooked up straight to my SR71 and HD650s, mids are very nice (especailly female vocals - Jane Moheit and Kate Rusby) and highs very present without quite hitting the 'bright' point. Refurbs are going for $99 at Apple. For those of you that have heard it, is there another source that sounds this good at this price?
 
Mar 3, 2005 at 9:20 AM Post #2 of 26

Oliver :)

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Unlikely, especially considering the upgrade path with DACs. It's just the 0,5 second sync drop problem that keeps me from praising the thing to the sky. You won't really know whether your DAC will have the problem before you try
frown.gif


BTW, just used one of our APXs for USB Printersharing the other day. Sweet. You plug the printer in, select rendezvous printer from the printing dialogue, and print away. Just as it should be.
 
Mar 4, 2005 at 7:08 AM Post #5 of 26

blessingx

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Third day doing critical listening. I will say comparing to Roku Soundbridge, Onkyo DV-S525 and iPod Photo this is a substantial step above if judged by dynamic sound. I'm still quite amazed. I hope to do an upgraded PS Audiophile USB comparison this weekend, so we'll see there, but right now (if memory serves) this is probably the best source I've had in this house.
I say that as I'm still a little thrown by this sound. It's almost like I don't trust it. Oh not as laid back as most of my sources, so I'm a little tempted to call it 'artificial' or 'plasticy'. Then I switch back and think of the previous 'no, that's not more accurate', so start liking the Airport Express sound again.

Will say, I want to give Apple credit. Although they don't produce cables, headphone amps or headphones, they are responsible for the music format (ALAC), licensing the player (iTunes and improving it), the computer I'm running (dual G4), the wireless communication (Rendezvous) and the resulting source (Airport Express). Thinking of it that way, it's kinda amazing.

Anyway, curious of others thoughts so please pipe in.
 
Mar 4, 2005 at 7:43 PM Post #6 of 26

cql

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oliver :)
Unlikely, especially considering the upgrade path with DACs. It's just the 0,5 second sync drop problem that keeps me from praising the thing to the sky. You won't really know whether your DAC will have the problem before you try
frown.gif


BTW, just used one of our APXs for USB Printersharing the other day. Sweet. You plug the printer in, select rendezvous printer from the printing dialogue, and print away. Just as it should be.




Are you saying that the snyc drop happens to some dac and not others. I have a theta dac pro II and it drops when i pause and change song...resulting in a popping sound. Is there any way to fix this.
 
Mar 4, 2005 at 9:58 PM Post #7 of 26

Wodgy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cql
Are you saying that the snyc drop happens to some dac and not others. I have a theta dac pro II and it drops when i pause and change song...resulting in a popping sound. Is there any way to fix this.


The popping sound only happens with a few rare DACs. Pauses when you first start playing and when you explicitly change tracks in a playlist are more common, but again it depends on the specific DAC you're using.
 
Mar 5, 2005 at 12:40 AM Post #8 of 26

cql

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Wodgy
The popping sound only happens with a few rare DACs. Pauses when you first start playing and when you explicitly change tracks in a playlist are more common, but again it depends on the specific DAC you're using.


mine pops when changing, puasing, or stopping songs. Is there are fix for this?
 
Mar 5, 2005 at 6:21 AM Post #9 of 26

sclemmons

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At my house, with iTunes, AAC 320, played over my big rig, Airport Express is vastly inferior to my Naim cd player and my Verdier. But it sounds so good that nobody cares. The high end grass is greener for sure, vinyl better yet, but the Airport Express is almost free and if you don't have a big rig, you may not miss the high end much. I don't have a DAC for A/B purposes, and the Bel Canto DAC I remember sounded better than my old CD player. But you won't be suffering with the Airport Express. I am no expert but I have a closet full of audio magazines, and I read them less and less. I think hi end audio is over because of the Airport Express.
 
Mar 5, 2005 at 8:58 AM Post #10 of 26

dmoffitt

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there is an interesting mixed set of impressions. my friend in NC thought his Integra DVD player was far better, I for one was VERY impressed via optical into a DAC, sounded as good as the wired G5's optical, or my Rotel RDV-1060.
 
Mar 6, 2005 at 3:09 AM Post #12 of 26

dmoffitt

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I won't talk poorly of the CI Audio DAC, but I will say, it's at best an upgrade over a basic cd player's internal D to A, nothing more.
 
Mar 7, 2005 at 8:04 AM Post #13 of 26

Nospam

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I am happy to report that I do not hear any "popping" noises with my setup. The 1/2 second delay is a bit annoying, but it usually only happens once during my listening session, so I can live with it. The clicking noise as the DAC re-syncs with the beginning of each song is a bit more annoying, but I can live with that too.

I'm curious... Is anyone using the Airport Express with a DAC-1 or other high-end DAC? Do you see these same problems?
 
Mar 7, 2005 at 8:13 AM Post #14 of 26

Oliver :)

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For some reason most higher-end DAC owners here are either too busy enjoying this combination to answer or did not fall for the APX yet, I've been asking for quite a while. I plan to E-Mail Bel Canto though, inquiring about the DAC2/APX combination. *They* should know, and in the (hopefully) unlikely case that even the DAC2 is prone to the given problem, do something about it. APX will massively drive DAC sales once the word gets spread more, it will be in producers best sense to update their goods to play nice.
 
Mar 7, 2005 at 6:00 PM Post #15 of 26

dmoffitt

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I never had problems running it into my TriVista - the only gripe I had was that 'click' as Nospam mentioned.
 

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