Friday, August 23, 2013

The beauty of Airplay

I was thinking about plopping down $35 for the Google HDMI dongle, the Chromecast. However, I happen to get a few airplay speakers in which my opinion went 360 degrees. The Chromecast only does video and not a good job at that. I listen to music mostly so audio streaming is pretty important for my use case needs.  Yesterday, I got a Klipsch G-17 and a Sony SA-NS500. When I set-up them up, I discovered something I never knew before: Multiple streaming to various speakers simultaneously. Take that AD2P Bluetooth! You don't get that compress AM sound of Bluetooth with Airplay and you don't need to pair if you are on the same network. I live in a house with three floors and approximately 4,000 sq foot and Airplay works everywhere. Bluetooth works at most 15 feet.

I did not pay attention until now but the ability to stream multiple speakers all at once is a stroke of genius.

The Chromecast would have a been a fun toy at $35 but I have no need for extra gadgets I often throw away into the sock drawer after 15 minutes of use. The key deterrent was the fact some of the streaming is gimped and not available on the low-end Chromebooks which I have. In addition to video, the key thing I use Airplay for is for music. Airplay is really mature and I can't wait to get my free iTunes radio (iTunes Match subscribers get ad-free playback). This will be pretty cool to listen to all that free music all over the house. This means, I think I will be investing a little more in Airplay and airplay devices.

Now, I think I'm going to invest in some AudioEngine A5+ and an Airport Express set-up. I just ordered a refurb Airport Express station for $65. I think it is well worth it. I may even splurge on some high-end Bowers and Wilkins A7 this Christmas.
Simply brilliant. The ability to walk from room to room, floor to floor, with all the speakers playing the same music track all synchronized is pretty cool indeed.


  1. Have you tried Squeezeplug on Raspberry Pi, Pogoplug, Sheevaplug, Seagate Dockstar/Goflex? Combine it with a good quality USB DAC and something like a small Tripath amplifier with fostex speakers or similarly efficient speakers and you have an excellent music streaming device controlled via a tablet or smartphone.

    It can use various servers/services UPNP (eg Twonky, Mediatomb), Logitech Media Server, Shareport (Airplay reverse engineered). All great fun and cheap as chips!

    Best regards,


    1. I've played with Squeezeplug. The thing I like about Airplay is I can turn on 20 plus speakers on all three floors of my house. As I walk from room to room, floor to floor, the same music is playing on all the speakers in unison. That is the main difference for me.

    2. I looked into shairport. Cool. I will post a follow-up.