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Airport express sound quality test

Kumar Kane

New member
Phone-off play?

Phone-off play?

Apple Music app on the Apple TV -> AirPlay -> AEX -> TosLink -> Audio Aero Capitole Mk. II -> QUAD 909 -> Harbeth SHL5+
Sounds sensible in an Apple ecosystem.

Do you use the Apple Music app on a iPhone or the like to get the desired music to start playing or to stop it, and for volume changes? And if so, does music continue to play even if the phone is turned off?
 

Milosz

Active member
ECM lable

ECM lable

If you are able to do this, be assured that sound quality will not be compromised as long as your music play isn't getting interrupted for WiFi reasons. And you may first want to just see how ECM albums streamed to AEX/HiFi from Apple music sound. I would be very surprised if these sound lower quality compared to CD play through the same hifi set up. It would be a pity to not use the larger music store of Jazz for example, in Apple Music.
Actually, I can hear that the quality is not quite as high as a well mastered CD can provide. It may be due to compression but one also needs to remember that the music files are exclusively remastered for Apple, so two different issues are at play here and it is difficult to separate them. It's not a good CD quality to my ears but it's definitely good enough for anything but serious listening. So I'll probably stick with the Apple Music for popular kinds of music as I intended, still listening jazz and classical from CD's. And it's ok for me cause I love CD's!

Moreover, I'm a huge ECM fan but music from this label is very scarce on Apple Music. ECM is selling music files at its own web page and is very reluctant to make their catalog available for streaming services, not only Apple Music, or so I've heard.
 

Milosz

Active member
Apple TV 4th generation

Apple TV 4th generation

Sounds sensible in an Apple ecosystem.

Do you use the Apple Music app on a iPhone or the like to get the desired music to start playing or to stop it, and for volume changes? And if so, does music continue to play even if the phone is turned off?
I don't stream from the iPhone as the Apple TV 4th gen has its own Apple Music app pre-installed on it. Apple TV has also its own physical remote, so I don't have to use my iPhone at all to get the music started, play, stop, change loudness, browse music catalogue or anything else I may need. But even if I do use my iPhone for those purposes, and not the Apple TV remote, I am then only using the Apple Remote app on the iPhone, not the Apple Music app itself.

Funny thing is that the guy at the Apple Store who was selling me the Apple TV and the AEX told me that it is not possible to use those devices in the way I was planning to and am using them now actually, because according to him Apple TV is not able to stream music to another device. I'm glad that I didn't believe him and tried myself. It's a new thing and not many people know how to use it properly, even Apple salesmen apparently.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Browse, how?

Browse, how?

Apple TV has its own Apple Music app. Apple TV 4th gen has its own physical remote and Apple Music app pre-installed on it, so I don't have to use my iPhone at all to get the music started, play, stop, change loudness, browse music catalogue or anything else I may need. But even if I do use my iPhone for those purposes, and not the Apple TV remote
But where do you see/browse what the app is showing? - the Apple TV physical remote has no display on it. Does your TV display have to be on?
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Recommend - Sonos

Recommend - Sonos

Moreover, I'm a huge ECM fan but music from this label is very scarce on Apple Music. ECM sells music files at its own web page and is very reluctant to make their catalog available for streaming services, not only Apple Music, or so I've heard.
ECM has no reluctance to sell their albums on Apple's iTunes though, I have bought many in the 256kbps lossy versions, and my comment to sound quality was based on those.

Apple Music streaming may have a third problem that is impacting your experience, the sound levels may not exactly match those from music from a local NAS whereas A/B comparisons of lossy and lossless versions of the same recording streamed from the NAS does not involve any sound level differences. I have found that sound levels from Rdio are lower than those from my NAS to the extent that mixed source playlists are a problem.

I have just seen the photos from your system - very well put together, I have to say. And from it I can see that my earlier question is answered; you use the TV to browse Apple Music.

Having seen what a good set up you have, I will leave you with the thought of adding a Sonos Connect to it at some time, along with a NAS to serve up local music. The Connect can be wired to the digital inputs of your CDP, to allow you to use the DAC on that. That is how I started with Sonos, I used a Marantz SACD player into a Quad 99/909. In time, simplification led me to get rid of the CDP/99/909 and box the CDs, but that step isn't necessary to get all the Sonos features of music access - both owned and from the net.
 

Milosz

Active member
Via the TV

Via the TV

But where do you see/browse what the app is showing? - the Apple TV physical remote has no display on it.
On the TV screen. Look at the pictures I posted in the "Photos of your beloved Harbeth Speakers & Setup" thread :)

Edit: Now I saw your second post. Thank you for kind words regarding my newly put together system. I was trying to deal with the important issues identified here on HUG (sufficient amplifier power, lack of output and input clipping etc.), be able to play music from CD's and stream it from some outside source with lots of content while keeping the system simple at the same time. Wasn't easy but I feel I'm finally there. I'll definitely give a thought to adding a Sonos Connect to it at some point in time.
 
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