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Airport Express (square) skips unbearably with Airplay

49298 Views 146 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2014 1:29 PM by Maurizio Cassano RSS
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Heath Tucker Calculating status...
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Jul 13, 2012 6:05 PM

Against my better judgement (from years of experience with Apple) I ordered a first generation new Airport Extreme to replace my old 802.11g Airport Express. Right out of the box and configured it fails to work as an Airplay destination. Sadly, this is the only thing I need it to do. It skips every 2 seconds or so for a second. It's really pretty funny, and pathetic too.


So, I guess I was just wondering if anyone ahs one of these square ones working with Airplay without stuttering? I put the old 802.11g one back in the network and boxed up the new one and life is good again. Trying to decide if I should return it or just wait for a firmware update in a few months. Any advice?


My network looks like this:

Time Capsule (single band 802.11n (b/g compatible)) with an 802.11n compatible Airport Extreme (2011) and also an Airport Extreme 802.11g (2008). The Airport Extremes are both set to join the network (not extend it) and used only for Airplay.



Airport Express 2012, Mac OS X (10.7.4)
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,520 points)

    My network looks like this:

    Time Capsule (single band 802.11n (b/g compatible)) with an 802.11n compatible Airport Extreme (2011) and also an Airport Extreme 802.11g (2008). The Airport Extremes are both set to join the network (not extend it) and used only for Airplay.

    The potential bandwidth "bottleneck" in your current network configuration is the 802.11g AirPort Express. Even though it is configured as a network client, any network client that is operating in the 802.11g Radio Mode will affect the overall bandwidth of the 802.11n network being provided by the Time Capsule.


    To verify this, try temporarily removing the 802.11g Express from the network. I suspect that your bandwidth performance will improve if all of the other wireless clients are "n" capable.

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,520 points)

    That's why I bought the new Airport Express. Unfortunately it doesn't work with AirPlay.

    Sorry, but that is not true. ALL generations of the AirPort Express Base Station support AirTunes/AirPlay ... even the latest 2nd generation of the 802.11n model.


    Please check out the following Apple Support article for details on using the AirPort Express for AirPlay.

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,520 points)

    FWIW. My current network configuration is a 4th gen TC that is being extended by a 4th gen AirPort Extreme. I also have a 1st & 2nd gen 802.11n AirPort Express base stations configured to join the extended network solely for the purpose of AirPlay. In my case I do not experience any stuttering with either or both Express base stations streaming.


    My main wireless network is configured to use the "802.11n only (5 GHz) - 802.11b/g/n" Radio Mode with WPA2 Personal as the wireless encryption type. Following this AirPort User Tip, I get a consistent 30+ dB SNR measurements at the locations of the Extreme and both Express base stations.


    I only have a single non-"n" wireless client that I use occasionally and my portable phones are DECT-6 models so there is little or no additional Wi-Fi interference in the area to adversely affect the TC's Wi-Fi network.


    The key to streaming is high and consistent bandwidth availability.

  • velociti03 Calculating status...

    I bought a new Airport Express today to replace my original one that I bought in 2005. Using it as a router and for Airplay. Airplay worked just fine for years. Set this new one up, and Tucker, I'm having exaclty the same problem as you. My new one now fades in and out (in terms of volume) and then the audio starts dropping completely. Really. Really effing ****** this thing doesn't work properly straight out of the box.


    2009 17" MBP

    New Airport Express

    Using optical out straight into a DAC

    10.6.8, Airport Utility 5.6.1


    Any ideas?

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,520 points)

    I assume that most people don't use the optical out so it hasn't been a big deal.

    In my case, one of my Express base stations is connected by optical to my Denon receiver and works great.


    Like you, a number of folks actually do "bypass" the base station's internal DAC and feed their analog audio equipment via an external DAC. I haven't seen any wide-spread reports that they were having the same issue as you.

  • velociti03 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    It may be an optical issue, and it may also be DAC specific. I have two different DACs, and the one I normally use was the one not playing nice with the new AE. I tried my other one and it worked fine. My first generation AE did just fine with both of them. Weird. I may try to take it back anyway to see if that makes a difference.

  • velociti03 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Great info to know, Heath. My Benchmark DAC1 USB worked fine with both, but the TEAC UD-H01 does not play nice with the new AE. I actually have a third DAC on hand (I'm an audio reviewer), an Arcam D33, and it worked just fine with both as well. Very weird.


    Those are nice products that you have. Hope you like them.

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