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Best Low Budget Wireless Streamng Device

Discussion in 'Digital Integration' started by Meaudio1, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Meaudio1

    Meaudio1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    i have an older iPad 3 which I would like to get another year out of if possible. I would like to play MP3 files from iTunes and also Spotify as well. Wired from the headphone jack of the iPad, the music sounds quite good but I am looking for a wireless device with the best sound quality. I looked into the Arcam rPlay but I cannot afford anything that expensive right now. I am also a bit weary of buying used because I don't think the build quality on these units is anything to write home about. I also read about the Sonos connect which got mediocre reviews on sound quality so right now I'm lost in the woods about this.


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  2. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Sorry, what are you intending to use to actually produce the sound? Headphones, smart speakers, speaker/amp combo, iPad internal speakers, etc.?

    Hard to recommend a streaming solution without knowing the target of the stream...
  3. Meaudio1

    Meaudio1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I will be using a conventional 2 channel stereo system.
  4. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Buy either a 1st generation Apple AirPort Express (Model A1264, in white only with all corners and edges rounded with a flip-out wall power plug) or a 3rd generation AppleTV (Model A1469, the thinner black square with sharp edges and rounded corners with detachable power cord). Both have decent DACs for feeding analog directly into your system as well as optical outputs for using a downstream DAC (either external or in your receiver/pre-pro). The AppleTV will also output audio data over HDMI for downstream processing.

    As far as WiFi, the Apple Express (AEX) is a WiFi access point/router/extender fully configurable using Apple's free AirPort Utility app for macOS, IOS, and Windows. The AppleTV (ATV) is simply a Wifi target and will need a video hookup in order to fully configure it or "pull" tunes from the iTunes serving device. Both device utilize Apple's AirPlay digital music transmission protocol for receiving music data.

    If you choose not to use WiFi to communicate with the networkable DAC (AEX or ATV), both units come with an Ethernet connection and will appear on your home network exactly as if they were on WiFi. So you can WiFi from your phone running Spotify to a hardwired (WiFi inactive) AEX or ATV using your existing WiFi router or gateway.

    Oh, pricing. You should be able to pick up a perfectly serviceable used AEX (A1264) for around $15-$20 and an ATV (A1469) in similar condition for around $30-$40.

    Hope this helps. Good luck putting together your new system.
  5. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

    I guess you're looking at Apple's Airplay protocol, or the more open DLNA.

    iTunes will support the former, but, I don't think it supports DLNA. There are, however, plenty of apps that will play music stored on your iPhone to a DLNA device.

    Spotify should also support DNLA.

    Then you can pick any one of a number of DLNA renderer devices, of which there are loads to choose from. One cheap possibility is a cheap, secondhand Android phone, with the phone bit disabled, running one of a number of DLNA renderer apps (of which there are many more to choose from than on iOS), streaming via WiFi. I use BubbleUPnP, which is a complete media player sustem (DNLA server, controller & renderer).

    I also have a little box called a SoundMate M1, which is a DLNA renderer (it also claims to support Airplay, but I've never tried that). I think it's now unavailable, but there are plenty of similar no-name devices. Mine was £18 delivered a few years ago. 3.5mm audio of optical SPDIF output.


    This looks and sounds (reads) pretty similar:


    Then there's Chromecast Audio...

    The best sound...? Low budget? Always going to be a compromise. Also depends on your view of 'low budget'; mine would be £30, but if you're considering a Connect (which I think is massively overpriced), maybe your budget is higher than mine.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018

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