So, you want to learn how to use Airplay as an easy way to stream your music to your stereo and you want to do it in a way that sounds best –well look no further. This method will be best for those of you that are using a separate or built-in DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter). If the letters D-A-C frighten and bewilder you, or if you have no idea why you would want to use a DAC, you might want to read our other short article called “IMPROVE THE SOUND QUALITY OF YOUR DIGITAL MUSIC IN THREE LETTERS: DAC“. To keep things simple, if the Receiver or Amp that’s going to be used has digital inputs (These are typically Optical and sometimes Coaxial) then that means you have an internal DAC. If so, congrats, this method will optimize the equipment you have.
You’ll need the following:
1. An Apple Airport/Express (New or old version is fine)
2. Mini TOSLINK Optical Digital Audio Cable or TOSLINK adapter for and existing optical cable (I’m including several links to a few on Amazon below – there are many variations/brands).
I’m assuming you’re using a streaming service like Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal (I love Tidal because it’s the only one that streams in CD quality at the moment). This will work to stream anything on your Mac or IOS device (ipad, iPhone etc.)
Step 1 – Just plug the adapter, or the mini (thin) end of the Toslink Cable to the Airport input shown below, then the standard optical connection will simply plug in your stereo’s Optical Digital Input.
In rare circumstances, if you don’t have an optical input on your stereo then you’ll just need to use another Optical to Coaxial converter like one of these.
Step 2 – Ensure you switch your stereo to the corresponding input (this is usually called Digital 1, 2 etc. –if it’s set on Radio it obviously won’t play!) The name of the Digital input will typically be written exactly where you plugged it in.
Step 3 – From your Mac or IOs device switch your sound output to Airport. On a Mac you have to go into sound options, or just shortcut by pressing Option + Volume Up/or Down button. On iPhones and Ipads Apple has renamed and moved this button around a bit to keep things interesting! At the moment on just swipe up from the bottom to bring up the quick menu and then swipe left to reveal the iPhone speaker preference (It used to just say Airport). Choose Airport (or whatever you named it when you installed it)
Step 4 – On the same device go into Spotify or whatever app you use to play your music and voila! – everything you play will be wirelessly and digitally flowing right to your stereo.
Tip – make sure your volume is turned up on whatever device you’re streaming your music from!
Goodluck and Email us with any questions.