Looking for some advice for a new set up based around spotify on an ipad..

admin_exported

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My dilemma is how to go about setting up a new system based around spotify on an ipad 3 and wireless transmission to an amp and speakers.

The plan is to stream music at 320kbps via Spotify to the ipad and then from the ipad to an Apple airport express (AE) wireless hub that is connected to an amp and speakers.

Richer Sounds sales rep suggested:

Yamaha as500

Mission MX3

This got me doing research (lots of research) and I have come to the following conclusions (though I throw myself to your superior knowledge):

The inputs on the Yamaha are analogue. I therefore need to connect 3.5mm jack to the airport express with rca’s to the Yamaha amp. My issue is this means the airport express (AE) is converting the digital signal to analogue for the amp to use (I think, correct me if I’m wrong, it can output opticaly and via normal jack plug). I can’t see how this makes sense when the AE only cost £80 (and most of that cost is for other hardware it contains) and yet a dac like dacmagic costs c£350.

This got me to thinking further. Do I follow richer sounds advice or should I get a dacmagic.

Which got me thinking (further), in that I currently have no equipment, would I not be better off getting an amplifier with optical input (internal dac) thus allowing the AE to output to the amplifier via optical cable thus ignoring richer sounds?

I really am at the mercy of the What HiFi community here.

Can you please advise on a good amp speaker set that will work well with the airport express.

PS Budget is £550 and maxed out at £700 if needs be.

Thank you

Ps reading around I saw this and others but nothing that anyone was shouting about.
 

busb

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Jun 14, 2011
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Does the AE have digital audio out via USB? I thought it did analogue audio only via its 3.5mm socket. If this is the case, buying a DAC won't help. The other problem is that you are pulling Spotify's 320k audio via the web off your router into your iPad but does the iPad then connect directly to the AE or does it connect back to your router then to the AE? If it's the latter as I suspect it is, the digital audio is going through the router 3 times.

I tried Spotify from my laptop to my ATV2 - it kept cutting out but I can't remember how well it worked from my iPad3 or iPhone - I canceled Spotify Premium. However Spotify worked fine from my PC (wired to my router) to the ATV2 (via wireless) with the ATV's digital optical feeding my DAC. Hope this isn't too confusing!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the reply busb.

The Airport express has no audio from the USB according to Apple. The audio from the 3.5 AE output doubles as either analogue (3.5mm to rca) or digital i.e. optical via toslink cable (and minitoslink converter). Here

I can follow your setup (though I did have to read it a few times). I take your point about Spotify going to the router then to the ipad. I too am unsure if the ipad (Spotify) signal then goes directly to the AE or to the router and then back to the AE i.e.

Spotify>Router>ipad>AE>Amp>speakers
Or
Spotify>Router>ipad> Router>AE>Amp>speakers

Ill have to take a look and post back

However, in that the 3.5 output from the AE is optical, I thought maybe an amplifier with optical in would be the way forward. Surely the AE can t be a decent dac for £80 can it?
 

busb

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Jun 14, 2011
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Thanks for the clarification on the optical out! Being Apple, I'd guess that its DAC isn't bad but still easily bettered. Both my TV & BR player have passable DACs! Spotify will work under windows to my ATV2 using Airfoil if you want to go that route. An external DAC on the end of your AE should work fine & give better SQ. My ATV2 feeds iTunes to my audiolab M-DAC (£600) with stunning results so Spotify Premium should work well if te number of hops is minimised. I don't know if the iPad can connect to your AE directly or not though (could it bypass the router entirely?) Going from a 802.11g router to a newer 802.11n model didn't help me.

Unless your amp needs upgrading, I'd go the DAC route but it's either that or an amp with digital inputs. It's late so am not at my best - does the AE act as a router or just connect to one? Can a network using one do ethernet through the mains with suitable add-ons?

EDIT:

Welcome to the forum!
 

Rethep

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May 2, 2011
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I must say that the AE built in DAC is more than reasonable. Since you want to spend only max 700,- for speakers and amp i would not put the money in a DAC! Instead use the analog out from the AE.

The AE DAC suits me well. You can always buy one later.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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Just buy a Marantz amp with airplay, so you don't need the AE or any leads. Load the Spotify app on to the ipad and airplay it from there. There are a few options around the £300 mark.

B&W 685s should suit for the speakers. List price £380 but shop around.

Take the ipad to your local friendly retailler and I'm sure he'll set up a demo.

jjbomber
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
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How about these...

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/yamaha-hs80m-active-studio-monitors-pair--68042



With one of these.....

http://www.beresford.me/products/dac.html

 

pgoody

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May 3, 2012
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+1 on jjbombers comment. Marantz with airplay would be a good choice. Then maybe look at the second hand market (or ex demo) for speakers.
 

fatman

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Nov 11, 2007
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have you considered something with onboard Spotify which can be controlled by the ipad?

like the squeezebox. or an onkyo 8050.

am sure there are several pros and cons but for me freeing up the ipad for other functions whilst your music is playing away is a very big pro.

a few years ago, i used ATV2 and an AE in another room. i now use a squeezebox straight into amp & speakers mostly listening to spotify or radio paradise. the apple gear never gets used - except for ipad/touch to control the squeezebox.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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With your budget I'd get a Marantz M-CR603 and spend however much more you're comfortable spending on speakers, to suit your own taste. I'd stretch to Diamond 10.1s probably but Tannoy Mercury V1s would be a nice starting point.
 

nads

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2007
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Why would you want to use the iPad to play the music?

I can think of so many other things I would want to be using my iPad for while using my squeezebox touch to pay any music local or net based while controlling it via the iPad and posting here or there or catching up on the news or books....

Sorry just can never see the point of using an iPhone or iPod ot iPad as a means to put music into my amps.

Oh and I have at least one of each.

Maybe I am just different.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks so much for the advice. I've taken on board the comments. Based on the majority of the advice, here are some packages I found within my budget (with the marantz MCR603 which I am sold on). What do you think of the following?

marantz MCR603 and dalii zanzor1 £570

marantz MCR603 and monitor audio BX2 £600

and slightly over budget:

marantz MCR603 and Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 £750,

marantz MCR603 and Tanoy v4 £780

marantz MCR603 and mission mx3 £780.

This is my forst foray into the world of a decent music player and I am greatful for your help and comments. Thanks

ps as for using the ipad... its a present, as will be the system and I need a little wow factor....
 

omnibeard

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Dec 7, 2010
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If you're intent on buying new, then I would suggest you take a look at the Onkyo TX8050 and pair it with a pair of Tannoy DC4 - should set you back about £600, might leave you a bit left over for stands and cables. Of course second hand you could put something pretty impressive together that would do the trick. That's a whole other kettle of fish though!

If you're just interested in Spotify then this set up would do everything you want. Just plug it into your network (or you can buy a wireless adaptor, but for solidity I would recommend wiring it in) and off you go.

That's the same set up as Record Spot, and I know he's pretty crazy about it.

I've got an 8050 with 2nd hand Mission 751s, whole thing set me back about £350 and sounds lovely.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
I'd add and follow up on an earlier post recommending the Onkyo TX-8050. I've been nothing but impressed by this amp since I bought mine at the end of last year. Partner it with some Tannoys or a similarly toned speaker (i.e. non-bright!) and you'll be delighted with the end results.

EDIT: well, how's that for timing! Yep, as Omnibeard's just said, I've been a bit impressed. The only slight drawback is no-gapless playback off the Onkyo, but my Apple TV 3 covers that off nicely. In terms of performance the 8050 stacks up comfortably against amps costing much more - I rate it higher than Exposure's 3010s, Harman's HK990 and Leema's Pulse II. Add in the functionality and connectivity and you're on a flier.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Overdose said:
How about these...

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/yamaha-hs80m-active-studio-monitors-pair--68042



With one of these.....

http://www.beresford.me/products/dac.html

...and throw in some additional adapters to enable you to partner the Yamies with the Beresford. You'll need to as they aren't compatible without a little connectivity help.
 

omnibeard

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Dec 7, 2010
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the record spot said:
EDIT: well, how's that for timing! Yep, as Omnibeard's just said, I've been a bit impressed. The only slight drawback is no-gapless playback off the Onkyo, but my Apple TV 3 covers that off nicely. In terms of performance the 8050 stacks up comfortably against amps costing much more - I rate it higher than Exposure's 3010s, Harman's HK990 and Leema's Pulse II. Add in the functionality and connectivity and you're on a flier.
I have impeccable timing. Or you do. One of us has, let's go with that!
 

omnibeard

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Dec 7, 2010
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...forgive me if I'm wrong here, but the OP specifically mentions Spotify - is there anything in this set up (Yamahas and Beresford) to actually get Spotify to the speakers (via the DAC)?
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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Spotify is an app on the ipad. He wants a system to get sound from the ipad to the amp. This can easily be done wirelessly via airplay. The Marantz PM6004 is product of the year, costs £310 before discount, and does airplay. There isn't a great need to look much further for a first port of call. All he has to do is add speakers, either bookshelf or floorstanders.

I pass Spotify from a laptop, through a Onkyo NS-S1 digitally to a Supernait. We are all different. The bottom line is that it is up to the poster what he wants and not what the repliers would do.

jjbomber
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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the record spot said:
...and throw in some additional adapters to enable you to partner the Yamies with the Beresford. You'll need to as they aren't compatible without a little connectivity help.
No adapters required, just the correct cables. Simple RCA to 1/4" jack cables will suffice and they are no more an additional purchase than any other interconnect or speaker cable required to join any other combination of equipment. In fact, if you search most pro audio retailer sites, you will find such cables for less than a new CD.

And about the Spotify comment from Omnibeard, the OP has already stated that spotify will be played from the iPad.

Cable example

http://electromarket.co.uk/product/BSGP310LU5/5+Metre+2+x+6.35mm+Mono+Jack+Plugs+-+2+x+Male+RCA+Cable?gclid=CNSM06XIs7ECFYwhtAodzRUAtw

 

fatman

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Nov 11, 2007
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i guess you can always add a squeezebox to your mcr603 when you want to free up your ipad from doing the streaming!

mcr603 is a great unit and has an excellent cd function if that's what you want to spend your money on.

from your original post i'd still build your system round the squeezebox or the onkyo 8050. have tried a few solutions myself....

saying that, if you do go for the marantz i am sure you won't regret it - is quite brilliant. just add the squeezebox later!

(dont bother with the airport express, simpler/better solutions are out there for your needs)
 

moon

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Nov 10, 2011
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jjbomber said:
Spotify is an app on the ipad. He wants a system to get sound from the ipad to the amp. This can easily be done wirelessly via airplay. The Marantz PM6004 is product of the year, costs £310 before discount, and does airplay. There isn't a great need to look much further for a first port of call. All he has to do is add speakers, either bookshelf or floorstanders.

I pass Spotify from a laptop, through a Onkyo NS-S1 digitally to a Supernait. We are all different. The bottom line is that it is up to the poster what he wants and not what the repliers would do.

jjbomber
The Marantz PM6004 does not do airplay.........FACT:)
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
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moon said:
jjbomber said:
Spotify is an app on the ipad. He wants a system to get sound from the ipad to the amp. This can easily be done wirelessly via airplay. The Marantz PM6004 is product of the year, costs £310 before discount, and does airplay. There isn't a great need to look much further for a first port of call. All he has to do is add speakers, either bookshelf or floorstanders.

I pass Spotify from a laptop, through a Onkyo NS-S1 digitally to a Supernait. We are all different. The bottom line is that it is up to the poster what he wants and not what the repliers would do.

jjbomber
The Marantz PM6004 does not do airplay.........FACT:)
No, but the Airport Express that the OP intends to use, does.........also a FACT. ;)
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Overdose said:
No adapters required, just the correct cables. Simple RCA to 1/4" jack cables will suffice and they are no more an additional purchase than any other interconnect or speaker cable required to join any other combination of equipment. In fact, if you search most pro audio retailer sites, you will find such cables for less than a new CD.
Doh! Dozy me, of course! Or Maplins, perhaps even cheaper.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Why are you suggesting a dac and speakers when the OP has no amp and needs to buy one.

Also whyu suggest the PM6004 (no optical in) and apple play when the OP is worried about the Airport Express being used as a dac?

In that the airport express is optical out surrely an amp with optical in is the way forward meaning the dac in the amp is used instead of the dac in the airport express (presuming the dac in the amp is better than the dac in the airport express of course).

Also the OP has asked if he/she gets the MCR603 (which does have optical in) what speakers should they get. Is it only me that is following this thread?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
The Yamahas are active speakers which mean they have the amp built in as part of the design. So a separate amp wouldn't be required.

Also, other amps, such as mine below (the Onkyo) do the same job as the Marantz but offer more power, additional inputs/connectivity and so might be an alternative the OP hasn't considered. The same applies to the rest of the suggestions.
 

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