Optical output on airport express

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I've recently set up an airport express to stream music from my PC to hi fi. It works great with the 3.5 mm jack but I recently put a Van Den Hul optichord Toslink to Minitoslink into it and the music now makes a regular horrible high pitched 'screeching' sound which basically makes it unlistenable. Its like a metallic 'zing'.

I ordered another optichord with the same results. I have also changed the location of the airport express with no success. Is this a known problem with optical into airport express, or is it something else? Thanks.
 
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Anonymous

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What's at the other end? I have a Lindy Tos link to mini toslink which I connect from the Macbook to the DAC with fantastic results!

Silly question but have you removed the plastic caps from the ends of the plugs. If you hold the toslink end near your hand can you see a red light?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
What kind of signal/file source are you feeding the APE with?

The cable should not affect the signal. An optical connection will even work with the plastic caps on, provided they're transparent enough to let the light through, and you manage to get them into the contacts.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
It shows this problem with music from Windows MediaPlayer and Spotify. LIke I said, it plays fine with the analogue output, maybe there's a problem with the digital out of the AE?

Yes I did take the caps off!! Don't think they'd fit in the slots with em still on!
 
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Anonymous

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Cidershed:
It shows this problem with music from Windows MediaPlayer and Spotify. LIke I said, it plays fine with the analogue output, maybe there's a problem with the digital out of the AE?

A digital signal is simply put through. Any problems will lie in the signal, as processed in your PC/software or the DAC.
 
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Anonymous

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Hmmm. I'm putting it into the back of a CA 740C which doesn't have problems with other sources, so I presume thats not the problem. Also it works fine with analogue output so I'm confused. Doh!
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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This is throwing me, certainly. I'm presuming that the 740 doesn't have selectable bitrates, and that it just ought to play whatever's thrown at it? That said, the AE should just play 16/44 so I'd be surprised if there's any confusion on the 740's part - I've sometimes had issues playing a DVD player into a DAC because it's outputting 16/48 or somesuch.

It does sound like the AE has a faulty optical output - do you have anything else with a digital input to rule out any other problem in the chain?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Unfortunately not. You're right, the 740 accepts and upscales all the other digital inpouts(PVR,DVD) without any problem, but I can't test the AE. Very annoyning.

Its a very distinctive shrill zing sound, not nice and plenty of it. This technology is great when it works, but when it doesn't...
 

John Duncan

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Does sound a bit broken. You're not using Airfoil in trial mode are you? Have you tried it with iTunes, which is the only thing that will play direct to the AE without a third party bit of software?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the replies JD, but the problem persists with iTunes as well. Could be a new Airport Express?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I have problem using the AE - streaming from a macbook to a cyrus DAC X - when I first select a tune or when I change album the sound drops of periodically after 30 - 40 seconds for about 10 seconds and then works fine - does anyone know how to fix this?
 

John Duncan

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The AE doctor is [IN].

To CS - your PC doesn't happen to have an optical out does it, so you can check the output of the PC itself digitally?

To BH - what happens if you connect your Macbook via it's optical out? Just curious to find out whether the Cyrus has a problem latching on to a digital signal.
 
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Anonymous

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No problems with a direct connection to Macbook - the problem only happens through the AE.

Thanks
 

John Duncan

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In which case sounds like a networking problem. Have you tried the AE connect directly to your wireless router (if it's convenient to do so) to see if this fixes the problem? If not, you may find that there's an issue with the AE itself. I'd try hard booting it with a paperclip and setting it up again, but if that doesn't work it may be a return and replace job...
 

Dan Turner

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Jul 9, 2007
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BH:I have problem using the AE - streaming from a macbook to a cyrus DAC X - when I first select a tune or when I change album the sound drops of periodically after 30 - 40 seconds for about 10 seconds and then works fine - does anyone know how to fix this?

The original OP should do forum search - I can't remember the name of the OP or the thread but I saw another very similar (in fact identical I think) issue posted here a while back, possibly on the Wi-Fi or Computer pages.

BH - I have a very similar issue to you - I have an AE connected to my SuperNait digitally and it suffers from a momentary drop out after I start play-back. It's not every time and the length of time before it does it varies and like I say it is only momentary (OK so not exactly like your issue!) but I wonder whether there could be something similar at work. Tried 2 different AEs, doesn't happen on analogue, doen't happen on any other source connected to my amp. Someone on the Naim Forum very helpfully directed me as to how to turn off the 're-clocking' feature of the SuperNait's built-in DAC and whilst that doesn't seem to have resolved the issue entirely it has turned it into an intermittent problem rather than occuring after every track selection. Worth investigating if you can do the same for your DAC maybe?
 
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Anonymous

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Tried the paper clip - not tried directly connecting it to the router. To be honest I have given up on it and now just use the macbook as the source. I will have another bash over the weekend and see if I can resolve the issue. Thanks for your suggestions.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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The clocking thing certainly sounds plausible, don't know if the Cyrus is doing anything to the signal once it gets it. Do note however that the AE probably costs about tuppence to make, and as such is bound to be subject to a failure or two. Don't be afraid to seek a replacement if all else fails...
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks Dan, found the thread with, as you said, exactly the same problem. Well remembered! Worringly the OP had exactly the same CA740 combo, with airfoil streaming to an AE. Oh dear, looks like some strange compatability issue which he never solved after much messing about. Looks like a separate DAC if I want to use the digital output. Strange. Thanks for the lead anyway.

Thread is in wi-fi forum for those that are interested.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
very interesting. Looks like CA will update the CD player to eliminate this problem. Think I'll call Richer Sounds on Monday morning....
 
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Anonymous

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Found this on another forum:
Cambridge Audio 840CD & Airport Express
Our engineers and those at Anagram Technologies (the people that help make the CS 840C) have identified a 'quirk' with the optical output of the Airport Express.

Basically, the Airport does not output a smooth SPDIF clocking. Every now and then, the Airport will sporadically adjust its output clock to track the desired sampling rate.
These adjustments are very sudden and are the cause of the noises and/or drop-outs described.

This is not something which could have been foreseen as it is an apparent 'quirk' of the optical output from the Airport Express and not due to the 840C. Our engineers have however, developed an update which mitigates the effects of this irregularity.

If you contact our distributor they will be able to arrange for your CD player to have the appropriate update carried out. This will need to be done by an engineer.
 

bay24

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Aug 13, 2007
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Cidershed:
Thanks Dan, found the thread with, as you said, exactly the same problem. Well remembered! Worringly the OP had exactly the same CA740 combo, with airfoil streaming to an AE. Oh dear, looks like some strange compatability issue which he never solved after much messing about. Looks like a separate DAC if I want to use the digital output. Strange. Thanks for the lead anyway.

Thread is in wi-fi forum for those that are interested.

I have just got it sorted out!!!
it is the 740C and all you need to do is get Cambridge to do a software udate on the CD player. just email customer support, they know about the problem. It does need to go to an engeneer but they only had mine for one day!

Hope this helps.
 

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