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2018 iphone/ipad wireless to DAC methods
2018 iphone/ipad wireless to DAC methods
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Old 13th March 2018, 11:08 AM   #1
dublin78 is offline dublin78  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Cheshire
Default 2018 iphone/ipad wireless to DAC methods

I am currently using Icon IDO to get a digital output from my iphone and ipad to various hifi setups. With one, I use the digital output to a AK4495 DAC, the other I use the IDO’s internal DAC. I have not been able to compare like for like as they, are in different systems in different locations.

I am happy with the sound, but I would like to investigate wireless options. I am likely to get a DAC for the system that currently does not use one, so I am looking for wireless options with good digital outputs (spdif) Optical or coax. Coax preferred.

As an iphone user, Airplay options appeal for simplicity, but I have started to read about frequent drop outs, which would not be acceptable.

Bluetooth is also an option, but I would expect that the sound quality to be inferior. Opinions on Bluetooth please?

My music is stored in Apple lossless - halved now. I am probably going to revert to full lossless.

What are people using?

Options/Ideas so far:

Neet wireless music receiver. Airplay. Optical out only. There are several types like this

Neet(R) - WiFi Wireless Music Receiver - AIRPLAY + DNLA: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

Miracast type dongle fed into a HDMI to coax converter. Airplay. I am not sure that this will work.

WIFI Display Dongle, niceEshop 5G Wireless Miracast: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

4K*2K 1080P HDMI Extractor To HDMI Audio SPDIF +R: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

Bluetooth Audio Receiver 2x RCA SPDIF Optical Toslink Coaxial aptX DAC. Optical and coax.

Vanpower NFC Bluetooth Audio Receiver 2x RCA SPDIF Optical Toslink Coaxial aptX DAC: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

Audio Pro Link One. This would allow multi room via their app. Interesting not essential. Airplay


Last edited by dublin78; 13th March 2018 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 14th March 2018, 05:31 PM   #2
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Michigan
In the past I have used something like the Neet product you linked to. I used the optical SPDIF output as the input for the remote system. It worked well except I found that the Airplay streaming software was sometimes buggy and would stop playing and couldn't be restarted, or could not find the endpoint. When it worked it did so without a problem, and perhaps the software has improved a bit. This was probably about 3-4 years ago now.

It is very convenient, if you have just one endpoint to send audio to and have access to a WiFi-LAN connection, to use this kind of wireless system for audio playback.
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:30 AM   #3
Gallen1119 is offline Gallen1119  United States
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Location: Golden, CO
I have a RBPi and an Allo Piano 2.1 I have just setup. Was running Volumio initially and it was good. Recently switched to MoOde and am very happy. I have an external HD currently connected with a lot of my lossless files that sound very good. I occasionally am using AirPlay to stream (for the convenience factor) from my iPhone X and am much happier with the sound quality when compared to BT. Airplay with this configuration has been very stable without dropping of connections.

I am a noob when it comes to this digital setup through the RBPi and I have a lot to learn, but being able to control the playback from my MBP, iPad, or iPhone is very nice. Stream sound quality through Airplay does seem much better than BT, but not a good as lossless from the external HD. I have yet to explore much more through higher quality streaming services, but I will get there (Spotify Premium or Tidal).

I know you can do better than the Piano 2.1 (read more $$ in most cases), but I have been happy with this setup so far. The RBPi and various software options does take a little time investment in getting setup and configured, but for the price (<$100) the SQ is pretty nice.

Not sure this addresses your questions or not...

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Old 15th March 2018, 11:47 AM   #4
dublin78 is offline dublin78  United Kingdom
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Location: Cheshire
Thanks for the input Greg and Charlie

I have made no conclusions as yet.

The Neet unit has poor reviews and many stories of dropouts. Too cheap.
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Old 16th March 2018, 05:30 AM   #5
AlexQS is offline AlexQS  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest
If you can still find Apple TV 3rd Generation, it works very well with AirPlay. The 3rd Gen still has an Optical output. Still I did find occasional drops, and at some time a couple years ago, I upgraded OS on iPhone, and from that time I was no longer able to stream Audio "Only". It would then instead "mirror" the whole phone, including video, even though there was not a tv connected.

The consequence was that if I was listening to music with iPhone screen on sleep, it worked ok most of the time, but if I was surfing the web on my phone while listening to music, the music would sometimes studder when high graphic pages were loading. Very annoying!

One solution was to get a USB to S/PDIF Converter. Also got Apple Camera Kit which is a Lightning to female USB adapter. iPhone would then error message "iPhone can not power this USB Devise". So I got a "powered USB Hub". Then the USB Devise (USB to S/PDIF Converter (or USB DAC)) would get its power from the wall outlet via the Powered Hub and iPhone would supply data and control of the Devise. Worked very well, even with a 12 foot USB extension cord inserted. At that point, my only issue was that the music would partially mute for a moment every time I received a text or email, and it was not possible to answer the phone while continuing playback at the same time.

As someone else mentioned, having music in a seperate HD connected to stereo in the end was the best solution for me too. Personally I like Daphile a lot. My noiseless computer is connected to internet via Cat5 cable (no wifi drops ever period), and also connected to DAC via USB. So I have the stability of a wired system, and the convenience of wireless, because I can control the whole thing, build playlists, listen to Tidal, stream any HD FM Radio etc... controlling it all remotely with any device connects to the wifi in my home (iPhone, iPad, laptop, whatever)

I'm sure there are lots of other options besides Daphile if you go PC route. I think it's not hard to find an app which you can use to control your PC remotely by screen share with your phone.
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Old 18th March 2018, 09:35 PM   #6
surfstu is offline surfstu  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: London
I have tried many ways to stream music from squeezebox to volumio and moode. The latter 2 incorporate shairport which make the raspberry pi act as an airplay receiver.

However, apple are now pushing airplay 2 (but not delivering it as yet) so I'm hopig someone will give us a simple solution to feed an airplay 2 stream out to a DAC of our choosing.

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Old 21st March 2018, 05:56 PM   #7
randytsuch is offline randytsuch
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: LA
FWIW, I'm using a pi running piCorePlayer. PCP has a shairport option, and if you turn this on, you can airplay from your iphone/ipad to the pi. I have a hifiberry dac+ pro on the pi, and this connects to a powered speaker, so this all makes a wifi speaker.

So far, I haven't had any drop out problems, once I got the configuration and setup correct. Sometimes the start of a song sounds a little "funky", especially the first song you play, but its fine after that.

My system is here
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