More Airport Express

If you haven't read my Airport Express experience jump over there now and get up to speed. I've had a number of comments and emails regarding the sporadic “skipping” or cutting in and out of the audio that I experienced. As noted earlier, since I took the Airport Express off WDS and configured a profile to simply just “join an existing Airport network” I've had few problems.

That's not to say that it hasn't skipped out on me on one or two occasions. But I simply attribute this to either background tasks involving network operations, the fact that the G4 Cube running iTunes is a tired old 450 Mhz machine or that background operations on the Cube such as syncing my iDisk might cause a glitch now and then.

Most exciting is my latest addition. I finally purchased the Airport Express Stereo Connection Kit. This kit at $39.95 offers three accessories. First, is a standard “Y” type cable that enables you to connect the Airport Express' stereo-mini jack to analog stereo-in RCA jacks on a stereo or A/V receiver. Additionally, you get an extension cord that allows you to bypass the built in power plug that comes with the Airport Express and move the unit away from the wall or more importantly from a clogged power strip. Finally, it gives you an optical digital audio cable.

The Airport Express' mini jack is a multi-purpose analog/digital output jack. With this cable (available at the time of writing only from Apple in this kit) you can connect the Airport Express to the optical digital input of any receiver or A/V receiver offering an optical input jack. Now I'm streaming pure digital signal from my G4 Cube to my Sony ES A/V receiver in my great/living room.

I've now buried my Airport Express into the depths of the spaghetti farm formed by too many cables connecting too much equipment to my A/V receiver. But it's a pleasure to simply send iTunes audio to my home stereo. Now I can find any of the 14,000 songs in seconds and play it on demand. Now this is starting to feel like a Digital Hub.