Want brilliant sound quality from your AirPort Express? So did we. And for that, we needed to connect it to a dedicated audio processor via fiber-optic cable.
Apple's AirPort Express does much more for audio lovers than you might think. You're probably aware that it lets you stream your iTunes library, from your Mac or PC, over Wi-Fi, through the APE to your hi-fi. But you may not know that it has a digital fiber-optic output, meaning it can stream lossless audio, with bit-for-bit accuracy, to a dedicated sound processor (a DAC), and into a hi-fi sound system.
Um, why should I be interested exactly?
Because when you send audio via AirPort Express, it's processed by its on-board sound chip. It's fine for most people, but it's basic. If you've invested in a decent hi-fi you're going to want to let a DAC process your audio properly, which means taking sound away from the AirPort Express via optical digital cable. By doing this, the APE simply passes the digital signal on, instead of converting it to audible sound and passing it over a standard audio cable.
Sounds awesome. By the way, what the hell is a DAC?
Ah, yes, we're assuming here you know what a DAC is. For those of you who don't know, it's usually a dedicated box, and it has just one job: turn a digital signal of ones and zeroes into sound. This requires specialist circuitry and audio chips, so it's something usually confined to the audiophile world. But if you've got a decent home audio system, it's something to seriously consider investing in.
This is a DAC. The iBasso D10, to be precise.… Read more