Beware Airport Express audio dropouts

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
If you buy an Airport Express with the intention of

streaming audio to your stereo, make sure you try it

out and it works before the return date.



My system is as follows



cable modem -> linksys access point -> mixed pc/mac



I tried to use the Airport Express to extend the

linksys system to include my stereo - streaming

audio to it worked, but with a 1 second audio

dropout every minute or so.



None of the available helpdesk fixes made any

difference, so I returned it after a few days

of trying different stuff. I couldn't use

the airport express as my only wireless access

point, because the cable modem is in a different

part of the house as the stereo.



If you use the express as your only router it is rumored

to work better, esp if everything is 802.11g with no

11b mixed in.



I think that they must have cheaped out on the

audio memory buffer or something - I am changing

plans and hard wiring my computer to my stereo via

AES/EBU digital cable (using midiman toslink to

AES/EBU converter).



If you can get the Airport Express to work, it is pretty

cool - you get multiple zones at the bottom of your iTunes

window, and when you change the selection it re-routes

the audio. I may re-try with the 2nd generation of

the product.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,515member
    I've had drop outs with the AE for two reasons which were easily fixed.



    1) Slow computer. My Pismo G3 500MHz PowerBook isn't fast enough to stream consistently. It drops out every once in a while.



    2) Weak signal.

    When I've tried to stream wirelessly from my G4 Powerbook to a base station and then to the AE it will drop out when the PB has a marginal connection. When I move the PB to a place with a better signal or use an Ethernet connection then it streams with no dropouts. My wife's G4 iMac also streams with no dropouts and is connected by Ethernet to the network.



    The configuration we use is to have a router generating IP addresses. An Apple Extreme Base Station is used to extend the network and to connect to the Airport Express device. AE is setup only to receive music, not for extending the network.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    I don't think that either of those things was the

    issue in my case. Actually, if you have an all mac

    network you probably run pure 802.11g with no low-speed

    stuff mixed in - my guess is that is the key difference.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    cam'roncam'ron Posts: 503member
    so trying to run itunes through an extended network doesnt work so well? why dont you use the airport as the main router? i had a couple dropouts early on, but i figured it out. i had a buttload of devices on one powerbar and it was in the middle, i placed it at the end where it was more open and i can actually see a good difference. i never get a drop in audio now.



    i dont know if i missed something w/ the not using airport as the main router, so i apologize in advance if im retarted.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Cam'ron



    i dont know if i missed something w/ the not using airport as the main router, so i apologize in advance if im retarted.




    Couldn't use the Express as the main router, because

    it needed to be near the stereo, and the main router

    needed to be near the cable modem.



    The cable modem needed to be near the VOIP box, which

    was not near the stereo.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    you may also want to check on firmware updates for the linksys router, but be forewarned that their latest firmware updates can potentially screw up other areas of your network. like with me, i installed their latest firmware, and it immediately whacked my linksys range extender. after about an hour working with linksys, they determined that their own range extender was incompatible with their latest firmware update for their wireless-g routers. of course, this is pretty amusing since the range extender would only be used to EXTEND THE RANGE OF A LINKSYS-G ROUTER.



    anyway, that's part advice and part rant.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    cam'roncam'ron Posts: 503member
    can u not put it near the stereo? i have my modem in my living room, nowhere near any computer, just to connect to the stereo.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    you may also want to check on firmware updates for the linksys router, but be forewarned that their latest firmware updates can potentially screw up other areas of your network. like with me, i installed their latest firmware, and it immediately whacked my linksys range extender. after about an hour working with linksys, they determined that their own range extender was incompatible with their latest firmware update for their wireless-g routers. of course, this is pretty amusing since the range extender would only be used to EXTEND THE RANGE OF A LINKSYS-G ROUTER.



    anyway, that's part advice and part rant.




    I upgraded the linksys to the latest firmware as well,

    no effect (either good or bad).



    Cam'ron - I could co-locate the modem and stereo, but

    then I would have to run an ethernet wire back to where

    the modem used to be in order to connect the VOIP

    box. Running a digital audio cable was much easier.



    The earlier point about the powerbar is something I wish

    that I had tried before I returned the unit. I had

    the express plugged into the middle of a powerbar, and

    the surrounding tangle of wires could have been the

    thing that messed me up.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    cam'roncam'ron Posts: 503member
    i think because there is no external antenna it is more sensitive to its surroundings blocking the unit. by the wires being very close or over the router it will weaken the signal. in this case design got the better of usefulness.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    What IP rage are you using on the Lynksys? I ask because I went through the same problem. Not sure why, but the Airport likes the 10 series range and not 192. When I changed my IP address range I got less drops.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Relic

    What IP rage are you using on the Lynksys? I ask because I went through the same problem. Not sure why, but the Airport likes the 10 series range and not 192. When I changed my IP address range I got less drops.



    I was using 192.168.100.104



    When you have to do all these things to get it to

    work (I have heard 10 or 15 things now that people

    did to make it more reliable), it is time for

    Apple to re-design it.



    This is the level of product that Microsoft

    produces, I expect more from Apple products.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    same issue...

    nothings wrong with your linksys.

    i've had the same issue & stopped using the airport

    express

    The dropouts are pretty bad if an axp is used in

    bridge mode

    This is something that apple will need to resolve

    at this point its not worth using this product in

    a mixed environment or for audio streaming.

    The old airport base is much more robust & doesnt loose

    its settings on a power outage as seems to happen

    with the axp
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