Official Airport Express Thread


New member
Username: Forcedinduction

Post Number: 4
Registered: Sep-04
I thought I would write a guide to integrating the new Apple Airport Express into your HT setup.

The Airport Express is now both MAC and PC compatible!

PC with iTunes
Wireless Router WRT54GS
Airport Express
mini to toslink optical cable
Denon AVR 484 Receiver

Upon initial setup of your AP Express, I would recommend connecting it via Cat5 to your router or wired network. This will ease your setup.

Step 1: Download and Install Software

Airport Admin Utility

Step 2: Connections
Connect AP Express to Wired network
Plug it in

Step 3: Setup
Start the Airport Admin Utility, not the Airport Express Assistant.

Select the AP Express from the list and click Configure

Give your AP Express a name in the Identy field
Select "Join an existing network"

Type the name of your linksys router, default is linksys. This step is uber important. If you do not type the name of the network exactly, the system will NOT work.

Click Change Password, and change your password!

On the Internet Tab click "connect using wireless network" and configure IP via DHCP

Click the Music Tab

Click Enable AirTunes

Give your speakers a name, this will show up in iTunes in your speaker selection.

If you feel so inclined give another password.

Click update and allow the unit to come back online (green LED on outside)

Unplug the AP Express from the network and electricity.

Connect it to your stereo via optical or standard mini to rca cable.

A note on security. If you are using WEP 128 bit security, uncheck the "Use PC friendly WEP password" even if you're using a PC router. Ensure you copy the key correctly from the router config putting a $ before the key! If you do not put a $ before the key it will not work.

I would recommend getting the unit working without encryption or security first and then enabling it.

Step 4: Enjoy

Start up iTunes and at the bottom you will see a drop down box with your Airport Express Speaker name down there. Select your speakers and then hit play on a song.

If this becomes popular, I will add a section on playing 5.1 DTS audio from your computer to your Home Theatre system!


Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2191
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Brenden!

I have an Airport Express Base Station to extend the range of a standard Airport Extreme Base Station. The bonus is the Audio Out which I give to the single optical input of an NAD T760, shared with the DVD-player using a cheap two-into-one adapter.

I have an all-Macintosh system and set-up there is simpler than you descibe.

The combined mini-jack socket for optical and electrical connection was entirely new to me. I wonder if iPod has the same.

The Airport Extreme DAC is amazingly good when you consider the size, cost, and versatility of the thing. However, I do get better sound using the optical connection, and therefore the receiver's DAC.

Thank for telling me off-line that you can play DTS. I find it also works with Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3. This is undoubtedly why DVD-A has no digital output from players. Sending DVD-A from iTunes would be really something, but I am sure it will be prohibited by the software for as long as possible.

Thanks for the help. I will try to do this. Coul you please post how you setup to use 5.1 sound.

Unregistered guest
Brenden.. I would love to know how to setup iTunes to broadcost in 5.1 DTS. Thanks again Brenden.


New member
Username: Forcedinduction

Post Number: 7
Registered: Sep-04
Of course to send DTS or DD to your receiver you must connect the Air Port Express using an Optical cable. You can buy the AirPort Express Stereo Connection Kit with Monster Cables or buy any mini-optical to toslink cable from your local electronics store. The only advantage with the Monster Kit is that it comes with a power cable that allows you to more stratigically place your AirPort Express.

First, Download some demo DTS audio files from:
Any will do, pick something you might like or download them all!

Extract them and then import the .wav file into iTunes. Now if you play them through your computer speakers you'll hear nothing but hiss. Don't worry this is the digitally encoded sound that is not meant for analog speakers!

Next follow this link to ensure you have iTunes configured properly for sending the digital signal over to your AirPort Express:

It is also important that your receiver be set up to decode the digital signal. On my Denon I had to tell it to accept a digital signal and to decode the DTS/DD signal.

The final step is to select your Airport Express as the output device in iTunes and play one of the *.wav files.

I have tested a variety of DD and DTS files and all work very well. Please use this as a guide. I didn't get it to work the first time but after about 2 minutes of troubleshooting I solved the problem and got it working.

Next up: Ripping DVD-A for playback in iTunes! Feel free to e-mail me with questions! My e-mail is listed on this site.


Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2313
Registered: Dec-03
Just to thank Brenden and confirm it works.

You will need Ethernet or 802.11g WiFi (such as Apple Aiport Extreme) to give enough bandwidth. 802.11b (such as old AIrport) gives break-up on my system.

By the way you can burn a CD with the .wav files, and play it in your DVD/CD player, to compare.

I find the sound from the computer hard disc to Airport Express is just the same a playing from a CD or DVD player. This does not suprise me. But surely it must confound people who believe in disc treatments, "high end" digital interconnects, etc.

OK, Brenden, DVD-A.....?

New member
Username: Forcedinduction

Post Number: 8
Registered: Sep-04
John A. Yes, there are DVD-Audio Discs (DVD-A) that are encoded in 5.1, I will soon be finding a way to extract these to a lossless file format to play back through the Airport Express.

Remember, Digital audio is exactly that, DIGITAL. It doesn't matter what the medium is; as long as it can carry the signal. Back in college we did digital interconnect testing. We compared the unrecoverable error rate of a metal coat hanger with that of the very expensive "digital" interconnects; the results confirmed that they are a waste of money. Obviously, the coat hanger had more errors; but thanks to standardization of the coax digital interconnect, proper CRC checking is in place--even for the cheapest digital equipment. Analog interconnects are a different story, but you can still get very good cables without spending more than you did for your receiver!!

Digital Audio File -> 802.11g (digital) -> AirPort Express (optical digital) -> Reciever (decodes digital for amp output)

As you can see from the above the signal is 100% digital and pure until your receiver uses it's D->A converter to decode the signal. Either you hear a 100% accurate digital reproduction or you hear static hiss. :-)

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2320
Registered: Dec-03

I agree. That's it for high-end digital interconnects, then.

You may be entertained by the thread Coaxial Digital Connection Vs Digital Fiber Optical Connection?

New member
Username: Forcedinduction

Post Number: 9
Registered: Sep-04
Ah yes, the quest for the $100 THX audiophile monster super digital cable... <-- did I leave any terms out to make it sound like $100?

By reading that, I get the definition of audiophile as "moron"

There are a few people in that thread that know what they're talking about, and I mean a FEW... Thanks for the entertainment John A!! And since I'm feeling feisty tonight, I've taken my $1.99 walmart "digital coax" cable and clipped the RCA ends off and re-wired it using 24 gauge unshielded hobby wire. Guess what... MY Digital audio still works... PERFECTLY. Imagine that...

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2325
Registered: Dec-03

My dealer offered me a "high-end" coaxial digital interconnect to play DVD-A.... It was about a third of the price of the player I was buying, and would not have worked.

There were some bizarre posts on that old thread. Even if there are reflections back down optical cables, if you calculate how fast they would get back, they would be indistinguishable from the primary pulse. Like expecting the carrier pigeon return from a 10 mile journey with the reply, after about 10 seconds.

I think I baffled people on that thread with an analogy with Morse Code. Sent by Klaxon compared with sent by heliograph; how would you rate the message....?

Yet people still worry that the LEDs and photodiodes have to be "audiophile" grade, otherwise they degrade the sound.

Unregistered guest
Could someone tell me how to connect my coaxial cable modem (screw on type) to the ethernet port on my Airport Extreme Base Station? Is there an adaptor that converts the the screw type coaxial cable to an ethernet plug?

New member
Username: Lancelot75


Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-04
Could someone tell me if I could make sound goes on my airport express Base (like iTunes does) when I'm playing a DVD on my iMac ? thx in advance

Unregistered guest
Dear people, I have the same question as Lancelot. I would like to play DVD's, quicktime and powerpoints through the airport extreme. At our church we play a lot of stuff off the lap top. It would make things so much easier if we could just leave an airport extreme cube wired up to the pa desk and then the audio would come through easily. Thanks, Dominic

Unregistered guest
Same question, how can I play dvds through the airport express

Just Noah
Unregistered guest
You can only play iTunes -> Airport Express.. not just any audio on the computer. So, you are out of luck when it comes to playing DVDs.

Unregistered guest

The software may be coming to allow us to stream the audio from DVD software, etc. to air tunes. See the above website. My search has found no other solutions.

Unregistered guest
I recently installed an Airport Express within my existing wireless network. Unfortunately, I have PCs rather than Macs so it was a little difficult.

I have a Linksys WRK54G router with a desktop connected via Ethernet and a laptop connected via WIFI.

I configured the Airport Express using an Ethernet connection to the router. After a little finagling, I got it configured successfully for the WIFI. I then disconnected the ethernet wire, and I can still ping the Airport Express from both the laptop and desktop.

When I open ITunes on the laptop, I see the speakers and can send music to the Airport Express. However, the desktop doesn't recognize the speakers. I turned off ZoneAlarm and the windows firewall, but the desktop still doesn't see the speakers. This seems strange because I can ping the Airport Express, but I can't send it music. Any ideas out there?

Unregistered guest
Hi there,

I just bought a airport express but it doesn't really work that well.
ACER laptop (centrino platform)
windows XP pro
airport express
(I don't have an LAN/WAN)

The only thing I want to do is to play music from my laptop on my receiver.

I can make a WIFI connexion with the airport and I can play music but there's sometimes a delay of 20 seconds and music sometimes stops for a couple of seconds. Very annoying. The LED indicator on tht Airport is always blinking orange. It's never green. It's supposed to be green I think.....

Jeremy Madigan
Unregistered guest

I have an airport express which I am using to stream music from my mac. I have been using a 3.5mm optical cable to connect it to a fairly budget DAC (QED Digit Opto) and then via dual RCA to my amp.

One problem though. Whenever I change tracks on i-tunes, there's a nasty loud click, followed by the start of the track a couple of seconds late. I've read around a bit, and think it might be due to the fact that AE doesn't have an on board clock and therefore I'm losing digital lock (or something???).

Does anyone know how to get around this?

I'd love to hear any ideas.



Gold Member
Username: John_a


Post Number: 3808
Registered: Dec-03
The delay is the digital stream being buffered. I think you can adjust that in iTunes "preferences".

I did not hear a click with optical connection into an NAD receiver. I am stuck with analogue connection at the moment, and the sound is not as good, no question about it. I think the DAC in the Airport Express is not so good. No surprise; it is so small it is amazing it works at all.

Stuart Kaiser
Unregistered guest
I was loosing my hair trying to connect the Airport Express to my stereo. Thanks to the above article I've done it. My desktop is PC and I have a WRT54GS router. I kept a copy for future need. The layout of the Airport Admin Utility changed. The "Use PC friendly WEP password" check I could not find and when enabling security if I put a $ before the passcode I have on the router I get more characters than required. Simply, the airport stops working. Maybe Brenden could debug this question. I hate leaving access of the router to anyone.

Unregistered guest
I learned the hard way that Walmart has some surprising buys. When I bought my wife's Onkyo TX-SR502 I needed a Toslink cable. Thought I was doing great buying one at Best Buy for 19$, only to fine one at Walmart the same day for 14$. When I went looking for a Toslink to Mini cable, I went there. They had a Toslink cable with 2 mini adapters for about 15$. Not a bad deal at all.

Unregistered guest
Also, the latest version of the Airport Admin Utility allows you to choose Text or Hex entry for WEP keys. I recommend updating to the latest firmware release for Airport Express, and the latest version of PC software for Airport before configuring.

Bronze Member
Username: Peychaud

Post Number: 16
Registered: Mar-06
With my old JVC RX-8010V receiver, I used to use Airport Express to stream audio to my main listening room and a second remote location (aka my kitchen). I connected Airport Express to my receiver via a toslink cable.

I recently upgraded my receiver to a Harman Kardon AVR 635 and I'm disappointed to discover it cannot transmit a digital signal to remote speakers. HK's support site says to simply connect by both digital and analog connections, but as everyone here probably knows, Airport Express has only one output.

I like the audio quality the optical connection gives me in my main listening room but I like having music in my kitchen as well. Are there any solutions other than simply swapping out the toslink with the mini-jack-to-RCA cable every time I want to stream music to my remote zone?

Any creative solutions to this annoying problem would be appreciated!

New member
Username: Tmkelleyjr

Dallas, TX USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-06
Peychaud, I have the same problem with my pre/pro. It will not pass the processed digital signal to the zone2 analoge out. What's more, the distortion from the zone2 is much higher than from the main zone, so if I let the AE process the signal I'm in not much better shape. I just ordered a Behringer SRC2496. This looks like a very intersting piece of equipment. I think it will allow me to process the optical signal and feed my zone2 amps while passing through the optical so that I can let my pre/pro process the signal for the main zone. I will post a follow up if it in fact works. Have a look at behringer's site. They have a PDF of the instruction manual.

New member
Username: Audio114

Holbrook, NY USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-06
My new Denon RSX 1067 also will not process signals via digital/optical cable to Zone Two. Must now downgrade to analog cable from Airport Express output to receiver inputs. Anyone have a solution? Will I notice a significant drop in quality of the sound in main room and my Zone Two when I go back to analog?

New member
Username: Alandeberry

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-08

After hours of troublesh
ooting a new installation, I would like to update Brenden West's excellent original posting to this thread. The instructions below apply to our experience connecting an AirPort Express unit to a stereo with a wireless connection to an existing 802.11g wireless network. That network includes a Linksys WRK54G Wireless Broadband Router connected to a desktop PC by an ethernet cable. Our Version 1.0 router does not support the WPA2 encryption standard now common.

1. Install the AirPort Utility software

The AirPort Utility software apparently has replaced the Airport Admin Utility and Airport Express Assistant software mentioned at the beginning of this thread. AirPort Utility is provided on a CD-ROM in the Airport Express box.

2. Set up test connections

Connect a Cat 5 ethernet cable from the AirPort Express unit (often referred to as the "base station") to the wireless router and plug the unit into AC power. For simplicity, set up the AirPort Express unit in the same room as the computer so you can watch the status light and reset the unit as necessary. No need to connect the audio connections at this point.

3. Connect from the router to the AirPort Express unit

Start the AirPort Utility and observe that a steady green light appears on the AirPort Express unit and the software states "AirPort Utility found an AirPort Express with default settings".

4. Perform a manual setup for the wireless connection

Click the Manual Setup button. The software may announce that the light on the AE is alternating green and orange and advise you to Click OK to continue. If applicable, do so.

Select the Wireless tab and set Wireless Mode to "Join a wireless network".

Type over the Network Name "Apple Network XXXXXX" with the name (SSID) of your existing wireless network. Enter the password for your existing wireless network. Continue reviewing and updating forms.

When asked to choose to select "Bridge Mode" or "Share a single IP address using DHCP and NAT", leave the setting as selected by the software.

When asked to select the level of security, again leave the setting as selected by the software. Note that Apple calls Standard 64-bit WEP by the name WEP 40 bit. Why? See

Don't change the wireless network password at this time or you may run the risk of fouling up the network.

5. Connect to the AirPort Express using the wireless connection

Click the Update button.

If you are presented with an error dialog stating "AirPort Utility was unable to find your base station after restarting," then be patient -- It may take a minute or so for the unit to connect to your network. If it fails to connect, then reset the unit configuration to its factory settings by using a ball point pen to press the reset button on the unit for about ten seconds. While pressing the reset button, you will be alerted to the beginning of the reset process by a rapid flashing of the orange light that lasts about one second. Verify that you typed the settings correctly and try again until you get a steady green light on the unit and a statement in the software that "AirPort Utility found an AirPort Express." (Note that it no longer states that it was found "with default settings".)

6. Finalize wireless network settings

Once the software has connected to your base station using the wireless network, click the Continue button and set up your AirPort Express to your liking.

Give your speakers a name to show up in iTunes, e.g. "Living Room Stereo".

Click Update and allow the unit to come back online (green LED on outside).

7. Finalize physical connections

Unplug the AirPort Express unit from the wired network and electricity.

Connect the base station to your stereo with an optical or mini-to-RCA cable and to AC power.

Step 4: Enjoy

Start up iTunes. At the bottom you will see a drop-down box with your Airport Express Speaker name down there. Select your speakers and then play a song.

New member
Username: Mrpme

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-08
Thank you very much for your details as I'm embarking down this road now. I have a MacPro and a Dell PC using the same WRK54G wireless router. I also would like to use AirPort Express to send iTunes music to a family room stereo (already wired with an iCable).

Can you send iTunes music to two locations, like a family room and outdoor stereo?

New member
Username: Tomahawk2406


Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-09
I have everything set up i think......HOWEVER when i go to the pop down menu to choose the speakers to use in itunes, the AUX speakers i choose to play music through which i named PARTY SPEKAS, is gray in the menu and cannot be chosen as an option. HELPPPPPPPPPP

New member
Username: Eatisa

Post Number: 9
Registered: Jul-09
i have used Extreme. is this better than then that i mean performance wise is it better than Extreme?

New member
Username: Helenhunt

Madurai, India Tamil nadu

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-10
The Airport Extreme DAC is amazingly good when you consider the size, cost, and versatility of the thing. However, I do get better sound using the optical connection, and therefore the receiver's DAC.

New member
Username: Joseleitao

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-10
Can someone tell me if my router (Linksys WRK54G ) can have AirPort Express Base Station wirellessly working as a range expander?
I can't find information about the compatiblity of the router.

Thank you

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