Receiver for Airport Express [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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05-30-2007, 01:01 AM
Hi all,

I'm interested in finding a stereo receiver to pair with an Apple Airport Express. I'm new to this whole audio thing, and would greatly appreciate any guidance!

The Airport offers an optical (toslink) link in addition to a 3.5mm mini audio jack. I've gotten mixed responses on whether to use the optical link or just stick with a standard RCA-to-mini hookup. Is there an obvious difference in sound quality? I've read that if the RCA cables are short enough, the difference in sound quality will be negligible from an optical link. I'm certainly not a bonafide audiophile, but I am a professional musician and have unusually acute hearing.

The other thing: I'm not at all into HT, and would like to purchase a stereo receiver without all the A/V bells and whistles. Do any stereo receivers have optical inputs? A friend suggested that I just purchase an A/V receiver and ignore the other features; this seemed like overkill to me.

Finally, extra credit for anything with a PHONO input! I got my hands on a used SL1200, and am dying to try it out. I recently purchased NHT SB-3 speakers new for $220 (!) on craigslist, and am running them through a crappy JVC minisystem I had in the garage. Regardless, they sound incredible.

I'm looking to spend around the area of $100 for a used receiver. Thanks for your help!

05-30-2007, 05:27 AM
I would venture that most A/V receivers these days have toslink inputs. It shouldn't restrict your search much, if at all. Phono, I don't know. If no one responds here, try posting in the 'Analog Room'

The digital out on the AE is a mini-optical, meaning it's in the 3.5mM mini jack. You need
a mini to toslink adaptor ($1.95) to connect to toslink on an A/V reciever.

Is there an obvious difference? Depends on the system, the quality of the digital files, and your ears. A simple difference would be the quality of the DAC in the AE vs. the DAC in the receiver. I'd bet on the receivers DAC being better.