FDA-1B + Apple AirPort Express = Wireless “AirPlay”DAC

July 22, 2012 - filed under: DAC

Having understood DIYAUDIO member Alex_twn to modify an Apple AirPort Express to output I2S signal to converter FDA-1B to a wireless “AirPlay” DAC, I have not done anything for more than a year.  The main reason is that the US$99 AirPort Express will become useless with Zero second hand value after modifications. Secondly there is no clear indication of the position of the I2S signal inside the AirPort Express circuit boards and tracing the circuit will be difficult for many DIYers.  Thirdly the quality of the internal Master clock jitter of the AirPort Express is still unknown!  Since the AirPort Express has an Optical Digital output socket in optical mini plug format (shared with the analogy output), there is a simple solution to use optical connection between AirPort Express and FDA-1B.  With the WM8804 input receiver quality in FDA-1B, the sound performance will sure has very high assurance level.

Here is my version of wireless FDA-1B DAC playing from a 4 years old notebook with winxp & iTunes.  I use the Airport Utility for windows version 5.5.3 due to my windowXP version. Also I create a new wireless network for the AirPort Express so that it will not increase too much wireless traffic for my original D-Link wireless Router DIR-652 (note this router is connected to internet via a boardband modem).  The connection between AirPort Express and DIR-652 is by a Lan Cable.  With this connection, both the wireless networks can also be able to access internet.  Note that the Optical cable must be one end with mini plug for AirPort Express and the other end with square plug for FDA-1B Optical input.  The total cost of upgrade is only US$115 and it is really a simple upgrade relative to the XMOS solution!  Awesome, it is wireless for both PC and Mac platforms!!!

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