Gonna rise up. Find my direction magnetically.

Why is Apple so damn good?

Seriously, every product I have purchased from Apple has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. Needless to say, this is horrible for my psuedo obsession with technology and gizmos.

Since we have moved into our house, 7 years ago, I have had dreams of a whole house audio system. I have spent hours dreaming about what the setup might be, and how it would all work. I would browse Amazon and Crutchfield to pretend-build my perfect system. Lots and lots of decisions to be made when considering how to do this. Should there be a central amp for the whole house? Amp for each room? How would you control it all… separate controls on the wall in each room? Some mega-remote? I’d probably need a couple remotes if I went that route… At the end of it all, I would have run hundreds of feet of cable through the house, torn up some walls, run new electric and spent around $2,000.

Then I would shutdown my browser and let the dream fade away for another 6 months until I heard about someone else getting a setup or read an article about it.

So when I first heard about a friend using an Apple Airport Express to distribute music to a remote location over wifi, I was a bit skeptical. I figured it probably would skip, be intermittent at best and you still had to have powered speakers or feed it into an amp since the Airport Extreme has an audio jack on it but no amplification. After digging around a bit, and reading a lot about how Airplay (what Apple calls the protocol used to setup the remote speakers) works, I was convinced.

Here is the setup I have now, and I love it. As a bonus, I setup the Airport Extreme/Expresses as part of a WDS network so now I have total wifi coverage everywhere in the house. No dead zones. Totally awesome and totally unexpected.

Equipment:

  • 1 Airport Extreme (Thanks to some stranger that dropped it in the electronics recycling bin that Julie helps with at the kids school. Total score!)
  • 1 Airport Express (N) – $62 Ebay
  • 1 Airport Express (G) – $50 Ebay
  • M-Audio Studiophile AV30 Professional Reference Speakers – $89
  • 1 set of old computer speakers w/subwoofer

With this setup, Julie and I can use the Apple Remote app for our iPhones to control iTunes on our main computer. This app allows us to turn on/off each set of speakers (computer, kitchen and bedroom) independently and control the volume. It provides us access to our entire iTunes collection, streaming radio and podcasts. I listened to Car Talk while having my coffee last Saturday while sitting in the dining room. I know, I know… I could have done that before with just a radio, but this was being streamed over the net and controlled via my phone. The inner geek is content and very happy.

I can feel the pull of Apple and I have a feeling our next computer purchase will be either an iMac (that 27″ display is just out of this world) or a MacBook. Damn you Steve Jobs for making so many products that I love. If only they didn’t cost so much money. Deal of the century anyone?

5 Comments

  1. Julie

    One word: Geek. 🙂

    • rdobson

      If I was really a geek, I would have shared that our wifi SSID is ‘Denali Dreaming’ and that after debugging an interferance issue (thanks to Stumbler) with our neighbors wifi I had to move to channel 3. I also had to turn the old Netgear wireless router into just a router since the Apple Extreme has only one LAN port and I needed 3. DHCP is handled by the Extreme and I needed to change the valid id ranges since Apple seems to prefer using 10.0.#.#.

      But I held back…

  2. Queen B

    Do you charge hourly?

    • rdobson

      For the queen b? Services are free…

      • Becky

        Very GOOD, then!

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