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Re: A brief history of my audio shenanigans and equipment up to today

Posted: Mon May 27, 2024 5:39 am
by mavica

Re: A brief history of my audio shenanigans and equipment up to today

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2024 7:47 am
by headcrash
So much MiniDisc!

Also an update! I was given a pair of Apple Airport Express base stations from the same friend as the Time Capsule you might have read about already.
These are nifty little things from about 2005, and almost a bit ahead of their time. They can either be set up as wifi extenders, wifi-ethernet bridges, or as a wifi connected AirPlay audio output device (both analog and Toslink) and a USB print server.

In my case I'm using them for audio output. I currently have one set up in the living room, connected to what started life as a cheap surround-system center speaker, which I had previously modified with a 2x20W class-D amplifier. This is just temporary, and will be replaced with an Edifier D12 speaker shortly.
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The Airport base station and speaker PSU are hidden behind the books in the shelf.
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And here is the second base station that hasn't been installed yet. But it will end up somewhere in my bedroom.
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Why all this, then? Well, partially because it's amusing old tech, and partially because it automatically becomes a multiroom audio system directly from iTunes.
These old things also still integrate perfectly with modern Apple devices, which enables me to play music from my phone, modern Mac etc.
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Re: A brief history of my audio shenanigans and equipment up to today

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2024 8:25 am
by rollcat
I'm just casually browsing this forum and there's way too much cool stuff everywhere. The Airport Express sounds like something that would sell like crazy even today. (I used to have a pair of Gen1 HomePods and I'm no longer a fan, things are as dumb as they (try to be) smart, and the lack of simple AUX input or plain dumb Bluetooth makes them a poor choice for delegating the DJ duties on a house party.)

Google used to make Chromecast Audio, which had a combined 3.5mm+S/PDIF jack; I find this hilariously brilliant and don't understand why no big player had stepped up into that space. Everyone just makes "smart" speakers, which are limited, annoying, actually more difficult to use than a smartphone, and extremely questionable wrt privacy even in the best cases.

What would be really cool is something like a Raspberry Pi (probably with Gokrazy-based userland for quick boot/stupid&simple stack), with USB gadget mode to show up as an audio interface to a host PC, a half-decent DAC on board (I've been toying around with Digilent Pmod I2S2), maybe even a physical rotary encoder (for digital volume adjustment etc), that works as a Bluetooth+Airplay receiver; can play/share (SMB, iTunes, etc) from a connected USB drive; maybe even stream your library to your mobile phone (Tailscale!); and so on - like a swiss army knife of networked home audio. (Yeah, throw in a WiFi repeater while we're here.)

My current audio setup is a pair of KRK Classic 5's + ZOOM UAC-232 + Mac mini; I used to play around with all sorts of 90s/00s home amps & speakers but ultimately wanted (and finally ended up with) something on which I can do studio work. The UAC-232 has 192khz/32-bit float, and a very clever fallback ADC with -6dB attenuation, so it's virtually impossible to accidentally peak during recording. It would be fun to try to put together a more "retro" studio setup, but the reality is that contemporary equipment is really cheap and very decent, and any extra budget is much better spent on acoustic treatment, instruments, effect pedals, new strings, etc ^^