What AirPlay 2 Means for Your Listening Setup

Apple has finally released the AirPlay 2 framework for streaming audio and video on a wi-fi network to compatible devices. Announced just about a year ago at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, then delayed along with the HomePod, the first device to fully leverage this protocol, AirPlay 2 was released last week as part of iOS 11.4. It is not, however, available on macOS yet, nor on iTunes for Windows, and presumably a Mac update should follow soon.

If you’re used to using AirPlay, you won’t notice much of a difference, but there are some changes under the hood that should make your listening better. Here’s an overview of how AirPlay 2 works.

Read the rest of the article on Computer Audiophile.

8 thoughts on “What AirPlay 2 Means for Your Listening Setup

  1. Kirk that was an easy to understand primer on Airplay 2. I could have researched for weeks and not come up with ALL my questions answered about Airplay 2 that you answered here.
    You are quite brave to have published it over at CA however. Chris is a brilliant and seemingly humble and decent man who had a great idea for a website (and has made a marvelous success of it) – but many of the most vocal “members” are arrogant self appointed experts who basically believe they (and their equipment) represent some shrine to music listening that only a limited few could ever hope to enter….Chris does his best to keep those people in check but they drove me and I suspect many others away from not only posting but even visiting the site. (and will continue to do so I suspect) It must be in the nature of the hobby itself. The basic type of person it attracts seems to be – elitist arrogant and condescending. You gave an excellent account of yourself as usual. Thank you for this information Kirk.

    • I ignore much of what people say there. Chris asked me to write the article for him, and I’m glad to contribute to his site.

  2. Kirk that was an easy to understand primer on Airplay 2. I could have researched for weeks and not come up with ALL my questions answered about Airplay 2 that you answered here.
    You are quite brave to have published it over at CA however. Chris is a brilliant and seemingly humble and decent man who had a great idea for a website (and has made a marvelous success of it) – but many of the most vocal “members” are arrogant self appointed experts who basically believe they (and their equipment) represent some shrine to music listening that only a limited few could ever hope to enter….Chris does his best to keep those people in check but they drove me and I suspect many others away from not only posting but even visiting the site. (and will continue to do so I suspect) It must be in the nature of the hobby itself. The basic type of person it attracts seems to be – elitist arrogant and condescending. You gave an excellent account of yourself as usual. Thank you for this information Kirk.

    • I ignore much of what people say there. Chris asked me to write the article for him, and I’m glad to contribute to his site.

  3. What I want to see is an small AirPlay 2 device with an analogue out that can be hooked up to a stand alone audio system. (Even better would be such a device with a digital audio output in addition to the analog out.)

    I am currently using five AirPort Expresses for this purpose, hooked up to 4 stereo receivers and one Como Audio stereo radio. But Apple has discontinued the AirPort Express and may not upgrade it to AirPlay 2. And even if they do, I’d still like the ability to purchase additional AirPlay 2 devices which I can hook up to a stereo or AV receiver or amp (as any other other devices with an analog or digital input).

    Question for Kirk – My main router is an AirPort Extreme, with which I’m currently using my 5 Airport Expresses for AirPlay. Since the AirPort Extreme has also been discontinued, at some point I’ll be upgrading to a mesh router system. Am I correct in assuming that I could still use the AirPort Expresses with the mesh router for AirPlay if I choose the “Join a Network” option in the AirPort Utility? This is, of course, assuming Apple is still supporting the AirPort Utility when I wish to do so, and the fact that they will no longer do so at some point is yet another reason why I’m hoping for one or more small AirPlay 2 stand alone devices to to take on the AirPlay streaming function as found on the AirPort Express.

    • I don’t know. Adding devices to a network like that can slow down the network. Mesh wi-fi systems might work differently; I have one, but I don’t have any AirPort Expresses to test.

      But you may not be able to add them via AirPort Utility, because of how the mesh networks work.

  4. What I want to see is an small AirPlay 2 device with an analogue out that can be hooked up to a stand alone audio system. (Even better would be such a device with a digital audio output in addition to the analog out.)

    I am currently using five AirPort Expresses for this purpose, hooked up to 4 stereo receivers and one Como Audio stereo radio. But Apple has discontinued the AirPort Express and may not upgrade it to AirPlay 2. And even if they do, I’d still like the ability to purchase additional AirPlay 2 devices which I can hook up to a stereo or AV receiver or amp (as any other other devices with an analog or digital input).

    Question for Kirk – My main router is an AirPort Extreme, with which I’m currently using my 5 Airport Expresses for AirPlay. Since the AirPort Extreme has also been discontinued, at some point I’ll be upgrading to a mesh router system. Am I correct in assuming that I could still use the AirPort Expresses with the mesh router for AirPlay if I choose the “Join a Network” option in the AirPort Utility? This is, of course, assuming Apple is still supporting the AirPort Utility when I wish to do so, and the fact that they will no longer do so at some point is yet another reason why I’m hoping for one or more small AirPlay 2 stand alone devices to to take on the AirPlay streaming function as found on the AirPort Express.

    • I don’t know. Adding devices to a network like that can slow down the network. Mesh wi-fi systems might work differently; I have one, but I don’t have any AirPort Expresses to test.

      But you may not be able to add them via AirPort Utility, because of how the mesh networks work.

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