Add AirPlay to Your Classic Stereo with an Old Apple TV

Agreed! So glad this helped! That is exactly what I was hoping from this article. People already have nice speakers :loud_sound: in their HiFi setup or even with their TV, but they might not have the plumbing in place to bring it all together.

By the way, you don’t need to have a dedicate music source. Just any of us use our personal iPhones to stream the music to wherever we like.

And I hope everyone realizes that the music doesn’t have to be coming from the music app right? I often use Spotify or even YouTube.

Also, you can sometimes select the AirPlay destination from within supported apps; you don’t have to change your entire device’s audio to that AirPlay destination.

Lots of details we could go into :slight_smile:

David C: Of course. I always forget about the iPod touch, but yes, it would be perfect for this.

Dave: I know I could use my iPhone, but, given notifications and my tendency to wander around with it and the fact that it’s doing other things, I’d probably prefer a dedicated streaming source. But you’re right of course, it’s not required.

I was actually working on this set up before this article was posted.
I had AE v1 connected to my stereo and all hooked up to my Mac Pro (2012).
Was all working great, with hard wired speakers set up in my garage, playing iTunes on the Mac.
In late 2019 I moved to an iMac, but I could no longer connect to the AE v1 via airport.

Do you have to have AE v2 to make this work again?


Thanks for your story!

I’m pretty sure that, before I did the 2nd gen ATV setup shown here, that my AE was a v1. And it streamed perfectly from any iPhone or iPad. While I rarely sent music to it from my Mac, I believe that was working, at least as recently as a year ago (High Sierra? Maybe Catalina?).

When you say you “could no longer connect”, can you be more specific? Do you see the destination in the iTunes menu? But then when you attempted to connect you got an error? Or the destination was not visible at all?

And since iTunes has been replace by “Music”, perhaps you should clarify what OS you were using?

Thanks for the reply. On the iMac, when launching Airport utility, it does not see the AE V1. The last Airport Utility could NEVER see AE V1, even on my old Mac Pro. I have to keep, and run, the previous version of the Airport utility to “see” AE V1. However, that version will not install on this iMac running Mojave.
So that is my issue. I want to connect to the AE V1 that is still connected to my stereo, with this iMac, but cannot because I can’t "see’ the AE Vi in Airport.

Does that make sense???
I was looking at buying one of these Bluetooth receivers instead, like this one: 1Mii B06 Plus Bluetooth Receiver, HIFI Wireless Audio Adapter, Bluetooth 5.0 Receiver with 3D Surround aptX Low Latency for Home Music Streaming Stereo System, on Amazon.
I also have older ATVs, so was looking at that, but the best solution was the AE in my view.


Aha, so it’s a compatibility issue between the AE and the Airport Utility Software. That’s too bad. Might have to keep an old Mac around to solve that problem unfortunately.

But why do you need that software now? Wasn’t the AE working fine before? If nothing has changed, why is the AU software needed?

I was looking at buying one of these Bluetooth receivers instead

That might work. Traditionally, BT range was a lot shorter than WiFi, so keep that in mind before choosing Bluetooth over AirPlay 2 when buying a new receiver. Personally, I’d get an AirPlay 2 receiver if buying new.

On a new iMac. Could NEVER connect to the V1 AE with the new iMac.
Other than obtains a V2 AE, I don’t see another solution…except BT connection mentioned…

Just get the launcher at

“The Launcher is a small utility for OS X. Using the Launcher, it is possible to run AirPort Utility v5.6.1 under versions of OS X that would otherwise reject the application. This older version of AirPort Utility is needed to configure older AirPort units (both AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme). For whatever reason, Apple updated AirPort Utility and the new version does not support older AirPort units; obviously, this presents a problem for people who still own these older units.”


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I would take Enrico’s suggestion of trying software.

But again, just because you have a new Mac doesn’t mean you need to change anything in the Airport. It doesn’t connect to your Mac directly. It offers an AirPlay service to your WiFi network.

And again, if you’re getting a new receiver, I’d get one with AirPlay 2 rather than Bluetooth.

Good suggestion…Thanks for the link Enrico…


That’s my experience. After a reset the AE V1 (Generation 1) should show up as a wifi network in the list displayed by a Mac or iOS device. I saw it briefly from my iPad once but it would not connect and it has not been listed since then, despite resetting the AE.
I have now bought a second hand AE Generation 2 (with 2 ethernet ports). It has worked well and I can now airplay from Macs and iOS devices to the hifi system using a Toslink cable. Also I can configure it using the Airport app on a Mac (Mojave).
It seems that the AE V1 uses a legacy wifi that is not compatible with " modern" devices or mine is broken.

I just snagged an AE V2 on E-bay. Seems like the simplest solution to the whole thing. There are plenty of them listed…


I’m a big fan of the Airport Express → stereo setup. Has anyone seen other Airplay 2 adapters that can serve this role? It’s good to know that the AppleTV can also be put to service like this with the help of TOSLink or HDMI adapter, but it’s a little more clunky.

I’m curious mainly because the AE is discontinued, and I’d love to know there are other options out there. It doesn’t feel good to have an audio setup so dependent on an obsolete product.

Whenever I search I’ve turned up some Airplay 1 adapters, and of course various amps and speakers that have airplay built in. But it’s really handy to have a cheap-ish adapter that can be hooked up to any amp / set of powered speakers, and it’d be nice if it wasn’t using the Airplay 1 protocol. (Even without the need for multiroom audio, I find Airplay 2 generally is more reliable and also starts playback quicker.)

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Anything meeting your requirements would have to include (as the AEs did) both Airplay compatibility and an internal D/A converter, wouldn’t it, Nigel? The only things that do these days, as far as I know, are A/V receivers, but I’d like to be wrong.

I have seen various odd-ball devices online like this one:

It claims to support Airplay (doesn’t mention Airplay 2) and has analog audio outputs. (They offer a digital audio model for twice the price). There may be better or cheaper ones out there.

The key words I’d look for are “AirPlay 2” and, if you want digital audio “digital audio” or “toslink” or “optical audio”.

I will add that “AirPlay” (without the 2) should work fine if you won’t miss the multi-room sync feature.

A RaspberryPi and a copy of shairport-sync - GitHub - mikebrady/shairport-sync: AirPlay audio player. Shairport Sync adds multi-room capability with Audio Synchronisation

You can output to HDMI or 3.5mm Analog Audio Jack or if you have DAC you can route that.

Some tutorials:

Ideally you want to do it on ethernet and it would be a good candidate for a POE installation to reduce the cables.

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Fascinating and confusing, careful reading of the questions & reviews is required. I’m a little suspicious about “vinyl” since there’s no mention of a pre-amp and a quick scan indicates no one asked him about it.

Love it!

I think I did see something like this. If the AEs or old ATVs weren’t so plentiful and cheap, I’d be all over this!

Might be worth noting that I don’t see a digital audio / toslink option on the Pi. I didn’t use one on my AE, and it sounded great, but just fyi.

And I guess the other reason I was skeptical is because I thought AirPort was an Apple proprietary invention that you had to license, and so I was concerned that a home-grown alternative might have inferior sound quality or be less reliable.

But I’d love to hear from someone who tries it out!!

It is a digital protocol so it either works or it doesn’t unlike Analog which will work and can degrade.

Wikipedia has some history on it AirPlay - Wikipedia - AirPlay - Wikipedia . It has been reverse engineered but it is also widely licensed so the open source community implementations add to the overall ecosystem.

Well, that’s not what I’m referring to.

Streaming technologies often have careful optimizations in place to handle buffering, packet prioritization, dropouts, packet loss concealment, etc. These things can affect how well the stream behaves in a congested network, for example. Such features may not be visible by trying to reverse engineer just by sniffing packets on the wire, but they will affect your experience as a user.

It’s possible that SharePlay has figured all that out. But it’s also possible that it is just good enough to get the job done. That’s my only point here. :slightly_smiling_face: