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Mac Mini Home Theater

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Tag: airfoil
Airfoil Logo
Airfoil Logo

We’ve all been there… it’s Tuesday night, you’re in bed, your wife is asleep, but you’ve really got a hankering for some Iron Eagle.  Unfortunately, your wife doesn’t understand the integral part the rock ballads play in Doug Master’s intense training or daring rescue mission at the end of the film.  Enter Airfoil…

Airfoil is a software app that runs on a Windows or Mac computer which can send the audio from your computer to several other network devices, such as another computer, an iPhone or Airport Express device.  The interface is very simple.  You choose the application with the audio you want to send elsewhere, and then select the device you want to send it to.

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Send music to another room with Airport Express

Send music to another room with Airport Express

For most people familiar with the Apple product line, this post is restating the obvious.  For the rest of you:  The Airport Express lets you broadcast your iTunes library to any other room in your house over your wireless network.  I feel like the Airport Express has potential to do so many things, that Apple doesn’t do a good enough job toting it’s ability as a music streaming device.

I recently configured an Airport Express to stream music from a Mac Mini to a stereo receiver on a different floor of a house.  I wrote a review of the Airport Express setup and configuration, and without ruining the surprise, it took quite a bit of patience.

For ideas on how to maximize the Airport Express in your network, click the link to read more.

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Ok, I love how well the Mac Mini handles digital audio.  The audio quality is great, DTS and Dolby Digital come through untouched, and music never sounded better.  So why am I considering analog audio?  I recently installed some Polk Audio Atrium 55 speakers in the backyard.  They are connected to Zone 2 from my Yamaha receiver.  Unfortunately, the Yamaha Receiver can only send analog sources to Zone 2.

Ideally, I’d like to find a way to send out both Analog and Digital output from the Mac Mini simultaneously, but from the limited research I’ve done, that doesn’t appear to be an option.  The best I’ve found is an application called AirFoil which allows you send audio from the Mac Mini to another computer or an Apple Airport Express which could in turn output the analog signal.  It might also be possible to find a receiver which passes digital audio to a second zone, but if they do exist, it is most likely out of my price range at this point.  The AirFoil software would also require a hardware purchase of the Airport device, but it seems a little silly to plug an Airport in right next to the Mac Mini for the single purpose of passing analog audio to the receiver.

If anyone has any suggestions before I drop any more cash at the Apple Store, please let me know by posting in the comments.