Apple Airport Express to DAC


Hi,

I have an evolution 100A and 50CD. When I run digital audio through an apple express via toslink to the 50CD DAC, it sound great, but there is "skipping". I searched online and couldn't find an immediate cause of this.

I am running Apple Airport Express to a Creek EVO 50CD DAC via minijack to toslink optical cable.  There is intermittent "skipping" that I cannot figure out. If I run minijack to RCA on the amplifier (EVO 100A), there is no skipping.  I asked creek support and this was the conversation:

creek: It sounds like there’s an issue in using that type of cable. This is not a true way of using an optical signal. I would suggest using the jack to phono rca lead as this will use the DAC in your Creek unit rather than the built-in DAC of the Apple product.

me: I'm confused. Running optical signal to my creek DAC is wrong? You suggest running minijack to RCA on the EVO 100A amplifier? How does the EVO 50CD get the digital signal from the EVO 100A?

creek: An optical signal can only be transmitted down an optical cable that’s terminated with TOSLINK blocks at both ends.There are no digital signals past between the Evolution 50CD and Evolution 100A. The signal is only analogue; not digital between these devises. I would suggest running an RCA phono cable from the pre-amp output of your Evolution 100A and plugging that signal into the jack socket of the Airport Express.

me: but the minijack out on the airport express is a combo analog/optical output. (picture of back of airport express from apple website showing analog/optical port).

creek: /crickets

Can anyone explain what I'm doing wrong?  Thanks for your help.

Cable: FosPower (3 Feet) 24K Gold Plated Toslink to Mini Toslink Digital Optical S/PDIF Audio Cable with Metal Connectors & Strain-Relief PVC Jacket.

Airport Express: whatever the latest version was with firmware updated.

4a632b3f 5acb 4dfa 91c8 61fb41afa4e2pandrus
Bummer @pandrus.  Well I'd recommend a Fiio D03 - it's $20 off amazon and sounds way better than the Airport's DAC.  And it works.
Anybody else have success with certain DACs and the TosLink from an Airport Express?

Anyone try a Schiit DAC?

Thank you.
Any DAC that can support a 16 bit 48khz digital stream will work with the AE. 
HI @robr45 actually it seems to not be the case.  

The Arcam dac, Cambridge dac, Marantz dac, Creek dac all have trouble holding the lock from the Airport Express.  Some people think it is an issue with SABRE DAC chips.  CambridgeAudio was able to make some sort of update to the DacMagic that fixed the problem.

found on another forum, Cambridge apparently said:
"Basically, the Airport does not output a smooth SPDIF clocking. Every now and then, the Airport will sporadically adjust its output clock to track the desired sampling rate.
These adjustments are very sudden and are the cause of the noises and/or drop-outs describe". 

And from the designer of the M-DAC:
" First first Gen worked without Drop outs when set to High Bandwidth... With Gen 3 they changed the Chip set and its even worst then the first for Jitter performance - with large discrete jumps in clock offsets - these jumps throw off (unlock) any dac with decent jitter attenuation (Tight Lock Bandwidths) - ironically Dac's with poor jitter attenuation cope with the Jumps, but off course they have poor jitter attenuation..."

What I don't understand is why a reclocker, like the iPurifier, would lose the lock as well.

But I know many people have also had success with this set up, so I'm wondering what specific model DACs they've used.

@pandrus did you try updating the firmware on your integrated or reaching out to Creek?
Might I suggest replacing the airport express with something that can properly output a digital singal then? Seeking a dac that can cope with a poor implementation of spdif doesn't seem to make sense. A gen 2/3 Apple TV has no such issue and can be had for less than $50.