Floatin' along the iTunes stream until ...

I realize that there's something absolutely fundamental that I don't understand. Suppose you've imported your music (using iTunes) on Computer X, and that you access that remote library (again, using iTunes) from another computer. (Let's call that one Computer A.) The whole operation is wireless, with an AirPort Express (functioning in client mode) on an AirPort Extreme network. (An optical cable goes from the Express to a DAC.)

OK, that much I know. But what I don't get is this: As I run the show from Computer A, picking songs, etc., is the music streaming from Computer X to the AirPort Express, or is it somehow coming first to this computer (the one issuing the instructions) and then onto the AirPort Express.

I asked a few days ago about which Mac to use as a music server. In contemplating the considered replies to that query, I realized that there was this real hole in my understanding.

If anyone can straighten out my confusion on this matter, I'd much appreciate it.


How do you access the library?

If you use A as the controller and A is running iTunes and sharing the library on X, the data will go from X to A and then from A to the AE. I tried this and got a lot of dropouts YMMV.

If you run a VNC program where A is actually controlling X then the data would go from X to the AE.

Either way the data will be sent to the AE in Apple lossless and decoded by the AE. Since the AE decodes it and clocks it in both cases I can't see how the computer could influence the sound. Never did a comparison so can't say for sure.
Thanks, Herman. I'm doin' the former, with A running iTunes accessing the shared library. I did have some dropout problems one afternoon, but otherwise it's been really good. Maybe I'll start to understand this one o' these days.
Not sure if this is the answer you seek but I believe this is the path for file playback…

If an Airport Exp decodes and plays them then all the confuser being used does is point to them. Right?

Where the library is located isn’t necessarily where the decoding and processing is accomplished, while using personal confusers that are networked together.

Normally, the ‘host’ (where the lib is located) just allows access to the files… the client pc, would then process and play. As another device is in the chain, I’m guessing IT merely passes that file along, sending the files’ info into the whatever item following it for the decoding to take place there.

Processing occurs at each pc in some way, as the network adapters are in play so transference of the info/data can be obliged… so some CPUsage from each pc is happening, but I suspect it is minimal… again, depending on where the decoder and processor is which converts the file itself… and as Herman said, it’s the AE itself.

The thoughts on inconsistencies or pitfalls also seem as though they would increase as the files are passed along from host pc to client pc to the AE…. Maybe… depending upon the on site conditions

Try this… put some files onto the client pc’s hdd…. And play them… itunes will show the shared library as a completely different lib anyhow just under the itunes store link in the list on the left hand side.

Play files from each lib… and see which is best.

I’d recommend a NAS drive at least so the transmission path is thereby truncated providing a lesser chance for poor response issues.

I’ve found also, other services and or applications running in the background can cause drop outs or stoppages… so look for what else is running behind the scenes you don’t need and disable it or stop it/them, altogether.