Apple Airplay is one of the best wireless home audio solutions available. With its lossless audio design, it sounds as good as digital audio gets when delivered wirelessly. It is bandwidth heavy but can be overcome with some design considerations.
This Do-It-Yourself wireless project will end up costing far less than other solution providers with proprietary equipment. This project is wireless in the control aspect as it can be controlled via most of the Apple products available. However, the speakers still need to be wired from the central equipment.
The system is controllable from anywhere where there is a Wi-Fi network signal. With six Airplay instances operating at once, the Airports need to be wired via ethernet cable to help with the high overhead of bandwidth needed.
WHAT YOU NEED
These are out of production but can be acquired easily used on Amazon.com, Ebay.com or Craigslist.org. They have easy factory reset buttons and are ready to go in less than a minute. Note though that there are two types that look identical. The ones to avoid are the ones starting with A108. These do not work with the current Airport Utility provided by Apple OS. The current version is fine, but the form factor of the A1264 is easier to mount than a series of them together.
The Apple Express’ fit perfectly and the outlets pivot to give some flexibility in mounting positions.
 8-Port Ethernet Switch or similar 8-Port Routers
With a router, the audio traffic can get separated from the main Wi-Fi traffic in your home. However, the setup is a bit more complicated to integrate. This guide shows the setup on the LAN side of a router.
 Dayton 12-Channel (6-channel stereo) Multi-room Amp
For control of the system, you can choose from these options:
- PC running iTunes
If you’re looking for some apps for utilizing the multi-room aspect outside of iTunes, here are some recommendations:
HOW TO SET IT UP
Step 1: Assemble Physical Parts
- Arrange the Apple Airplay Express onto the Belkin Power Outlet.
- Plug in the Y-adaptors into the audio ports.
- Plug in the ethernet cables into the RJ45 jacks of the Airport modules.
- Plug in the ethernet cables into the ethernet switch.
Note: This example isn’t a permanent installation example. The amplifier will create substantial heat. The Apple Airport Express modules should not be placed on top as shown in the example.
Step 2: Configure Apple Airport Express Modules
There are two methods to configure the Apple Airports:
- Via Airport Utility native in Mac OS under Applications > Utilities > Airport Utility or download for PC
- Via Airport Utility for IOS available in the Apple App Store
This is a short video describing the step with a screenshot tour of the process.
Step 3a: Configure iTunes to play music
The computer used needs to be logged into the network being used for audio. This is a performance design consideration for rock solid audio performance with virtually no drop outs. If the system shares the main home network, it will contend with the other traffic and the audio may drop out.
This guide assumes that the computer is hooked up to network dedicated to Apple Airplay traffic only named ‘Audio.’
- Open up iTunes
- Click on this icon on the top bar in between the volume and information window
- When it drops down you will see your Apple Airplay rooms listed
- Click on multiple if you want music to play in more than one room. You can choose all of them or a specific selection.
- You can also adjust all the volumes independently.
Step 3b: Configure most any audio app to play through any single zone
In almost all these apps, you’re looking for the universal icon for Airplay:
On their own, these apps will only play to one zone at a time. However, you can get a program like those mentioned above so that you can play in more than one room at a time your iPhone. iTunes can natively play to multiple rooms at once out of the box with no extra purchase.
APPLE AIRPLAY EXAMPLES
It should look like this:
When you touch the icon, it should open to something like this:
At the bottom of the screen it will say “Airplay Available”. Press that and you’ll get your rooms to show up to select one.
Songza hasn’t integrated their app yet, but it will still work with Apple’s “swipe up” from the bottom of the screen.
You’ll see this shortcut screen and the Airplay shows up on the lower right:
D. In YouTube:
On the vertical screen it will show up on the lower right part of the video playing as you tap the video itself.
On the horizontal page, it will show up in the lower right after tapping the main screen:
Most of the apps that have sound are capable of output to an Airplay station. First, look for the icon. If the Airplay icon is not there, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and select the audio device from the list on the right. Bluetooth devices may show up there are well.