How to Use an AirPlay Adapter to Add Wireless Features to Your Speaker System

Updated on April 20, 2016
AirPlay Adapter Review
AirPlay Adapter Review

Have you spent way too much money on your high-end sound dock or Hi-Fi speakers? Were you a formerly proud owner of speakers that were once equipped with a 30-Pin Dock connector for your iPhone, iPod or iPad? In turn, do you now hate Apple for introducing the non-compatible Lightning port?

An AirPlay adapter solution can ease your pain:

  • It lets you get rid of the cable chaos, and turns your 30-pin equipped speakers or sound dock into a high end AirPlay streaming device.
  • Virtually any sound system or powered speakers with optical or analog audio input can be turned into an Airplay receiver.

Here's how to do it:

The High-End Solution: AirPort Express Base Station

Apple's AirPort Express Base station, a little white box around the same size as an Apple TV, is a wireless network router with full AirPlay support.

With AirPort Express, you can either extend your existing Wi-Fi network or set up a new wireless network with AirPlay functionality. The AirPort Express Base station will serve as an AirPlay receiver and output the audio signal over an audio jack (digital or analog) to your speakers.

How it works:

Done! You can now wirelessly stream uncompressed music to your beloved sound dock.

Pros:

  • Compatible with virtually any sound system with audio-in connectors
  • Superb sound quality through optical audio jack and uncompressed Wi-Fi
  • Great signal range, much higher than Bluetooth
  • Could also be used as a Wi-Fi range extender
  • Multiple users (up to 50) can connect to AirPort Express at the same time

Cons:

  • The set-up is more complex compared to the Dolry Hi-Fi Stone (Wi-Fi configuration, audio cable to speakers)
  • Pricey -- $99

Price
Audio Quality
Recommended for
$99
Excellent
Audiophile Hi-Fi enthusiasts with speakers missing a 30-pin connector

The Budget Solution: Bluetooth Adapter

Do you like the idea of having a wireless music system, except $90 is a bit too steep for your budget? In this case, a Bluetooth Audio Adapter could be a good alternative for you.

With this Bluetooth gadget, you can also have wireless speakers for your iPhone or any other Bluetooth enabled device. While the sound is compressed, most users won't likely hear a difference to the high priced uncompressed Wi-Fi solutions like AirPort Express.

Note: In order to get satisfying results, your Bluetooth audio source must support the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). Every modern hardware bought in the last 2-3 years normally should support it.

How it works:

  • Plug the Bluetooth adapter into virtually any powered speakers using a standard RCA or 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Plug in the power adapter.
  • Switch on Bluetooth on your device and connect your device to the Bluetooth adapter

Done! You can now wirelessly stream music to your speakers system.

Pros:

  • Cheap -- only $39
  • Small and compact design
  • Good audio quality
  • Maximum range of 30 feet, which should be enough for most users

Cons:

  • Initial Bluetooth set-up needed
  • Compressed audio
  • Only one device at a time. If you need to switch between devices, you'll need to manually disconnect and connect again every time.

Price
Audio Quality
Recommended for
$39
Average
Music lovers looking for money value
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless SpeakersBluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless SpeakersBluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers
Bluetooth Adapter Turns Sound Dock into Wireless Speakers

Bottom Line: AirPlay Adapter For Every Need

The best AirPlay adapter for audiophile users is the AirPort Express base station. It will work with practically any speakers system. Although this solution is rather expensive, it's the only way that delivers truly uncompressed music over Wi-Fi and will perfectly integrate into an existing audio set-up.

Users with less expectations with regards to sound quality are better off with the Bluetooth audio adapter. It's the cheapest way to revive a 30-pin sound dock for newer iPhones. Or, you can add wireless streaming features to any powered speakers. However, only one device at at time can be connected to the adapter. If you need to switch between multiple devices, the AirPort Express solution might still be more convenient and ideal.

Comparison: AirPort Express vs. Bluetooth Adapter

 
AirPort Express
Bluetooth Adapter
Audio Quality
Excellent
Average
Range
65 feet
30 feet
Set up
10 mins
10 mins
Extra Features
Range extender, Wireless Printing
none
Price
$99
$39

Best AirPlay Adapter

Which one is the best AirPlay adapter for you?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      KB 

      5 months ago

      My whole house is full of airport Expresses and Extremes. Just upgraded today from Google Wifi

    • profile image

      Trevor De Silva 

      7 months ago

      I have an mStation Stereo speaker with 30 pin IPOD

      connector.

      I want to make it wireless.

      I tried a bluetooth connector but no go. Why ?

    • profile image

      Olivier 

      2 years ago from Belgium

      Great idea, but I have another issue, I have a Samsung Smart TV ue48h6200 & Sony Airplay Speakers Sony RDP-X700IP & SA-N310 and wish to stream audio from TV to these speakers. Possible ?

    • Technogala profile image

      Technogala 

      4 years ago

      really a nice one

    • profile image

      topledtvs 

      4 years ago

      This is such an amazing hub! Thanks for the idea. I'm going to do it. Voted up!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)