Even Cooler Music

A Pyle PFA200 amp connected to an Apple AirPort Express

It was time to update my patio music set up. Volumio is the best software to run on a Raspberry Pi and HifiBerry has some pretty good DAC/AMP hat hardware but my house is entirely Apple ecosphere. I can AirPlay to Volumio but it isn’t AirPlay 2 compatible so it just isn’t the same. I bought a used second generation Apple Airport Express (model number A1392) and a new PYLE PFA200 power amp to replace the old setup. The PFA200 actually has some really good midrange and bass.

Configuring the Airport Express is pretty easy.

  1. Boot up the Airport Express
  2. On an iPhone or iPad connect to the Wi-Fi net it creates
  3. Launch the Airport Utility on your device (you may need to install it)
  4. The Airport Express firmware needs to be at least 7.8 so if an update is available, do it
  5. Once the Airport Express reboots, go to the Wi-Fi settings on your iOS device and select “Setup New Airport Base Station”
  6. Select “Add to an Existing Network”
  7. Connect it to you existing home network
  8. Set a name that makes sense
  9. I found a nice short 3.5mm headphone cable to connect the Airport Express to the PFA200
    NOTE: While I was waiting for the Airport Express to arrive, I got a bit nervous about the sound quality coming out of an earphone jack. Don’t worry, it is excellent.
  10. Connect your speaker wires to the PFA200 and power it up
  11. Launch the Home app on your iOS device and add an accessory
  12. I turned the PFA200 all the way down and streamed some music to the new set up setting the volume in the Home app to mid range
  13. Slowly turn up on the volume on the PFA200 till it sounds about right; you may have to fiddle with it a bit
  14. I pushed the TONE/DIRECT button so I could adjust the tone and found that I could actually overdrive the bass in my Klipsh AW-400s but I found a nice balance

So now I can tell Siri “Play Fleetwood Mac Rumors everywhere in the house” and it is seamless from the living room to the patio. My concern is that the operating temperature for the Airport Express is to 95º F and here in the desert it gets over 100º during the summer quite often. Since the Airport Express is in the garage, I’m sure it will get hotter than that. I bought a outlet strip with some USB ports on it so I could reuse my USB-powered fan and hopefully keep it cool. I won’t be able to control the fan like I did with the Raspberry Pi but I’m working on some possibilities to do that. Might employ the old Raspberry Pi for that since I already know how to control it.

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