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Looking for info from mac users who stream audio from imac to a stereo in the home.

after a bit of research, I have narrowd my choices down to Soundfreaq SFQ-1 (bluetooth) or the Pioneer X-SMC3-S Music Tap AirPlay Music System (airplay) Can anyone tell me the difference between airplay and bluetooth for streaming audio (only about 10 feet).

  • I highly discourage bluetooth for anything but a small earpiece. It's quality is limited to stereo, usually very artifacted and isn't very great in general – Alexander Nov 19 '11 at 4:23
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In short, Apple's proprietary version of DLNA, which they call AirPlay, is based on WiFi hardware. Bluetooth speakers, obviously use Bluetooth hardware. WiFi has a far greater bandwidth, so go with that. You shouldn't have any problems.

In theory, Bluetooth could work, but in many implementations bandwidth can be limited, so it's not uncommon for your audio to be decoded from its original format (mp3 aac etc.) by your player (iPod, iPad etc.), then re-encoded to an intermediate format for transfer over BT, and then decoded once again before actual playback.

This extra encoding step obviously degrades the quality. This doesn't happen with AirPlay. Since the bandwidth of WiFi is much larger than any implementation of Bluetooth, even if the audio file is decompressed on the player side, it could be sent to the receiver without any re-compression at all.

  • $200 more expensive but the Pioneer system looks like the best option. Thanks – Drai Nov 19 '11 at 7:27

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