I’m trying to price this thing out…. on the one hand an iPod touch and a used 802.11g Airport Express base station with SPDIF optical out is about $250. This requires a laptop running iTunes to be on and feeding it the music which is in turn controlled by the iPod Touch “Apple Remote” app. So this is one relatively cheap option, really.
Another option is the Squeezebox Classic which also can be found for about $200 plus $200 for the Touch running iPeng Squeezebox Remote Control app ($10), so for ~$410 you have perhaps a slightly more robust playback system that is open source and can play FLAC or any other file format for that matter and doesn’t require iTunes, but still requires a server/laptop running SlimServer. Sonos sells a similar setup and they also have a free iTunes app. The one cool thing about the Sonos is that no laptop is required, it seems it can pull directly from the TC as a NAS but that would be $350 + $200 iTouch.
Maybe the cheapest, and I think I might try this route first since I already bought the damn Time Capsule which functions as a pretty good NAS / Backup server… For $25 Rogue Amoeba sells AirFoil which allows you to send your iTunes stream to either an Airport Express unit or any other computer on network (AirFoil Speakers is a free download) which means I could simply stream directly from one of our newer Mac laptops to the old thing in the closet which is plugged into the Edirol UA-5. It’s a free download with 10 minute tests. All the data would be on TC or a USB drive. This might be the solution I was looking for.
Okay. I tested it. It works. So that’s an option. The final option is just the $50 Airport Express, no iPod Touch remote, and simply stream from the laptop to the base station SPDIF > DAC > Analog Out and control on the laptop as a remote. The fan on the old laptop is really loud. If can figure out a way to quiet it down.
Okay. Weirdly the stream from 89.9 WKCR doesn’t work in Winamp under Win2k on the old laptop. So I’m back to the iTunes Foobar2000 plugin scenario and that seems to work fine, it’ll play any internet stream I give it. Oh well.