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How complex can I make my music system?


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Mar 20, 2012
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Alberta Canada
I do a lot of thinking when I'm on the road.

Some of that thinking would make a reasonable person uneasy. So, today, I was mulling over the possibility of recording iTunes output from my Mac to reel-to-reel tape, just for something to do.

The fact that I could already do it crossed my mind somewhat later, but now I have two independent methods of doing it. The actual intention is to add AirPlay capability to devices which lack it.

My home theatre system has AirPlay, but I wanted to use the speakers which are attached to my 2-channel system without having to mess around switching cables. Also, the home theatre amplifier is vastly inferior to my 2-channel power amplifier, which throws out about 300 watts per channel (8Ω) and probably about double that into 4Ω.

So I plugged RCA cables into the Zone 2 output of my Yamaha RX-A730 and plugged the other end into my Cambridge Audio 540A, effectively turning the Yamaha into an audio component on the Cambridge Audio. Next I turned off main zone output and switched Zone 2 to Airplay, using Yamaha's control app on my iPad 2. The Yamaha dutifully picked up iTunes on the Mac. So far, so good.

The Cambridge Audio is connected to a Bryston power amplifier which feeds two Martin Logan electrostatic speakers. These speaker like LOTS of power.

Next step is to boot up Remote on my iPhone in order to control iTunes.

Turning on the reel to reel tape deck yields the information that it is receiving a recordable signal, judging by the movement of the VU meters and, using the Tape Monitor facility of the Cambridge Audio, it is possible to achieve a recording level identical to the source.

The alternative method for achieving the same thing is to use an Airport Express router. Plugging a Mini Toslink cable into the speaker output on the Express and the other end into my DAC bypasses the Yamaha.

Of course, any Airplay device can replace the Mac, and replacing Airplay with a BlueTooth receiver opens up even more possibilities, assuming the HT receiver will handle BT.

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