What receivers allow AirPlay in Zone 2 while playing another source in Zone 1? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 08-18-2013, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a basic 5.1 setup in Zone 1 mainly for low volume TV watching. I want to use AirPlay in Zone 2, while simultaneously playing the TV audio in Zone 1.

I am a fan of the Yamaha receivers and have used the RX-V series for years. However I saw a footnote in the Owners Manual of the RX-V675 that said that AirPlay is possible in Zone 2 only when simultaneously playing AirPlay in Zone 1. This seems like an odd restriction so I am thinking that other brand receivers may be able to do this. Can someone recommend some units that can do this? Other than this my needs are rather basic - 5.1, 4 HDMI inputs, Rhapsody support, separate playback in Zone 1 and Zone 2.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 45 Old 08-18-2013, 09:11 AM
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This restriction is also the case on the initial Denon and Marantz (D&M) models that got Airplay back in 2010 and 2011, however, although the restriction was lifted starting with the 2012 models, what remains is that the Main Zone must be ON and if a source is playing, it will be hijacked to play the same Airplay source as is playing in Zone 2. Once it has started playing in both zones, you can then reselect the original source in the main zone. On the 2012 models, the main zone must remain ON while Airplay is playing to Zone 2, while with the new 2013 models, the main zone can be turned OFF once Airplay is playing to Zone 2.

Note however, that Rhapsody is no longer featured on D&M models from 2011 onward. Other than Rhapsody support, the lowest D&M models to meet your requirements would be last year's Denon 1913 or Marantz 1603 (both on clearance) or this year's Denon E400 or Marantz 1604.

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post #3 of 45 Old 08-18-2013, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

This restriction is also the case on the initial Denon and Marantz (D&M) models that got Airplay back in 2010 and 2011, however, although the restriction was lifted starting with the 2012 models, what remains is that the Main Zone must be ON and if a source is playing, it will be hijacked to play the same Airplay source as is playing in Zone 2. Once it has started playing in both zones, you can then reselect the original source in the main zone. On the 2012 models, the main zone must remain ON while Airplay is playing to Zone 2, while with the new 2013 models, the main zone can be turned OFF once Airplay is playing to Zone 2.

Note however, that Rhapsody is no longer featured on D&M models from 2011 onward. Other than Rhapsody support, the lowest D&M models to meet your requirements would be last year's Denon 1913 or Marantz 1603 (both on clearance) or this year's Denon E400 or Marantz 1604.

Thanks for the very helpful reply! Let me see if I have this right... If I only concern myself with AirPlay, then it sounds like the either of the D&M 2013 models would work well. Except for the inconvenience of the TV watchers having to switch back to TV once I start up AirPlay remotely. And once they do, it will not switch off of TV again for them even as I change songs/albums, right?

On the other hand, if I want to do network streaming directly from Rhapsody (instead of AIrPlay) then these receivers are out since they no longer support Rhapsody.

I do see that the D&M receivers now support Spotify. And apparently Spotify Premium accounts can stream at about 320kbps which is significantly better than Rhapsody which I think maxes out around half of that. Considering that when playing back music through a speaker system (as opposed to cheap headphones or a basic car setup) we'd want the highest quality, it seems that switching to Spotify may be a better overall solution. That way I would have the best of both worlds - better AirPlay support in these receivers plus better non-airplay streaming quality through Spotify, yes?

What about other receivers such as Onkyo and Pioneer etc? Do you think they have AirPlay restrictions/annoyances as well?

Thanks!
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post #4 of 45 Old 08-18-2013, 05:55 PM
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Yes and yes to your first two questions and likely the case with the Onkyo and Yamaha as well although cannot confirm.

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post #5 of 45 Old 08-24-2013, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Yes and yes to your first two questions and likely the case with the Onkyo and Yamaha as well although cannot confirm.

Thanks!

Rather than upgrading my current receiver (which does not have AirPlay or any network streaming), I may just use its AUX white/red analog inputs on the front to connect to my iPhone through its headphone jack. How much of a hit in sound quality is there to doing this, versus using AirPlay or Spotify to play back music over the net at 320kbps? I just did a quick experiment and it sounded "ok" but kinda muffled and dampened highs. But not having a way to stream music to the current receiver I can't really tell how much better the "right way" to do it would be, if any. Thoughts?
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post #6 of 45 Old 08-24-2013, 02:05 PM
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For roughly $100 you can get an AppleTV and use Airplay to stream not only audio but video too (which AVRs cannot do).

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post #7 of 45 Old 08-24-2013, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

For roughly $100 you can get an AppleTV and use Airplay to stream not only audio but video too (which AVRs cannot do).

Great idea! How would that work exactly? The Apple TV device is not an amplifier. So I assume your idea is to take the output from Apple TV via hdmi into the receiver?

If that's the case then how does this work with zone 2? I somehow have to tell my receiver to play hdmi input x over zone 2 while it still plays the tv hdmi input over zone 1? I have a Yamaha RX-V667 if that matters. Thanks!!
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post #8 of 45 Old 08-24-2013, 03:31 PM
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Most AVRs cannot pass HDMI audio to Zone 2 (although the new Denon X3000 and X4000 can do this), so you would use the HDMI audio for the main zone and then also connect an optical cable from the ATV to an optical --> analog converter which would then pass to Zone 2.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?p_id=6884

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post #9 of 45 Old 08-24-2013, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Most AVRs cannot pass HDMI audio to Zone 2 (although the new Denon X3000 and X4000 can do this), so you would use the HDMI audio for the main zone and then also connect an optical cable from the ATV to an optical --> analog converter which would then pass to Zone 2.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?p_id=6884

Would that approach result in any better audio quality than if I just took the headphone output from my iPhone and ran it into a 1/8mm to R/W analog audio cable and ran that into my AVR? Seems like what you are proposing would result in the same audio quality, except that it wouldn't require me to manually connect the iPhone to the AVR right?

My main question is the audio quality... does using either of those approach provider lower audio quality than if I was streaming 320kbps audio from Spotify?
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post #10 of 45 Old 08-24-2013, 08:07 PM
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Don't know, but it certainly would be much easier as well as give you the capability to stream video as well as audio. Also, AFAIK, the max streaming bitrate to an AVR using Spotify is 160bps not to mention you would have to pay the monthly $10 premium if you don't already have a premium account.

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post #11 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 06:45 AM
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Thanks for creating this thread...I had no idea AirPlay for the second zone worked that way: "with AirPlay, then it sounds like the either of the D&M 2013 models would work well. Except for the inconvenience of the TV watchers having to switch back to TV once I start up AirPlay remotely."

Looks like I'll have to keep using my Squeezebox for the second zone...not sure I'm going to upgrade to a new receiver anymore now.

I think what's really needed is independent AirPlay support for each zone.

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post #12 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispAndClean View Post

Thanks for creating this thread...I had no idea AirPlay for the second zone worked that way: "with AirPlay, then it sounds like the either of the D&M 2013 models would work well. Except for the inconvenience of the TV watchers having to switch back to TV once I start up AirPlay remotely."

Looks like I'll have to keep using my Squeezebox for the second zone...not sure I'm going to upgrade to a new receiver anymore now.

I think what's really needed is independent AirPlay support for each zone.

Crisp'n'Clean

Sure thing. The more I've learned about Zone 2 support across various receivers, the more disappointed I've become about it. Multi-zone support is pretty weak except perhaps in the most expensive units. For instance with my Yamaha (and others) you can only use analog inputs for Zone 2 if not using streaming. And for AirPlay as mentioned you have to play the same thing in Zone 1. Further, it seems these receivers do not have good support for mutliple sets of speakers. So I have say three rooms I want to play Zone 2 in and they warn against setting up multiple speakers per channel. See my questions/post about that here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1258247/official-yamaha-rx-v667-rx-v767-thread/3750#post_23665610

After reading all this I am surprised that some start-up has not come along and "disrupted" the AVR space. Seems like there is a need for a much more versatile, audio-only setup for folks that want to stream music to WIRED speakers in multiple rooms. I say WIRED because Sonos seems to have wireless covered. But I don't want wireless speakers, especially outdoors - their batteries will always be drained when I want to play music. smile.gif
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post #13 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 08:54 AM
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^^
As long as the AVR has Zone 2 pre-outs (which your Yamaha does have), multi-zone (same source) can be easily accomplished by adding a 2CH AMP (or old AVR) and connecting a 4,6, or 8 zone impedance matching speaker selector.

http://www.amazon.com/AudioSource-AMP-100-Stereo-Power-Amplifier/dp/B00026BQJ6

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?seq=1&format=2&p_id=8229&CAWELAID=1329456292&catargetid=320013720000011125&cadevice=c&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CJ_87IH7mLkCFbDm7AodmWgA1A

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post #14 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

^^
As long as the AVR has Zone 2 pre-outs (which your Yamaha does have), multi-zone (same source) can be easily accomplished by adding a 2CH AMP (or old AVR) and connecting a 4,6, or 8 zone impedance matching speaker selector.

http://www.amazon.com/AudioSource-AMP-100-Stereo-Power-Amplifier/dp/B00026BQJ6

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?seq=1&format=2&p_id=8229&CAWELAID=1329456292&catargetid=320013720000011125&cadevice=c&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CJ_87IH7mLkCFbDm7AodmWgA1A

Thanks! With that AMP you linked to, would I be able to power say three sets of small speakers at the same time? Or would it be the same limitation with the Zone 2 output on the Yamaha (in which case why does it make sense to bother with the external AMP in the first place)? Is there a cheaper 2 channel amp that may work? This is just mainly for casual outdoor listening.

Thanks for letting me know my RX-V667 has zone 2 pre-outs. Which connectors is this one? Here's the back panel: http://www.google.com/imgres?sa=X&biw=1920&bih=955&tbm=isch&tbnid=8vPbfy1NUTtU-M:&imgrefurl=http://hifi-reviews.com/receivers/yamaha-rxv667/&docid=Pw_SPXGGEceMcM&imgurl=http://hifi-reviews.com/images/recievers/yamaha_rxv667_largeback.jpg&w=2791&h=941&ei=my4aUoTCCof28wSV8YHQBw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:0,s:0,i:81&iact=rc&page=1&tbnh=130&tbnw=352&start=0&ndsp=28&tx=241&ty=58 . I didn't see anything in the owners manual about zone 2 pre-out.
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post #15 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 09:49 AM
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Yes, that amp would work for lower level background music for the 3 sets of speakers as long as you use an impedance matching speaker selector. You can likely find less expensive used 2CH amps on Craigslist.. The Zone 2 pre-outs are located roughly midway on the lower back panel .....


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post #16 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Yes, that amp would work for lower level background music for the 3 sets of speakers as long as you use an impedance matching speaker selector. You can likely find less expensive used 2CH amps on Craigslist.. The Zone 2 pre-outs are located roughly midway on the lower back panel .....

Thanks! Not sure how I missed those outputs.

So, just how bad of an idea would it be to try and hook up all three pairs of speakers to zone 2? Is it the type of thing where it might work fine, as long as I don't blast it?

Each of the speaker pairs has its own manual volume control knob in the wiring before reaching the speaker. I would think that if these are all set to the lowest point (effectively off) that I could then make it work. Of course there's always a chance someone could set more on at once. Would the AVR shut itself off if it detected an issue or would it damage itself and what's the chances ya think? smile.gif

Thanks again!!
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post #17 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 04:04 PM
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The AVR should shut down in protection mode should the impedance level go to low; however, you'll still want to use an impedance matching speaker selector between the AVR and the speakers.

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post #18 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

For roughly $100 you can get an AppleTV and use Airplay to stream not only audio but video too (which AVRs cannot do).

How would that work exactly? I'd just stream via AirPlay to the Apple TV, and have its 5.1 output routed to the Monoprice piece and take its analog outputs into the Yamaha?

Other question - is it possible to do this same thing with Chromecast? It would be a lot cheaper. I'm just not sure if I could stream the music from my iPhone to it, and whether it has 5.1 output. Or if not perhaps there is another Monoprice device that takes HDMI and sends out analog?

Thanks again!
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post #19 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 05:32 PM
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Yes, correct to your first question. As to the Chromecast, AFAIK it currently only supports streaming Netflix, YouTube, and GooglePlay so not really a viable solution for your needs. Monoprice also has an HDMI switch that will convert HDMI 2.0 audio to analog RCA.

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Matrix-Switch-Splitter-Analog/dp/B004264PT0

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post #20 of 45 Old 08-25-2013, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your help.

I just ordered the Apple TV so I can have AirPlay, and the Optical to analog device. I wound up going with this one http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Optical-Coaxial-Toslink-Converter/dp/B007S6U7I4 because it was about half the price once shipping was factored in, and it looks like the identical unit as the Monoprice one, but with a different brand name perhaps.

Apparently these optical to analog converts only work with PCM signals. Will I need to change any defaults in the Apple TV device to tell it to output PCM? Since I am just playing music (and not 5.1 movies) I don't suppose this will create any issues...?

I got my zone 2 speakers hooked up today. I have all 3 pairs connected, but each of the speaker pairs has a wall switch with a manual volume dial. I keep the AVR zone 2 output at 0db. I keep 2 of the wall switches all the way down (off) and then turn up the wall switch just on the one pair I want to listen to. With the AVR at 0db and the wall switch maxed out its as loud as I'd ever want to listen to it at (fairly loud) but without over-the-top loud. As a test I did have two pairs running at the same time at a fairly loud volume and the AVR seemed to handle it well and the speakers still sounded good. Does this mean doing so is safe for the AVR or over time could it wear something out?

BTW what is this wall switch I'm referring to? One of them is a slider switch and it is on a plate on the wall the size of a single pole lightswitch. Its like what I would expect for a dimmer if it controlled a light, but rather it controls the volume. Anyway I have to replace this one because as I slide it I lose some sound and have to push down on the switch with a little pressure to get the sound - like something is not making good contact anymore. So I have to replace it. Just not sure if I am getting a regular dimmer switch or this is a special audio switch of some kind?
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post #21 of 45 Old 08-29-2013, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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JD - Thank you again for all your help with this. I received the Apple TV and the Optical->Digital convert that I linked to above. Everything works great.

My only quibbles are with AirPlay itself. For instance, when streaming via AirPlay from my iPhone, the music turns off if I use the phone. Also its inconvenient that for some reason I have to playback through the phone, then switch to AirPlay (there is no option prior to playback to switch from iPhone to AirPlay, but it appears once playback starts).

All in all this was a very satisfying way to solve the issue. The alternative would have been to purchase a new AVR, but I was not looking forward to all the rewiring and setup that would have gone along with it (plus I am very familiar with the Yamaha so leaving that brand would have been a tough decision - too bad their AirPlay support is so lacking - specifically that you cannot use AirPlay on zone 2 without also listening to AirPlay on zone 1...).

Anyway, thanks again for all the great tips and help!
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post #22 of 45 Old 11-05-2013, 10:10 AM
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Hi, just read your post with interest.  How exactly would all the connections work?  what would plug into what and what additional stuff would i need to buy apart from the converter and an optical cable.

 

thanks

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post #23 of 45 Old 11-05-2013, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to post an update to how I wound up solving this...

Ultimately I wound up replacing the Apple TV with an Airport Express that provides AirPlay support. This was a cleaner solution for me because I didn't need the Apple TV for anything except AirPlay. This way I didn't need the toslink to RCA part either. And since I already had an Ethernet line at this location I had the added benefit of using the Express also to extend my wifi and give me a stronger signal in this part of the house. So lots of advantages of going this route for my particular situation.
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post #24 of 45 Old 01-09-2014, 07:01 AM
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I thought I'd reply here as well since the solution you described is exactly what I've got. I use an Airport Express as my AirPlay solution, taking the output of that into one of the unused AV inputs on my receiver (in the process of switching from a Denon to a Yamaha) with output going to Zone 2. This has worked reasonably well for my setup. I only use AirPlay for audio so having an AppleTV was overkill for this application. I thought having AirPlay in the Yamaha RX-V673 that I just got would let me get rid of it but was frustrated to find out that it will automatically switch the main zone to AirPlay when something starts playing to it.

Anybody happen to know if that can be disabled? I haven't found an option on the receiver to do it, but I haven't really explored all the details just yet. If I could then that would let me get rid of the Airport Express.
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post #25 of 45 Old 01-30-2014, 12:23 PM
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hi, 

I am also thinking of using Airport Express in zone 2 as a solution to playing independent airplay in zone 2.

However, i haven't attached the amp to the nework yet. 

 

Will airport express also allow me to also connect the amp to a wireless network?

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post #26 of 45 Old 01-30-2014, 02:14 PM
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^^
Yes. You can do both.

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post #27 of 45 Old 01-31-2014, 12:54 AM
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thanks. 

 

so, on the rx 675 i can connect the airport express to one of the spare av inputs and output to zone 2 to enable independent airplay, and simultaneously plug the airport express into the Ethernet slot on the amp to enable the amp to wirelessly connect to the home network?

 

If so then that's pretty good as i was intending on using a netgear network adapter to connect to the network and airport express to enable independent airplay in zone 2.This way i will only need the airport express

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post #28 of 45 Old 02-01-2014, 02:16 PM
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Anyone with a Denon X3000 care to confirm how Airplay functions with zone 2? The manual for it seems to indicate it ought to be possible to select Airplay as a source for zone 2. But I've read various 'issues' with how that may affect zone 1.
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post #29 of 45 Old 02-01-2014, 02:55 PM
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All of the Denon "X" series react the same way in that both the main zone and Zone 2 must be on in order to stream Airplay to Zone 2. To make the connection, Airplay will hijack the main zone and initially play Airplay to both zones. Once playing in Zone 2, the original main zone source can be selected or the main zone can be turned off. If this is unacceptable, the work around is to use either an Airport Express or Apple TV, either of which can then stream Airplay to Zone 2 without impacting the main zone source.

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post #30 of 45 Old 02-07-2014, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

All of the Denon "X" series react the same way in that both the main zone and Zone 2 must be on in order to stream Airplay to Zone 2. To make the connection, Airplay will hijack the main zone and initially play Airplay to both zones. Once playing in Zone 2, the original main zone source can be selected or the main zone can be turned off. If this is unacceptable, the work around is to use either an Airport Express or Apple TV, either of which can then stream Airplay to Zone 2 without impacting the main zone source.

Great info. Im looking at the Denon X4000 and have a quick question. I am running a 5.1 in my main room, 2 speakers with TV on my patio, and in ceiling speaker in my bathroom. Will this receiver be able to work with 3 zone simultaneously? Im trying to replace 2 receivers that Im currently using for my set up.
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