Directstream and Airplay via Apple TV or Airport Express


I have recently purchased a Directstream DS. From the reading of this forum it seems that it would possible to connect either an Apple TV (not the latest generation) or Airport Express with a Toslink cable to the DAC and stream using Airplay (from ipad or iphone). I have tried both options but nothing worked. Is my understanding wrong (as Apple TV and Airport cannot stream to DS)? Or there is any issue with the setup I am trying?

Any help and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance


One possibility I can think of. Check your Apple TV settings and see if it is set to send stereo out (PCM if that is an option) rather than multi-channel. The DS needs a stereo PCM signal.

I don’t know the Airport Express in particular, but virtually anything that outputs stereo PCM over TOSLink should work. At least some HDMI de-embedders don’t put out a valid stereo PCM signal and if a system is set up to output DTS then the signal isn’t PCM, but those are the only two exceptions I know of. If the signal is coming from a video capable device make sure that that device is set to output stereo PCM (most have a configuration option for this somewhere.)

From the other end - does the DS’s screen show any changes when you plug the TOSLink cable in or when you start to play? When you plug the TOSLink in and the other end is hooked up you should see the little green dot in the TOSLink button on the display, when you start to play the sample rate and number of bits / sample should be displayed. If neither of these is happening, you might check to see if any other device that you might have that accepts TOSLink works (or any other device that you might have that outputs TOSLink, RCA or XLR digital audio.)

[Edit - stevem2 beat me.]

Thanks to both for the prompt reply. Streaming from Apple TV (3rd generation) does not work (I checked all of the settings and there is nothing I can do more than enabling Airplay).

When the TOSlink cable is connected from the Apple TV to the DS there is no green signal indicating that there is an optical signal coming in. Things are little better with the Airport Express as there is some sign of receiving a signal (green indicator when the optical input is enabled). However, the only thing I am able to receive is static sounds. In principle as this is a standard 3.5mm connector as the one on the mac mini there is no specific setting to active/modify. I wonder whether there is anything wrong with the cable. I tried to connect my CD player to the DS and the cable is fine. Any further suggestions?

In any case, I also happen to experience some static pops (rarely) when the DS is idle. Is it anything I should be concerned with?

Thanks again!


If you are getting static pops from the DS with no input hooked up, then you should call or email customer service. If it’s while the TOSLink cable is connected it’s probably another symptom of your original problem, still a call to service might be the easiest way to find out what’s going on.

I’m stumped. People certainly used to use these devices (or earlier models) to feed DACs. It’s possible Apple did something annoying, like limiting their output to Dolby Digital or something. PSA support should be able to help.

FWIW, I have an Apple TV box (2 or 3 years old) which is connected via optical to my DS and has always worked fine. I generally only use it when watching Netflix on my TV but I’ve just tested music via AirPlay and that works fine as well.



Thanks Mike. I would think that would make your a 3rd generation Apple TV as the current, 4th gen, dropped the optical out. So maybe it’s a configuration issue. Any special audio settings (my Gen 4 offered Stereo or Surround; didn’t see anything about Dolby versus PCM or anything like that)?

Hi Steve, no special settings on Apple TV, some examples below:

Dolby Digital - Auto

Audio Output - Auto

Adjust for Airplay Overscan - On

It really was plug and play from an optical output perspective.



Hello Mike, Ted and Steve

thanks for the info. I tried the settings you mentioned but no cigar. I have also tried to connect my mac mini directly via the same TOSlink cable. As it often happens with my Airport Express, when connected to the optical out the DS begins to behave erratically showing signal on and off with different rates until it stops altogether not receiving any signal anymore. However, it seems to be a problem associated with apple devices as I have used the same TOSlink cable attached to my Luxman CD player and the DS plays nicely without any hiccup.

Because of these issues with Airport Express and Apple TV now my Bridge 2 card reads firmware 0.0.0. It seems that every time I change input the Bridge loses the connection with the internet. Unfortunately because of the layout of the house I need to use an Airport express to extend wirelessly my network as the router is far away from the DS.



Hi Giorgio,

I’m not an expert but have some experience with the Apple TV and toslink connection to the DSD.

I first used an HDMI cable connected to a tv to set up “sharing” on the Apple tv. After that, I use the Apple TV headless, i.e. only connected to the DSD with a good quality toslink. The Apple TV is connected via ethernet to my router. I play Tidal Hifi from my ipod touch to the Apple TV, and the SQ is comparable to CD.

I think you probably didn’t set up sharing on the Apple TV.

Hope this helps. I have since moved on to a Landrover streaming from my desktop.

Hi John

Thanks for the suggestion. I did enable the sharing but I am afraid it did not work. The only way to stream to DSD via optical is from the television optical output directly. It seems I cannot use the apple tv headless as you did. Thanks anyway!