Airfoil Sound Quality?

Pardon me for the dumb question, but since I am having some problems with outputting Roon to Airplay, I was going to try using the third party app Airfoil. I think I saw on another forum that the SQ is not as good. I have used it (with MP3 compressed files) for years and have been satisfied, but now that I am moving to lossless and Tidal I would like to understand if by using Airfoil I am going to compromise the sound quality. Does anyone have any opinion, or better yet, facts to support or deny the claim that Airfoil would cause a loss in SQ? Thanks!

I’m not happy with Airfoil at all, but less unhappy with AirServer.

AirServer also has a lossless only streamer, which they push out as the ‘ex’ device.

That said, Airplay is terrible for anything not CD quality, and and then it does the horrendous thing of going 44.1khz -> 48khz in-device.

How does Airserver plays the function of Airfoil?I took a look but all I could do was screaming from my iOS devices to my Mac, not from my Mac to Airplay devices…

Sorry, I misunderstood your problem… I thought you were using Airfoil Speakers and talking about Roon -> Airplay.

I’d like to know more about your Airplay issues… did build 16 not help you?

I have no idea if/how Airfoil is going to work with Roon…

Danny, thank you for your reply. Sorry I was not more clear. I have 4 Airplay endpoints. They all work fine with iTunes on my Mac, individually or as a group. To use them with other programs I have an application called Airfoil. Airfoil redirects the sound from either the system output or an individual program to selected Airplay endpoints (individually or as a group). It has served me very well for years. Airfoil speakers (which you referred to) turns your phone into an Airplay endpoint, so that Airfoil can stream sound from the Mac to the phone (and other Airplay endpoints). And Airserver turns your Mac into an Airplay endpoint, so you can stream from on iOS divide to your Mac. Neither would help me with what I am trying to do.

So my question was, if I redirect Roon to Airplay endpoint through Airfoil, is there a loss of sound quality?

Regarding my problems streaming directly from Roon to Airplay, I have described that in a separate post, but briefly, the stream drops out for several seconds at the time, and sometime never recovers, while the playback counter on Roon shows that music is still paying. I have not had a chance to try the latest build for more than about 30 minutes yet, so I can’t say if the problem is still there or nor.



Try out build 16 – it has major Airplay fix in it, and fixes an issue that sounds EXACTLY like your problem description.

I tried build 16. Not there quite yet. More stable, but after about 1.5 hours of streaming to airplay the sounds started to drop every 15 seconds or so for a few seconds, then would come back for another 15 seconds, and so on. Transferring to the local speakers stopped the drops…

Hi @gianfri – I looked over your other post. Can you confirm which model Airport Express you’re using?

I will have to check when I get home, but I have four of them. Problem is with all of them. I am not sure how to find the model. They are all about 5 years old, more or less.

Great – let us know. Would be interested to know if it’s this one, which seems to be causing issues for a few people.

It looks like I have three that are the same model you indicated (802.11n 1st generation, and one that is an 802.11g (older).

Thanks @gianfri – we’re looking into a few reported issues with that model, and I actually have one here, so hopefully we can pin this down real soon.

Appreciate your patience here @gianfri!

I have a 1st-generation Airport Express for streaming audio to the speakers in my kitchen. It’s so old it’s not even supported by Apple, but it still works. (It can be set up with a direct ethernet connection to a computer, but not wirelessly.) In any case, Roon cannot control its volume; the volume is always at 100 even when set lower or even muted. My work-around is to set Roon to System Output, then use Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil to control the volume. That works fine. I had no quality issues, but the kitchen system is strictly for background music.