Airplay volume directly controls receiver volume! Starts playing at 0db!

I streamed to Airplay for the first time today and noticed that when I enabled the devices, the volume in Roon was set to 100 by default. Since I normally use my reciever to control the volume, I want the signal to be at 100% so there’s no in-player software volume control shenanigans going on. As a result, I didn’t see this as a problem.

Much to my surprise, it changed the volume on my Denon at -20db (where i have a fixed volume max). When I played on my Marantz, where I have no such cap, it changed the volume to 0db! When I adjust the volume in Roon, it directly changes the volume on the receiver itself, which I’ve never before seen.

Is this…expected? Maybe defaulting to 100 isn’t the best thing to avoid blasting people’s speakers?

Normally Airplay knows what volume setting the receiver has and changes the bars accordingly (my experience with Airports and BW Zepelin at home. Maybe Roon can also get this information to set it’s own volume before playing sound?

If you change the volume on the Amp, does Roon respond?

No, adjusting the volume on the receiver doesn’t affect Roon at all, its volume stays constant. So I got into a situation where I would turn it down on the receiver (wondering who turned it up), then next time I stopped and restarted, Roon would crank all the way back up to max volume.

Very unintuitive.

There’s something you should keep in mind about driving AirPlay devices with Non-apple products:

Apple doesn’t publish or support AirPlay as a standard–they share proprietary implementation details under NDA with companies making AirPlay receivers but don’t support any third-party senders. This means that apps like ours, which Apple would not like to see succeed since it gives users choice beyond their walled garden, are put in a position of figuring out their protocols without documentation or support.

We have a pretty good understanding of how volume control works on the official Apple devices, and some other AirPlay products we have in-house. We’ve seen two-way volume controls work on all-in-ones and our volume behavior matches theirs on all of the devices that we have in-house.

I suspect that your receivers act differently from the devices who’s behavior we have analyzed, and perhaps are sending additional information to us that we could use to sync the volume knob two-way, or understand what the default volume is supposed to be. This isn’t totally uncommon–there are differences in how volume control is managed from one device to the next (for example, Apple TV compared to B+W A7). I suspect that you’ve found a new variation.

Judging the behavior as “unintuitive” is a little bit unfair–this behavior wasn’t designed by anyone to work this way. It’s not working well because while companies like Denon and Apple are privy to the implementation details of AirPlay, Apple will not share the information with us, because they wish to protect their closed ecosystem.

@mike or @vova will be along shortly to collect some logs from you. If what’s going on with your devices is simple enough, maybe we’ll be able to figure something out based on the logs. If it’s more complicated, this probably will probably remain until we can get a device in-house to work with.

Understood about being on the outside looking in. My day job is all about competing with Apple’s built-in software.

Let me know what info I can provide to help diagnose. It’s a Denon AVR-X4000 and a Marantz 8801.


Ok, iTunes just did this too. Wtf.

I swear I’ve never noticed this behavior in the past, and I don’t think there have been any firmware upgrades recently. Granted, I rarely use Airplay since I have a Chromecast. I think every other time I’ve used Airplay has been with my phone, not my laptop, so maybe that explains why I didn’t notice?

Maybe this is just a thing with Denon/Marantz and their Airplay implementation. I’m happy to help provide logs if this is behavior different than what you’re seeing in your labs, just so you can understand expectations and test against it in the future. If not, I’m ok with that too :slight_smile: I have Roon set correctly so I shouldn’t be surprised.