Review - Airfoil


Airfoil


I really love all the creative things I can do with my Mac. Before going to college I used to play the saxophone and piano professionally. Somehow I’d lost touch with music over the past 20 years but since the Mac makes it so easy, I’ve found myself really enjoying a resurgance of music in my life. I’ve even posted a few of my songs up on MacSparky.com.

Anyway, one problem I ran into when recording music was decent playback. Specifically, when I’ve to several instruments playing at once it is hard to get a feel for the right levels through my MacBook’s speakers. Sure I can plug in headphones but I wanted more. I wanted to rattle the house with my subwoofer . I have an airport express that allows me to play iTunes through the stereo so why not Logic and GarageBand? I kept looking for a way to hack around my airport express but never quite got it to work. I was explaining this problem to one of my favorite Apple Store geniuses when he just smiled and said ... “Oh .. you need Airfoil”

Well he couldn’t have been more right. Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil is the perfect way to unleash your Airport Express from iTunes only playback. Using this application you can route any source of audio from your Mac to your Airport Express. It worked with every Media Player I have, dashboard widgets, system audio, and even web sites. This really dovetails with my latest obession, Tim’s link to Soundsource.com in episode #115. I’ve been using that site, along with Airfoil, to make all sorts of strange sounds come out of my home stereo ... from nuclear explosions to balloon animals. It's all good. My wife, by the way, thinks I am crazy. But I digress.

Airfoil even can drive multiple Airport Express units. So lets say you have two stereos attached to Airport Express units in different parts of your house. The program synchronizes them both so you can really get the neighbors upset. It also has an equalizer and Applescript support.

One limitation on this application is delay. While normally this is not a problem, it does prevent you from watching video on your Mac with sound through your Airport Express. Rogue Amoeba explains this delay is built into the Airport express and there is no way around it.

Using this $25 application I got my wish. I can now hear playbacks when working in logic through my home stereo and much much more.

Edit 8.10.07

Just a point of clarification. Airfoil's delay applies to everything you pipe through it so when using it with Logic or Garageband it doesn't work in real time. It plays through the stereo on playback. It doesn't pipe through the stereo real time while I am playing the keyboard. Cheers, D