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Published on July 27th, 2011 | by Greg

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Airfoil Brings Airplay To A New Level

It’s easy to get sucked in­to the Ap­ple ecosys­tem. Not ev­ery prod­uct is amaz­ing, or far su­pe­ri­or to com­peti­tors, but the line­up over­all means that they work to­geth­er nice­ly and add up to some­thing more than the pieces. The Ap­pleTV isn’t bet­ter than oth­er set-top box­es, with or with­out XBMC, and the iPhone and iPad are cer­tain­ly top of the line but not nec­es­sar­i­ly bet­ter than An­droid smart­phones and tablets. Take, for in­stance, Air­play- a de­cent idea, but not au­to­mat­i­cal­ly bet­ter than Sonos or Sound­cast or Squeeze­box or Yama­ha’s Mu­s­ic­CAST2. There are plen­ty of re­stric­tions on each, but some clear ad­van­tages that come with al­ready hav­ing a bunch of Ap­ple prod­ucts (and their low­er ex­pense, gen­er­al­ly).

For those who are ex­plor­ing wire­less mu­sic and au­dio op­tions, you’ll quick­ly find holes in each sys­tem. But we found one pro­gram- Air­foil- that helps glue Air­play to­geth­er, al­low­ing you to send au­dio from your Mac or PC to any Air­play-en­abled de­vice. Just as cool, you can use Rogue Amoe­ba’s free Air­foil Speak­ers app to turn any iPad or iPhone in­to an­oth­er speak­er as well- adding a bunch of in­ter­est­ing au­dio play­back op­tions to your house­hold. Want a par­ty where ev­ery­one has their own speak­er? Or want an easy way for your friends to show up and share their fa­vorite tracks from any­thing oth­er than iTunes through your home the­ater sys­tem? Pan­do­ra, streamed wire­less­ly? As from with­in iTunes, you can stream to mul­ti­ple de­vices si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

We’ve tried out the soft­ware on both Macs and PCs, and it’s easy to down­load and in­stall. A free ver­sion is avail­able, with rea­son­able lim­i­ta­tions, and fam­i­ly packs are avail­able or you can pur­chase sin­gle li­cens­es for $25. You’ll need all of the de­vices on the same net­work (of course), but ours was split be­tween wired and wire­less de­vices in a va­ri­ety of con­fig­u­ra­tions and ev­ery de­vice was de­tect­ed with­out an is­sue. As with all Air­play au­dio, it won’t al­ways be per­fect­ly synched across all play­back de­vices- we found there to be au­di­ble de­lay when us­ing mul­ti­ple sources re­gard­less of au­dio source, use of Air­foil, wired or wire­less con­nec­tion. But Air­foil gives you, sim­ply, the abil­i­ty to broad­en your Air­play hori­zon be­yond iTunes, a fea­ture that is quite handy. If in doubt, we def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend you try it out. And the lat­est ver­sion of the iOS app of­fers a bunch of new fea­tures, in­clud­ing re­mote con­trol of your com­put­er au­dio source, so you can ini­ti­ate the con­nec­tion from your iPad or iPhone.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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