Reminder -- the iTunes ability to play to multiple speakers is not AirPlay 2, but is prett...

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Many years ago, Apple added the ability to play a music stream to multiple AirPlay-compatible devices, but this is not AirPlay 2 and doesn't work the quite the same way.




Yes, you can stream to multiple speakers with it. Yes, the speakers are more or less in sync with each other, allowing you to fill a whole house with music.

However, the iTunes streaming method to hit multiple targets doesn't pay any attention to any latency between the different general classes of speakers: wired, Bluetooth, and AirPlay. If you've got a Bluetooth speaker connected to your Mac, and you play to that plus a speaker wired to the computer, there can be a noticeable difference in the playback timeline because of buffering -- with a set of AirPlay speakers somewhere in the middle of the two.

If you're aware of this, though, you can make smart choices about it. For instance, playing only to similarly connected speakers, like just to AirPlay speakers, or only to locally wired speakers to the computer in question should keep the latency differences down to a bare minimum.

There is an app called WHAALE Multiroom Player for iOS that allows for similar behavior from an iPhone. It's not a free solution, but it allows users to set up a "soundstage" of multiple devices, in much the same way that iTunes allows now -- and AirPlay 2 will when it finally arrives.



Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,657member
    The various buffering delays haven't really been an issue for me. Even when all speakers are on, they're in different rooms and the others are not audible in that room. Even if my outdoor speakers are a couple seconds different from the LR speakers, nobody would ever notice.
    rare commentracerhomie3
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    lukeilukei Posts: 316member
    mike1 said:
    The various buffering delays haven't really been an issue for me. Even when all speakers are on, they're in different rooms and the others are not audible in that room. Even if my outdoor speakers are a couple seconds different from the LR speakers, nobody would ever notice.
    I would notice as would many!
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Never had any out of sync buffer delay mixing the follow:

    -Direct audio attached to a Mac 
    -Airplay from the Mac to 3 Apple TVs (1 forth generation over HDMI, 2 second generation over analog out) attached to stereo receivers.  
    -Airplay from the Mac  to 2 iHome WS2s over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to 4 iHome WS3 over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to Raspberry PI attached to stereo receiver.

    all the above at the same time and all are in sync via iTunes on a Mac.

    If I want to my iPhone provide the audio source, I can use a combination Airfoil Satellite for Mac  (and stream to the Mac) and Airfoil for Mac  (which distributes the incoming audio to other speakers) and Airfoil remote for iOS ( to control individual volumes of those outputs).

    I don't use the iPhone to drive the audio source so much as a remote for iTunes on the Mac because I don't like draining my iPhone's battery.
    If I do end up buying a HomePod, I'm not sure I would utilize Airplay 2 much for that same reason.  The battery life.

    edited February 26 StrangeDaysracerhomie3
  • Reply 5 of 14
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
    I don't think anything other than Sonos provides stereo?
  • Reply 6 of 14
    jeff_cook said:
    Never had any out of sync buffer delay mixing the follow:

    -Direct audio attached to a Mac 
    -Airplay from the Mac to 3 Apple TVs (1 forth generation over HDMI, 2 second generation over analog out) attached to stereo receivers.  
    -Airplay from the Mac  to 2 iHome WS2s over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to 4 iHome WS3 over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to Raspberry PI attached to stereo receiver.

    all the above at the same time and all are in sync via iTunes on a Mac.

    If I want to my iPhone provide the audio source, I can use a combination Airfoil Satellite for Mac  (and stream to the Mac) and Airfoil for Mac  (which distributes the incoming audio to other speakers) and Airfoil remote for iOS ( to control individual volumes of those outputs).

    I don't use the iPhone to drive the audio source so much as a remote for iTunes on the Mac because I don't like draining my iPhone's battery.
    If I do end up buying a HomePod, I'm not sure I would utilize Airplay 2 much for that same reason.  The battery life.

    I suspect you are right regarding poor battery life if using Airplay 2 from a phone. But I also don't think that is the primary expected use case for the HomePod. HomePod seems to be primarily designed to play Apple Music which it draws directly from Apple's servers, not from a local device. Of course, just because that is Apple's intention, it doesn't mean users won't use HomePod differently (and the lack of support for non-Apple Music sources certainly means local device support is more relevant than it needs to be).
    jeff_cook
  • Reply 7 of 14
    jeff_cook said:
    Never had any out of sync buffer delay mixing the follow:

    -Direct audio attached to a Mac 
    -Airplay from the Mac to 3 Apple TVs (1 forth generation over HDMI, 2 second generation over analog out) attached to stereo receivers.  
    -Airplay from the Mac  to 2 iHome WS2s over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to 4 iHome WS3 over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to Raspberry PI attached to stereo receiver.

    all the above at the same time and all are in sync via iTunes on a Mac.

    If I want to my iPhone provide the audio source, I can use a combination Airfoil Satellite for Mac  (and stream to the Mac) and Airfoil for Mac  (which distributes the incoming audio to other speakers) and Airfoil remote for iOS ( to control individual volumes of those outputs).

    I don't use the iPhone to drive the audio source so much as a remote for iTunes on the Mac because I don't like draining my iPhone's battery.
    If I do end up buying a HomePod, I'm not sure I would utilize Airplay 2 much for that same reason.  The battery life.

    I suspect you are right regarding poor battery life if using Airplay 2 from a phone. But I also don't think that is the primary expected use case for the HomePod. HomePod seems to be primarily designed to play Apple Music which it draws directly from Apple's servers, not from a local device. Of course, just because that is Apple's intention, it doesn't mean users won't use HomePod differently (and the lack of support for non-Apple Music sources certainly means local device support is more relevant than it needs to be).
    I have been using airplay to the Homepod from my phone or Ipad while working from home. It's not nearly as hard on battery life as bluetooth streaming is. I can easily make it through my day air playing music from Applemusic or videos from youtube and still have plenty of battery left at the end of an 8 hour day. Example...today I didn't charge my iphone 8 plus last night..started my day with 47% I have been playing music almost non stop since 1pm est. After 3 hours my phone is @ 24%.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 14
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 198member
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
    Wirelessly?  Keeping things precisely sync'd to support accurate stereo is trickier than you think. So far AFAIK, the only product doing this at all is the AirPods.  Fabulously I might add. It is one of those things that MUST work flawlessly when it is released. No do-over.
    edited February 26 StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 14
    jeff_cook said:
    Never had any out of sync buffer delay mixing the follow:

    -Direct audio attached to a Mac 
    -Airplay from the Mac to 3 Apple TVs (1 forth generation over HDMI, 2 second generation over analog out) attached to stereo receivers.  
    -Airplay from the Mac  to 2 iHome WS2s over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to 4 iHome WS3 over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to Raspberry PI attached to stereo receiver.

    all the above at the same time and all are in sync via iTunes on a Mac.

    If I want to my iPhone provide the audio source, I can use a combination Airfoil Satellite for Mac  (and stream to the Mac) and Airfoil for Mac  (which distributes the incoming audio to other speakers) and Airfoil remote for iOS ( to control individual volumes of those outputs).

    I don't use the iPhone to drive the audio source so much as a remote for iTunes on the Mac because I don't like draining my iPhone's battery.
    If I do end up buying a HomePod, I'm not sure I would utilize Airplay 2 much for that same reason.  The battery life.

    I suspect you are right regarding poor battery life if using Airplay 2 from a phone. But I also don't think that is the primary expected use case for the HomePod. HomePod seems to be primarily designed to play Apple Music which it draws directly from Apple's servers, not from a local device. Of course, just because that is Apple's intention, it doesn't mean users won't use HomePod differently (and the lack of support for non-Apple Music sources certainly means local device support is more relevant than it needs to be).
    Thanks for the different perspective than my own.  If that’s the case the iPhone should be a lot more battery frugal as it’s not involved in the actual data path.  Only control signals to the HomePod.  Essential a remote.  Right. 

    An an even better use case would be the HomePod turned around and pushed the music it is fetching from Apple Music itself to airplay 1 devices. 
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
    Are you kidding? The speaker tech in the HP has only been seen in five-figure offerings. For 350 bucks. 

    The room correction applied after probing its own position isn’t simplistic DSP of frequency response, as the speaker has seven drivers that are used to create a beamforming speaker array,. so they can direct specific sound in specific directions. The only other speakers that do this is the Beolab 90, and Lexicon SL-1. The Beolab 90 is $85,000/pair”

    http://www.loopinsight.com/2018/01/24/on-homepod-and-audio-quality/
    edited February 26
  • Reply 11 of 14

    jeff_cook said:
    Never had any out of sync buffer delay mixing the follow:

    -Direct audio attached to a Mac 
    -Airplay from the Mac to 3 Apple TVs (1 forth generation over HDMI, 2 second generation over analog out) attached to stereo receivers.  
    -Airplay from the Mac  to 2 iHome WS2s over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to 4 iHome WS3 over wifi
    -Airplay from the Mac to Raspberry PI attached to stereo receiver.

    all the above at the same time and all are in sync via iTunes on a Mac.

    If I want to my iPhone provide the audio source, I can use a combination Airfoil Satellite for Mac  (and stream to the Mac) and Airfoil for Mac  (which distributes the incoming audio to other speakers) and Airfoil remote for iOS ( to control individual volumes of those outputs).

    I don't use the iPhone to drive the audio source so much as a remote for iTunes on the Mac because I don't like draining my iPhone's battery.
    If I do end up buying a HomePod, I'm not sure I would utilize Airplay 2 much for that same reason.  The battery life.

    I suspect you are right regarding poor battery life if using Airplay 2 from a phone. But I also don't think that is the primary expected use case for the HomePod. HomePod seems to be primarily designed to play Apple Music which it draws directly from Apple's servers, not from a local device. Of course, just because that is Apple's intention, it doesn't mean users won't use HomePod differently (and the lack of support for non-Apple Music sources certainly means local device support is more relevant than it needs to be).
    Here we go again. HomePod supports voice control for Apple Music, iTunes Match, and iTunes purchase history. It works as an AirPlay endpoint for any other audio source exactly as any other airplay wifi speaker.

    I have a $300 AirPlay speaker that I’ll be replacing with a HP. Mine doesn’t do anything except sit there as a dumb speaker until you beam an audio source to it, and it doesn’t even sound good. The HP clearly adds way more value than anything else in the entire AirPlay speaker category, but because its new voice controls don’t work with Spotify it’s all of a sudden a major calamity. Yeah no. 
    edited February 27
  • Reply 12 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,368member
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
    I don't think anything other than Sonos provides stereo?
    The HomePod does provide stereo,  The sound is all around you and has a real separation.  Don't assume that because it is in one enclosure there is no stereo.  We are not in the 1900's any more where you need two speaker eight feet apart and you need to be positioned in-between them and several feet in front to hear stereo, technology has moved on.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,695member
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
    I don't think anything other than Sonos provides stereo?
    The Home Max also provides stereo, including pairing if two or more. With that said if I was looking for a pair of really good stereo speakers I think I could do better than $700+ for a set. If not interested in the "smart" part there's better choices. 
  • Reply 14 of 14
    snookasnoosnookasnoo Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    gatorguy said:
    Users probably don't care how Apple does it, users just want HomePod stereo to be done and patiently waiting for it doesn't seem to be a viable option. I'm guessing every other smart speaker on the market can already do this function, so Apple would be considered lagging behind the entire smart speaker industry.
    I don't think anything other than Sonos provides stereo?
    The Home Max also provides stereo, including pairing if two or more. With that said if I was looking for a pair of really good stereo speakers I think I could do better than $700+ for a set. If not interested in the "smart" part there's better choices. 

    The Home Max sounds terrible and you get a google microphone in your home which is just creepy.
    Show me a smart speaker pair for $700 that beats the HomePod because there isn't one.
    You can use regular stereo speakers, amp etc for a $700 pair but even those don't have voice control let alone 360 sound.
    Some of use are familiar with what is out there you know.

Sign In or Register to comment.