Under The Microscope

Now Playing: Airfoil for Windows 5!

Airfoil IconIt’s a very big day here at Rogue Amoeba, as we’re now shipping major upgrades to both Airfoil for Mac and Airfoil for Windows! If you’re unfamiliar with Airfoil, it’s our tool for playing audio from your computer to remote speakers anywhere on your network. Now you can hear the music from your computer anywhere you like. Airfoil gives you your audio, everywhere.

This post is dedicated to the brand-new version 5.0 of Airfoil for Windows.1 If you’re a Mac user, please be sure to read the corresponding Airfoil for Mac post.

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Bluetooth Joins the Party

Perhaps the biggest change in Airfoil is that it now supports sending audio to Bluetooth devices. Airfoil has always been able to send audio to AirPlay outputs, like the Apple TV and AirPort Express. Now, it also works with the thousands of different Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and headsets available. With Airfoil 5, you can stream a single application’s audio to a Bluetooth device (or multiple Bluetooth devices!), and keep the rest of your audio on your computer.2

Powerful Audio Capture Improvements

The audio capture engine used by Airfoil for Windows has been completely rewritten for version 5, and it’s more robust than ever before. It’s now possible to capture audio from any application on-demand, without needing to quit and relaunch that app. As well, the new Airfoil can capture audio from both 32-bit and 64-bit apps, including applications downloaded from the Windows Store! With Airfoil 5, you can stream anything you like.

Team It Up With Airfoil Satellite

Airfoil for Windows 5.0 includes full compatibility with the new Airfoil Satellite applications, available for iOS, Windows, and Mac.3 If you want to hear your computer’s audio on another computer or iOS device, just run the free Airfoil Satellite there. Airfoil will see it and enable you to send audio to it! Airfoil Satellite also offers remote control of both supported source applications, as well as Airfoil itself. Now you can control playback, toggle outputs off and on, and much more, all remotely.

A Shiny New Interface

Airfoil for Windows and Airfoil Satellite for Windows have both been improved, all without changing too much. The interface will still be familiar to users of older versions of Airfoil, but it also features many improvements. There are improvements like longer volume sliders in Airfoil’s main window, as well as beautiful new graphics. Meanwhile Airfoil Satellite has been updated to include the new controls for controlling Airfoil, while retaining all that the previous “Airfoil Speakers” application offered.

Many More Great Additions

Of course, there’s much more to see in Airfoil 5, including:

  • Speaker Groups – A group is a collection of multiple speakers which appears as one in Airfoil’s main window. Use a Group to send audio to multiple outputs with a single click. Create one group for all the speakers in your house, or divide your speakers into zones. Now you can send audio exactly where you want even faster.

  • Silence Monitor – Great for workplace or shared home setups, the new silence monitor allows Airfoil to automatically disconnect itself when it’s streaming silence. The output device is then freed up for others to use.

  • Hide Speakers – If you regularly connect to a shared network which contains devices you don’t control, you may wish to hide them entirely from Airfoil. Now you can do so, from the “Advanced Speaker Options” window.

  • Adjust Sync – Airfoil automatically keeps all outputs completely in sync. However, there may be rare situations where you wish to adjust this, such as when an output is connected to a receiver which adds its own latency. The new Sync sliders in the “Advanced Speaker Options” window make this possible.

Try Airfoil for Windows 5 Right Now


Use Airfoil to send any audio from your computer throughout your house. Airfoil gives you your audio, everywhere, and the best way to experience it is to try it out yourself. Airfoil for Windows 5.0 is available for immediate download. You can visit the Airfoil for Windows page for more details or just download the free trial immediately. Airfoil works on Windows 7 and higher, and it’s fully functional in its trial mode, so you can explore all that it offers.

Download Airfoil for Windows Now

When you’re ready to purchase Airfoil for Windows, get it exclusively in our online store.

Discounts for Previous Airfoil Owners

As always, we’ll be providing free upgrades to recent purchasers of Airfoil. If you purchased Airfoil on or after November 1st, 2015, you’ll be grandfathered in to version 5. We’ve sent you an email with details, so just check your inbox.

If you previously purchased Airfoil for Windows 3 (or earlier) before November 1st, 2015, you’re eligible to upgrade to version 5 for just $15. Download the new version to try it out, then use our form to access the heavily discounted upgrade.

Enjoy!

We’re delighted to get this major upgrade into your hands, and we hope you’ll be glad to have it! You can learn more about the new version on the Airfoil for Windows page, then download it and try it out. Let us know any questions or feedback you have right here.


Footnotes:

  1. The most recent version of Airfoil for Windows prior to today was 3.6.7, and now we’re shipping 5.0. That means we skipped Airfoil for Windows version 4 entirely! Microsoft set the precedent of skipping whole version numbers, and we’re just following their lead. In all seriousness though, we wanted to reflect the fact that Airfoil for Windows and Airfoil for Mac now have a nearly identical feature sets, and having the major version number match is one way to emphasize that.
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  2. The support for sending to Bluetooth devices in Airfoil for Windows 5.0 is currently labeled as “experimental”. We’ve tested it extensively, and expect it should work well for most users. However, if you run into any issues, please get in touch. We’ve also got some improvements and updates planned to enhance things for users with multiple Bluetooth speakers, so watch for further updates. ↩︎

  3. If you previously used “Airfoil Speakers” on Windows or iOS, the new Airfoil Satellite replaces it entirely. You should install Airfoil Satellite on any devices you like, and delete the old “Airfoil Speakers” application. ↩︎

Piezo 1.5 Arrives; Piezo Exits the Mac App Store

Piezo IconToday, we’re pleased to be shipping a new version of our simple audio recorder Piezo, with version 1.5 now available for download. This update brings more powerful recording to Piezo, thanks to the Instant On extra. Instant On makes it possible for Piezo to capture audio from already-running applications, as well as from several hard-to-capture applications like the Safari and Chrome web browsers, FaceTime, and more. Piezo 1.5 is a free update, and we strongly encourage everyone to move to it immediately.

How to Update to Piezo 1.5

Today’s update also brings with it a rather large change on the distribution side. Piezo is no longer being sold through the Mac App Store; it is now available exclusively via direct download from our site.

If you’ve previously purchased Piezo directly from us, you can quickly update by opening Piezo and selecting “Check for Update” from the Piezo menu. This will install the latest version, and that’s all you need to do. Enjoy the update, and happy recording!

If you purchased Piezo from the Mac App Store, however, you need to complete a brief, one-time migration process to the directly distributed version of the app. We’ll provide you with a complimentary license key to unlock the direct version. Here’s all you need to do:

Step #1: Click to download Piezo 1.5 directly from our site.

Step #2: Upon opening the new version of Piezo, Mac App Store buyers should see a brief explanatory dialog.1 Click the “Obtain Free License” button to go to visit our site.


The dialog Piezo 1.5 will show Mac App Store buyers

Note that Piezo will be in trial mode until you unlock it, so be sure to get your license key before recording with Piezo.

Step #3: Fill out the form in our store to receive your complimentary license key.

That’s it! Once you’ve got your license key, you should be all set. Enter the key into Piezo to unlock the full version.


Piezo’s license window, awaiting a license key

You’re now transitioned to the directly-distributed version, and you’ll be able to get all future updates, from right within the app. You can also delete the old Mac App Store version of Piezo by placing it in the Trash.

Exiting the Mac App Store

We know users may have questions about our decision to stop selling Piezo through the Mac App Store. Please read on if you’re interested in more details on this change.

A major reason for the initial creation of Piezo was our desire to allow recording from other applications on the Mac within the limits of what Apple’s Mac App Store rules allowed. We were pleased to provide audio capture to customers of the Mac App Store, and for a time, things worked just fine. However, Apple eventually changed the rules, requiring that all applications distributed through the Mac App Store be sandboxed. This was a problem. Piezo’s need to capture audio from other applications precludes the possibility of it being sandboxed. This new requirement effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way.

This was fine for some time, however, as Piezo was in solid shape. We focused on our premier audio recorder Audio Hijack, and put aside plans for major updates to Piezo. Over time, however, changes made in newer versions of Mac OS X actually reduced the functionality Piezo could offer. The app gradually lost the ability to capture audio from several key Apple applications, including Safari. When that occurred, we recommended that folks use Google’s Chrome browser with Piezo instead. Recently, a Chrome update broke Piezo’s ability to capture that application as well. It was clearly time to do something.

We’ve always had a back-up plan for Piezo, in the form of our Instant On audio capture extra. Instant On is used by several of our other applications like Audio Hijack and Airfoil for Mac to provide powerful audio capture. If we configured Piezo to install and use Instant On, it would regain the ability to capture from Safari, Chrome, and any other application on the Mac. The problem? Installing additional components is not allowed in the Mac App Store. We could either keep Piezo in the Mac App Store, or we could improve it by making it use Instant On, but we could not do both.

We’d like to provide customers with the option of buying Piezo through the Mac App Store, but it’s more important to us that we provide a quality product with full functionality. In the case of Piezo, that now means exclusively distributing the application via our site. Users have always had the option of downloading and buying Piezo direct, so this didn’t involve much in the way of additional work. The biggest issue was simply choosing to remove Piezo from the Mac App Store. Ultimately, we feel the decision was made for us by both technical and bureaucratic factors outside of our control.

The Mac App Store itself also has some serious problems. Others have covered these issues in-depth over the past few years. Rich Siegel of Bare Bones Software gave a powerful overview of many of the problems developers face when selling in the Mac App Store in his 2014 Max Q presentation.

While the App Store has many shortcomings, it’s the onerous rules and restrictions Apple has for selling through the Mac App Store which pose the biggest problem. The type of software we make is precluded from being sold through the store, particularly now that sandboxing is a requirement, and Apple has shown no signs of relaxing those restrictions. Fortunately, unlike iOS, the Mac platform is still open. We’re able to distribute and sell direct to our customers, right from our site. We’ve got almost 15 years of experience and success doing just that, and we have no plans to stop.

So What About Fission?

Piezo IconUsers may be aware that we have one other product in the Mac App Store, our audio editor Fission. At present, Fission is still available in the Mac App Store, and we have no current plans to remove it. Like all of our software, Fission is also available for direct purchase from our store. Of course, our customers need not worry that Fission might eventually follow Piezo out of the Mac App Store. If Fission does eventually leave the Mac App Store, we’ll migrate customers to the directly-distributed version, just as we’ve done today with Piezo.

The Future

We understand that some customers prefer making their purchases through the Mac App Store. Paying with your Apple ID is convenient, as is having all your software available for install on a new machine with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, the downsides of the Mac App Store have grown too great for us to continue selling Piezo through it. Only by leaving the Mac App Store can we provide an acceptable level of quality and functionality for our app.

We will certainly keep an eye on changes Apple may make to the Mac App Store, and consider it for the distribution of future applications. However, at this time, it’s simply not a suitable platform for the majority of our software. We always strive to provide you with the very best products and experience we can. The clear path to doing that is by distributing and selling Piezo exclusively through our site.


Footnotes:

  1. If you don’t see this dialog, be sure you’ve downloaded the now-deprecated Piezo 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store and launched it at least once on your Mac. This step is necessary for the new Piezo to automatically detect that you’re a Mac App Store customer who needs to be moved to the direct version. Once your migration is complete, you can delete the old Piezo.↩︎

Check Out Fission 2.3

Fission IconIf you’re a user of our audio editor Fission, we’ve got a new version available for download right now! Fission 2.3 brings several new features, along with many small enhancements. Most notably, Fission can now add chapter marks to MP3 files! And of course, it can also edit existing chapterized MP3 files! MP3 chapters are especially handy for podcasters, and we’re happy to offer support for this useful update to the MP3 format. While not all audio players support chapters in MP3s yet, more will certainly add support over time.

There are also many improvements and bug fixes in this update. Fission’s MP3 encoding has also been drastically sped up, for faster file exporting. When a damaged file is loaded in Fission, it will now visually display bad packets in the waveform.

Open Fission and get the free update now by selecting “Check for Update” from the Fission menu. If you haven’t used our simple audio editor before, visit the Fission page to learn more and download the free trial.

Mac App Store Update Coming Shortly

The Fission 2.3 update is temporarily available only to users who purchased Fission from our store. We’ve submitted Fission 2.3 to the Mac App Store and we’re waiting for it to clear Apple’s review process. We hope to have this update available there soon.


Update (February 16th, 2016): Fission 2.3 is now available for Mac App Store users as well. Enjoy!

Loopback Is a Winner!

Loopback IconJust under a month ago, we unveiled our newest application, Loopback. It provides a cable-free way to route audio all around your Mac, between applications and audio devices. Following Loopback’s release a few weeks ago, we’ve been thrilled to receive a great deal of positive feedback about it.

Loopback has been covered in-depth by sites like MacNN and Lifehacker. We’ve also heard from individual users with comments like one proclaiming Loopback an “instant buy” and another which stated that it “fixed their entire workflow”. Best of all are the glowing reviews, such as a fantastic 4.5 mice rating from Macworld and a 9 out of 10 score from MyMac.

Multiple outlets have correctly noted that Loopback isn’t for everyone. As Daring Fireball’s John Gruber said, “This is the sort of app few people need, but for those who need it, it’s a godsend”. If you’re someone who’s looking for the power of a high-end studio mixing board, without the high-end price tag, Loopback is for you. It’s a tremendously powerful tool for podcasters, screencasters, audio techs, and more. If Loopback sounds interesting, click to learn more and download the free trial. We think you’ll be glad you did!

Now Arriving: Loopback

It’s not often that we get to release a brand-new product here at Rogue Amoeba, so today is a special day. We’re very pleased to introduce our newest application:

Loopback - Cable-Free Audio Routing

Loopback gives you incredible control over how audio is routed between applications and devices on your Mac. With just a few clicks, you can easily pass audio directly from one application to another. Loopback’s virtual audio devices make it trivial to arrange complex audio setups that were difficult or even impossible before. It’s like having a high-end studio mixing board right inside your computer, with no physical wires required!

Loopback: What Is It Good For?

Absolutely all your audio routing needs! Here are just a few examples of what Loopback can help you do.

Play Audio to All Podcast Guests

Take audio from your physical microphone and combine it with audio sources like iTunes or QuickTime Player. Presto! Your guests on Skype will hear your voice, as well your sound effects and musical add-ons.

Combine Multiple Hardware Devices

Audio apps like GarageBand, Logic, and Ableton Live only allow you to record from a single audio device at a time. Thankfully, these apps can record from nearly infinite channels. With Loopback, you can combine multiple physical input devices into a single virtual device with many channels, for easy recording in any application.

Create Top-Notch Screencasts

Screen recording tools like QuickTime Player tend to allow you to include either audio from a microphone or all the audio from your system. Neither of these options tends to be ideal. With Loopback, you can record audio from both the microphone and the application being filmed, so you get just the audio you need.

Loopback’s Secret

Loopback Virtual Audio Devices

So how does Loopback do all this, and more? The secret to Loopback’s power lies in its ability to create ”virtual audio devices”. These are system-level audio devices which can be used in real-time by other audio applications on your Mac. These virtual devices appear throughout your system exactly the way a physical device like a microphone would.

However, virtual audio devices are far more powerful than a mere microphone. They can merge the sound from applications (like iTunes or Skype) and inputs (like microphones and physical mixers), bundling it all up into a single source. You can then select your virtual audio device in any audio processing application to get your audio exactly where it’s needed.

Loopback Screenshot
A Virtual Audio Device Created in Loopback

Above, we’ve made a simple virtual audio device called “Mic & iTunes”, which merges the sound from a physical USB microphone with music from iTunes. If we set this as our input in a VoIP application like Skype or FaceTime, the person on the other end will hear the audio spoken into the mic, as well as songs played in iTunes. Nice!

Pass-Thru Devices

Those who’ve previously used the open-source tool “Soundflower” will be familiar with the idea of passing audio directly from one application to another. Without any additional configuration, virtual audio devices made with Loopback will work in a similar mode. We call these “pass-thru devices”. A pass-thru device doesn’t gather any audio on its own, but it will appear as both an audio input and an audio output throughout the system.

Loopback Screenshot

Because pass-thru devices appear in all audio selectors throughout Mac OS X, you can use them to pipe audio directly between applications. Sending applications play their audio into a pass-thru device by configuring it as their audio output. On the other end, receiving applications pull audio out of the pass-thru device by selecting it as their audio input. Loopback provides a system for passing audio directly between applications and modernizes the necessary infrastructure to transport it reliably.

Loopback Screenshot

Try It Now

Loopback IconLoopback offers incredible power and control over how audio is handled on your Mac, and it’s sure to be useful in hundreds of different ways. The best way to experience it is to try it out yourself. Loopback 1.0 is available for immediate download. You can visit the Loopback page for more details or just download the free trial immediately. Loopback works on Mac OS X 10.9 and higher, and it’s fully functional in its trial mode, so you can explore all that it offers.

Once you’re ready to purchase the full version of Loopback, just visit our online store.

Download Loopback Now

More to Come, Of Course

As you’d expect with a brand-new product, this is just the beginning. We’re extremely grateful to our top-notch beta testers, who helped us improve Loopback immensely. Now, we’ll be listening for even more feedback. Get in touch to let us know how you use Loopback or what you’d like to see in the future!