Minimize airfoil audio delay

Before Apple introduces an easy airplay management directly into osX with Mavericks, Rogue Amoeba Airfoil was the most convenient solution to stream your music on your airplay compatible speakers. However, Airfoil still proposes several interesting improvements compared to the Apple build-in solution.  In particular, it allows to stream a specific audio source from your mac ( whereas Apple solution stream either the entire system sounds or iTunes music) and manage multiple Airplay output in the same time.

Airfoil is clearly a very convenient solution but it has a major drawback compare to the native Airplay support : it introduces a notable audio delay during streaming ( ~2 seconds ). This does not sounds as a big deal but it is clearly a bit frustrating days after days, and it prevent to use it in cases where latency is a bottleneck e.g. using Airplay speakers as Garageband output for instance.

Airfoil users, I’ve a good news : there is a workaround to get rid with this delay !

Just before the explanation I would precise the common tagline of every hack method :

Please note that I do not take any responsibility if something goes wrong with my method, you do it at your own risk for your software and hardware parts !

Okay, now it’s done here is the trick :

1- Launch Airfoil by double clicking the icon and maintaining  the left option/alt key. This will launch Airfoil debugging mode.

2- Check the “Realtime local playback ” option and set the speaker delay in seconds to “0.0”

2015-06-01 21h37m

3 – click Done and that’s it !

Airfoil now streams your audio outputs with a very low latency !

It is not clear what is the impact of this hack on the stability/performances of the Mac but I didn’t notice any differences.


[Edit june 2016]

Airfoil v5.x has a native setting for latency !

You can set the latency for each speaker in :

Speaker => Advanced Speaker Option


19 Comments on “Minimize airfoil audio delay”

  1. I can’t get this working in Windows 10. I mean, I cannot get the debug settings to show up by holding Alt while launching the application. Any suggestions?

  2. Mike says:

    Hold shift key to open debug window, but Beyond that I could not find the delay option available after being activated

  3. Stetson says:

    I have the debug window up but there is no such hidden preference. What version of Airfoil does this work with? I have v5.0.2

  4. Stetson says:

    My delay problem is between the video and audio. If they are both delayed, there is no problem. If they travel together from my MAC to the Apple TV and to the TV it seems the should remain in sync. I will report back. Thanks again.

  5. fr0st1292 says:

    do you know where I can obtain the older version with the latency option? It’s not available in the latest airfoil for windows or mac. I’m having some extreme latency issues streaming from a windows PC to my macbook (trying to use macbook as an external speaker).

  6. The new delay option only makes a -1 +1 seconds delay available… that’s very much not enough.

  7. DeeBanks says:

    Delay issues big time in V 5 – where are instructions on how to set the sync – If I chose ‘sync’ on the speaker choice, it does not sync?

  8. Mark FIsher says:

    I contacted Rogue Amoeba about this to see if the option still existed in version 5 to remove all latency, and if I could get to it in Windows. Their reply was emphatically no:

    “The latency is for AirPlay hardware, and also to keep that in sync with the other formats that Airfoil now supports (Bluetooth and Chromecast). No, there is no way to eliminate it, and the debugging setting in that blog post references a setting in Airfoil for Mac that no longer exists”

    So this is hardwired to 2s delay even if using AirFoil to route between non-Mac devices (e.g. Windows to my AV which has airplay built in).

    • Tetsu says:

      Thanks for this comment. I just needed an app that would let me listen to videos I play on the mac to my iOS devices. I guess Airfoil isn’t the app for this.

      • Alec Mackay says:

        If you are using VLC you can use the track synchronization window to introduce a -2s delay, which corrects for the Airfoil delay.

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