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Has anybody been able to use Airplay 2 without the clicks/crackling sound?

PeterOo

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There are numerous reports on ASR about clicks/crackling sound when using Airplay 2. Most thorough discussion seems to be this.

Did anybody get to the bottom of this problem with crackling/clicking noise over Airplay (2)? The solution for Airport Express seems to be a firmware downgrade and return to Airplay 1, but I get this noise on all my Airplay devices and it is driving me nuts!

You can easily hear the clicks/crackling using a test tone (e.g. Spotify 1000 Hz -10 dB). With music it is not always that apparent.

Here is an example of what it sounds like. The pattern of the clicks changes every time. Sometimes random, sometimes regular (speeding up then slowing down).

I tried devices:
Harman Kardon Citation Amp (wired or WiFi)
B&W Zeppelin Air 30-pin. Was Airplay 1 unless a FW update made it Airplay 2. Is there a way to check?

Sources:
iPad Air 3
iPhone 11
LMS on RPi4 using Airplay Bridge Plugin. Either local music or LMS signal generator. Switching 16/24 bits or the sampling frequency on the signal generator did not fix the problem.

Networks (reported signal strength always perfect):
TP-Link C3150 (Ethernet/WiFi or WiFi). Distance < 1m
Personal Hotspot on iphone 11 (connected Citation Amp and iPad). Distance between devices <1m.
Apple Airport Extreme base station (4th generation) configured as AP. Disconnecting ethernet cable to rest of network did not make a difference.

The Citation Amp has perfect playback over Spotify Connect or Bluetooth. But that excludes the use of Apple Music.

Is everybody with Airplay 2 devices (still) having this problem?
Is the only known solution reverting back to Airplay 1 devices?
 
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Could it be that Airport Express is now an obsolete product, no longer supported by Apple? Even the latest version, A1392 had been off the market since 2018.

I use AirPlay to send audio to my devices (Denon, Apple HomePod, B&W Zeppelin) all the time and never had any "clicks/crackling."
 
Never had any issues with my iPhones and iPads. We use AirPort Extreme routers in our home.
 
I have four Airport Express second gen in use. All running 7.8.1. No clicks or crackling sounds on any of them.

I'm use iPhones, iPad, and MacBook as sources.

I did pick up a WiiM Pro to play with. Works just like the Airport Expresses for me.
 
I have four Airport Express second gen in use. All running 7.8.1. No clicks or crackling sounds on any of them.

I'm use iPhones, iPad, and MacBook as sources.

I did pick up a WiiM Pro to play with. Works just like the Airport Expresses for me.
Also not when listening to test tones? I noticed first when I was doing some frequency sweeps, but did not notice it when playing music.
That does surprise me. I understood that for the Airport Express 2n gen. this was a bug in the firmware that could only be solved by downgrading and was never fixed. Never knew not all installations were affected. Puzzles me what the reason for these clicks is then?
BTW I am not using an AE myself.
 
Also not when listening to test tones? I noticed first when I was doing some frequency sweeps, but did not notice it when playing music.
That does surprise me. I understood that for the Airport Express 2n gen. this was a bug in the firmware that could only be solved by downgrading and was never fixed. Never knew not all installations were affected. Puzzles me what the reason for these clicks is then?
BTW I am not using an AE myself.
Don't think I've used Airplay for test tones. When doing test tones, I connect via USB to a miniDSP device and run test tones via REW or DIRAC on my laptop over USB to the miniDSP device I'm using as a DAC/DSP/Pre-amp.
 
Could it be that Airport Express is now an obsolete product, no longer supported by Apple? Even the latest version, A1392 had been off the market since 2018.

I use AirPlay to send audio to my devices (Denon, Apple HomePod, B&W Zeppelin) all the time and never had any "clicks/crackling."
I do not use an AE myself and the zeppelin is rather old and the last firmware update is from 2015, but the Citation Amp was introduced less than just over 2 years ago, although the firmware seems to suggest it is from September 2020.
Could it be they implemented an old version of the Airplay protocol in the Citation Amp instead of the fixed version in the devices you are using?
The status page says Airplay version : 366.0. Newer version do show up online in other devices, but not sure if that means anything and they are referring to the same software.

It would be helpful to know what is causing the clicks, but I could not find anybody who found a clear cause or solution. I assume your Zeppelin is newer than the 30-pin Zeppelin Air?
 
Last edited:
Don't think I've used Airplay for test tones. When doing test tones, I connect via USB to a miniDSP device and run test tones via REW or DIRAC on my laptop over USB to the miniDSP device I'm using as a DAC/DSP/Pre-amp.
If you just play a constant tone on Spotify, Youtube or from mp3 it would be easy to pickup, if your AEs are suffering from this problem. It is harder to detect reliably in music.
 
I assume your Zeppelin is newer than the 30-pin Zeppelin Air?
it’s the 2021 model which is current.

Have you checked if your router is the cause by trying a different unit, or changing the Wi-Fi frequency bands?
 
There are numerous reports on ASR about clicks/crackling sound when using Airplay 2. Most thorough discussion seems to be this.

Did anybody get to the bottom of this problem with crackling/clicking noise over Airplay (2)? The solution for Airport Express seems to be a firmware downgrade and return to Airplay 1, but I get this noise on all my Airplay devices and it is driving me nuts!

You can easily hear the clicks/crackling using a test tone (e.g. Spotify 1000 Hz -10 dB). With music it is not always that apparent.

Here is an example of what it sounds like. The pattern of the clicks changes every time. Sometimes random, sometimes regular (speeding up then slowing down).

I tried devices:
Harman Kardon Citation Amp (wired or WiFi)
B&W Zeppelin Air 30-pin. Was Airplay 1 unless a FW update made it Airplay 2. Is there a way to check?

Sources:
iPad Air 3
iPhone 11
LMS on RPi4 using Airplay Bridge Plugin. Either local music or LMS signal generator. Switching 16/24 bits or the sampling frequency on the signal generator did not fix the problem.

Networks (reported signal strength always perfect):
TP-Link C3150 (Ethernet/WiFi or WiFi). Distance < 1m
Personal Hotspot on iphone 11 (connected Citation Amp and iPad). Distance between devices <1m.
Apple Airport Extreme base station (4th generation) configured as AP. Disconnecting ethernet cable to rest of network did not make a difference.

The Citation Amp has perfect playback over Spotify Connect or Bluetooth. But that excludes the use of Apple Music.

Is everybody with Airplay 2 devices (still) having this problem?
Is the only known solution reverting back to Airplay 1 devices?
I and my family use Airplay 2 with multiple iPhones, iPads, Apple TV and never had a click or pop. Now I have retired 2 Airport Express, and now use RPI / Dietpi. Still I don’t recall ever having issues with the Express units either.
 
it’s the 2021 model which is current.

Have you checked if your router is the cause by trying a different unit, or changing the Wi-Fi frequency bands?
Thanks.
I tried three network configurations: 1) via my TP-link C3150 router (iphone/ipad wifi, citation Amp wired),
2) personal hotspot with ipad and Amp connected to iphone,
and 3) zeppelin and iphone or ipad connected on separate network on Airport Extreme.
All thee networks give clicks, so although this is not definitive proof, I think the network is not the problem (Or all 3 have this problem)

Airplay from my macbook using Airfoil also gives clicks, but no retries are reported by Airfoil.

update: I have no clicks whit Airplay from ipad or iphone to Nvidia Shield running the Airpin pro app. Shield is standing next to citation amp and also wired to C3150 router.
So proper airplay is possible on my network. Might point in the direction of an old Airplay protocol version on Zeppelin and Citation Amp, but not on the Airpin app.

It seems most reports for AE and streamers of this problem were from 2021, so my Citation Amp and Zeppelin might need new firmware. (Last FW from 2020 and 2015 resp).

I think I will take this up with HK support. It would be very helpful if anyone would know what changed in the Airplay protocol in 2021, so I can point HK in the right direction.

although I am already waiting for 1.5 year for other confirmed bugs to be fixed. So I am not getting my hopes up.
The zeppelin is probably no longer supported.
 
Airplay problems with sources:
1. Macbook Pro M1 13
2. iPad Air M1
3. Macbook Air 2012 13
Sinks:
1. Argon Audio Solo
2. Samsung Q60R
3. Marantz Cinema 60

Tried wired/wireless, any combination.

Tried Hi Res, Lossless, Lossy Apple Music Audio Quality.

No improvements. WTH??? I thought that was only me. Shouldn't we complain massively to Apple? Definitely I sense a problem there.
No problems with Chromecast Audio or with Spotify Connect.
 
Shouldn't we complain massively to Apple?
It's likely not an Apple problem. More likely something in your network environment.

Are any of your components near magnetic sources, power sources? Do you have a adequate router?
 
Airplay problems with sources:
1. Macbook Pro M1 13
2. iPad Air M1
3. Macbook Air 2012 13
Sinks:
1. Argon Audio Solo
2. Samsung Q60R
3. Marantz Cinema 60

Tried wired/wireless, any combination.

Tried Hi Res, Lossless, Lossy Apple Music Audio Quality.

No improvements. WTH??? I thought that was only me. Shouldn't we complain massively to Apple? Definitely I sense a problem there.
No problems with Chromecast Audio or with Spotify Connect.
The same short clicks I experience?
sounds like single samples missing. Bad wifi would also cause longer drop-outs and disconnects.
 
The same short clicks I experience?
sounds like single samples missing.
You can’t hear a single sample missing. It will be at 44.1kHz…
 
If you just play a constant tone on Spotify, Youtube or from mp3 it would be easy to pickup, if your AEs are suffering from this problem. It is harder to detect reliably in music.
Well I just went down a test tone rabbit hole :)

Tried a bunch of test tones. Got some funny looks from our dogs but no pops or crackles.
 
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