Fixing AirParrot Audio Problems

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Viewing my WordPress stats, I discovered that many people visit this site looking for solutions to AirParrot audio issues. I have used AirParrot for some time and find it to be quite solid and stable. Mac OS X audio settings are in a central location, which seems to be the main issue. People often forget to look in System Preferences, as they assume the AirParrot user interface will have comprehensive control over AirParrot audio settings.

The other issues involve AirParrot’s interaction with other software, such as remote desktop software. When I use AirParrot with Splashtop, I need to have the software configured properly and start each component in the correct order. I took the time to figure this out so you don’t have to.

I am assuming that you have read and followed the instructions for installing the AirParrot audio drivers. By default, AirParrot does not have audio enabled. If you want audio support, select “Enable Audio” from the menu. The first time you enable audio for AirParrot, it needs to install some additional software. Follow the onscreen instructions.

Please refer to my tutorial on configuring AirParrot, for more information regarding the basic setup. No need to parrot myself!

If you are using AirParrot with a remote desktop application such as Splashtop, you should also refer to my tutorial. This will give you the correct steps and start-up sequence to get it working right. The order that AirParrot, remote software, and the video program are started is important.

If you are still unable to get sound on your AirPlay device, try the following:

1. Make sure audio is enabled. This is in the AirParrot menu at the top right of your screen, on the Mac OS X menu bar.

2. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Try quitting AirParrot and restarting it. Then re-connect to your AirPlay device, such as your Apple TV. I have had the occasional audio drop out. This is easily fixed by restarting AirParrot.

3. The main audio controls for the Mac are located in System Preferences → Sound. Please be aware that with the default Mac audio hardware, you can only have one audio device output at a time. When AirParrot installs its audio device, it is registered here. Make sure that AirParrot is the audio device selected for output.

AirParrot has a minor flaw. When you quit your AirParrot session, it does not return your audio output settings to your previous selection — typically Line Out or Internal Speakers. You may notice, after using AirParrot, your Mac is mute. Simply open System Preferences → Sound and select the appropriate device for your Mac’s audio output. Everything should work now.

If you are still experiencing audio problems, it could be that your CPU isn’t powerful enough. There are ways you can fix these problems without buying a new Mac… (continue…)

UPDATES:

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23 thoughts on “Fixing AirParrot Audio Problems

  1. Tried following the tutorial and setup, still no sound. On selecting the Apple TV as the airplay device, internal speakers are automatically selected, it will not stay on AirParrot as output device. I am thinking this is some kind of sound driver installation problem.
    My setup is exactly the same as yours except (oops) running mountain lion.

    • It could be a Mountain Lion specific issue. Have you tried using the AirPlay built into ML, or do you need a specific feature of AirParrot, like app-specific mirroring or extending the desktop?

    • Read my reply below to HeyJude… There’s some things you can try. If all else fails, just use the sound out of your Mac and transmit it into your TV room with a wireless audio transmitter — even something as inexpensive as an FM transmitter, sold at most drug stores for less than $20. Heck, I see some on Amazon for $3.50. Most people still have an FM radio somewhere, usually the stereo in their living room, a clock radio, etc.

  2. I’m running Mountain Lion, but my iMac is too old to support Air Play, so I got AirParrot. Video works fine through the Apple TV, but the sound keeps cutting in and out and crackling. Since AirPlay will support sound emanating from my iMac to Apple TV, I tried routing the sound through AirPlay, but when I do that it shuts down the AirParrot video connection to the Apple TV. Any suggestions?

    • Hey HeyJude… I think it may be a problem with not enough processing power on your iMac. Even though I have a Mac Pro, if I do AirParrot and play iTunes with a cpu-hungry visualizer, I hear audio drop-outs and sometimes it crashes. When you get a chance, run your AirParrot setup and look at the CPU stats (applications -> utilities -> activity monitor). If you see this “pegged out” near 100%, then my suspicion is correct.

      There are some things you can do. Let me know if this is the issue, and I will update my post with some suggestions. Just a few quick things you can try — 1) Lower the screen resolution on your Mac (should be about the res I mention in the AirParrot tutorial under “how to”). 2) Go to AirParrot preferences and alter the video quality and frames settings. 3) If you can get video out to your Apple TV, and audio out of your Mac, you can always look into another non-AirPlay way of getting audio into your TV room. A wireless audio transmitter will do fine. On the high end, there is the Amphony system, which I mention in the “Apple TV: Poor Audio Quality” article (under the Bad Apple section). On the low end, you can get a simple FM transmitter and tune into your Mac’s audio with a radio. These are really cheap, and you can even find them in drug stores nowadays. It’s much cheaper than a new Mac.

      I would go with the audio transmitter and disabling AirParrot’s audio, as you will get the best picture quality. Tuning down the video quality is probably not ideal, but it’s up to you…

      Oh, and also make sure to restart your Apple TV before a session. In fact, I would do the following: shut down your Mac, restart Apple TV and wait for it to come back up, start your Mac, then start AirParrot and only the content you are watching — make sure nothing else is running in the background. Apple TV, after all, is just a “hobby” for Apple. I love my Apple TV, but it is the most unreliable piece of Apple hardware I own.

      Anyway, let me know how your CPU is performing, as it will help me improve my article.

  3. BTW, if you want to keep up-to-date on what’s happening with this site, make sure to follow me on Twitter, G+, or Tumblr. The links to follow me are at the top of the page, right under the menu. Whenever I add or update an article, I use social networking to get the word out…

  4. I have Mountain Lion and all latest updates. I also have 14GB memory and it’s a brand new macbook pro.
    There is no audio coming out through airparrot. I’ve tried all suggestions above, restarted, etc…

    • Hmm… If you have a brand new Macbook Pro and Mountain Lion, doesn’t AirPlay screen mirroring work? I wouldn’t be too surprised, as Apple is a bit sloppy these days…

      In either event, if you can get AirParrot video but no audio, you can always use another method of getting the audio elsewhere — anything from RF transmitters to inexpensive wireless speakers.

      One thing that is often overlooked is the volume level. Make sure that AirParrot is selected as your sound output (in SystemPreferences > Sound) and make sure the volume is up on both your Mac and the program you are transmitting.

  5. great website!… I finally was able to configure my MacBook Pro (late2011) to work with AirParrots audio output. No hiccups so far as I’m testing watching soccer from Europe! This is awesome. I had to enable/disable, close AP and reopen it initially as stated in the troubleshooting steps.

  6. I followed your tutorials in an effort to remedy the problem with my AirParrot/AppleTV. When I bought it, it worked like a dream. That was Friday, today is Sunday and when attempting to use AirParrot, the audio was seemingly missing. I am running OSX 10.7.5 with an AppleTV 3. The AirParrot program is showing that the audio is streaming, but it’s so quiet that I have to max out my speakers to even hear it. No googling seems to uncover anyone else having had this problem… Any suggestions?

    • Have you tried turning up the volume on your Mac? Try using the volume keys on your Mac’s keyboard. If that doesn’t work, go to System Preferences > Sound, make sure that AirParrot is selected for output, and slide the volume control all the way to the right. If that doesn’t work, you may need to try some of the options on the last pages of “Fixing AirParrot Audio Problems”.

      If all of this worked before (on Friday), you might need to restart your Mac and your Apple TV (hold down the bottom select button and menu button for 6 seconds until the light flashes, or go to Settings > General > Restart).

  7. OMG! I just upgraded my 2009 quad core Mac Pro to Mountain Lion. AirPlay screen mirroring is NOT SUPPORTED! That’s flabbergasting. Oh well, I still have AirParrot and it works fine. It’s just surprising that a $2500 computer, that isn’t 4 years old, is not supported. But it appears that the capabilities need to be on the chip, so they say. Hmmm… Then how come AirParrot works?

    It’s academic. I bought AirParrot and I still have it. It’s a fallacy to believe that Apple can develop apps better than 3rd parties. Now I know why so many people visit my site for this AirParrot article. It’s still a necessary app for most Mac users. Very few Macs actually support Mountain Lion screen mirroring! I just assumed a 2009 quad core Mac Pro could cut the mustard… It has nothing to do with CPU power. One needs the right embedded system on the chip.

  8. Has anyone figured out how to get AirParrot to play audio both locally and remotely? I tried to create an ‘aggregate audio device’ to include both the Line Out and AirParrot outupts, but only got sound through the Line Out.

  9. I had trouble getting rid of the AirParrot sound driver after upgrading to Mavericks. Removing APExtFramebuffer.kext and AirParrotDriver.kext from /Library/Extensions did the trick.

  10. Help needed. My audio is working, BUT it is not sinking up with the video stream.
    It’s just slightly off, but it’s enough to drive one crazy.

    • What are the specs on you system? Take a look at CPU activity as shown in the article and let me know what you see. You might need to adjust AirParrot to use a little less CPU — lower the frame rate or make other adjustments. These are detailed in the article.

      My hunch is that if you are using AirParrot, you have an older Mac or a Windows PC. You may have to fine tune AirParrot. Also, make sure to close other apps. You should just have AirParrot and your video app or web browser running.

  11. I’ve been following this blog trail in the hopes of fixing my own audio streaming problem. I have tried everything. You know what finally worked? Turning everything off and on again just like he recommended. Restart Apple TV- restart computer-restart air parrot. Finally, the “enable audio” button held on Air Parrot when I selected “Apple TV” from devices on Air Parrot. Of course I also went into my preferences for Sound and selected Air Parrot which I hadn’t done before. But until I did all the shutdown, it didn’t work. Wow.

    • Have you tried adjusting the resolution on your Mac or Windows machine? If not, give that a try. Try to get it as close to the target resolution as possible. If you have an apple TV 2, it runs at 720p, so 1280×720 is a good resolution for your computer. If you are using an Apple TV 3, try 1920×1080, or as close as you can get. Also, go to AirParrot Preferences and make sure that underscan is set to 0%.

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