AirFoil 5.0 adds multiple Bluetooth speaker support, speaker groups

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Rogue Amoeba has released Airfoil for Windows 5.0 and Airfoil for Mac 5.0, a major new version of its tool for streaming audio from computers to supported networked devices, including AirPlay hardware such as Apple TV and AirPort Express.

Version 5 adds support for Bluetooth devices, plus introduces a new free tool -- Airfoil Satellite -- that turns other PCs, Macs and iOS devices into clients for the main Airfoil tool.

Bluetooth support is the undoubted highlight of this release. Previously, Airfoil was restricted to streaming to Apple devices, but the new functionality makes it possible for users to stream audio -- either all audio or a single application’s output only -- to one or more connected Bluetooth devices. If only one application is selected, all other audio remains output to the computer’s speaker.

Support for multiple outputs allows users to stream to all connected devices with a single click. Version 5 also adds support for Groups, a means of grouping speakers together in a related set, allowing users to stream output to all members of a group with a single click. Speakers can be assigned to groups using any criteria, such as location.

Other new features include a Silence Monitor, which will automatically disconnect the speaker when streaming silence, while users can now hide speakers -- useful when connected to shared networks. Users also gain the ability to adjust the sync to take into account another device’s built-in latency.

The user interface has also been refined, although it promises to remain familiar to existing users. Another improvement sees Airfoil now able to capture audio from applications without having to quit and relaunch it first.

The Windows build unveils a completely rewritten audio capture engine, with the promise of increased robustness. Users can now also stream audio from 64-bit apps as well as apps from the Windows Store.

Mac users also gain access to custom equalizer presets, while full support for Apple’s VoiceOver feature has also been added.

The new release is accompanied by Airfoil Satellite, a free client program for Windows, Mac and iOS that make these devices available for audio output. Users can also control the main Airfoil server remotely from Airfoil Satellite on a connected computer. Airfoil Satellite requires the same license key as that used to unlock the main Airfoil application. Also available is Airfoil Speakers for Android and Linux devices.

Airfoil for Windows 5.0 and Airfoil for Mac 5.0 are both available now as free trial downloads -- both are fully functional, but only stream up to 10 minutes of audio at a time before quality degrades. The full version costs $29 per device (or $40 for both Mac and Windows), or $15 for those upgrading from the previous version.

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