MacBook Rice Crispies to Mu So 2

Another beginners question, apologies…

I’ve just started using a new MacBook Air M1, set up Apple Music to highest quality output. There appears to be some snap, crackle and pop going on, for example streaming Eric Clapton’s Pilgrim album it’s almost like listening to vinyl.

Any ideas? I don’t seem to have the same when streaming the same from my iPhone

Very unusual. Can you explain how you are streaming? Are you hard wires to the Mu-So, or using Airplay, or bluetooth etc?

Does the same thing happen if you stream outside of Apple Music? E.g. from a video, or radio station in Safari?

It does not happen if listening to radio, I’m listening over Airplay from MacBook Air, though I do not know how to tell whether Airplay 1 or 2. I’ll have a go at streaming radio from the Mac to see what happens.

It will be Airplay 2.

Unfortunately using Airplay you will not be getting lossless or above CD quality and from our/Naim’s observations, currently Airplay sends 256 kbps lossy AAC not CD quality which Airplay has always supported. Personally I still think lossy AAC sounds very good from Apple.

The M1 MB Air will be using Airplay 2.

Unless there’s a software glitch processing the audio for Airplay 2 on the M1 MBA, given the absence of such issues with the iPhone, it seems unlikely it’s the Muso.

Have you tried other quality settings in Apple Music to see if that helps in any way?

Is it possible that you are configuring Airplay destination from the system settings in the menu bar (speaker icon at top of screen), which would potentially send all current audio playing (including websites etc):

Screenshot 2022-08-25 at 20.30.49

…rather than only the Apple Music output selected from within Apple Music itself?

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Thank you for the advice on Mac audio selection, I wasn’t aware there would be a difference in the two selections, sounding better today, selected the Mu So from within Music, so maybe that was the cause


Let’s hope it’s the cause and something else producing audio on the computer was also running. Let us know if the issue comes back.

Just checked and selecting my Nova in Apple Music removed Nova Airplay output set in system audio (which makes sense as the Airplay destinations can only handle one Airplay stream at a time.

Also consider the ‘system audio’ at the top of the screen to be the audio output destination for all audio generating programs running on the Mac at the time, so Apple Music (set to Macbook Air output), browsers playing video with audio, games, any other audio generating software can all get output at the same time ‘mixed’ to the system audio destination.

There is potentially a degree of compromise with all sounds ‘mixed’ together as they may all be using different codecs/bit depths/sample frequency which will then need to be converted and mixed together to a common output format. This process is handled transparently by the macOS software and although overall fidelity might be affected it generally doesn’t lead to audio artefacts.

Choosing the MuSo directly in Apple Music ensure that Apple Music is exclusively the only thing currently sending it Airplay audio.

Hope that makes sense.

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Apart from software bugs, the only other potential non-MuSo cause would be less than optimal network connectivity, though if the iPhone and MBA are in similar locations and only the MBA is affected this seems unlikely. Also consider that if your LAN connection is being worked heavily by other devices/household members downloading/streaming/transferring data this could affect the bandwidth on the LAN available for the MBA to Airplay, despite audio requiring relatively little bandwidth in modern systems on the LAN or from the internet.

I assume the tracks airplayed were streamed from the internet rather than say already having been downloaded to the iPhone but streamed by the MBA.

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