Under The Microscope

Podcast Creation Tools

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’re likely familiar with Audio Hijack Pro for recording audio, and Fission for editing it. They’re powerful tools to help you manipulate all manner of audio on your Mac. However, because they’re so powerful, we often have trouble detailing the myriad ways in which they’re used.

Fission IconThat’s why we’re so delighted to see two recent articles in the Mac press. First up, Josh Centers wrote a great piece over at TidBITS about how he creates podcasts. Of course, Audio Hijack Pro and Fission are both featured prominently in the article, but he also covers hardware like microphones and headphones, and details his full process. If you’re interested in creating a podcast, check out how Josh makes his.

Audio Hijack Pro IconAs well, long-time Mac news site MacNN recently did a hands-on with Audio Hijack Pro. Of course, they detailed its usefulness in recording podcasts, as well as just about any other audio on your Mac. I was especially thrilled to see this, as I actually got my start in the computer industry writing reviews for MacNN, wa(aaa)y back in the last millennium!

If you’re new to Audio Hijack Pro or Fission (or any of our apps, for that matter), you can always download free trials, right from our front page.

Updates on Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) Compatibility

It’s a new year, and a good time for a rundown on where things stand with our major applications. Back at the end of October, Apple officially released Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks). However, as readers of this blog know, it took us some time to get updates with compatibility for this new OS.

We had several public betas available throughout October and November, and at the end of November, we released official updates for Airfoil and Piezo. Finally, after several more betas, we released Mavericks-compatible updates to Audio Hijack Pro and Nicecast just before Christmas.

If you haven’t updated our apps recently, you should do so immediately. You can always download the latest version from our site, or by selecting “Check for Update” inside the application. If you’re using Fission or Piezo from the Mac App Store, just open the App Store app to update to the latest version.

New Underpinnings

We’re certainly pleased to have Mavericks support, but it took longer than we’d have liked. One major reason is that these updates feature an overhaul to our audio capture engine. This overhaul brought compatibility with Mavericks, along with the possibility for many future improvements. For now, the biggest difference most users will see is that updates to the Instant On component no longer require a restart. This will no doubt be a welcome change!

We’re still ironing out various wrinkles, but overall, this is a big and positive step forward. However, if you experience issues, we want to know about it. If audio capture no longer works as expected, Audio Hijack Pro and Nicecast users should first check the “Advanced” settings. If you still can’t get the audio you’re after, or you’re using Airfoil or Piezo, you should definitely contact us for assistance.

Airfoil Video Player

At this time, the biggest incompatibility with Mavericks is with Airfoil’s companion app, Airfoil Video Player. Airfoil Video Player was built to make it possible to play video locally on your Mac, with remote audio played out via Airfoil in sync. Unfortunately, Airfoil Video Player is not currently compatible with Mavericks. We’re still assessing this situation to determine what we can do for the future.

Safari Audio Capture

This particular issue occurs on all versions of Mac OS X, and impacts Piezo users most. Unfortunately, due to changes made by Apple, it’s no longer possible for Piezo to capture audio from Safari. We recommend that Piezo users capture web-based audio with another web browser, such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

Airfoil, Audio Hijack Pro, and Nicecast are also impacted. However, these apps are capable of capturing from Safari, when the Instant On component is installed. If you try to capture audio from Safari without Instant On installed, the app should prompt you to install. You can also install Instant On from the “Install Extras” window in the application’s menu. Once you’ve got that installed, you’ll be able to pull audio from Safari without an issue.

Unfortunately, Apple’s Mac App Store restrictions preclude us from including Instant On with Piezo. If you must capture from Safari (and can’t use another browser instead), we recommend our more powerful Audio Hijack Pro.

More to Come

That’s the current news on smaller updates. We’ll likely have further improvements over time, so always be sure you’ve got the latest version of your app. We’ll also have news on bigger updates and new products soon, so be sure to watch this blog.

Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) Compatible Versions of Airfoil and Piezo

It’s Thanksgiving time here in America, and we’re thankful to be able to provide you with two big updates. These updates, to Airfoil and Piezo, both offer compatibility with Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), and are recommended for all users. Read on for more details, or just go download them now!

Our New Audio Capture Engine

The update to Mavericks required some big under-the-hood changes for all our apps, and this is part of what took us so long with these updates. New versions of all of our audio capturing apps will now feature an overhauled audio capture engine. In addition to providing our current functionality on the new OS, it also lays a foundation for new and improved audio capture functionality in the future.

We’re very excited to have radically improved our backend, even if most users won’t notice a difference for now. That said, this is a major change, and there may be some wrinkles we haven’t yet ironed out. If you find audio capture isn’t working as it previously did for you, or as you’d expect, be sure to let us know.

Airfoil

Airfoil for Mac IconFirst up, the update to our audio streamer Airfoil features the aforementioned new audio capture engine. As part of that, the optional Instant On component has been updated to version 7.1. This update restores the ability to capture System Audio on Mavericks, as well as improving audio capture of many other sources. In addition, we’ve also fixed a ton of bugs, including issues with App Nap on Mavericks, and much more.

This update brings a bit of new functionality as well, in the form of support for enhanced metadata and remote control of Vemedio’s Instacast for Mac. We’ve also improved our iTunes support, adding support for controlling and getting data from iTunes Radio.

All users should definitely grab the latest Airfoil immediately. Download Airfoil 4.8.2 by selecting “Check for Update” from the Airfoil menu. You can also grab the update, or just get more information on the app, here. This is a free update, of course, and should work well on all versions of Mac OS X, including Mavericks.

A Note on Airfoil Video Player

At this time, though it may work fine for some users, the Airfoil Video Player component of Airfoil is not supported on Mavericks. Of particular note, crashes with the Silverlight plugin may render Netflix unwatchable. We’re continuing to work to determine if Airfoil Video Player will be updated to fully support the new OS.

Piezo

Piezo IconOur simple audio recorder Piezo has also been updated for Mavericks and more. While Piezo can’t capture from already-running applications like its more powerful big brother Audio Hijack Pro, it will still benefit from the previously-mentioned new audio capture engine. We’ve also cleaned up some minor cosmetic issues and fixed other bugs.

One important issue is worth noting. Unfortunately, due to underlying changes made by Apple, capturing audio from Safari is no longer possible with Piezo. Thankfully, this is worked around fairly easily. To capture web-based audio, you’ll want to use another browser as your source in Piezo. We recommend Google Chrome or Firefox. Use one of those browsers as your source in Piezo, and you’ll be able to record web-based audio.

Get Piezo 1.2.3 by selecting “Check for Update” from the Piezo menu. You can also grab the update, or just get more information on the app, from the Piezo page of our site. This is a free update, of course, and should work well on all versions of Mac OS X, including Mavericks.

Mac App Store Buyers

This update is currently awaiting approval from Apple, so watch for that update very soon.

Coming Soon: Audio Hijack Pro and Nicecast

That’s all for today, but we’re still hard at work on updates for Audio Hijack Pro and Nicecast as well. For now, if you’re on Mavericks, be sure to get the latest beta from our Status page. Beyond that, just watch for additional updates, coming very soon.

Updated Information for Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) was released just over three weeks ago, but at this time, our line of products is still not fully compatible with the new OS. These updates have taken longer than we, and no doubt you, hoped. We continue to work diligently to get official updates released.

Many users have asked us for a timeframe for these updates. Our only estimate is “ASAP”. We remain hard at work, and our sole priority at this time is to get the updates into your hands. At this time, we believe we have fixed all the major 10.9 issues. Before we declare the updates done, however, some small cleanup work remains.

Download and Use the Public Betas

As you may know, we have posted betas here on our blog for use by anyone who needs them. Rather than scattering updates throughout multiple posts here, we’re moving those betas to a central location.

We urge all users on Mavericks to head to the Status page, where you can download the latest public beta versions of our apps for Mac OS X 10.9. While we’re not quite ready to release these versions to our entire user base, they have been heavily vetted. At this time, they’re absolutely the recommended versions for users on Mavericks.

If the betas work for you, great! That’s exactly what we expect at this point. Just keep using the betas until they inform you that a newer version is available.

If you do run into any issues, please be sure to click the “Help” menu and choose “Beta Feedback…” to report the problem.

Thanks for Your Patience

As I said, these updates have taken longer than we’d hoped. Though we were working on Mavericks well in advance of its release, a combination of multiple issues to fix and changes to the beta OS throughout the beta period hindered our ability to be ready in time. If you’re frustrated at the delay, we certainly sympathize. I can assure you that no one wants these updates out as much as we do, and I once again urge you to use the public betas found on our Status page.

Public Betas of Our Apps for Use With Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

As discussed on Tuesday, not all of our apps are certified for full compatibility with Mavericks. We always provide information on OS compatibility on our Status page. As you can see there, Fission and Intermission are already fully compatible with Mavericks, but updates are needed for Airfoil for Mac, Audio Hijack Pro, Piezo, and Nicecast.

The good news is, we’re almost ready to provide public releases of these four apps, with full compatibility with Mavericks. As this requires major under-the-hood changes, however, we want to get the updates tested widely before we release them to all of our users. That’s where you come in, if you choose.

Update (November 14th, 2013): We’ve got some newer betas, and more details, here.

Waiting To See

If you’re wary of a public beta, that’s alright. Though we’ve tested heavily, anyone with a mission-critical setup is wise to be cautious. If that’s you, just stay tuned for official updates, which we hope to provide very soon.