Under The Microscope

SoundSource 5.5 Brings Shortcuts Support and More

SoundSource 5.5 has just been released, and it adds some great new features to our ridiculously helpful audio control utility. Read on to learn more, or just click to download the latest version. If you’re already using SoundSource, use the “Check for Updates” button in the Preferences window to get this free update.

Shortcuts.app Actions

If you’re on MacOS 12 (Monterey), you can now automate SoundSource! Change volume levels for both audio devices and applications, set effects presets, toggle effects processing, and much more, with SoundSource’s new Shortcuts actions.

With these actions, you can automate your usage of not just SoundSource, but many of your Mac’s audio device settings. If you’ve ever wished you could automate the controls found in MacOS’s Sound System Preferences and Audio MIDI Setup app, the new Shortcut support in SoundSource is for you.


Here, several SoundSource actions will run to set up for a voice chat on Zoom

Standard Audio Unit Presets

SoundSource has always allowed you to save presets for Audio Unit effects, but prior to now those presets were confined solely to SoundSource. With today’s update, SoundSource now saves Audio Unit effects presets in a standard way, so they can be read by other applications which support Audio Units! In addition, SoundSource will now read presets created by any other applications.

For our Audio Hijack users reading this, you can expect to see this same functionality come to an update later this year.

Audio Effect Nicknames

If you use audio effects in SoundSource, you’ll be glad to know that it’s now possible to give effects custom names. This is particularly helpful if you’re using multiple effects of the same type. Edit the title of each effect and you’ll always know exactly what’s what.

Smaller Enhancements

There are plenty of smaller updates in SoundSource 5.5 as well. An update to our ACE audio capture technology includes a workaround for issues with FaceTime volume when using the built-in microphone, as well as an improvement in dealing with buggy Audio Units. SoundSource also now works better with the game “Stardew Valley”, as well as the “Listento” Audio Unit from Audiomovers.

We recommend having a look at our in-depth release notes for a comprehensive list of what’s changed.

Download SoundSource 5.5 Now

SoundSource 5.5 is a free update for all users of version 5. To get it, just click the “Check for Updates” button in SoundSource’s Preferences window.

If you aren’t using SoundSource yet, see what you’ve been missing by visiting the SoundSource page and downloading the free trial.

Audio Hijack 4 Has Arrived!

Today, we’re thrilled to unveil a major upgrade to Audio Hijack, our flagship audio recorder and processor. Audio Hijack 4 brings both powerful new functionality and powerful new interfaces, to make its ability to record any audio on your Mac more accessible than ever. With an absolutely ridiculous 107 new features, enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes, Audio Hijack has never been better.

Read on to learn more or just click to download Audio Hijack 4!

In Audio Hijack, individual blocks that capture, record, and manipulate audio are combined into powerful pipelines. For version 4, we made improving blocks a major focus. We’ve created brand-new blocks, added new features to the way blocks work, and improved nearly every existing block.

Three Brand-New Blocks

First up, the powerful new Mixer block is great for podcasters, live streams, and other performers. It makes it easy to mix up to 5 sources together, with useful volume controls and fades.

There are also two new audio effects offering simplified controls for effortless adjustments. Magic Boost can boost quiet audio without increasing louder sounds, great for action movies and other content. Simple Compressor reduces the range between soft and loud sounds, improving microphones and other audio with minimal configuration.

Helpful New Block Features

Every single block now has its own popover. This allows all blocks to have saved presets, making complex settings easy to retrieve. As well, block controls can now all be detached and pinned for easy viewing and access, even when Audio Hijack is in the background.

Editable block titles, first introduced on the Broadcast and Live Stream blocks, are now available on all blocks. Editing a block’s name customizes how it displays, especially helpful when using multiple blocks of the same type within a session.

Improved Blocks

Our existing blocks also received new features and enhancements. We’ll highlight just a handful:

  • The Input Device and Output Device blocks can now track your default system devices, so less configuration is needed.

  • In an effort to avoid inadvertently recording a lower quality microphone, the Input Device block now visually distinguishes built-in mics and requires you to select a device.

  • The Volume block now has on-face meters, as well as optional presets. In addition, its Overdrive feature uses an enhanced lookahead peak limiter to avoid distortion and excessive volume jumps.

  • The Live Stream block has exited its beta period, and it’s ready to help live stream podcasts and other events, with RTMP streams sent to services like YouTube Live and Twitch.

  • The all-important Recorder block has been reorganized, and now features a larger tags area. It also offers a status indicator at the top of its popover, great for use when pinning.

  • Both the 10-Band Lagutin EQ and the Channels block now offer on-face settings selectors, as well as on-face indicators.

  • Like all blocks in Audio Hijack 4, the Input Switch block now offers a popover that can be pinned for instant access anywhere on your Mac.

  • Both the Peak/RMS Meters and VU Meters have been overhauled, with new art, built-in menu bar meters, and clipping indicators.

Audio Hijack includes over two dozen built-in blocks, and they’ve all been modernized in version 4.

If you’ve used Audio Hijack before, you’ll feel right at home, but there are many improvements to both how the product looks and how it works. The biggest change is the addition of a lovely new Light Mode. Audio Hijack will match your system’s appearance by default, but you can always select Light or Dark mode, right in the app’s preferences.

We also optimized many parts of the layout based on real-world usage. The powerful new session sidebar lets you search the Block Library to more quickly find the block you need, particularly great if you have dozens of Audio Units. Recordings and Timers are now grouped logically with their individual sessions, and previews for recordings feature a helpful waveform. The Info sidebar tab even offers a new Notes field, perfect for storing information about your sessions.

Beyond these refinements, we used years’ worth of customer feedback to guide us as we made several major updates to the way Audio Hijack works.

Manual Connections

For power users with complex setups, we’ve implemented the ability to manually connect your audio pipeline. Most users will still want to rely on Audio Hijack’s automatic connections, but you now have the option to turn them off. You can then draw wires between blocks to achieve tricky pipeline setups, independent of layout.

Background Sessions & Auto Run Sessions

Sometimes, the best user interface is no interface at all. New background sessions mean session windows no longer need be open for Audio Hijack to capture and manipulate audio.

Sessions can also now be set to run as soon as Audio Hijack launches. We’ve seen all manner of interesting workflows requiring sessions to run constantly, and the new Auto Run feature makes this work smoothly. Go even further by adding Audio Hijack as a “Login Item” in System Preferences to have sessions running any time your Mac is on.

A Powerful Session List & Global Window

Audio Hijack’s main window, called the “Session List”, has also gained new powers. No longer just a list of your saved sessions, it can now serve as a control center from which to start sessions and monitor their status.

In addition, a new global window can optionally live in your Mac’s menu bar. It too provides instant control and monitoring of sessions, no matter what application you’re using.

With an all-new JavaScript engine and API, building programmatically-driven workflows in Audio Hijack is now a reality. Scripts can run automatically when sessions start and stop, and process recordings as they’re created. A whole new world of automation is possible with this ability to manipulate sessions.

Scripting isn’t just for power users, however. Even if you’re not fluent in JavaScript, you can streamline your use of Audio Hijack. The built-in scripts make automation possible for anyone, and on MacOS 12 (Monterey), Audio Hijack even integrates with the Shortcuts app.

See Everything That’s New

While this post has covered a few of the new features, enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes ready for you in Audio Hijack 4, there’s still lots more to see. To discover even more, visit our what’s new in Audio Hijack 4 page.

If You Own Audio Hijack 3

Owners of Audio Hijack 3 are eligible to upgrade to Audio Hijack 4 for just $29. Use our site to purchase your discounted upgrade.

We’ve also provided upgrades to a generous number of recent purchasers at no charge. If you purchased Audio Hijack 3 since January 1, 2022, we’ve emailed you a complimentary upgrade. Check your inbox!


Get Audio Hijack Now

Audio Hijack 4 has never been more powerful, but it remains straight-forward and easy to use. You can visit the Audio Hijack product page to learn more, but the best way to see the incredible power Audio Hijack provides is with the fully-featured downloadable free trial to try it for yourself.

In just a few minutes, you’ll be recording any audio on your Mac.


Audio Hijack Next Steps

Rogue Amoeba’s 2022 Status Report

Welcome to the 2022 edition of Rogue Amoeba’s status report, hot off the virtual presses. This annual post offers a look back at the previous year, as well as a preview of our plans for the future.

Let’s start by reviewing some major Rogue Amoeba happenings of 2021.

Updates Galore

A casual user could easily have missed it, but we shipped 59 updates last year, and every single one was free for existing customers.1 We’re always hard at work updating our seven main products with both new features and bug fixes. The release notes for your favorite Rogue Amoeba apps can prove a very enlightening read:

Per-Product Release Notes

While major updates are perhaps the most eye-catching, steady progress over time is also extremely powerful.

Major Updates

Speaking of major updates, here’s a bit more detail on two from last year.

SoundSource 5.3

As you may already know, SoundSource provides powerful audio control on your Mac. It gives easy access to your system sound settings, as well as per-application audio adjustments, and the ability to add effects to any audio.

With SoundSource 5.3, we added quicker device switching with easy keyboard shortcuts, improved audio effects support with easy effects bypassing and crash-proof Audio Unit hosting, and enhanced Undo support. If you ever find yourself wrangling audio on your Mac, you need to check out SoundSource.

Fission Updates

Our easy-to-use audio editor Fission saw some key changes last year. First, after extended frustrations attempting to ship an update through the Mac App Store, we ultimately released Fission 2.7.1 as a direct-only release.

With that change, we decided to exit the Mac App Store completely. Our products continue to be available for direct download and purchase, just as they always have been. We also helped transition users from the Mac App Store version to our direct version, at no additional charge.

Toward the end of the year, we shipped a major update to Fission’s resampler in version 2.8. Conversions which require a sample rate change now enjoy much higher quality.

App Underpinnings

We also spent a good deal of time working on the backend of all our apps. This sort of infrastructure work is important to keep our products in a good state of repair. To help when issues occur, we overhauled the way debugging works, cleaning up unnecessary logs and options in all of our products. The debugging window is now more accessible, with a new “Quit and Relaunch for Debugging” option that can be accessed by pressing option in the app’s Help menu.

While most users will never use the debugging window, we hope every user sees and uses our update mechanism. The built-in updating in our products makes it easy to stay up-to-date with our latest versions. In an effort to be less obtrusive, we overhauled and simplified the interface for those updates.

Like compound interest, incremental improvements like these really add up over time.

Enhanced Support Resources

We’re also always looking to improve our support resources, to enable you to get the most out of our products. To make it fast and easy to find answers to common issues, we moved application manuals online, where they’re easily linkable, searchable, and updateable. We’ve also continued expanding the content found in our Knowledge Base, with helpful articles on all manner of common tasks. If you have a question about any of our products, make our Support center your first stop.

Of course, we also have a top-notch support team ready to assist. In addition to long-time employees Chris and Robert, we hired on Aaron Wasserman in April. All three work hard to help you make the most of our products. If you don’t find the answer you need in our Support center, reach out directly for a fast and friendly response.

A Pair of 10 Year Anniversaries

In 2021, we had two employees reach a major milestone. Way back in 2011, we hired both Grant Farr and Ed Wynne, and they’ve been with us ever since. Grant’s 10 year celebration came first, with Ed’s anniversary following a few months later. As those linked posts express, we’re honored and grateful to have worked with both of these talented programmers for over a decade. If you’re a user of any of our products, you’ve undoubtedly been positively impacted by their impressive work.

Updates From Apple

Apple had a very busy 2021 as well, and that led to plenty of work for us. Most notable was the release of MacOS 12 (Monterey). This was first announced during WWDC in June, but as always, we strongly advised users to wait for the official OS release. Updating our products for the new OS is an intensive process, one which can take months.

Nevertheless, we always aim to beat Apple’s release date. This year we managed once again, with preliminary support for the new OS available October 18. Two months later, after a second round of testing and updates, we were pleased to declare our entire lineup production ready.

Apple’s Mac hardware updates in 2021 were also worthy of note. Back in 2018, Quentin penned a widely shared post rightly bemoaning the then-sad state of Mac hardware. Since that time, Apple has managed a remarkable turnaround, driven by their own Apple Silicon chips. Quentin celebrated that as well.

Our New Test Release System

After years of hearing from generous users looking to beta test our software, we recently unveiled a new system called “test releases”. These are pre-release builds, posted in advance of an official release. By putting the update in front of a small group of test users, we can stress-test new features and catch lingering bugs. We initially used this for some final testing for Monterey, and we’ve made good use of it since as well.

Though not as vetted as an official version, test releases are generally fit for daily use. If you’re interested in early access to new features and updates, it’s easy to opt into (and out of as well). Get started by reading this Knowledge Base article.

Today, we’re going to pull back the curtain a bit more than we usually do, to tell you about three upcoming releases. We hope to ship all of the following in the first six months of 2022.

An Overhauled Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV

Last month, to keep things rolling for Airfoil users, we posted a small update to Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV. This is one of our least known apps, initially created in 2017 at a time when Apple had broken AirPlay receiving on the Apple TV. When that was eventually fixed, the app became less necessary. However, HomePod-related bugs in tvOS 15 have again made Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV rather useful.

The 1.1 revision to this app was posted as something of a warmup for a larger update. We’re currently hard at work on version 2.0, and it’s a big update. With it, Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV will be on par with our other Airfoil Satellite versions for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

Screenshot of Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV

You can check out Airfoil Satellite in the Apple TV App Store now, and watch for the free version 2 coming shortly.

Farrago 2.0

Since its release, Farrago has established itself as the Mac’s premier soundboard application. It’s become a key tool for podcast creators and live performers of all stripes, as well as a much-loved part of our Ultimate Podcast Bundle.

This year, we’ll be shipping a major upgrade: Farrago 2.0. Here’s a sneak peek:

Screenshot of Farrago 2

We’re working on adding some of the most requested features, including things like lockable sets, smart sets, Stream Deck integration, basic audio editing, and much more.

If you’re a Farrago 1 user and you’re interested to beta test version 2, we’d be glad to have you. Click to send us an email with your full name and Farrago 1 license key, and we’ll be in touch. At this time, our beta list is full. Watch for more news on Farrago soon.

Major Updates to Audio Hijack

Our flagship product Audio Hijack has been around for almost 20 years now, and it’s more popular than ever. We’re currently hard at work on some impressive new features. The most noticeable change is an interface update that features a new Light Mode:

Screenshot of Audio Hijack Updates

We’re also working on manual block connections, so you can customize your pipeline exactly how you want it. Powerful new blocks, including a new five-input mixer, will give you even better audio control. For the first time ever, sessions will be able to run all the time, in the background.

Perhaps the single most notable change, however, is something making a return from years back: scripting support. In the years since Audio Hijack Pro 2 was replaced by Audio Hijack 3, we’ve never stopped getting requests for some type of scripting to make a return. After much research and experimentation, we’ll soon be providing a from-the-ground-up JavaScript-based scripting system, as well as Shortcuts support.

We can’t wait to see how you make use of scripting, as well as other new features coming to Audio Hijack. We’ll have more news on Audio Hijack in the coming months.

More to Come

That’s a quick glimpse at just some of what you can expect from us this year. We’re excited to show you these updates and much more, very soon.

Hear the Latest From Rogue Amoeba

We offer several convenient ways to get our latest news:

We have big things planned for 2022. As always, stay tuned.


Footnotes:

  1. On a related note, we think our upgrade policy is worth a read. It details how we strive to be fair to our customers while also running a viable business and continually improving our products. ↩︎

Making Digital Confetti Accessible

Back in 2018, I wrote a post examining the evolution of the License windows found in all of our products. At the end, I highlighted a fun animation we’d recently added, which featured some no-cleanup-required digital confetti.

Fast-forward a few years, and I received an email from friend-of-Rogue-Amoeba Allison Sheridan. Allison is a prodigious user of several of our products, using them to create a variety of podcasts over at podfeet.com. She often has valuable feedback and questions, but the subject of this particular email really intrigued me:

An email with the subject line “Confetti needs sounds”, from Alli

While “Confetti needs sound” sounds amusing, her email detailed a valid issue she’d found. While discussing the accessibility of our products on the American Council for the Blind’s streaming radio show “Magic Mac”, she realized that our digital confetti wasn’t accessible. When unlocking our products, sighted users see the animation above, but nothing was provided for the visually impaired.

We work very hard to make our software accessible, and the Golden Apple award Audio Hijack received from the AppleVis community fills us with pride. So after reading Allison’s email, I opened a ticket in our bug tracker for further discussion. In short order, our designer-turned-sound-designer Neale had created some possible sounds to consider. We kicked around an assortment of ideas.

This was the first stab, which I found a bit too high-energy:

This next one sounds like a great “Sent Email” sound, but that’s not what we needed:

Should unlocking our software convey the sense of mystery and wonder felt when a hidden object is suddenly revealed in a video game? Perhaps not.

New wave meets “The X-Files”. This wasn’t it either.

Ultimately, this was our winner:

It’s soft and subtle, but it still conveys a positive note. Importantly, it’s low-key enough to avoid interfering with any work you’re doing with our tools.

Lee had previously worked on the current iteration of our HTML License window, so he stepped up to get audio playing as desired. In just a few short days, we’d gone from a user suggestion to a full implementation. Once we shipped the next round of updates to our lineup, this change was present in all our products, making even our unlocking animation accessible to all.

Hear for Yourself

You can experience the latest in software innovation by purchasing any of our powerful audio tools, then unlocking it with your license key.

If you’re a long-time user of one of our great apps, who unlocked your copy many moons ago, fear not! You can re-unlock the software by taking advantage of an internal testing function.

      1. Be sure you have the latest version of your Rogue Amoeba app (Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Farrago, Fission, Loopback, Piezo, or SoundSource).

      2. Open the application, but make sure the License window is not open.

      3. Hold down the option key as you select “License…” from the application’s main menu.

The License window as follows, with your key already waiting to be submitted:

Audio Hijack's license window, ready to be unlocked

Click the “Unlock” button, then bask in that sweet sound of success. The digital confetti will fire off, and your personal party will begin then rapidly end. Whee!

Closing

We work tirelessly to make our tools work well for all users. This particular change is a small touch, but it’s yet another way we can show that no user is a second-class citizen.

All Rogue Amoeba Apps Now Have Full Monterey Support

As of today, every Rogue Amoeba application is now updated and ready for production use on Mac OS 12 (Monterey).

This year, we shipped Monterey-compatible updates before the final version of Monterey even shipped. Nevertheless, for those with high uptime requirements, we always recommend holding off until more field testing is completed with the final version of the new operating system.

We have now completed a second round of updates to all our applications, with mostly minor bug fixes, and are now happy to label them (and MacOS 12 itself) as “production ready”. If you’ve been waiting to update your version of MacOS, wait no longer. As always, just make sure you have the latest versions of our software.

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