Under The Microscope

Adjusting Zoom Volume Without Affecting Your System Volume, With SoundSource

If you’re looking to lower the volume of your Zoom calls without affecting your system volume, SoundSource has you covered, with this quick tip.

Zoom has a volume control in its Audio settings, but it’s linked directly to your output device. That means changing it will likely adjust the output volume for everything on your computer, often an undesired outcome.

To avoid this, you can instead use SoundSource to set an app-specific volume for Zoom, like so:


Voila!

With this configuration, SoundSource will only lower the volume of Zoom, while keeping your music at a higher level. Use SoundSource’s controls to get the exact audio setup you desire.

Interested in doing even more to make Zoom calls sound better? See our in-depth article on improving audio from Zoom calls.

A Decade (!) With Chris Barajas

Today, I get to do one of the best parts of my job, because it’s time to commemorate another employee milestone here at Rogue Amoeba. Our technical support guru Chris Barajas recently reached a full decade with the company, and we’re tremendously pleased to celebrate the occasion here.

Chris’s Impact

In 2015, when we marked Chris’s five year anniversary, I talked about the challenging nature of tech support:

Technical support is a demanding role here at Rogue Amoeba…In addition to providing helpful and polite responses, there’s a great deal of problem-solving required. Tracking down bugs and issues based on reports from users is also a key part of the job.

That’s all as true now as when it was written. In fact, our product line has expanded, and it’s now more powerful than ever. Helping customers understand our products, and use them to their fullest extent, continues to require both patience and keen insight.

However, Chris’s role here at Rogue Amoeba has also grown. In 2017, Support switched from a one-man show to a team, when we hired a second full-time tech. Chris has led the support team well, and been instrumental in pushing Rogue Amoeba forward. With his guidance, the support team has adopted a more modern backend, updated multiple internal systems and tools, and written new policies based on years of experience.

Many things have changed since Chris was hired in 2010, but his passion and advocacy for our customers has remained unwavering. His dedication to always seeking to make things better is an inspiration.

An Artifact of Our Appreciation

Long-time blog readers may recall that after five years with Rogue Amoeba, employees are presented with a custom challenge coin. For a ten year anniversary, we wanted to go even further. Companies often give employees some sort of mass-produced award when celebrating a milestone. That’s nice enough, but we wanted to do better.

With that in mind, we decided to create something different and distinctive::

Yes, that’s a silver Rogue Amoeba logo-shaped token of our appreciation. It was hand-crafted by our own CTO Quentin Carnicelli, in his shop. He dreamed up and implemented the entire project.

Crafting the Artifact

Now, Quentin’s very modest about the whole thing, but I’m happy to speak for him. His initial idea was to have an object created by a jeweler or metalsmith. However, after talking to multiple candidates, the desired size was simply too big for them. As you might expect, most jewelers are focused on making rings and other small objects.

Instead, faced with a fast approaching deadlined, Quentin decided to roll up his sleeves and do things himself. To start, he acquired a melting furnace, which is sure to come in handy if fondue parties make a comeback. However, according to Q, the melting is the easy part. Building the mold on the other hand, takes some effort. In this case, that meant getting a vector file from our designer Neale, then CNC plasma cutting our logo shape out of 3/8″ steel plate. Another 1/4″ steel plate formed the back, to which the logo’s rings were attached via interference fit pins.

After the mold was ready, it was time for some test pours. Several test pours were done in lead before Quentin was satisfied the project was viable. At that point, melting down of the silver commenced. In total, four more pours were done before the correct pour speed and mold pre-heat temperature were achieved.

After the silver cooled, it was polished to give it a nice texture and sheen. Rather than the smooth perfection of modern jewelry, however, the end result has the quality of a piece of old-time bullion.

We certainly hope Chris enjoys this physical representation of our appreciation. It ought to make for quite the conversation piece. Worth noting, however, is that the object also has actual value. Just in case Chris ever falls out of love with Rogue Amoeba, this artifact can be melted back down to pure silver, and sold for a healthy sum. Try doing that with an acrylic trophy!

Closing

If you’ve emailed our much-lauded support team in the past decade, you’ve undoubtedly benefited from Chris’s hard work. Whether you received a reply directly from Chris or worked with our other support techs, Chris’s influence was present. Because the support team is an integral part of the development process here at Rogue Amoeba, that positive influence also extends to customers who’ve never needed to contact us for help at all.

So on behalf of both the rest of the Rogue Amoeba team, and all of our customers, we thank you, Chris! We’re grateful for the work you’ve done this past decade, and hope for many more fruitful years to come.

P.S. We’re Hiring

This post is meant to show our appreciation for Chris’s fine work, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also note that we’re currently looking to expand our team. We’re hiring a Mac software developer, and you can read more over on our Jobs page. Come join Chris and the rest of our tremendous group. You might just wind up here for a decade!

Learn About Rogue Amoeba Apps With Allison Sheridan

In recent months, tech podcaster Allison Sheridan has been making extensive use of several of our audio tools. This has led to great posts on her blog like “How I use Loopback to Solve a Variety of Problems” and “Interesting Audio Hijack Sessions”.

In addition, Allison has worked with Don McAllister’s excellent ScreenCastsOnline, which provides helpful video tutorials for all manner of Apple-related tools. There, she’s produced two in-depth video tutorials. The first covers SoundSource extensively, while the second reviewed both Audio Hijack and Loopback.

We’re always grateful to see our tools explored in such depth, and it’s tremendously helpful to have such detailed looks made available to others. If you’re interested in learning more about these apps, check these links out today!

Use Rogue Amoeba’s Apps To Make Zoom Calls Less Painful

If you’re working remotely, you may find yourself stuck on countless Zoom calls (or FaceTime, Webex, Skype, or some other service). Unfortunately, we here at Rogue Amoeba do not have the power to get you out of these calls entirely. However, several of our tools can help things sound a little sweeter.

We recently published three different posts about how our tools can help improve calls you make from your Mac. This summary article collects them all in one place, for easy reference.

Use SoundSource to Make Other People Sound Better

It’s clear that a lot of people out there have low quality microphones and bad audio setups. Fortunately, our utility SoundSource lets you apply audio effects to any application on your Mac. That ability makes it a great tool for improving what you hear on voice chats.

By adjusting the audio coming from remote parties with SoundSource, savvy Mac users can clean things up for the benefit of their own ears.

Use Audio Hijack and Loopback to Make Yourself Sound Better

Whether you have an ultra high-quality microphone connected to your Mac, or you’re using the tiny built-in input, audio effects can enhance the sound of your voice. With a combination of Audio Hijack and Loopback, you can improve your audio before it’s sent to others.

For more details, see our post on improving your mic’s audio with software effects.

Use Loopback (And Optionally, Farrago) to Add Music and Sound Effects

Loopback can also be used to create a powerful virtual microphone, which combines multiple audio sources into one. For instance, you can merge your mic with Music.app to send both your voice and your music into your call. Dropping in sound effects with our soundboard app Farrago is an amusing possibility as well, and one that’s proven to be more popular than expected.

After hearing about this use case early and often from users, we wrote the first post in this series, “Using Loopback to Add Audio to Voice Chats”.

Conclusion

We always provide free trials of all our products to test them out, so download right from our homepage. We hope our tools will help make your calls, and your day, a bit better.

If even that’s not enough though, then heck, give this note a try with any authority figure:

We’ll back you up.

Improve Your Microphone’s Audio, With Software Effects

Our quest to make voice calls better continues! Today, we’ll show you how to enhance your own audio using a dynamic duo of our apps, for the benefit of others listening on your calls. No matter what type of microphone you’re using with your Mac, it can be helped by running its audio through some software effects.

To do this, Audio Hijack is used to refine audio by aplying effects, after which Loopback routes that modified audio to your calling app of choice.

To walk through this in more detail, we’ve just posted another new article in our Knowledge Base, entitled “Enhancing microphone input with audio effects”. Read all about it, then try out Audio Hijack and Loopback for yourself. The other people on your calls will thank you!

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