Under The Microscope

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!

Get Airfoil for Mac 5.9, the Latest Version of Our Audio Streamer

Continuing our parade of free product updates, we’ve just released Airfoil 5.9. It’s the latest version of our audio streaming tool, perfect for playing audio through wireless devices all around your house.

For over 15 years now, Airfoil has made it possible to stream any audio from your Mac to devices around your network. Today’s update brings refinements and improvements throughout the application. Read more below, or just visit Airfoil’s product page to download the latest.

Equalizer Refinements

Airfoil’s built-in 10-Band Lagutin Equalizer has been substantially improved. It now offers a handy new sparkline indicator in the Presets menu, which provides a quick idea of how each preset works. The saving and editing of user-created Presets has also been overhauled and improved. To top it off, transitions between presets now animate beautifully as well.

A New “Alerts” Window

Whether it’s an incorrectly entered password or a problem with a remote speaker, errors are bound to happen sooner or later. When they do, Airfoil will now show them all in a centralized location, its new “Alerts” window.

After first adding the Alerts window to Farrago 1.5, we’ve now refined it further in Airfoil. Over time, it’s likely to show up in all our products, as a useful way of letting users know of any issues that appear.

Track Title Improvements

When Airfoil transmits audio from supported applications, it also passes along metadata about that audio, like artist name, track title, and album artwork. Today’s update adds support for track titles from the MiX16 apps, and restores track title support to Audirvana. It also improves the performance of track title retrieval from several apps including Spotify, Music.app, and VLC.

And More

As always, there are many smaller fixes and improvements as well. Airfoil’s audio capture, powered by the Audio Capture Engine (ACE), has been updated. It will now properly grab audio from Google Chrome’s Progressive Web Apps, and several smaller bug fixes and refinements have been made. In addition, Airfoil now correctly streams only the remote half of a VoIP conversation, perfect for listen-only call. Alongside that, we’ve made small enhancements for VoiceOver users, and fixed up a number of rare bugs.

Download Airfoil for Mac 5.9 Now

If you’re new to Airfoil, use the links below to learn more, and download the free trial. In no time at all, you’ll be streaming audio all around your house.

For our existing customers, Airfoil 5.9 is another free update. Existing Airfoil users should select “Check for Update” from the Airfoil menu to get the latest.

Helpful Airfoil Links

Enhance Zoom Calls (And Other Voice Chats) With SoundSource

In recent months, millions of Mac users have begun making audio and video calls with Zoom, Webex, and many other VoIP apps. As a result, those same users have also found themselves annoyed by the often sub-par quality of audio heard through these services. Fortunately, our product SoundSource can help make things sound a little sweeter.

With SoundSource’s ability to apply effects to any audio, it can enhance what you hear on calls. As folks have figured this out, we’ve seen a number of tweets like this:

Finally discovered SoundSource from @RogueAmoeba, and the ability to stack AUs on top of the Zoom audio output - parametric EQs, Dynamic compression, etc - is a revelation.

With just a minute or two of configuration, SoundSource can make your calls sound better. We’ve posted a new support article with full instructions for improving audio on voice calls. Give it a read, then test things out yourself with SoundSource.


Bonus content: If you want to spice up your calls with music, sound effects, or other audio, our previous post on using Loopback to add audio to voice chats has you covered.

Resonate SDK: Realtime MacOS Audio Development, Simplified

Today, we’re pleased to be unveiling Resonate, a new audio SDK available for licensing by MacOS software developers.

The Resonate SDK simplifies audio processing on the Mac to an almost unimaginable level. We took our years of experience creating audio software, and crafted a dramatically easier-to-use interface for MacOS’s CoreAudio. With Resonate, you no longer need to be a professional Core Audio developer to access audio functionality in your Mac application. Resonate will help you build your own product faster, while delivering superior latency, reliability, and ease of development.

Background

For nearly two decades, our Audio Capture Engine (ACE) technology has powered Audio Hijack, Loopback, and many of our other products. In early 2018, we began commercial licensing of ACE, to provide other software makers with the ability to capture audio within their own products.

ACE is now in use by companies both big and small, providing audio to screen recorders, streaming apps, and more. It’s been very satisfying to partner with other companies and provide audio capture to so many tools on the Mac. With Resonate, we’re looking to do it again.

Resonate Is Audio Processing, Simplified

Resonate originated as a companion to ACE. ACE provides captured audio via virtual devices, which allows programmers with existing Core Audio pipelines to quickly get up and running. However, after talking to many companies new to MacOS, it was clear we’d overlooked something. Although we are experienced with the intricacies and eccentricities of CoreAudio, most others are not.

Resonate levels the playing field. If you’re developing an application which needs to use audio on the Mac, Resonate will speed up your development time, and save you countless headaches. Visit the Resonate licensing page, then get in touch for more details.

Plenty of Updates for Users as Well

The technology we’re licensing is the result of work on our consumer-facing products. Licensing this technology to others enables us to earn additional revenue from that work, but our primary focus remains on the continued development of our own direct-to-consumer audio tools.

This year alone, we’ve already shipped a dozen maintenance releases, as well as four major updates (if you’re scoring at home, those would be Farrago 1.5, Audio Hijack 3.7, SoundSource 4.2, and Airfoil Satellite for Android 3.0). We’re not slowing down, either, with work in progress on major updates to Airfoil, Audio Hijack, and more. Stay tuned!

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