Under The Microscope

Using Automator And Audio Hijack Pro

As of version 2.5.1, Audio Hijack Pro can execute Automator workflows when recordings complete. With this addition you can now easily use workflows to automate many file-related recording tasks. Examples include copying recordings to a backup disk drive, burning MP3 CDs, adding Spotlight keywords, and naturally all manner of iTunes related tasks.

iTunesI’m going to walk you through creating a simple workflow that adds new recording files to an iTunes playlist named “Recently Recorded”. This will cover everything you need to know about Audio Hijack Pro and Automator workflows.

1. Prerequisites

Our example workflow will add new recordings to a playlist in iTunes. So the first thing we need to do is actually create that playlist. This should be familar enough to most iTunes users, just open up iTunes, select “New Playlist” from the “File” menu, and then type in the name “Recently Recorded”.

2. Workflow creation

With that out of the way, we can move on to creating the actual workflow in Automator. Opening up Automator should give you a new empty workflow with which to start. From the “Library” column, select “iTunes”, and then in the “Action” column select “Add Files to Playlist” (not “Add Songs to Playlist”). This action accepts a list of files, which it then adds to a given playlist. Drag this from the “Action” column over into the Action area of the workflow.

Automator

Once we’ve added the action, all that’s left to do is configure it for the desired playlist. From the “Existing Playlist” popup, select the playlist we created above (“Recently Recorded”).

Finally, we need to save the workflow. For Audio Hijack Pro to automatically see it, we need save it to the location ~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Audio Hijack Pro (you’ll need to create some of those folders yourself).

Automator

3. Audio Hijack Pro setup

Having created the workflow, we can now tell Audio Hijack Pro to use it. Launch Audio Hijack Pro, select the Session you want to hook the workflow up to, and click on the “Recording” tab. Next, click on the “Scripts” popup button next to the “When Finished Recording” field. If you saved the workflow to Audio Hijack Pro’s workflow folder (see above) you’ll be able to select it directly; otherwise you can “Select Other…” to find it.

Recording pane

And that’s it! Now whenever you record from that session, completed recordings will be added to the “Recently Recorded” playlist in iTunes. Furthermore, your workflow is also available in the Recording Bin, so you can apply it to already existing recordings if needed.

Now and Then

When Audio Hijack Pro v2.0 shipped, it included an “Add to iPod” AppleScript. This script takes a list of files, and adds them to a currently connected iPod. Along with the help of an AppleScript expert, it took me two full days of programming to create that script. With Automator, anyone can now create an equivilent workflow in exactly 2 clicks. And so it is with many basic automation tasks, what was merely “possible” before with AppleScript, is now downright easy with Automator.

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