Under The Microscope


Archive for January, 2016

Now Arriving: Loopback

It’s not often that we get to release a brand-new product here at Rogue Amoeba, so today is a special day. We’re very pleased to introduce our newest application:

Loopback - Cable-Free Audio Routing

Loopback gives you incredible control over how audio is routed between applications and devices on your Mac. With just a few clicks, you can easily pass audio directly from one application to another. Loopback’s virtual audio devices make it trivial to arrange complex audio setups that were difficult or even impossible before. It’s like having a high-end studio mixing board right inside your computer, with no physical wires required!

Loopback: What Is It Good For?

Absolutely all your audio routing needs! Here are just a few examples of what Loopback can help you do.

Play Audio to All Podcast Guests

Take audio from your physical microphone and combine it with audio sources like iTunes or QuickTime Player. Presto! Your guests on Skype will hear your voice, as well your sound effects and musical add-ons.

Combine Multiple Hardware Devices

Audio apps like GarageBand, Logic, and Ableton Live only allow you to record from a single audio device at a time. Thankfully, these apps can record from nearly infinite channels. With Loopback, you can combine multiple physical input devices into a single virtual device with many channels, for easy recording in any application.

Create Top-Notch Screencasts

Screen recording tools like QuickTime Player tend to allow you to include either audio from a microphone or all the audio from your system. Neither of these options tends to be ideal. With Loopback, you can record audio from both the microphone and the application being filmed, so you get just the audio you need.

Loopback’s Secret

Loopback Virtual Audio Devices

So how does Loopback do all this, and more? The secret to Loopback’s power lies in its ability to create ”virtual audio devices”. These are system-level audio devices which can be used in real-time by other audio applications on your Mac. These virtual devices appear throughout your system exactly the way a physical device like a microphone would.

However, virtual audio devices are far more powerful than a mere microphone. They can merge the sound from applications (like iTunes or Skype) and inputs (like microphones and physical mixers), bundling it all up into a single source. You can then select your virtual audio device in any audio processing application to get your audio exactly where it’s needed.

Loopback Screenshot
A Virtual Audio Device Created in Loopback

Above, we’ve made a simple virtual audio device called “Mic & iTunes”, which merges the sound from a physical USB microphone with music from iTunes. If we set this as our input in a VoIP application like Skype or FaceTime, the person on the other end will hear the audio spoken into the mic, as well as songs played in iTunes. Nice!

Pass-Thru Devices

Those who’ve previously used the open-source tool “Soundflower” will be familiar with the idea of passing audio directly from one application to another. Without any additional configuration, virtual audio devices made with Loopback will work in a similar mode. We call these “pass-thru devices”. A pass-thru device doesn’t gather any audio on its own, but it will appear as both an audio input and an audio output throughout the system.

Loopback Screenshot

Because pass-thru devices appear in all audio selectors throughout Mac OS X, you can use them to pipe audio directly between applications. Sending applications play their audio into a pass-thru device by configuring it as their audio output. On the other end, receiving applications pull audio out of the pass-thru device by selecting it as their audio input. Loopback provides a system for passing audio directly between applications and modernizes the necessary infrastructure to transport it reliably.

Loopback Screenshot

Try It Now

Loopback IconLoopback offers incredible power and control over how audio is handled on your Mac, and it’s sure to be useful in hundreds of different ways. The best way to experience it is to try it out yourself. Loopback 1.0 is available for immediate download. You can visit the Loopback page for more details or just download the free trial immediately. Loopback works on Mac OS X 10.9 and higher, and it’s fully functional in its trial mode, so you can explore all that it offers.

Once you’re ready to purchase the full version of Loopback, just visit our online store.

Download Loopback Now

More to Come, Of Course

As you’d expect with a brand-new product, this is just the beginning. We’re extremely grateful to our top-notch beta testers, who helped us improve Loopback immensely. Now, we’ll be listening for even more feedback. Get in touch to let us know how you use Loopback or what you’d like to see in the future!

Audio Hijack Is Everyone’s Favorite App

Audio Hijack IconOK, our audio recorder Audio Hijack may not be everyone’s favorite app, but it’s certainly extremely popular. In addition to the “Mac App of the Year” honor we recently received from iMore, we were also recognized by the AppleVis community with a Golden Apple award. These awards “recognize and acknowledge the hard work and dedication which developers have put into making great and accessible applications”. Indeed, we worked hard to make Audio Hijack accessible for visually-impaired users, and it feels good to have that work celebrated. Even better is knowing how that work helps users make full use of their Macs. We’re proud to make a difference.

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In addition to garnering the Golden Apple as the Best Mac App of 2015, Audio Hijack also found its way on to several lists of top apps for the year.

Audio Hijack is how Rene Ritchie records podcasts listened to by tens of thousands of fans.

Jason Snell called Audio Hijack his “favorite audio utility” and said “if you need to record audio on a Mac, you won’t find better”.

With even more effusiveness, Serenity Caldwell said “There is too much I could say about Rogue Amoeba’s wonderful Audio Hijack 3, so I will just sum up: Without this vital piece of Mac software, my podcasting and transcription efforts would be hugely impacted…I use the app pretty much every time I use my iMac”.

Providing a tool that many find useful is very rewarding, and we’re thrilled to get such positive feedback. It’s also very flattering to find ourselves listed alongside so many other stellar Mac products. If you haven’t checked out Audio Hijack yet, give it a try! If you have, check out the lists linked above to find other top-notch software to enjoy.

Audio Hijack is iMore’s Mac App of the Year for 2015!

Each December, Apple news site iMore salutes the top products of the past year. In their own words, these winners “filled us with surprise and delight, got us to forget what came before, and made it impossible for us to imagine how we ever lived without them”.

This year, we’re incredibly honored to be included. Audio Hijack 3 was declared the Mac App of the Year in the 2015 iMore Awards, and darn if that doesn’t feel good!

iMore Award Banner

iMore wrote:

Audio Hijack 3 by Rogue Amoeba combines the same incredible, unfettered access to sound on the Mac with a new interface that makes handling it all easier and more intuitive than ever. With this update, Audio Hijack has risen from Mac classic to Mac software superstar.

We worked for quite literally years on Audio Hijack 3, and we’ve been thrilled with the response it’s received. It’s wonderful to be given a chance to reflect on all the hard work done by everyone at Rogue Amoeba, and we certainly appreciate the accolade. Thanks to everyone who nominated us to iMore and to the folks there who recognized us. And of course, keep an eye out for future updates, because we’re always cranking away!

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