Under The Microscope

SoundSource Gives You Volume Control of Any Audio Outputs, Including HDMI and DisplayPort Devices

Do you have an audio device which doesn’t allow for volume control when connected up to your Mac? When sending audio to a display connected via HDMI or DisplayPort, or to any non-standard digital audio device, MacOS will offer no volume adjustment. Worse, pressing the volume keys on your keyboard just shows a frustrating on-screen display.

With our audio control utility SoundSource, you can turn that frustration into satisfaction.

SoundSource gives you volume control over any audio output devices, even those the system refuses to adjust. Better still, the “Super Volume Keys” feature enables your keyboard volume controls to adjust any device as well.

We’ve written up a brief Knowledge Base article explaining how this all works. Give it a read and try out SoundSource to gain volume control over all your audio output devices.

Come Attend Everywhere School

I’m going to take a quick break from my usual posts about audio software design to talk about about a special personal side project I’m launching today: Everywhere School.

Everywhere School is a real-time web directory of educational live streams for kids stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. The site shows a live chronological list of upcoming streams from artists, musicians, authors, and more. I’m adding streams each day, and will keep adding more as this isolation period goes on. Submissions are welcome.

Everywhere School Screenshot

I limit screen time for my kid, but these live streams have given our long days a much-needed combination of education, entertainment, and just plain seeing another gosh darn real person in real time.

The night before last, my family watched a live concert, after which we tuned in to a short talk on astronomy. That stream included a telescope tour of the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, as well as guidance for watching as the International Space Station orbited over our city. We managed a tour of outer space, all while keeping in strict isolation.

Everywhere School was built in a week or so of spare time in partnership with a web developer. In this difficult time, we hope it can give some relief to both bored children and stressed parents.

Start Live Streaming With Audio Hijack 3.7

Today, we’re unveiling an all-new live streaming feature in our latest release of Audio Hijack. With the new Live Stream block in Audio Hijack 3.7, it’s now possible to transmit audio to services using the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP).

We teased this new functionality in our recent Status Report, with plans to ship it later in the year. However, with people confined to their homes the world over, we received extensive user requests to make live streaming available immediately. In response, we worked to get this out much sooner than planned. We’re now pleased to be able to provide musicians, DJs, and other content creators with another way to share and monetize their work.

Read on to learn more or just download the latest Audio Hijack now.

Live Streaming Made Easy

With Live Stream and Audio Hijack, you can pull audio from any app on your Mac and send it out to an RTMP server. Of course, all of Audio Hijack’s powerful audio handling features work in conjunction with this, making it a snap to create professional quality setups.

With just a few clicks, you can get a free stream up and running with one of the services offered by major platforms, including Periscope, Twitch, and YouTube Live. Live streaming is great for offering a live feed while recording a podcast, or transmitting content like concerts and DJ sets. These live streams are great for listeners as well, since they can tune in right through their browsers, as well as in branded apps.

Setting things up in the Live Stream block is quick and easy:

While RTMP is often used for transmitting camera feeds, the Live Stream block is designed around audio content. Along with the high quality audio, it creates a supplemental video feed automatically, with a variety of options available to customize this video content with automated track title display, audio visualizers, and more. Live Stream will even analyze album artwork and select the perfect complimentary color scheme.

With the new Live Stream block and your streaming platform of choice, you can stream content to people around the globe with ease.

Beta Release; Feedback Requested

Because we’ve sped up the release of this new functionality, Live Stream is not as widely tested as we’d like. As a result, we’ve chosen to apply a “Beta” tag to the block. We welcome you to start streaming with Live Stream, but those with mission-critical use cases may wish to wait. We expect to improve Live Stream further via additional updates.

We’re eager to learn how folks make use of the new Live Stream block, and to hear about any rough edges. Please, get in touch to tell us about how you’re using Live Stream, as well as any problems you run in to.

Download Audio Hijack 3.7 Now

Audio Hijack 3.7 is a free update for all current owners of Audio Hijack 3. Just select “Check for Update” from the Audio Hijack menu to download the latest.

If you’re new to Audio Hijack, you can visit the Audio Hijack page to learn more about our powerful audio recording tool, and to download the free trial.

Using Loopback to Add Audio to Voice Chats

In recent weeks, many people have begun working remotely for the first time, as part of social distancing efforts. We’ve seen a corresponding increase in folks using our audio routing tool Loopback, which is proving helpful at solving many problems related to remote communication. One of the most common ways people are using Loopback is to add multiple audio sources to voice chat (VoIP) calls with services like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and more.

To help folks use Loopback to add audio to voice chats, we’ve written up a new tutorial. Learn more about combining audio from microphones and applications and providing it to voice chat applications to be heard by all participants, with this new Knowledge Base article.

You Can Help “Flatten the Curve” of COVID-19

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has led to sporting events and performances of all types being canceled, schools closing, and outright bans on large gatherings. If you’re fortunate, it may currently seem like a lot of fuss over nothing.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality of the situation. Over one hundred thousand people have been infected with COVID-19 already, with several thousand fatalities. The nature of a pandemic means that things are going to get much worse, before they get better. In short order, millions of people will be infected, and many of those will die. The sooner we accept this reality, the better.

Flattening the Curve

Despite this grim forecast, we are not powerless to help. This simple chart illustrates why:

This graphic shows an idea referred to as “flattening the curve”. When the curve of a pandemic is flattened, its peak is both lowered and delayed. This better allows us to handle the outbreak, by reducing the strain on our systems. The more successful we are at flattening the curve, the more society will benefit.

When we take protective measures, fewer people will get sick and the sickness will be spread over a longer time period. Our healthcare systems will then have more capacity to treat those who do fall ill.

Basic Steps

If your inbox is anything like mine, you’ve been inundated with information related to COVID-19. The basic advice shared in countless places is certainly valid. Wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and so on. Above and beyond improving our basic hygiene, however, there is a broader concept each and every one of us can follow to lessen the severity of this global crisis: social distancing.

Key Takeaway: Practice Social Distancing

At its most basic, social distancing is a deliberate effort to reduce your contact with others. Doing so will slow or prevent community transmission of COVID-19, by decreasing the number of opportunities the virus has to spread.

You can practice social distancing in many ways. For those in the tech sector, working from home is a hugely powerful step you may be able to take. Rogue Amoeba’s employees use home offices around the globe, but if that weren’t the case, we’d be mandating working from home now.

It’s not possible for everyone to work from home, but there are still plenty of other changes you can implement. Avoid attending group gatherings. Reduce the amount you leave the house. If you do go out, maintain physical distance from others as best you can.

Every time you take these steps, you’ll reduce the chances that you yourself will get sick, as well as the chances that you’ll infect someone else. Every single action we take has the possibility of affecting the overall infection rate. Allowing our actions to be guided by social distancing will help flatten the curve, and flattening the curve will save lives.

A Small Extra Incentive

We hope that you’ll put social distancing into practice immediately to help slow transmission of COVID-19. We also know that software can actually assist you in doing so. From messaging and communication services to entertainment like online games and streaming content, digital tools will help contain the spread.

Some of our own tools can assist professionals working remotely or be used to distract from the boredom of being homebound. For anyone who might find our software useful at this time, we’re now providing it at a discount. Everyone can now use the discount code SOCIALDISTANCING in our store to receive 15% off at checkout.

Closing

This blog is generally a platform to discuss topics related to our software. However, in extraordinary times, it makes sense to use it to help educate. If this post can change the behavior of even a small percentage of our readers, it will have helped save many lives. We urge you to practice social distancing yourself, and to pass along this concept to others.

Beyond that, we hope for the very best for all of you. We’re going to get through this together. For now, the best way to do that is by being apart as much as possible.

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