Under The Microscope

Fission 2.7.1 Is Now Available; Fission Exits the Mac App Store

We’ve just posted Fission 2.7.1, the latest version of our audio editor. This update provides a handful of small improvements, as well as initial support for MacOS 12 (Monterey). 1

For most of Fission’s users, getting this update will be a snap. If you purchased Fission directly from our site, just select “Check for Update” from the Fission menu, and you’ll be all set.

As of today’s release, Fission is no longer being sold via the Mac App Store. If you’re a new user looking to purchase Fission, you can do so directly through our site. That’s now the exclusive place to purchase a license for Fission.

Mac App Store Customers: Get the Direct Version

We want to be sure to our customers who previously purchased Fission via the Mac App Store are taken care of as well. To that end, we will be transitioning you over to our directly distributed version.

This transition process is fast, free, and follows the same system we used successfully with Piezo in 2016. Verified purchasers of the Mac App Store version of Fission can obtain a complimentary license key for the directly distributed version, enabling you to continue using the latest versions of Fission without interruption.

We encourage you to make that transition immediately. To get started, click below:

 Transition to the Direct Version →

 

Future Mac App Store Distribution

For almost twenty years, we’ve sold our software directly to our customers via our online store. Our fast and secure purchase process has served our customers very well. Since the Mac App Store opened in 2011, we’ve also experimented there. However, despite a decade of feedback from countless developers and users, Apple has made scant few changes and the store remains beset with issues. When you couple the many shortcomings and issues with Apple’s restrictive policies that preclude most of our software from appearing there, the Mac App Store is clearly a poor fit for us. With the removal of Fission, we no longer have any products in the Mac App Store.

We know that some users prefer to purchase software through the Mac App Store, and we’ll continue evaluating it for use as a sales channel in the future. Unfortunately, at present, it is simply not a viable distribution channel for us. If that changes, we will of course consider providing our software there again.

In the meantime, we’ll be focusing our efforts on providing a fast and easy experience testing and purchasing our software right from our website. We have always provided a seamless purchase process via our store, and we always will.


Footnotes:

  1. With this update, Fission joins Farrago in offering initial support for Monterey. We’re hard at work on updates for the rest of our product line, so keep an eye on our Status page for more details on updates to Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Loopback, Piezo, and SoundSource, all coming soon. ↩︎

Looking Forward to MacOS 12 (Monterey)

Last week, during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, we were all introduced to the next major update coming to the Mac operating system: MacOS 12 (Monterey). Like you, we’re always excited to learn about Apple’s plans for the Mac each year. Although no new Mac hardware was announced, the improved technologies coming to Monterey should provide great opportunities for future development.

We’re particularly interested in the renewed attention being brought to automation, most notable in the announcement of Shortcuts for Mac. In the last few years, Apple had seemed disinterested in enhancing scripting support in MacOS, which made it difficult for us to consider investing in these capabilities. Nevertheless, we’re well aware of the desire for automated control of our apps, and we’re now hopeful that devoting resources to this area will be worthwhile. We’ll be exploring these new possibilities to determine where automation can come to our apps in the future.

Current Status

We’re already running the developer beta of Monterey on multiple Macs internally, and we’ve also updated our Status page to make mention of the new operating system. That page is always the best place to find up-to-date information related to our support for Apple’s latest operating systems.

As that page notes, our products do not yet support Monterey. We also do not expect to post Monterey-compatible updates in the near future. If you’re an end user, you’d do well to steer clear of developer previews: they’re intended specifically for developers, providing a testing environment to ensure compatibility between app updates and the new OS. We work with these betas to create future updates that everyone can enjoy, but the OS is often quite buggy and not yet ready for widespread use.

An Additional Note About Public Betas

Apple also announced that a public beta of Monterey will be available some time in July. In our experience, these pre-release betas are a poor bet for most users, particularly those using their Macs as production machines. We always recommend sticking with Apple’s publicly released OSes.

That said, we certainly understand the interest folks have in trying out the new features coming to Monterey! Rather than running any risks in updating your Mac’s main environment, you should consider installing to a second volume or an external drive. Apple’s APFS file system makes it very easy to create a separate volume to install another copy of MacOS, but if you’re concerned about disk space then installing Monterey to an external SSD drive is also very straightforward. With either of these options, you can test new features without negatively impacting your carefully configured day-to-day setup.

Our Plan: Be Ready for The Public Release

We always aim to support each new version of MacOS as soon as Apple officially releases it. We’re proud that we’ve been able to hit this goal for several years in a row, and we’re hard at work so we can keep that streak going in 2021. Expect more news from us later this year on that front.

In the months ahead, our Status page will be updated with Monterey-specific details for each of our apps. We’ll also be adding other tidbits to our social media accounts as we discover them.

For now, if you want to use our apps you’ll need to be sure to stick with a compatible version of MacOS. We continue to fully support MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra) and later, including the current MacOS 11 (Big Sur), on both Intel and Apple’s M1 Macs.

10 Years With Grant Farr

Today, it’s time for us to commemorate another employee milestone here at Rogue Amoeba. I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate our developer Grant Farr. Grant joined us as a Mac software engineer way back in the days of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and he’s been doing tremendous work ever since. He’s now reached a full decade with the company, and we want to honor him.

Grant’s Impact

Long-time readers may recall the occasion of Grant’s five year anniversary, back in 2016. At that time, I focused on two major projects Grant had led development on: Piezo and Audio Hijack 3. It’s worth following up on both of them.

Piezo was created to make recording on your Mac a breeze. Nearly a decade after it was introduced, it still does just that. Piezo hasn’t needed massive updates over the years, because Grant has kept it working and looking great. It remains an easy-to-use tool that might be our most fun app.

Rogue Amoeba’s flagship product, however, is Audio Hijack. Long before he joined us, Audio Hijack 3 was conceived as a complete rewrite of Audio Hijack Pro 2. That project struggled for years, as it was so big that no one ever got a good grasp of it. It passed through three other developers before Grant took the reins.

When Grant took over, we quickly began to see steady progress, and we were finally able to ship Audio Hijack 3 in 2015. That update was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback, a testament to Grant’s stellar efforts. Audio Hijack has received substantial updates in the years since, while remaining bullet-proof, to ensure you get the recordings you need.

After shipping Audio Hijack 3, we wanted to explore an idea we had during development; a way to easily initiate sound effect playback. This ended up growing into its own complete product, Farrago. Using many of user interface lessons learned in Audio Hijack, Grant built Farrago nearly from scratch. It’s proven to be a great addition to our lineup, one that’s particularly popular with podcasters.

Speaking of podcasting, there’s still one more product Grant impacted, and that’s Loopback. He doesn’t work directly on our audio routing tool, but his code helps power it just the same. In the course of developing Audio Hijack 3, Grant created “GX”, an internal interface framework. Loopback’s lead developer Ed Wynne refers to GX as “insanely great”. It enabled Ed to create the easy-to-use wire-based interface of Loopback 2.

As you can see, Grant’s contributions obviously go well beyond his most notable work on Audio Hijack. In the past decade, he’s had a major impact on four of our seven current products and his work is used by tens of thousands of users every single day. Impressive!

Our 10 Year Anniversary Award

As we showed off in last year’s post celebrating Chris, rather than a boring and bureaucratic acrylic trophy, we provide a silver Rogue Amoeba logo hand-poured by company co-founder Quentin Carnicelli:

Despite a worldwide increase in the demand for silver, Quentin was once again able to fire up the melting furnace to craft Grant’s award. He even captured a very cool look at the back of the object, as it lay cooling in its mold:

After receiving his award, Grant noted how satisfying it is to hold. We don’t want his hands to get too tired to type, though, so we also sent along a nifty stand. Twelve South sells it for use with iPads, but it doesn’t say it can’t be used to display precious metals.

Closing

With all the products Grant has impacted, it’s likely you’re using at least some of his work. While Grant graciously noted that everything we do here is a team effort, his impact has been a big part of the success of more than half of our lineup. For over a decade now, his solid code has pushed the state-of-the-art at Rogue Amoeba steadily forward, providing useful audio utilities to countless Mac users around the globe.

Photo credits: A, B

So on behalf of both the rest of the Rogue Amoeba team, as well as the users of every product you’ve worked on, thank you, Grant! We greatly appreciate all you’ve done in the past decade, and we can’t wait to show the world what’s next.

Get Faster Device Switching and Enhanced Effects With SoundSource 5.3

If you’re reading these words, it means that a big update to SoundSource is now available. SoundSource 5.3 is the latest version of our superior audio control utility, and it includes more than two dozen new features, enhancements, and bug fixes. With one click, you can download it right now.

Want to know more first? OK!

Fast Device Switching and Keyboard Control

Speeding up the process of changing the Mac’s default audio devices has always been one of SoundSource’s strong suits. With our newest in-app keyboard shortcuts, switching your devices is now faster than ever. Use SoundSource’s global hotkey to reveal SoundSource, then hit Cmd-0 to select the default output device. Arrow to your desired device, hit Return, and you’re done. Similarly, Cmd-Hyphen (-) gets you to the Mac’s default input device, while Cmd-1 through Cmd-9 will let you adjust application-specific output devices.

Many other areas of the app also feature supercharged keyboard control. When a slider is selected, typing a numerical value will now set it precisely. In addition, modifiers are now supported when using arrow keys to adjust sliders, with Shift-arrow providing a 10x modification and Option-arrow providing a 0.1x modification. Finally, tabbing between Audio Unit controls has been refined, making keyboard entry a breeze.

Major Effects Improvements

Speaking of Audio Units, they’re now hosted in a separate process, which prevents misbehaving plugins from crashing SoundSource. On the newest M1 Macs, this enables top-notch support for Intel-based plugins running in emulation. To improve the Audio Unit experience still more, the display of MacOS’s built-in Audio Unit effects has been streamlined, with a more appealing interface that avoids redundancy.

If you frequently make adjustments to effects in SoundSource, you’ll love the new “Bypass Effects” option. With it, you can quickly disable all effects processing on individual applications or the default output device, making it easy to A/B test your changes. Even better, the handy “Bypass Effects” keyboard shortcut (Option-Command-B) makes experimenting to get the perfect sound lightning fast.

There’s lots more when it comes to improvements for audio effects. The “Headphone EQ” effect can now load custom-created profiles, as well as files exported from Room EQ Wizard (REW). Effects can now be duplicated by copy and pasting. Using generic interfaces with Audio Units is now even easier, with an Option-click loading the generic interface once, while holding option when adding an Audio Unit will automatically toggle on the “Use Generic Audio Unit Interface” setting.

If you use SoundSource to adjust audio with effects, this update will be a great leap forward.

A Slew Of Additional Enhancements

There are so many other updates worth noting that we must now turn to our trusty friend the bullet list:

  • Even Better Undo Support: SoundSource now supports more robust Undo throughout the entire app, making it a breeze to revert settings changes.

  • Single-Key Shortcuts: The “Show SoundSource” global hotkey now supports using a single key shortcut to bring SoundSource forward. F13 is a lovely choice for desktops.

  • No Input? No Problem!: A helpful new visual is now shown for Macs which have no input device attached, such as the Mac Mini.

  • Multi-Slider Select: It’s now possible to select and adjust multiple sliders at once with the 10-Band EQ.

  • High-Contrast Support: The entire interface now better supports the “Increase contrast” setting found in the “Accessibility” System Preference.

  • Corrections for Slider Readouts: VoiceOver now correctly reads volume slider values after they’ve been adjusted.

  • Minimizing VoiceOver Impact: To avoid negatively impacting VoiceOver’s guidance, SoundSource now intelligently disables audio adjustments to “System Speech” when VoiceOver is active.

There are many more refinements, as well as a handful of bug fixes. As always, the latest version is the greatest version, so get it now.

Details

SoundSource 5.3 is another free update for all users of version 5. If you’re already rocking with SoundSource, just click the “Check for Updates…” button in SoundSource’s Preferences window.

If you’re a SoundSource 4 user, visit the “What’s New in SoundSource 5” page to learn more about version 5, and to access discounted upgrade pricing.

Finally, if you made it this far, yet still haven’t tried out SoundSource? Click right here to download the free trial. You’ll be glad you did.


Big Sur and M1 Updates Are Now Complete

With this update to SoundSource, all of our products are now fully compatible with the new M1-based Macs, powered by Apple Silicon. Of course, they also have full compatibility with MacOS 11 (Big Sur) running on Intel.

Just make sure you have the latest versions of our products, and you’ll be set.

Rogue Amoeba’s 2021 Status Report

It’s (past) time for a new calendar, which means it’s (also past) time for the latest Rogue Amoeba status report. Our fifth annual report contains a recap of our busy-beyond-belief 2020, along with a look at plans for 2021.

Though the word “unprecedented” has been sorely overused of late, 2020 really was a year unlike any other for Rogue Amoeba. It began normally enough, but as COVID-19 led so much of the world to lock down and work remotely, we saw staggering new demand for our products. We first noticed something was up when our support volume soared:

A chart showing many, many more support requests in 2020, compared to 2019.
Year-over-year support requests for 2020 vs. 2019

Beginning in March, there was a surge in usage of all our products, especially our audio routing tool Loopback, our sound control utility SoundSource, and our recorder Audio Hijack. The highest peaks didn’t last forever, but there has been a sustained increase in the popularity of our tools, with a new normal that’s much higher than before.

While coping with that increased demand has been challenging, we’re glad to be able to assist Mac users around the globe. It’s tremendously gratifying to know our products are helping so many of you adapt to new ways of working and living.

New Guides for Using Rogue Amoeba Apps

One result of this increased usage was the discovery of new, and newly popular, use cases. Much of the world is now communicating via voice chat on services like Zoom and Google Meet, and several of our products can enrich that experience. We created some great new support resources, which help you:

Our article on adding volume control to unsupported devices also proved quite popular. If you have an HDMI, DisplayPort, or other audio output that the system refuses to adjust, SoundSource can provide volume adjustment, as well as keyboard volume key support.

Software Updates

In 2020, we released an insane 80 new versions, more than in any previous year. Though all of these updates contained new features, improvements, and refinements, 79 of them were provided free to existing users. Let’s highlight a few of the biggest changes.

SoundSource

We began the year with SoundSource 4.2, which enhanced our Bluetooth support and added a new “Volume Overdrive” effect, among other changes. Following that release, we stepped back to review the tremendous quantity of feedback we’d received since the initial release of SoundSource 4.

Many months of work later, we unveiled SoundSource 5, 2020’s lone paid upgrade. Version 5 is a reimagining of the product, with an interface that’s been noticeably slimmed down, particularly in the Compact view. SoundSource also now automatically handles audio apps, so there’s less need to manually manage things. Of course, there are many new features as well, from powerful menu bar meters to enhanced audio effects.

SoundSource is made for anyone who does anything at all with audio on the Mac, and it’s rapidly become one of our most popular products. If you haven’t checked it out, take a look today.

Audio Hijack

In April, Audio Hijack received a major update to version 3.7. This release included the new “Live Stream” block, making it possible to stream audio to RTMP services like Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube Live.

The release of this functionality was actually pushed up in response to user requests. With so many people locked down at home, the Live Stream block has provided musicians, DJs, and other content creators with an easy way to share and monetize their work.

Farrago

When Farrago 1.5 arrived, our soundboard app got its biggest update since the original release. This enormous undertaking contained over 30 new features, supercharging the List Mode, and checking off literally dozens of user requests. Farrago was able to help thousands of new customers in 2020, whether they used it for voice chats, remote tabletop gaming sessions, or podcasts.

A Continuous Parade of Updates

Of course, the rest of our products got plenty of love throughout the year as well. We repeatedly fortified Loopback to better handle all manner of wonky audio devices and configurations. Our home audio streamer Airfoil gained full support for the new HomePods Mini. Piezo and Fission also received several smaller releases to keep them working well.

The final months of 2020 were spent rolling out an incredible parade of updates to the entire product line. This past fall, Apple made two major changes to the Mac platform, with MacOS 11 (Big Sur) followed by new hardware powered by Apple Silicon. We devoted countless hours to preparing our products to support Apple’s latest changes.

We were ready for Big Sur prior to its release, and had betas available for the new M1 Macs when they arrived. By year’s end, our official releases all had support for both the new OS and the new hardware. Make sure you have the latest versions of our products, and you’ll be good to go.

Other 2020 News

Here’s a bit more news worth noting from last year.

Technology Licensing

Back in 2018, we announced licensing for ACE, the audio capture engine that underpins many of our products. This licensing really took off last year, and now over a dozen different products use ACE to power their audio capture, from screen recording tools to transcription apps.

After the success we had with ACE, we introduced a second framework for licensing: Resonate. Resonate simplifies audio handling with a dramatically easier-to-use interface for MacOS’s CoreAudio. If you’re developing an application which needs to use audio on the Mac, Resonate is for you.

Staff Anniversaries

We also marked anniversaries for two members of our team. Our all-star designer Neale Van Fleet has now been with us for over five years, while our support ace Chris Barajas is now by far our longest-tenured employee, with over a decade under his belt. One of Rogue Amoeba’s greatest strengths is our incredible staff, and it’s a special privilege to have the chance to celebrate milestones like this.

We’re generally pretty tight-lipped when it comes to future plans, preferring to show, rather than tell. That said, there are a few things I can share today.

Coming Very Soon: SoundSource 5.3

We’re currently finalizing the next major update to SoundSource. In version 5.3, changing your devices will be faster than ever, and we’ve honed many aspects of audio effects. In particular, if you like tinkering with your audio adjustments, the new “Effects Bypass” option will prove very useful.

Effects have moved into a separate process, to prevent misbehaving plugins from crashing SoundSource. This change also brings support for older (built for Intel) plugins on the new M1 Macs. With additional advancements to the “Headphone EQ” effect and more, you won’t want to miss this free update. Watch for SoundSource 5.3 in the coming weeks.

Audio Hijack Updates

Work on our best-known product never stops, and we’re planning more major Audio Hijack updates in 2021. Lots of new features are in the works, as is an interface touch-up. We’re also planning to bring over work done in SoundSource, with Audio Hijack gaining a new “Magic Boost” block and enhancements to Volume Overdrive. It’s always nice when work on one of our products can find its way into other apps as well.

We’ll have more to say about Audio Hijack in the coming months, but for now, enjoy this teaser image:

Much More to Come

2021 should be just a little bit quieter than 2020 for Rogue Amoeba. We aren’t currently planning to release any brand-new products this year, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that Apple will avoid shaking up the platform quite as much as they did last year. Nevertheless, 2021 is sure to be a very busy year. We’ll still be doing all we can to push the state-of-the-art forward in audio software on the Mac, so you can be assured of updates both big and small for our entire line. Perfection in software may be unattainable, but that doesn’t stop us from striving for it.

I hope to expand our support resources to help even more folks use our products. We’ll likely create new articles in our Knowledge Base, as well as videos on our nascent YouTube channel. If you have an idea for an article or video we might make, or you’re making use of our products in an unusual way, we’d love to hear from you.

Finally, the Rogue Amoeba team will be growing in the near future. With our products proving more popular than ever before, our support and development teams were both kept incredibly busy throughout 2020. We want to devote even more resources to both customer support and future development in 2021. We’ve been collecting applications, and we plan to bring on multiple new amoebas later this year.

Get the Latest News From Rogue Amoeba

That’s all for today, but there are several ways you can keep abreast of our latest news:

Stay safe, stay healthy, and here’s to a tomorrow.

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