Back in the day audio recording was limited to crummy little tape recorders or giant studio recorders. Editing was done with an aluminum editing block and tape. Uh huh. Tape. These days, your Mac is an audio recording powerhouse and some Mac audio apps have gone from being tedious to fun. Like Audio Hijack.
Blocks Of Tools
Open GarageBand on your Mac and you get a time honored and traditional timeline for audio recording and editing multiple tracks and inputs. That’s the way digital audio recording and editing has always been. Enter Audio Hijack which turns the whole audio capture process into building block tools.
Instead of a stack of audio sources and a never ending linear timeline, Audio Hijack thinks completely different and uses blocks of audio sources, audio destinations, even audio effects. Drag and drop and arrange however you need a recording to be.
Think Tinker Toys for audio recording.
Audio Hijack can grab audio from nearly any source from or connected to your Mac. That means the Mac’s System Audio, any audio from any application on the Mac that plays audio, and any device. I use Apogee’s Duet and a couple of high end microphones to record audio into my Mac and the combo of Audio Hijack and Farrago makes it a breeze to record and drop in audio clips at any time during the recording.
You can record audio conversations from Skype, FaceTime, or any other audio source connected to the Mac. Audio Hijack becomes an easily customized app for podcasters but whatever the audio file format or quality, you can do it with a click; MP3 to AAC, AIFF to WAVE, even FLAC to ALAC. A single click begins the recording process. Audio files are recorded and stacked in order for easy editing later. Built-in audio effects can process the audio. I use Izotope’s high acclaimed plugins on my Mac and they drop right into Audio Hijack.
Preferences are typical Mac.
Choose any external audio editor. I use Fission, among a few others. Add up to four global keyboard shortcuts and adjust audio processing latency as needed with a simple slider bar.
Audio Hijack is a good choice for audio nerds who love to build a recording flow without the typical recording timeline, but remarkably, the app is good for those who have no experience in Garageband or typical audio recording apps on the Mac because it is building block and flow oriented. Go figure, right? The key to understanding how to use Audio Hijack is to recognize that it captures and moves audio from any source to almost any recording source and external speakers.
There is a companion application called Loopback which lets you pass audio between Mac audio applications to combine audio sources, Audio Hijack included. I’ll do a more complete review of Loopback at a later date. As is always the case with good apps from qualified developers, Audio Hijack, Farrago, and LoopBack all come with a try-before-you-buy option.
The only caveat I see here is that all these apps create a monster list of capabilities that are not always for the faint of heart, even though they work well together. It’s still four apps to learn.