Sound has been a prominent feature of my life since before I was a full-fledged adult. I can trace a sound heritage back to the days of Ampex tape recorders with aluminum edit bars, a razor blade, and Scotch editing tape.
Today, sound remains an important segment of my day-to-day routines, but it’s all digital and Mac centric. As much as I enjoy iPad’s power, the Mac simply has more capabilities to gather and manipulate sound. Here are a few of the apps I use.
Keep It Simple
Through the years there are few Mac audio applications that I have not tried; from Pro Tools to Adobe Audition. Experience has taught me that simplicity rules and the Mac’s built-in Garageband provides an awesome platform to record and manage audio tracks. For me it’s not so much music as it is voice overs (I’ve done thousands of voice over commercials through the years).
One source of audio tools that caught my eye a few years ago come from Rogue Amoeba so let me start with a basic utility.
SoundSource – This is the sound control Apple should have put into macOS but did not.
Change the volume and output device for individual apps. Adjust your Mac’s audio device settings and levels instantly, from anywhere. Even apply built-in and third-party audio effects to any audio on your Mac. It’s all possible right from your menu bar
I love this utility.
Not only do you get quick access to the Mac’s system sound devices, but you can control audio on a per-application basis, including adding audio effects. If your Mac is the center of your sound universe, SoundSource is a must-have.
Audio Hijack – My first entry to Rogue Amoeba’s audio apps was Audio Hijack. It is not for the faint of heart and not a match for GarageBand’s elegance and simplicity. Audio Hijack does what the name implies. It completely controls the Mac’s audio which means it can grab whatever sound the Mac plays and route it wherever you need sound.
The interface is nothing like you find anywhere else so it isn’t familiar, but it is more capable at routing sound sources, and once you get into how it works, actually quite logical. That makes it perfect for VoIP recording, Podcast recording, grabbing audio from the web, and now broadcast internet radio.
Audio Hijack handles all major audio formats including FLAC and ALAC, MP2, AAC, AIFF, and WAV.
Rogue Amoeba has three other apps that are specialty utilities that I use; each somewhat different than the typical audio application, but each very useful in audio production.
Fission – Think of absolutely drop dead simple and lossless audio editing with easy fade, cut, crop, and access to metadata– with no quality loss. No compression, but you can convert between audio formats.
Fission is a Podcaster editor’s dream app. FLAC, AAC, MP2 and more; fades and splits, east segment removal, and it even creates iPhone ringtones.
Farrago – Anyone who works with sound knows the problem of dropping in sound elements– whether into a live recording or one to be edited. It’s a time consuming process in GarageBand, but Farrago makes it a one-click option.
My history in audio recording goes back to the days of cart machines which gave disc jockeys and newsmen the ability to play commercials, songs, or sound effects with little more than a click. Farrago brings that same capability and more to the Mac.
What you get is a one-click option to send sounds to various audio sources. You control each sound byte. Sound is organized through sets. They can run solo, or be looped, allow pauses, or play sound only while the mouse is clicked and held. Farrago is excellent for live radio and Podcast recording where additional audio sources need to be added in a live recording session vs. edited in later.
Each app in the Rogue Amoeba suite is different than GarageBand or Adobe Audition or Pro Tools or Logic Pro (I’ve used them all, but have resorted to a more simplified recording methodology in recent years), yet they compliment almost any recording setup with ease.
They come highly recommended. Just remember they are different than the standard Mac audio recording app.