six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This week's sponsor

SoundSource: Sound control so good, it ought to be built into macOS. Save 20% with coupon code 6CSS!

By Jason Snell

RSS Sponsor: Loopback

Hi folks - Jason here. Paul at Rogue Amoeba asked me to write the RSS ad this week because they’re advertising Loopback and I use it, so why not?

Loopback is an audio utility that lets you route Mac audio where you want it to go. Now, you’d think that this would be something the system—which I guess I need to call macOS now—would do by itself. Yes, I am kind of surprised that Apple has done very little to upgrade the macOS/OS X audio infrastructure over the last decade, but there it is. And it opens up an opportunity for Rogue Amoeba to make products like Loopback and Audio Hijack.

Loopback lets you create virtual inputs and outputs. Believe it or not, if you want to route sound from one app (say, Garageband or QuickTime Player) to another app (say, Skype), you can’t! You can input audio from hardware devices, but not from software. Loopback changes this, so you can create a new “device” on your Mac that one app sends audio to and another app receives audio from. It’s the missing link in building Mac audio workflows entirely in software that would previously have required routing audio out of the Mac into a mixer and then back into the Mac. Yuck.

Here’s how I use Loopback, in conjunction with Audio Hijack, which is totally awesome. I need to record the audio from my Skype conversations and then live stream them on Relay FM or The Incomparable. I can use Audio Hijack to do the recording, but then what I need to do is mix that output and send it to another Rogue Amoeba app, Nicecast, for live streaming. So how do I connect Audio Hijack and Nicecast together, so that Nicecast sees the audio output from Audio Hijack?

The old answer was: I couldn’t. Or, I’d need to use some pretty weird software that I never really understood how to use and never trusted to work reliably. Now I use Loopback, and it works every time. (Similarly, if I want to play audio from my Mac and have it heard by the people on my Skype call, I couldn’t do that easily before Loopback.)

If you need to route audio around your Mac from app to app, check out Loopback. It’s free to try, and you can save $20 when you purchase by using coupon code SIXCOLORS1609. Act fast, because this deal only lasts until the end of the month!

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