My love affair with audio dates back to the Boss Radio era, back when audio recordings were edited with a razor blade, Scotch tape, and an aluminum editing block for audio tape. Those days are gone and your Mac is home to an audio recording and editing powerhouse of tools and options.
Why does Apple make it so difficult to switch from one audio source to another and control audio devices connected to your Mac?
I’m sure Apple’s executives and engineers have their reasons but if you’re tired of firing up Audio MIDI Setup or System Preferences Sound utilities then you’ll appreciate what you can get for a dollar.
First up is AudioSwitcher. This clever little app lives in the Menubar and gives you one-click access to audio input and output controls. Change volume, output to multiple devices, change the sample rate, ignore specific audio devices, and, my favorite, output to AirPlay, USB, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and Bluetooth.
The drop down menu from the Menubar is almost self explanatory but Preferences are extensive enough for almost any Mac-using audiophile.
Control and route sound sources into and from your Mac until the cows come home. Or, at least until the cows get nearby. There are some issues with volume to some devices but that’s more a cause of physics and how Apple manages audio devices.
Otherwise, lots of audio controls with a click, and priced right for a dollar. If that’s just too much coin there’s the free AudioMate app to consider.
It doesn’t do quite as much but it’s useful and priced right. AudioMate also gives you control over audio devices connected to your Mac, right from the Menubar with a single click, but different than AudioSwitcher.
AudioMate displays connected devices and sample rate and gives you one-click control; avoiding a trip to Audio MIDI Setup or the Sound preferences.
Change the audio volume, sample rate, system audio input and output device, even the clock source, and get quick notifications in Notification Center to remind you of the change.
With such great audio controls for so little money, what’s not to like? Well, when it works, it works, but OS X seems to be finicky about audio in general, so don’t clutter the Menubar with too many such utilities, and choose your audio recording apps and devices carefully. When something goes wonky it’s easy to spend more time troubleshooting than recording and editing.
Oh, and the AudioMate logo could be more subtle and less like a highway billboard. But it’s free.