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SoundSource 3 Simplifies Mac Audio Management

In macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple enhanced the Volume menu available from the speaker menu bar icon, making it easy to change volume and switch between audio outputs. Previously, you had to Option-click the Volume icon to see those controls. Now if you Option-click it, you can also quickly switch between audio inputs. (Not seeing the Volume icon in the menu bar? Enable it by selecting Show Volume in Menu Bar in System Preferences > Sound.)

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But if you want even quicker access to sound-related preferences, Rogue Amoeba, masters of all things audio on the Mac, have a souped-up alternative for you: SoundSource 3. It’s actually an update to a long-dormant utility first published in the early 2000s. If you own a license to a current version of one of Rogue Amoeba’s other apps, you can register SoundSource for free. Otherwise, it’s only $10, and a free trial is available.

If you’re eligible for a free copy, go to the SoundSource page, click Purchase, and then on the next page click Learn More under Get a Complimentary SoundSource License. On the next page, enter the email, license name, and license code associated with your Rogue Amoeba product, and click Submit.

Like Volume, SoundSource lives in your menu bar. Click its icon and you’ll see options to choose your output device, input device, and which device should be used for system sounds. You can also adjust the volume for each audio source individually.

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Another neat feature is Play-Thru, which lets you choose an audio input and play the sound through a selected output. Just choose Open Play-Thru Window from the menu, choose your settings, and click Start Play-Thru. Play-Thru might be handy to make sure your microphone is working and not muted, or to check your input level for recording.

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If you want to replace the Volume menu bar icon with SoundSource, here’s how you can do that:

  1. Make sure SoundSource opens at login. Choose SoundSource > Options > Preferences, and select Start SoundSource at Login.


  2. Disable the SoundSource Dock icon to reduce Dock clutter. In the SoundSource Preferences window, select Only in The Menu Bar. SoundSource will quickly close and relaunch.

  3. Finally, disable the standard Volume menu bar icon by going to System Preferences > Sound and unchecking Show Volume in Menu Bar.


SoundSource 3 is aimed at the audio power user who needs to adjust input and output sources and level frequently, and it’s a simple utility that does its job well. Particularly if you already own any of Rogue Amoeba’s other products, it’s well worth installing.

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

In this 119-page book, you'll learn how to use Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack 3 to capture and enhance any audio coming out of your Mac, whether it's your own voice via a microphone, a streaming radio show in Safari, or audio from a DVD. Audio expert Kirk McElhearn covers a variety of scenarios - including recording Skype calls, digitizing LPs, and making podcasts - and provides a bonus chapter about editing your recordings in Rogue Amoeba's Fission audio editor.

 

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Sherman Wilcox  2017-02-18 22:58
An email I sent to Rogue Amoeba (who I know is a reputable developer):

I’m afraid I will not be testing Sound Source any more. I have a very nice home stereo system (Gallo speakers, Peachtree Integrated amp, driven by my MacBook Pro connected by USB). This evening I tried to play some music. The sound was coming from my computer speakers (typically when I plug in the MBP to the system via USB the Peachtree output is selected automatically). To switch to the Peachtree output, I opened Sound Source, and selected Peachtree from the popup menu.

I immediately was faced with deafening, extremely high frequency feedback. I quickly pulled out the USB cable, but I feared that the feedback was such a high volume and such a high frequency that it could have damaged my Gallo satellites. Fortunately, it did not.

Whether or not this was the fault of Sound Source I guess I can’t say for sure, but in more than a year of using this system, it has NEVER happened. So I attribute it to Sound Source.
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Gian Carlo Cervone  2017-02-20 22:49
Sounds like maybe you had play-through turned on and if your input was set to the built-in mic it would have setup a feedback loop. I think that is not turned on by default, but the feedback could even have been setup by another audio application. At least the system seems to have survived! ;-)
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