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Learn to Record Anything with “Take Control of Audio Hijack”

Recording audio from a Mac app is conceptually simple, but without the right tools and know-how, it can be tremendously frustrating. Adam and the TidBITS crew have long relied on Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack for all recording tasks, and now we’re pleased to bring you Kirk McElhearn’s new “Take Control of Audio Hijack” to explain both the basics and the subtleties of Audio Hijack 3’s new flowchart-like interface, which is vastly different from the previous version’s approach (see “Audio Hijack 3 Bumps Up the Volume,” 30 January 2015).

You’ll learn how to capture and enhance any audio playing on a Mac, with step-by-step instructions for common scenarios — including recording audio playing in Safari, capturing Skype and FaceTime calls, digitizing your old LPs, extracting audio from concert DVDs, working with microphones and mixers, and more. Kirk also covers the basics of editing recordings in Rogue Amoeba’s Fission audio editor.

I could go on for a while about all the good stuff that Kirk distilled into the 119-page book, but if you’ve read this far and want more detail, click over to the book’s full description on the redesigned Take Control Web site.

Finally, I just wanted to share that I had such a nice time making “Take Control of Audio Hijack.” In addition to getting to work with Kirk, whose enjoyment of audio is infectious, it was great to have expert editing help from our friend Geoff Duncan, who has many years of experience as a producer, technician, and studio musician. And Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis provided amiable and helpful suggestions during our tech edit phase, making an already good book even better. But the real win was learning Audio Hijack and Fission, which are the epitome of cheerful, uncluttered apps with surprising depths. Using them improves my mood, which is true of too few apps these days. If you need to work with audio, give them a try.


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Comments about Learn to Record Anything with “Take Control of Audio Hijack”
(Comments are closed.)

Dennis B. Swaney  2015-08-03 22:08
How much of the information in this book would be applicable to the older Audio HiJack Pro 2/
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-08-04 09:30
Very little, just the background on audio files. Audio Hijack 3 has a completely different interface than Audio Hijack Pro 2.
Dennis B. Swaney  2015-08-05 19:05
Thanks, Adam. In that case I'll pass on this book as I use Mac OS 10.7.5 so I can't use AH3. Ash's comment below also is useful in warning about the UI of AH3.
Ash Arnett  2015-08-03 22:44
I hate the UI in AH3. It's ill-conceived and poorly executed. Whatever technical sophistication this newest version may contain is completely sabotaged by the dreadful interface. Every screen, task flow, menu, and metaphor is an amateurish disaster. From inexplicable (and unchangeable) color choices to clumsy control elements to crude typography, it's like a B- high school project, circa 1999. And it pains me to say so, because I am a fan of RA products, by and large. Whatever advantages AH3 has over AH2 I'll never know, because the experience is so godawful. I wish they'd regroup, rethink, apologize, and relaunch.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-08-04 09:32
Sorry to hear you dislike it so much. I think of it as a completely different program rather than an upgrade, and you can certainly continue to use Audio Hijack Pro 2 if that's what you prefer.

If you have specific and constructive criticisms, I'm sure the Rogue Amoeba people would be open to hearing them.
Dennis B. Swaney  2015-08-05 19:08
Thanks for the warning, Ash. Sounds like RA is following Apple's Mac OS path: screw the user, let's make it harder to use. Macs are no longer "the computer for the rest of us".
Ash Arnett  2015-08-08 11:25
Thanks for the reply, Adam!

It being a different program doesn't excuse it. It's a bad experience on its own (de)merits.

The RA people I have dealt with have always been friendly, knowledgeable and professional. That's why this was such a disappointing offering.

And they're really all criticisms of form, not function. One element of the product, but the frontmost. Kind of like an otherwise great-sounding music track with a terrible vocalist. I believe you are right that they would be open to hearing my constructive critique. Whether they'd be open to my rates is a different matter.

Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-08-06 10:15
The folks at Rogue Amoeba were thoughtful and creative, and great to work with in making this book -- very obviously not trying to annoy anyone and certainly receptive to helpful feedback. Not everyone is going to like every interface, but I think that this discussion can be useful only if it focuses on a problem in the new version of Audio Hijack such that it could be understood and corrected. Like, "I didn't like the font in the Recording tab because it is too small and thin, and hard to read on the blue background." I don't know if that's the case here, but that's something that could be addressed through an option in the Preferences or a redesign in the future.
Ash Arnett  2015-08-08 18:10
Dennis - I don't know that I'd generalize so broadly, but it certainly is deeply flawed. I understand that they were going for a kind of 'visualized' metaphorical approach, and I understand why they did it, as some of the audio i/o models can be quite complicated. I just think they didn't do it well.
Ash Arnett  2015-08-08 11:43
Hi Tonya - There is a certain amount of subjectivity in interface design, as you allude to, and I agree that a general criticism is of limited value. But my assessment isn't unfair and I don't think this is the forum for element-by-element analysis of the product. I like your idea of customization (via Preferences)! That would be a great start.