8 Powerful Mac Audio Tools

For many people, the audio functionality of their Mac is something that just works – there’s no need to mess with it, and no real requirement for anything more advanced. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes looking at what’s on offer, however, you may well stumble upon a few apps which can really enhance your experience of music and radio.

This roundup will take a look at a variety of different tools allowing you to better record audio, try an alternative to iTunes, listen to satellite radio, have your Mac speak to you, or stream music around your house.




This tool allows you to play sound coming in through a microphone or any other device plugged in to your Sound In port. It’s not functionality enabled by default in OS X, and is useful in more scenarios than you’d think.

Price: Free
Requires:Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later
Developer: Rogue Amoeba

Audio Hijack Pro

Audio Hijack Pro

Audio Hijack Pro

Essentially allowing you to record any audio you can hear on your Mac – whether from iTunes, Skype, Online Radio or a Microphone. Great for digitizing old analog music or creating podcasts. Loads of features for manipulating audio once it’s recorded as well.

Price: $32
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later
Developer: Rogue Amoeba




Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all synchronized at the same time. It’s brilliant for setting up a music system throughout your house.

Price: $25
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later
Developer: Rogue Amoeba

Text to Speech

Text to Speech

Make Your Mac Speak

Not an application, but a really useful tip (and one we’ll probably expand upon here in the future). Your Mac is able to do a really good job of speaking any text you select, upon typing a pre-defined key combination. Very useful for listening to an article whilst doing something else.

Price: Free
Requires: OSX 10.5 for the ‘Alex’ voice
Developer: Apple




Provides a very simple and relatively inexpensive tool for converting wma, wmv/flv audio, real media, asf and ogg vorbis files to aiff, mp3, m4a or wav. A huge range of formats are dealt with, and it’s a solid tool for moving all your music into a consistent iTunes compatible format.

Price: $10
Requires: Mac OS X v10.3.9 or later
Developer: Patrice Bensoussan




A fairly powerful tool for recording, editing and converting audio. You’re able to cut and splice tracks to remove certain sections, and it’s particularly good for creating ringtones outside of iTunes.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Developer: Open Source




With Pulsar and an XM or SIRIUS online account, you can access a bunch of online satellite radio for free. If you prefer a live stream of music to a podcast, it’s a great app to have a play with. You can try it out for an unlimited number of 20 minute periods for free.

Price: $15
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.0 or later
Developer: Rogue Amoeba




Songbird is a fully fledged iTunes alternative, complete with a music store, Last.Fm support, inbuilt web services, and iPod support. If you’re looking for a more customizable experience with your music library, Songbird provides a decent option.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Open Source


I hope that the list of apps above show you a range of new tools which you haven’t come across before. The umbrella of ‘audio’ is absolutely huge, and I fully appreciate that there are hundreds of apps which could be featured here. It would be brilliant if you could leave your thoughts and application suggestions in the comments for use in a future article.

Have fun, and enjoy the music!

  • http://chetiboy.blogspot.com Chet

    There’s also Fission by Rogue Amoeba for mp3 splicing etc.
    and there’s the app called Switch by NCH Software, it’s a free conversion tool from any file to any audio file you want. Hope this helps!

  • digitalmonkey

    I use WireTap Studio from Ambrosia. I like it quite a bit. Very easy and intuitive. The HUD is small and doesn’t take up a lot of screen space. Can record pretty much everything. There are many options for the export and many effects to enhance your audio plus many useful audio editing tools. You can record steam music from the web and send it to Itunes as well. it’s $69. Kind of on the expensive side but it’s an option, if you want to check it out.

  • http://www.simdavis.com Sim

    How about Spotify (http://www.spotify.com), listen too almost any music you can think of free and legally. iTunes Killer I reckon.

  • http://www.pilok.com Benoit Rondeux

    Hi! Thanks for this article but I would have also mentionnend SoundStudio 3 from Freeserve which is a great alternative to Audacity. http://www.freeverse.com/apps/app/?id=5012&view=overview

    I use it since 2 years for quick but non dirty edition of sound files and it works like a charm.

  • Hasan

    I am just wondering that you forgot the best audio app for OSX – TwistedWave.. Yes, it is little but expensive ($79), but you will get for what you pay. It is the best app for OSX to work with sound (if i am not counting profi apps like Logic or ProTools).



  • http://www.kriegs.org Jeff Krieger

    I’ll add Fission as well. Can create iPhone ringtones with it from any mp3. I love Audio Hijack and Airfoil, too. I love Rogue Amoeba. Check out their free app that lets you choose your audio source straight from the menu bar.

  • MattT

    I’m wondering what the audio editing apps will do that GarageBand won’t? Not to be flip, I really do wonder. Do we get a lot of added functionality for buying an app that we don’t already have with an app that came with our Macs?

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  • http://nextgenstudios.net/ Taylor

    SoundFlower is also great for redirecting your In and Out. I use it with SoundTrack Pro to record my Mac speaking text for various purposes.

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  • http://www.productivedreams.com Gopal Raju

    Nice List!

    Gopal Raju

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    very nice share thanks

  • http://theaudioguru.blogspot.com/ TC

    Well as an Audio pro , I can kinda disagree with a few people’s comments about Audacity
    One Question was What can other do the Garage Band cant .

    A LOT ,…..

    Audacity opens Fast , very fast , and has fine detail editing and processing ability as long as you don’t mind No Real time processing , That means Highlight an area , Apply the effect , don’t like it ? then UNDO , and try again . This is a safety feature for those who don’t really know Audio , Everyone knows what they hear , You like what you hear , or you don’t , That is as Binary as you can possibly get

    Yes or No ….

    Audacity is a great program that if you take the time to really learn all the ins and outs of it , You can accomplish things nothing short of amazing , you can even mix down to Multi channel formats for Surround sound 5.1 and others .
    Twisted wave cost 79 bucks and is pretty to look at .

    Audacity + Burn = CD production for free

    “Burn” for Mac should be included here as an Audio program .

    I have many softs , on my Mac ,….. Peak Studio , Traktion, Cubase and others , But I will almost Always , ALWAYS hit the Audacity button first .

    It loads fast , Is Community supported, Reads almost all the effects from my other software AU , and VST , …… just doest process realtime , it is Apply and Keep or Apply and undo ……….

    And you actually need that when doing fine detail audio . To slow down and and really get the picture , Before you print the file ……….

    Just my two cents .

    For Effects that rock though , Try Eareckons website ,….. Amazing stuff really really sounds good .

    Here is my list of Mac stuff

    Vox audio Player ( A Must have for audio editing, it will export with EFFECTs and EQ , read AU effects real Time . Multiple output formats )
    Burn ( CD , DIVX , DVD , VCD, S-CD , DATA)
    Switch converter
    Cog ( audio Player with folder menu and reads every type of file gapless)
    FrogMeter for Mac ( Love this one , 8 Channel INput Meter for any interface you have hooked up , But More is selectable in hidden menus )

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  • martin svec

    superb!! thanks so much

  • angel felix

    audio does not function

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