Audio Hijack Pro: Take Control Of Your Mac’s Audio

Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro is an application which promises to perform a seemingly simple function that’s actually more difficult to execute than one might imagine – to take complete control of your Mac audio card and capture any audio from any source, whether from applications like iTunes, Skype or the Mac’s built-in microphone.

Audio Hijack Pro combines this control with a genuine wealth of options and features, shoehorning just about anything that an audio user could fairly wish to see in an application of its type. Read on to find out more.

Intuitive Audio Control

There have long been options for those Mac users who wish to record audio from their Mac’s audio input jack, USB or Firewire. However, if one wishes to capture audio from an application, there was previously only a single popular choice, at least as far as this author is aware – Cycling 74′s rather nice SoundFlower, a capable application indeed, but perhaps more aimed toward those with an existing digital audio workstation environment to plug into.

Therefore, I feel that there’s a definite need in my own and other audio users computers for an application like Audio Hijack Pro, one which can provide some of SoundFlower’s features and expand on these, while also offering an increased usability and keeping resources down by doing all this within a lightweight application.

With Audio Hijack Pro’s increased control over a Mac’s audio input, it enables the easy digitisation of vinyl and cassette collections, in addition to various useful utilities such as the removal of the restrictive DRM copyright protection which hobbles some legally purchased audio files.

Getting Started

Audio Hijack Pro's main interface offers easy choices for ripping audio from Skype, Safari and other applciations

Audio Hijack Pro's main interface offers easy choices for ripping audio from Skype, Safari and other applciations

Audio Hijack Pro is available as a free trial from developers Rogue Amoeba and one is able to use all the software’s features, albeit for a limited period of just 10 minutes before the app automatically places noise over a captured recording. It’s a reasonable solution to providing users with an opportunity to test the application while still maintaining a compelling reason to purchase a license if one finds the software useful.

On installing Audio Hijack Pro and launching it for the first time, the user is presented with the above screen, from which it is possible to begin to choose the various features which Audio Hijack Pro offers and there are handy shortcuts for recording audio from Skype, Safari, iTunes and more, while recordings are stored in the Recording Bin for easy access.

Using Audio Hijack Pro

Some developers choose to focus on a limited number of features and options in favour of getting those few things as right as possible, while others simply throw everything in there in an attempt to cater to each need which could possibly arise – Audio Hijack Pro is definitely in the latter camp and is none the poorer for it.

The application is akin to a software Swiss Army Knife and for this reson its place on the hard drive of many Mac audio power users seems assured, with abilities ranging from podcast creation to ripping audio from your browser – so without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of Audio Hjack Pro’s most compelling features.

Recording from Skype

Recording Skype conversations is easy with Audio Hijack Pro

Recording Skype conversations is easy with Audio Hijack Pro

As someone who has had several meetings on Skype only to forget half of what was discussed on hanging up, I can see a definite utility for recording the popular VIOP software. Audio Hijack Pro makes this simple and also offers clever options, like starting a new audio file after a given length of time, so that your captured audio is not all in one unmanageable file, in addition to more typical choices such as audio quality and file type.

On testing the Skype recording feature of Audio Hijack Pro with a short call, I found it worked flawlessly and the software picked up both sides of my test conversation, providing a finished file in the Recording Bin.

Recording from Safari

While the only reasons one might wish to rip audio from Safari which spring to this author’s mind are of questionable legality, such as ripping audio from Youtube videos, there’s bound to be several situations where recording audio from Safari would be of use.

To test Audio Hijack Pro’s handling of this, I visited my own Bandcamp page and used the software to rip the audio as I played music via the onscreen music player. Again, the application had no problems and handled it with ease.

Selecting other audio sources

Audio Hijack Pro is able to rip audio from literally any source

Audio Hijack Pro is able to rip audio from literally any source

Audio Hijack Pro is more than merely an application to rip audio from Safari and Skype and this is highlighted when the user steps outside of the presets and selects other sources. The application offers an easy to understand interface which can be further scrutinised to uncover extra options such as the triggering of custom AppleScripts.

Conclusion

The features which Audio Hijack Pro offers the user are too technical to make it an application that everyone should rush out and buy, but if you have the need to take control of your Mac’s audio, then Audio Hijack Pro is certainly an excellent solution.

Most applications leave much room for improvement but I cannot think of any real area in which Audio Hijack Pro is lacking and it seems one of those few cases where we witness a software developer taking the time to think of literally everything its user base could possibly want – Audio Hijack Pro does many things and does them well and while the price tag of $32 cannot be said to be overly cheap, the functionality which it affords makes the software more than worth it.


Summary

Audio Hijack Pro is an excellent answer for many audio-themed questions, making it truly the Swiss Army Knife of audio applications.

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  • Justin

    I do live event recording, and although Audio Hijack Pro is not an all-in-one solution for me, it’s a crucial component of it:

    1. Recording backup. I use Amadeus Pro for the primary recording system but I always simultaneously record into AHP in case something goes wrong. It’s saved me once before when Amadeus experienced a bug during recording. Never fail to have a backup plan!

    2. Snippet recording. During the event, I record a second stream in AHP (independent of the backup stream) and if the speaker says something I like, I split the recording. Then I import the just-created audio file into Soundboard (by Ambrosia Software) and clip it down to a soundbite. Then, in the exit music, I can duck the audio using a hardware controller tied to djay (by Algoriddim), and trigger the soundbites.

    3. Passthrough monitor. I don’t use Amadeus’s audio monitor, preferring more control about what passes through. Instead of AHP, though, I use LineIn, another app by Rogue Amoeba that actually uses the same engine as AHP. It only supports one passthrough, though, so if I needed multiple passthroughs I’d be able to use AHP to take over with more control. I like LineIn’s simple interface, and I hope Rogue Amoeba keeps it updated as it complements AHP.

    My entire arsenal, for those not keeping track:
    * Amadeus Pro
    * Audio Hijack Pro
    * djay
    * Soundboard
    * LineIn

    And the extras for post and fine tuning:
    * Logic Pro
    * The Levelator

    So yes, I definitely recommend Audio Hijack Pro. If not as a complete solution, then certainly a crucial tool for a more complete, robust setup.

  • Paul Dunahoo

    If it was just a little cheaper I might be getting it, but there are so many free and open source alternatives…

  • http://gianmarcoaltieri.eu Gianmarco Altieri

    Audio Hijack Pro is a must have app! The only one annoying issue is the incompatibility with Google Chrome: you cannot record from this browser as audio resource -_-”

    • http://adamawilliams.com Adam Williams

      Good to know, thanks for the heads-up!

  • Chris

    If you’re comfortable with the Terminal, you might want to try ffmpeg which has a lot of Audio Hijacks functionality when paired with AU Lab which is installed with XCode. Thus, the whole setup is free and dead simple to install (download XCode from the App Store and compile ffmpeg from source or get it with Homebrew).

    • http://adamawilliams.com Adam Williams

      Great idea, if I’m not mistaken I believe that I’ve played around with ffmpeg on an old Nokia Linux tablet in the past, but had never considered it on OS X.

  • Vick

    use of Audio Hijack Pro on a macbook is mandatory for delivering music Equalized / Boosted to perfection across all applications. I was looking for “global” EQ settings (not just in Itunes) for my macbook and Audio Hijack allows for it flawlessly.

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