- Cycling 74 Updates Soundflower. San Francisco, CA (August 10, 2006)-Cycling '74 has updated Soundflower v. 1.2, which adds Universal Binary support for Intel-based Macs. Soundflower is a free system extension that allows users to route audio between OS X Core Audio applications.
- Soundflower is an open source kernel extension for MacOS, designed to create a virtual audio output device that can also act as an input. Initial development and maintenance of Soundflower was done by Cycling '74. In 2014, Cycling '74 passed stewardship of Soundflower to Rogue Amoeba, but we ultimately didn't have the time.
Important note: Cycling '74 no longer develops Soundflower. A Audacity is a free and pretty full-featured multitrack sound production tool, but there aren't many ways to create and experiment with new sounds, beyond some basic tone generators. I also posted this problem on the cycling '74 forum (Soundflower dev) and got the following message from a guy: 'It sounds like a bug related to 32-bit floating point resolution. Exactly the same happens if you want to navigate within a soundfile which exceeds the duration of about 6 minutes. It should give the developers enough hints to fix.
Your Mac is capable of producing sound as well as playing sound channeled from outside sources—devices plugged into the Mac’s USB- and sound input ports as well as audio streamed from the Internet. Wouldn’t it be great if you could captures some of those sounds for later listening? You can. And you can for free with Soundflower. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Download Soundflower
The first step involves finding a way to grab audio playing in one application—a Web browser, for example—and route it to an application that can capture that audio. Cycling ’74’s free Soundflower is that way. Soundflower is a system extension that lets you channel audio from one application to another. For example, you can take the audio playing from a movie in your Web browser and channel it into QuickTime Player’s audio input where you then record it.
Step 2: Configure Soundflower
After you’ve installed Soundflower launch the Sound system preference and you’ll see evidence of Soundflower in the Output and Input tabs. Select the Output tab and choose Soundflower (2ch). Do this and any sound that would normally come out of your Mac’s speakers is now routed through Soundflower. Any is the key word here. If your Mac makes any sound—not just the sound you’re trying to capture but also e-mail and Twitter alerts, for example—it will route that too.
Step 3: Configure your capture application
You have a couple of applications on your Mac that can capture Soundflower’s audio—QuickTime Player and GarageBand. To configure QuickTime Player choose File -> New Audio Recording. In the Audio Recording window that appears click on the downward-pointing triangle to the right of the Record button. From the menu that appears choose Soundflower (2ch). When you’re ready to begin your capture, just click Record.
You set up GarageBand by launching the application and in the New Project window that appears choosing Acoustic Instrument. This creates a GarageBand project that contains a single digital audio track. Use the default tempo and time- and key-signature settings that appear in the New Project Template window and click the Create button. Open GarageBand’s preferences, select the Audio/MIDI tab and from the Audio Output and Audio Input pop-up menus choose Soundflower (2ch). Close the Preferences window. If the Info pane for the track doesn’t appear, choose Track -> Show Track Info. In the Browse tab of the Info pane choose Stereo 1/2 Soundflower (2ch) from the Input source pop-up menu. When your Mac makes sound you should see it register in the track’s meters. Click Record to capture the audio.
Step 4: Monitor the Mac’s sound
When you choose Soundflower as your Mac’s audio output you can no longer hear it through attached speakers or headphones. In order for you to monitor what’s happening, launch the Soundflowerbed application (found in /Applications/Soundflower). Click the Soundflowerbed menu bar item that appears and choose your speakers or headphones from the menu. Now, not only will your audio application capture what your Mac plays, but you’ll be able to listen to the source audio as well. (You may want to do this before setting up QuickTime or GarageBand to capture your audio, but that’s up to you.)
Again, any sound your Mac makes will be channeled through Soundflower so you’ll want to disable alert sounds or quit those applications that make them. Additionally, if you change your Mac’s volume, that change will be captured by the application that’s recording Soundflower’s sound. So, lay off the volume and mute controls.
You can avoid both of these issues by using an application such as Ambrosia Software’s $69 WireTap Studio or Rogue Amoeba’s $32 Audio Hijack Pro. Each of these applications allows you to capture sound from specific applications. You can adjust volume or fire off system alerts all you like and they won’t affect the audio the applications capture. (If you go the Audio Hijack Pro route consider purchasing the $50 Audio Hijack Pro/Fission bundle, which includes the Fission sound editor. WireTap Studio includes an editor.)
Cycling ’74 has been busy lately; the company had a lot to announce from booth #6404 at NAMM on Thursday.
First up was Pluggo 3.1, which is now compatible with Mac OS X, complete with multi-processor support; it also adds Audio Units as a supported plug-in format. The latter builds on existing VST and RTAS support and allows Pluggo to work with Emagic Logic Audio, MOTU Digital Performer 4, and Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack.
Pluggo features more than 100 real-time audio effects — including filtering, delay effects, distortion, granular synthesis, and more — as well as a collection of synthesizers and samplers called Essential Instruments and Max/MSP, Cycling ’74’s companion application that allows you to build your own plug-ins.
It’s available now for US$199, with a $99 upgrade from Pluggo 2. The 3.1 update is a free download for registered Pluggo 3 owners.
Next up was the release of Ron MacLeod’s Sustained Encounters, the first volume in the Cycles series of audio source libraries. It was assembled from MacLeod’s private collection of surreal, cinematic audio stylings and it features effects, ambient sound, rhythmic loops, and incidental music. Its .wav files are 24 bit/48kHz, with 44.1kHz versions included for compatibility with music composition applications.
Soundflower Mac Download Cycling 74
Sustained Encounters is available now for $99.
If you use Cycling ’74’s Jitter application, you may be interested in the fact that’s now available for Windows, with the Mac OS and Windows versions included in the same package. The set of video/matrix/3D graphics processing extensions for the Max/MSP graphical programming environment is a free crossgrade for anyone who currently owns Jitter for Mac OS. In addition, those who own Max/MSP can purchase it for $395; the full dual platform release of Max/MSP/Jitter is $850, with Max and Max/MSP selling for $295 and $495, respectively.
The company also noted the release of M 2.6, which adds Mac OS X compatibility. It’s a composition and performance application that takes your notes and chords and creates a live musical composition which you can shape as it plays. Its compatibility with Mac OS X Core MIDI means that it can power the wide variety of software synthesizers available, like Reason, as well as other applications such as Ableton Live.
If you own M 2.5.7, the upgrade to M 2.6 is free. The full version is $74.
Soundflower Cycling 74
Soundflower is another free download. It’s a system extension for Mac OS X v.10.2 (Jaguar) and 10.3 (Panther) that allows you to route audio between OS X Core Audio applications. Cycling ’74 notes that it can also be used for other tasks, such as patching 2- or 16-channel data at 32-bit sample depth between applications that support standard Core Audio driver selection, or being used as the default device in the Audio/MIDI Setup utility when programs like iTunes don’t allow you to select a specific output device.
Soundflower isn’t on the company’s Web site yet, but it will be soon, and the source code will be available during the first quarter.
Finally, Cycling ’74 also demonstrated MODE 1.0, a set of five instrument and effect plug-ins for Mac OS X, at NAMM. It features: BANG, a single-voice percussion module that creates sounds ranging from basic emulation to outrageous hybrids; MONO, which combines the filter effects of an analog synthesizer with the control and clarity of an FM engine; the versatile polyphonic synthesizer POLY, which is based on classic DCO synths; a rhythm-based effects processor called SPIN; and WASH, an effects processor built around an interconnected network of 6 fully-controllable, re-circulating delay lines that’s also an instrument in its own right.
MODE will be available during the first quarter for $199.