updated 06:13 pm EST, Fri January 31, 2014
Apple UI-inspired tool enables system-wide audio recording
In the beginning, there was no way to get audio into a Mac, other than a costly serial bus peripheral. Not long after that, the Cupertino engineers struck, and added a conventional 1/8-inch jack for a microphone to Apple's line of computers. With the iPod came a new invention -- the podcast. Apple's built-in recording software is functional, but leaves a bit to be desired especially when capturing audio from applications like Skype or iTunes. In September of 2002, the developers that would become Rogue Amoeba released Audio Hijack Pro -- possibly the first entry-level capture tool for OS X able to do what the burgeoning podcast market and streaming radio or music fans demanded: simple, multi-application recording.
Here we are now, nearly 12 years out -- and Apple's own software still isn't great for podcasters (in fact, with regards to podcasters, the usual tool of choice -- Garageband -- took a giant step backward). The path to recording with Audio Hijack Pro, however, is simple -- install the software, possibly install a pair of add-ons, and record what you will. Capture audio from Safari, Skype, FaceTime, nearly any other installed app, the entire system, or any combination thereof. Audio is saved in AAC, MP3, AIFF, and WAV in a variety of user-selectable bitrates, or Apple Lossless if fidelity is crucial.
Audio Hijack Pro is replete with features. For years, the app has had Applescript support. Additionally, hundreds of VST and Audio Unit plugins can be integrated into the recording progress. Recordings can use filters and effects "live" or be post-processed elsewhere, and the program even has a built-in scheduler to create automatic recordings. If the recorded audio is final, it can even be burned to a CD right inside the app. If it needs some trimming or more serious editing, n app like Rogue Amoeba's Fission or Apple's own Garageband or others can handle post-production of the captured audio and multi-track mixing. This isn't a bad thing.
The only major issue we've had with use of Audio Hijack Pro isn't even Rogue Amoeba's fault. Skype is a major facilitator of podcast creation, and it frequently changes protocol. In the past, Audio Hijack Pro and Skype have seemingly embarked on a tit-for-tat battle with a Skype update breaking Audio Hijack Pro compatibility, with a fix from Rogue Amoeba repairing the damage -- sometimes briefly, sometimes for a long stretch. This kind of compatibility issue can be jarring for hobbyists getting together at 11PM on a Friday to discuss topics for the Internet as a whole when the functionality breaks with little or no notice.
We like Audio Hijack Pro. It does what the three word promise by the developers to "record any audio" sets forth to do, with panache. The interface is clear and crisp, with much thought given to functionality and no extraneous skeuomorphism or other superfluous flair distracting from the task at hand. For the home or entry-level user, the $32 cost from the developer is well worth the expense, and will save tearing out hair using a wide assortment of single-purpose applications.
Who is Audio Hijack Pro for?
Anybody making a podcast, record streaming audio events, or wanting to capture OS X audio for any reason.
Who is Audio Hijack Pro not for?
People looking for a one-stop shop for podcast creation.