How to fix coreaudiod 100% CPU usage

Today, when I booted my Mac I noticed it was really unresponsive, and the fans immediately started going up like crazy. Through Activity monitor, I found the cause for this: coreaudiod was using 100% of my CPU. And force quit did not help.

core_audio_by_rob190975Core Audio is the framework that manages audio on OS X, and it’s awesome, except when it suddenly decides to go crazy and suck all my CPU.

After some googling, I found this post by Axel Jensen, and it literally saved my day.

Basically, for some unknown reason, my /Library/Preferences/Audio/ folder had disappeared, and that really angered coreaudiod. As Axel found, the solution is pretty simple: recreate the folder and set the correct permissions, with just two terminal commands.

sudo mkdir /Library/Preferences/Audio
sudo chown -R _coreaudiod:admin /Library/Preferences/Audio

I did some additional research and found out that it’s also safe to restore that folder from a Time Machine backup, or any other backup really, just make sure to set the proper permissions with the second command above. This way I was able to get my aggregated audio interfaces back, and I did not have to re-create them in Audio MIDI Setup.

Some useful Alfred 2 workflows

Today I finally bought Alfred 2, a really nice update. It’s great, but I had to recreate some scripts I got used to while using version 1. You can find them below.

Alfred

 

CopyPath

CopyPath copies the path of the currently selected Finder Item to the clipboard. Just launch Alfred and type “path”. Also, thanks to Joachim’s suggestion, you can now set a keyboard shortcut to trigger the workflow without needing to ever launch Alfred.

Copy IP

Copy IP your current local IP, either Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It includes 3 commands:

  • ethip copies your Ethernet IP
  • wifiip copies your Wi-Fi IP
  • ip [interface] copies interfaces IP. It’s meant for power users. Note: on Macs usually en0 is the Ethernet interface, while en1 is Wi-Fi.

RevMove

RevMove checks your clipboard contents and removes any line containing “.rev”. It is useful if you download from file-hosting sites, such as Netload, because uploaders often include .rev files to their upload to be able to extract your files also some parts were corrupted/not available. But when everything works as it should, these files are pointless and waste time and bandwidth to be download.

MAS Search

MAS Search lets you search for an app in the Mac App Store. Just type mas followed by your search terms.

 

If these are not enough, you can find many, many more in the Alfred 2 Workflow list, which also features my very own CopyPath.

Record multi-track Skype group call on OS X

A friend of mine and I host a weekly podcast and, as it often happens, we speak with our guests via Skype. For a while we had everyone record his own audio, since we wanted to have a separate track for each person in order to get the best possible audio quality. But that was inconvenient, both for our guest and for us, as we had to wait everyone to send us his audio before mixing and editing the episode. Recording Skype’s group call in a conventional way wasn’t a better solution. We’d only have two separate tracks: mine and everybody else’s, This is fine if there is only one person other than me, but it’s not with more guests.
So I started to think on possible solutions, and the best one that came to my mind was to have a separate instance of Skype running for each guest (I’ll explain how to do this later on) and use Ableton Live to record each track and to manage the audio routing.

Ableton Live is quite expensive, though, and if you don’t already have some experience with it that justifies purchasing a license, I’d advise you to check out snkl’s post that explains in detail how to achieve the same result with a much cheaper (but still great) app: Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack 3.

My awesome hand-drawn scheme

My awesome hand-drawn scheme

To manage the audio, we need some sort of virtual audio cables to connect Skype to Ableton Live. The best tool is SoundFlower, so head over to their site, download and install it. However, it is not ready for our purpose right out of the box: we need 2 “virtual audio cables” for each Skype instance, and Soundflower only ships with 2 of them enabled by default (and only one of which, the 2 channel one, is suited for our needs). I managed to edit Soundflower’s plist file to get more.

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Get Avidemux to run on MacOS X Lion

OS X Lion

After upgrading my Mac to Lion I was very disappointed: Avidemux, my #1 video app crashed upon launch. After a little research on the web, I found a post by eagle007 in Avidemux’s forums that explained that the crash was caused by a library used by Avidemux, libiconv.2.dylib.

He managed to get an updated version of the library and replace the one in the application bundle, thus making Avidemux work again. I really want to thank him for his awesome work.

In case his link goes down, I took the liberty to upload the file here.