Introducing SoundBlossomer

SoundBlossomer LogoA while back I wrote about my hack that allowed me to have multiple instances of Soundflower that I used to record a multi-track Skype group call for podcasting purposes. That guide became pretty popular, and it was even linked in Cycling 74’s blog.

Today I’m introducing a new project, SoundBlossomer, a little utility that lets you easily add, edit and delete your Soundflower audio interfaces.

Basically, this app figures out which Soundflower instances you already have defined in your /System/Library/Extensions/Soundflower.kext/Contents/Info.plist file and shows them in a list, allowing you to add additional ones, as well as renaming, changing the number of channels and deleting the other ones.

SoundBlossomer Screenshot

I spent about a day putting together this app, which by the way is my first Mac app ever, and I think it works reasonably well, at least in all the testing I’ve made. If you find any issues, please, let me know.

SoundBlossomer is 100% open source, it is released under the BSD license and you can find all of its source code on the GItHub page. I strongly encourage you to check it out, and even to improve it if you can, I’d gladly pull your changes into the main repository.

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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