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Understanding Mac > System Preferences > Sound

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Understanding Mac > System Preferences > Sound

Postby audio_jungle » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:43 am

This thread is going to seem very rudimentary, but I am getting *zero* hlp from Rogue Amoeba, and am determined to figure all of my recording woes out, so let's rewind to the basics!!

@desmond, I can definitely use your help here!

So, in macOS, under System Preferences > Sound, there is an "Input" and an "Output" tab.

You may or may not have multiple devices listed under each one.

Out-of-the-box I have this...

Input:
Internal Microphone

Output:
Internal Speakers


If I plug in my USB headset, I get this...

Input:
Internal Microphone
Logitech USB Headset H340

Output:
Internal Speakers
Logitech USB Headset H340


If I also plug in my Sony MDR-7506 pro headphones, I get this...

Input:
Internal Microphone
Logitech USB Headset H340

Output:
Headphones <=====
Logitech USB Headset H340


And finally, if I launch Rogue Amoeba's "Loopback", and have the default "Loopback Audio" virtual macine checked (with no devices added to it), then I get this...

Input:
Internal Microphone
Loopback Audio
Logitech USB Headset H340

Output:
Headphones <=====
Loopback Audio
Logitech USB Headset H340


Questions:

1.) So it appears that as I plug in or remove external hardware devices (e.g. microhones, headphones, etc.) or virtual machines, that they come and go from System Preferences > Input/Output, correct??

2.) Whatever is selected for the "Input" and the "Output" dictates how I can hear audio coming out of my Macintosh, and how I can send audio to my Macintosh when I am trying to record, right?


**NOTE: If you respond, please keep things to just the above observations and questions for now. I am trying to keep things SUPER ATOMIC so I can track down all of these recording issues I am having with fancier setups. I want to make sure I totally understand the basics before we get into fancier topics!


Sincerely,


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Re: Understanding Mac > System Preferences > Sound

Postby desmond » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:58 am

audio_jungle wrote:1.) So it appears that as I plug in or remove external hardware devices (e.g. microhones, headphones, etc.) or virtual machines, that they come and go from System Preferences > Input/Output, correct??

Yes. The sound prefs will list whatever audio devices are available on your system, and lets you choose which you want to use for the system I/O.

audio_jungle wrote:2.) Whatever is selected for the "Input" and the "Output" dictates how I can hear audio coming out of my Macintosh, and how I can send audio to my Macintosh when I am trying to record, right?

This is the "system" input/output, which is by default, where OSX outputs any audio that apps generate (alert bings, your facetime calls, playing youtube in Safari etc).

*However*, many applications have their *own* input/output settings, so the system I/O doesn't *dictate* anything to apps that wish to be more flexible using audio devices.

Let's take an example. I have some small desktop speakers plugged into my Mac's audio out port. I also have an audio interface connected via USB, which goes to my main monitors.

My System audio output is sent to "Inbuilt" (which is the built in audio output jack, my desktop speakers are connected to).
So, if I play iTunes, it's playing through the little desktop speakers.

However, when I run my DAW (Logic) which, like all DAWs, has its own set of input/output choices, I have my audio interface set as both Input and Output devices in Logic, meaning when I play Logic, it doesn't get sent to the system output, it instead goes to my audio interface and plays through my large speakers.

Now, I could choose in Logic an output device of "Inbuilt" (now Logic is being output to my desktop speakers), or I could choose "System setting", in which case Logic will output to whatever device my system is set to (still currently the little speakers, but if I changed the system setting, Logic would still send to wherever I had set the system to).

You may think this is complex (it's really not, once you grok the fundamentals) but it's necessarily more involved than you might think because this gives flexibility to route audio around the system as you need. It's often the case, when you have multiple audio devices, to want to choose which apps are using which devices.
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Re: Understanding Mac > System Preferences > Sound

Postby audio_jungle » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:58 am

desmond wrote:You may think this is complex (it's really not, once you grok the fundamentals) but it's necessarily more involved than you might think because this gives flexibility to route audio around the system as you need. It's often the case, when you have multiple audio devices, to want to choose which apps are using which devices.

Desmond, you are the best!! :thumbup:

Yes, I do still find all of this complicated, however, your explanation will be very helpful as I stumble through all of this!!
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Re: Understanding Mac > System Preferences > Sound

Postby audio_jungle » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:50 pm

@Desmond,

desmond wrote:You may think this is complex (it's really not, once you grok the fundamentals)...

I have always considered my vocabulary to be rather large, however, thanks for the new word!

I read up on "grok", and its origins are rather fascinating.

(I think I always understood this Martian concept, but just never had a human word for it until now!)

Thanks,


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