Soundflower – great tool for recording the Mac’s audio output

I just came across a really good solution to a problem I’ve often encountered: how to record the sound output from a Mac. For example, I sometimes need to record the audio output from a web page that has a Sonoport dynamic sound model running on it.

Unlike some PC sound cards, the Mac doesn’t have an audio loopback feature to send the output to the input. It’s possible to physically route the output to the input using a 1/8″ to 1/8″ inch stereo cable connecting the audio output jack to the audio input jack, but that’s really crude, and isn’t digital.

The solution I found is Soundflower, a free download from Cycling 74, the makers of Max. It provides a virtual sound output, to which you can route the Mac’s audio output by going to System Preferences / Sound.

Whatever audio is sent to that output is routed to Soundflower’s virtual sound input, which can be set as your Mac’s default sound input (also via System Preferences / Sound).

Using Soundflower, I can record the sound output from my web browser (and whatever else I’m running) to a sound recording app such as Audacity or the QuickTime Player (which despite its name, can also do recording).

Note that if you route audio to Soundflower, you won’t hear it out your headphones or speakers. The workaround is to route your sound recorder’s output to your Mac’s (real, physical) audio output, and turn on the record monitoring function. In Audacity, you can set the former from the Playback menu in Audacity / Preferences / Devices; and the latter by checking the “Software Playthrough” checkbox in Audacity / Preferences / Recording.


About Gerry Beauregard

I'm a Singapore-based Canadian software engineer, inventor, musician, and occasional triathlete. My current work and projects mainly involve audio technology for the web and iOS. I'm the author of AudioStretch, an audio time-stretching/pitch-shifting app for musicians. Past jobs have included writing speech recognition software for Apple, creating automatic video editing software for muvee, and designing ASICs for Nortel. I hold a Bachelor of Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) from Queen's University and a Master of Arts in Electroacoustic Music from Dartmouth College.
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2 Responses to Soundflower – great tool for recording the Mac’s audio output

  1. Voorman says:

    Thanks for the info, I might record some sound today and put the sound to Nanostudio or Beat maker2

  2. I was looking for such a tool. Thanks!

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