Take control of your Mac’s audio with BlackHole

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BlackHole
Down the hole!
Photo: Artem Maltsev/Unsplash

BlackHole is a free, open-source tool to route audio anywhere on your Mac. You know how the audio from YouTube in Safari comes out the speakers or headphones of your Mac, and that’s about it? Well, with BlackHole, you can intercept that audio. Then you can record it, redirect it to another app or do basically anything you like.

Why the iConnectAudio4+ is the best audio interface for iPad and Mac

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iConnectAudio4+ is the best gift you can buy for your iPad. And your Mac.
This is the best gift you can buy for your iPad. And your Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iConnectAudio4+ isn’t a new product. It’s been around for a few years. And this isn’t really a review. This article will be more of a PSA, telling you about a unique input device can change how you use your iPad for audio.

The feature that sets the iConnectAudio4+ apart from other USB audio interfaces is that it can connect to two computers at once, and send audio to both. It can even route audio — digitally — between your Mac and your iPad.

Neil Young slams MacBook Pro’s ‘Fisher-Price’ audio quality

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MacBook-Pro-music
It's just "garbage."
Photo: Marc-Olivier Paquin/Unsplash

Neil Young believes there’s a big problem with making music on a MacBook Pro. In a recent interview, the acclaimed singer-songwriter slammed the “Fisher-Price” audio quality you get with Apple’s newest notebooks.

Young also revealed that Steve Jobs knew about his concerns, but felt that MacBook audio was good enough for consumers.

Share your music with other AirPods, wirelessly

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AirPods sharing
Things are about to get romantic.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you and a friend both have AirPods or Beats headphones, you can share audio coming from a single iPhone or iPad. This is great for listening to the same music track or podcast, or — most useful I reckon — watching a movie together. Apple makes it really easy for you to share your audio stream with someone else. In fact, you could say it’s easier than doing it the old way, because A) there are no wires to get tangled and B) there’s no splitter adapter to lose.

Here’s how to set up audio sharing on AirPods.

Pro Tip: Your Apple USB-C headphone adapter works anywhere

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USB-C headphone adapter
The dongle works pretty much anywhere.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip: This to-do list hack turns your tasks into questions If you own a 2018 iPad Pro, you probably also bought Apple’s USB-C-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter, just so you can plug headphones into your $1,000-plus computer. But what if you want to do something totally crazy like, I don’t know, listen to music and charge the iPad at the same time? Or, given that this a pro machine, maybe you want to hook up a MIDI piano keyboard, or other gear, and use headphones at the same time?

Tough luck, right? No! If you have any old USB-C hub or dock, you can plug Apple’s cheap little dongle into the hub itself. Check it out.

Audient Evo ‘evolutionizes’ iOS audio recording

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Audient's new Evos look as good as they (probably) sound.
Audient's new Evos look as good as they (probably) sound.
Photo: Audient

Audient’s Evo is an excellent-looking new iOS-friendly USB audio interface. Like all other “sound cards,” the Evo lets you hook up speakers, headphones, and connect microphones, guitars, and so on. It then connects to a computer or iDevice via USB, so you can route all that audio in and out of your apps.

But the Evo brings a few clever extras. One is the Smartgain feature, which automatically sets your input levels. The other is something called loopback, which lets you record your iPhone’s own output. This is handy on the Mac and Windows, but essential on iOS, and very welcome.

The iPad Pro is the best and worst iPad I’ve ever owned [Opinion]

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3D Touch shortcuts now work on the iPad.
My iPad Pro has been nothing but trouble.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The 2018 iPad Pro is an incredible machine. It’s powerful. It has a screen so good that it’s hard to look at anything else after seeing it. Face ID was made for the iPad, and is way more suited to a tablet than a phone. And the physical design is beautiful. It’s thin, the bezels are small enough not to notice, and the iPad Pro’s USB-C port is far more useful than I imagined.

And yet this is the worst iPad I have ever used. It has been buggy. It can’t do basic tasks with any consistency. Audio drops out. And until I updated to iOS 13, the screen would freeze a few times a day.

Oh, and once I bent it without even realizing.

Bluetooth box bridges gap between iPhone and studio monitor speakers

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The Kali Bluetooth Input Module
The Kali Bluetooth Input Module puts a big knob on your desk.
Photo: Kali Audio

Problem: You have a kick-ass stereo, or a pair of excellent studio monitor speakers, and you want to hook up your iPhone to listen to some music. Only you don’t want to dig out the headphone dongle and plug in a cable.

Solution: The Kali Audio Bluetooth Module. It hooks up to your speakers via cable, adding a Bluetooth receiver that lets you get the music out of your iPhone or iPad. It seems simple, and it is. But it’s also super-duper handy.

HomePod is finally on its way to Japan

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Apple is gearing up to launch HomePod in Japan — more than two years after the device got its first unveiling.

Smart speaker shoppers will be able to pick one up in the coming weeks for 32,800 yen (approx. $301). HomePod will then be available in a total of 11 countries.

iOS 13 wishlist: 6-ish ways Apple could improve audio

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This is what pre-iOS 13 audio looks like to a visitor from next year.
This is what pre-iOS 13 audio looks like to a visitor from next year.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

 

There’s one big thing I wish for when I kneel next to my bed at night, cross my fingers and think of iOS 13: better audio. Not better quality audio. That’s already great. I just want better control, and better features.

And this isn’t just specialized podcasting or music-making stuff. There are problems everywhere. You know how when you’re listening to music, and you open up the camera app, and your music stops playing? That kind of problem. Which is number one one on my list by the way. Check out the rest: