SoundSource 5, total sound control for Macs

Rogue Amoeba’s SoundSource is total sound control for Macs. It offers three distinct functions, i.e. the ability to control audio coming from individual applications, sound improvement or alteration using audio effects and instant access to all of the Mac’s connected audio devices.

SoundSource 4 was already a great addition to the macOS menu bar, but SoundSource 5 is better in more than one area. It looks better, has more powerful controls and comes with meters and instant On/Off switches right in the menu bar, meaning you can instantly switch On/Off your Mac’s built-in mic and the selected speakers.

SoundSource 5 features a nice new design, with its default view more streamlined, using less space and with a new Compact View that takes up a lot less space than the previous version.

As with version 4, SoundSource 5 offers audio controls on an app by app basis. For example, if you like to route system sounds and Youtube movies through to the internal speakers of an iMac, but Final Cut Pro X through your audio interface, SoundSource lets you do that.

However, in SoundSource 4, you had to manually enter apps, even when they were running. That felt a bit odd as many applications that somehow exchange information with others have an automatic ‘discovery’ mode so you can just pick the one you need.

In SoundSource 5, when an app produces audio, it will appear in the Favorites list from where you can add it to the Applications list. By default, an application added this way will be a Favorite and will stay in SoundSource’s “Applications” list permanently. Clicking the star icon will remove it.

I first misunderstood this feature, thinking the app I started would automatically appear in the Applications list and would only stay there permanently after clicking the star icon. It’s just as efficient and user-friendly the way it’s been implemented, though.

Another efficiency improving new feature is that you can now see activity for the default output device, default input device and active applications, right in the menu bar. These optional meters also provide a handy mute control for anything producing or ingesting audio. Needless to say the latter is not just efficient but may also protect you against hackers who want to monitor your built-in mic. It won’t protect you against hackers who are smart enough to turn your mic on, of course.

Just like the main window of SoundSource 5, Audio Unit effects can now be pinned so they stay open no matter what you’re doing on your Mac. If you have a large number of Audio Unit effects installed, there’s a handy new built-in search field that makes it easier to find the desired effect.

Other improvements add to the feeling you’re driving the Rolls-Royce of sound control on a Mac. Right-clicking on SoundSource’s menu bar icon now provides fast access to change the output volume, as well as output and input devices — with icons as visual clues.

The built-in 10-band Lagutin equalizer has been updated, with a new simplified view as well as other visual improvements. The Balance control on the default output device is now a built-in effect, to allow for more powerful control and SoundSource’s Balance control is now stored on a per-device basis.

Redirect popups now include useful icons to help distinguish between devices. The “System” and “Applications” section are collapsible, so you can hide either section and make the window even smaller.

Finally, SoundSource now works better with Fast User Switching. When you switch out of a user, SoundSource will now be deactivated properly.

SoundSource retails at $36 and can be downloaded from Rogue Amoeba’s website.