Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Managing multiple identical sound devices in OS-X

I use Skype (although I may be looking for alternatives due to Microsoft's proved snooping - see here) and I like to have two sound devices so that the radio can keep playing through my speakers without me having to reach for volume control when I take a call. Also, when podcasting, I use the same laptop to run the presentation, keep the Skype call going and make the recording (that chews up three sound devices!). So along with the laptop's internal sound chip I have two cheap external USB dongles. Since they are identical they show themselves with the same name is all apps and invariably (especially if I've been away from my desk for a day and re-booted the OS without any of the USB devices attached) Skype picks up the wrong sound devices as default. It's trivial to change back but I always get it wrong ("..is the headset the first or second one"?!)

In Utilities is the Audio MIDI setup application (which I've never used before) where you can set "aggregated sound devices" - presumably to allow the same audio to play through several outputs? But - it allows you to create a proxy for a device and give it a sensible name.

So, I made new devices for the two USB sound dongles and gave them sensible names.
This now means that when I look at available sound devices in other apps (particularly Skype) I see things I can distinguish!

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