Capturing audio from special and hidden sources with Audio Hijack

In addition to capturing audio from traditional applications, Audio Hijack can capture from certain special sources, as well as hidden background processes which do not appear on your Mac like traditional applications. This includes system services, as well as the occasional command-line tool.

Choosing special sources

In Audio Hijack's Application block, you can easily choose several popular sources which would otherwise be very difficult to find. This is done through the Special Sources section of the selector, where you can choose Finder, Siri, Text to Speech, or VoiceOver.

The Finder special source

Choosing the Finder special source will allow the capture of any audio played by Finder.app, as well as by the hidden QuickLookUIService process (or the hidden quicklookd process on MacOS 10.13 and lower), which plays audio when using the Mac's “Quick Look” functionality.

The Siri special source

The Siri special source makes it possible to capture all the audio from the Siri experience, including its sound effects. When capturing this source, audio is merged from the system's com.apple.speech.speechsynthesisd process which provides Siri's spoken word audio and the assistantd hidden process which provides its sound effects.

The Text to Speech special source

The Text to Speech special source captures audio played by the system's com.apple.speech.speechsynthesisd process. This powerful process provides audio for several parts of MacOS, including the spoken dialog from Siri, the system's text reading (triggered by the Start Speaking command in the Speech menu, and the accessibility hints spoken by VoiceOver.

While you may see other sources with these names in the Running Processes menu, choosing them is not likely to provide the desired audio. Instead, choosing Text to Speech will enable you to capture this audio.

Note that the Text to Speech source does not include the sound effects created by Siri or VoiceOver. If you wish to include sound effects, you should use instead choose the Siri or VoiceOver special source specifically.

The VoiceOver special source

The VoiceOver special source makes it possible to capture all the audio from the VoiceOver experience, including its sound effects. When capturing this source, audio is merged from the system's com.apple.speech.speechsynthesisd process which provides VoiceOver's spoken accessibility hints and the VoiceOver process which provides its sound effects.

Accessing other hidden sources

By default, other hidden sources are not shown by Audio Hijack's Source selector. However, if you hold down the Option key when clicking on the selector, a new Running Processes sub-menu will be shown. Within the Running Processes sub-menu, you'll see a list of processes from which Audio Hijack may be able to capture audio. While the Running Sources menu will show dozens of different processes, only a few of these are likely to produce audio.

A special note on capturing from Parallels Desktop

When you're running a virtual machine in Parallels, you'll see two visible Parallels processes: Parallels Desktop and a second process named for your specific virtual machine. However, neither of these processes actually play your virtual machine's audio.

Instead, to capture audio, you must choose the Parallels VM hidden process. This is the true source of from your Parallels virtual machine.

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