Capturing audio from special and hidden sources with Loopback

In addition to capturing audio from traditional applications, Loopback 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

Loopback's Add Source menu makes it easy to choose several popular sources which would otherwise be very difficult to find. This is done through the Special Sources section of this menu, where you can choose:

  • Finder
  • Siri
  • Sound Effects
  • System AirPlay Receiver
  • Text to Speech
  • 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 Sound Effects special source

The Sound Effects special source captures audio played to MacOS's systemsoundserverd process. This process produces audio like alerts in the Messages app, or the Trash being emptied.

Worth noting, not all applications on the Mac properly play sound effects. If an application's beeps and alerts aren't picked up by the Sound Effects special source, try capturing the application itself instead.

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 System AirPlay Receiver special source (MacOS 12 and newer)

The System AirPlay Receiver special source captures audio played directly to MacOS via AirPlay, using the system's AirPlay receiving capabilities. If you're streaming audio to your Mac via AirPlay, you can capture it in with the System AirPlay Receiver special source.

For more robust AirPlay receiving on your Mac, we recommend Airfoil Satellite.

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 in Loopback's Add Source menu. However, if you hold down the Option key when clicking on the Add Source button, a new Running Processes sub-menu will be shown. Within the Running Processes sub-menu, you'll see a list of processes from which Loopback 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 note for VoiceOver users: To access the Running Processes sub-menu, hold down the Option key and press the space bar while the Add Source button is choosen, rather than using the VO-modifier key.

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