Keep It Simple, Stupid.
This is the mantra of any Mac user, and the quest for drop dead simple podcasting applications has been a hobby of mine for almost a decade. Unfortunately, podcasting to date has been a relatively small market for software developers. So accomplishing seemingly simple audio tasks on our computers meant having to resort to overly robust and often complicated audio software and hardware configurations.
One such task would be recording audio - and I mean any audio.
Mac Podcasters’ Secret Weapon
For years, the majority of podcasts were created on Macs and listened to on Apple devices. The integration of podcasts in the 2006 update of iTunes, along with the likely intentional and misplaced association with the iPod, made podcasts appear to be a “Mac thing”. Set aside Apple’s typical usurping of technology and slapping their Zen-ness on to call it their own, this meant some of the best software for podcast recording was written by Mac developers, for Mac users.
Windows folks were stuck with a mishmash of kludge solutions to perform what, on the surface, seems like simple audio operations. For example, recording audio on your computer that is coming from your computer. Simple, right? As with most things Mac, yep.
Rogue Amoeba - Strange Name. Great Software.
From the developer: "Rogue Amoeba Software is a privately-held software company, based in the USA with offices around the globe. Since 2002, we've been making tools for Mac OS X to assist you with all your audio needs. In that time we've delighted tens of thousands of users and received some of the highest honors in the industry.
Mac users and podcasters have known of this company for a long time. We’ve used Rogue Amoeba’s stellar lineup of easy-to-use applications for a variety of production tasks. Many of us can’t live without them. OK, back to recording audio from your Mac.
Enter Piezo - Charmingly Simple Audio Recording
From the developer: "Say “hello” to Piezo! Piezo makes it a snap to record audio on your Mac. In seconds, you'll be recording audio from any application or from audio inputs like microphones.
Piezo requires almost no configuration, and it's a blast to use. Simple and inexpensive - that's a winning combination.”
To say I love this little app is an understatement. The folks at Rogue Amoeba have made it not only easy to record audio from any source on your Mac, they’ve made it elegant and fun too! The interface couldn’t be clearer. Pull down the menu of sources to display what application audio you want to record, add a title, comment and select the audio quality, and press record!
This can be anything you desire from your USB microphone to Skype. You can even record audio from DVDs, websites, or Spotify if breaking some laws is your bent (though we don’t advise this, obviously).
Once recorded, you can click the magnifying glass in the title window to reveal your pristine audio recording in the finder. Love it.
Recording Skype audio is by far the most common need we address from podcast clients. In short, they are co-hosting or interviewing a guest on their podcast and want to record that conversation for use in their show. There are now (thank goodness) a variety of simple ways to do this. The most popular call recorder for Skype is the eCamm Recorder for Mac. However, what if you’re using another program like Zoom, or Google Hangouts, or Facetime, or…?
Granted, eCamm can handle some of these applications. But it certainly can’t handle them ALL. Piezo is as simple as selecting from the pulldown menu the application from which you want to record the audio, and pressing the big, red button. Boom! It couldn’t get easier than that, and you can do it on the fly.
Try Before You Buy
Mac and iOS users are familiar with the App Store. I’m a big fan of this as a user largely because it both keeps my applications automatically updated, and also enables me to install them on up to 5 machines. Anyone who uses their Mac as a creative tool will appreciate the ability to install Logic Pro X on 5 production machines for $199. However, this isn’t always the best deal for software developers.
One, the App Store doesn’t have free trials. Boo. Two, Apple takes a hefty cut for having it positioned in the store, purchased, and delivered via their system. Granted, for many developers this is a fair deal. For smaller companies that I adore, such as Smile Software and Rogue Amoeba, to name a few, it’s better to go the old fashioned way and sell direct.
The point being, you can try ALL the Rogue Amoeba software before you commit to a purchase. So installing this and then deciding if it’s a good fit for your podcast workflow is a no-brainer.
Piezo Not Powerful Enough for You?
Fear not. Audio Hijack 3 is Mac audio capture on steroids! If you’re brave enough to check it out before my upcoming review, you can get a trial copy here!
In the coming weeks I’ll be demonstrating practical podcasting applications of other software from Rogue Amoeba, including Audio Hijack 3, Loopback, and Nicecast.
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