• Recording Lossless Audio With Audio Hijack From Rogue Amoeba



    Since the dawn of ripping CDs and downloading high resolution music people have been subjecting the files to audio analysis through applications such as Audacity and Adobe Audition. This type of analysis can be interesting when it reveals a high resolution album was simply upsampled from at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz version. A much more interesting, and more telling, indicator of sound quality can be seen when analyzing a track's waveform for dynamic range compression. Now that audiophiles are streaming lossless 16 bit / 44.1 kHz music from services such as TIDAL HIFI, Qobuz, and Deezer, the question of how to analyze this music becomes relevant. In the past we simply imported the file stored on our hard drive into one of the analysis applications and we had our answers. Because streaming services don't store music on our hard drives in the traditional sense we have to get a little creative. Thanks to software from Rogue Amoeba called Audio Hijack we can now capture bit perfect audio from nearly anything and save it on our hard drives for later analysis. What follows is a step-by-step guide to recording music using Audio Hijack.


    Note: I'm not foolish enough to think people won't use this article for nefarious purposes such as recording lossless music from streaming services. However, please keep in mind I do not advocate being a jerk and ripping people off just to beef up your collection of music, or worse make the recorded music available to others. Recording a few tracks for analysis then deleting the tracks is reasonable to me and why I believe this article is aboveboard.










    How To


    Download Audio Hijack from Rogue Amoeba - > Link






    Open Audio Hijack and select New Session in the bottom left corner








    Select New Blank Session in the upper left corner








    In the New Blank Session window click and drag the small Application icon from the upper right window to the main larger window on the left.








    Click on the larger Application icon, that's now in the larger left window, to expose the Select an App drop-down box. Select the down arrow and select the application from which you'd like to record audio. I am recording a track from TIDAL HIFI for this demonstration.








    Click and drag the Output Devices little icon from the right window over to the main larger window on the left. This should automatically put a connection line between the Application and Output Devices larger icons in the main window. Click on the Output Devices larger icon in the main window to expose the audio device selection area. I've selected Built-in Output: Internal Speakers for this demonstration, but any output can be selected. The reason an output is selected, even though we are recording to a file, is so we can hear the audio while recording.








    Click and drag the small Recorder icon from the right window over to the main larger window on the left. In the image below you can see the connection line goes directly from the Application icon to the Recorder icon rather than flowing through the Output Device icon. By default the Recorder icon says MP3 256 kbps Stereo.








    Click on the larger Recorder icon, that's now in the larger left window, to expose the configuration window. You can configure this however you want. Next to the Save to: text I've selected Desktop because that's a simple place for emote find the recorded fie when it's done. Next to Quality select the drop-down arrow and select Custom… Because I am recording the audio for analysis in Adobe Audition I've selected the WAV file format in the Advanced Recording Options section. TIDAL HFI streams at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz so I've selected these as well. If you leave Sample Rate configuration set to Auto it may record at 48 kHz rather than 44.1 kHz. Feel free to record at 48 kHz, but the audio will no longer be bit perfect.








    The final configuration should look like this. If so, select the red record button in the lower left corner of the screen. Then switch to TIDAL HIFI and select play on the track you'd like to record. Audio Hijack will automatically start recording when the music starts.








    Recording audio using Audio Hijack is very similar to transferring a vinyl record to a digital final in that it is done in real time. Thus, if a track is ten minutes long, it will take ten minutes to record the track to a file. During recording the audio Hijack window will look like this below. When the track is done, simply select the same little red record button to stop recording.








    After recording is done I import the file into Adobe Audition for analysis.















    Comments 55 Comments
    1. Bill Lord's Avatar
      Bill Lord -
      Chris- try this too. https://www.doubletwist.com/help/que...order-for-mac/
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lord View Post
      Thanks Bill. When do people use this app? Recording iTunes Radio?
    1. Bill Lord's Avatar
      Bill Lord -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      Thanks Bill. When do people use this app? Recording iTunes Radio?
      Chris, for the exact same reasons you listed above, analysis and validation. Though the developer may have created the software mainly as a part of the "analog hole" and fair use.

      here is a review: http://www.macworld.com/article/2140...ics-aside.html
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lord View Post
      Chris, for the exact same reasons you listed above, analysis and validation. Though the developer may have created the software mainly as a part of the "analog hole" and fair use.

      here is a review: AirPlay Recorder review: A solid tool for capturing iTunes streams, ethics aside | Macworld
      I was thinking that people already have files stored locally if they are playing through iTunes and AirPlay so there would be no need to recapture.
    1. Bill Lord's Avatar
      Bill Lord -
      The app is a desktop airplay renderer and recorder. From what I understand, you choose the desktop app as an output device (but cannot monitor), from the airplay device list in iOS, for your airplay stream. What is created is ALAC files with Metadata and Album Art.

      This acts just like your AudioHijack instructions, but now you get actual file breaks, art and metadata to keep track of everything. Hope this helps in your analysis.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lord View Post
      The app is a desktop airplay renderer and recorder. From what I understand, you choose the desktop app as an output device (but cannot monitor), from the airplay device list in iOS, for your airplay stream. What is created is ALAC files with Metadata and Album Art.

      This acts just like your AudioHijack instructions, but now you get actual file breaks, art and metadata to keep track of everything. Hope this helps in your analysis.
      i suppose it's possible to output Tidal from an iPhone to this via AirPlay.
    1. Bill Lord's Avatar
      Bill Lord -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      i suppose it's possible to output Tidal from an iPhone to this via AirPlay.
      Give it a shot and, please, let us know what you find and think about it.
    1. zenpmd's Avatar
      zenpmd -

      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      i suppose it's possible to output Tidal from an iPhone to this via AirPlay.
      So does this allow you to rip from a streamer? If so, that's a dream come true. At the moment I buy a fair bit of heavy metal on bandcamp or direct from labels and its fab how you buy the LP and then get the flacs for free. That's what I want everywhere. No point owning cds. Would be lovely to buy vinyl and then get the digital copies this way
    1. Maldur's Avatar
      Maldur -
      Audition has recording function built-in actually. No need any other software for recording. In some cases, we need only "kernel extension that enables audio to be passed between applications. It acts as a virtual audio device, with both inputs and outputs. With it, any audio application can send and receive audio". https://rogueamoeba.com/freebies/soundflower/
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Maldur View Post
      Audition has recording function built-in actually. No need any other software for recording. In some cases, we need only "kernel extension that enables audio to be passed between applications. It acts as a virtual audio device, with both inputs and outputs. With it, any audio application can send and receive audio". https://rogueamoeba.com/freebies/soundflower/
      Very cool. Thanks Maldur.
    1. Steve7's Avatar
      Steve7 -
      Wow - as you note in your final paragraph, the potential for abuse here is pretty high. I'm sympathetic to the view that we would like to be able to analyze files and to the frustration of having to pay over and over again for various renditions of the same works. That said, I'm also sensitive to the fact that artists need to get paid, Tidal needs to survive and calls for more sophisticated copy protection will be made by some. As one without a PS3 and plenty of SACDs that I can only play with hard media, I'm not looking forward even greater protections. In some respects, it's too bad that this software doesn't include a timing function that automatically wipes the file after some period of time spent analyzing the output - but of course, the next developer would probably find a way to defeat that as well. I realize that most people are honest and ethical, but the jerk quotient is higher than you might imagine. Just my two cents - YMMV. Happy Listening!
    1. palbratelund's Avatar
      palbratelund -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      I was thinking that people already have files stored locally if they are playing through iTunes and AirPlay so there would be no need to recapture.

      But, Chris - you can do this on the fly with MusicScope from Xivero AND not break with your EULA with any of the services. Why hijack the file when you can do instant analysis on the stream itself? So much more fun.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by palbratelund View Post
      But, Chris - you can do this on the fly with MusicScope from Xivero AND not break with your EULA with any of the services. Why hijack the file when you can do instant analysis on the stream itself? So much more fun.
      Ah yes, thanks for the suggestion Pål! Looking at MusicScope and other on-the-fly tools, I can't figure out any way to see the waveform to look at dynamic range compression. I'm still researching.
    1. palbratelund's Avatar
      palbratelund -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      Ah yes, thanks for the suggestion Pål! Looking at MusicScope and other on-the-fly tools, I can figure out any way to see the waveform to look at dynamic range compression. I'm still researching.
      Love MusicScope. Use it all the time to look at whether things are high-res, if they have been upsampled from lossy etc.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by palbratelund View Post
      Love MusicScope. Use it all the time to look at whether things are high-res, if they have been upsampled from lossy etc.
      And way cheaper than Adobe Audition!
    1. wdw's Avatar
      wdw -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve7 View Post
      Wow - as you note in your final paragraph, the potential for abuse here is pretty high. I'm sympathetic to the view that we would like to be able to analyze files and to the frustration of having to pay over and over again for various renditions of the same works. That said, I'm also sensitive to the fact that artists need to get paid, Tidal needs to survive and calls for more sophisticated copy protection will be made by some. As one without a PS3 and plenty of SACDs that I can only play with hard media, I'm not looking forward even greater protections. In some respects, it's too bad that this software doesn't include a timing function that automatically wipes the file after some period of time spent analyzing the output - but of course, the next developer would probably find a way to defeat that as well. I realize that most people are honest and ethical, but the jerk quotient is higher than you might imagine. Just my two cents - YMMV. Happy Listening!
      +1
      The thievery quotient is high....stream Tidal and copy everything
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by wdw View Post
      +1
      The thievery quotient is high....stream Tidal and copy everything
      I don't really think so. Recording from TIDAL takes to much time because it's 1:1 (time-wise) and must be manually tagged etc... If I were TIDAL, I wouldn't really be concerned.
    1. kumakuma's Avatar
      kumakuma -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      I don't really think so. Recording from TIDAL takes to much time because it's 1:1 (time-wise) and must be manually tagged etc... If I were TIDAL, I wouldn't really be concerned.
      I agree with Chris. Most people willing to spend $20/month for a streaming service have better ways to spend their time.
    1. mayhem13's Avatar
      mayhem13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      I don't really think so. Recording from TIDAL takes to much time because it's 1:1 (time-wise) and must be manually tagged etc... If I were TIDAL, I wouldn't really be concerned.
      No....but the artists might!
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post
      No....but the artists might!
      Or not. For the same reason as Tidal shouldn't be worried.