In macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple enhanced the Volume menu available from the speaker menu bar icon, making it easy to change volume and switch between audio outputs. Previously, you had to Option-click the Volume icon to see those controls. Now if you Option-click it, you can also quickly switch between audio inputs. (Not seeing the Volume icon in the menu bar? Enable it by selecting Show Volume in Menu Bar in System Preferences > Sound.)
But if you want even quicker access to sound-related preferences, Rogue Amoeba, masters of all things audio on the Mac, have a souped-up alternative for you: SoundSource 3. It’s actually an update to a long-dormant utility first published in the early 2000s. If you own a license to a current version of one of Rogue Amoeba’s other apps, you can register SoundSource for free. Otherwise, it’s only $10, and a free trial is available.
If you’re eligible for a free copy, go to the SoundSource page, click Purchase, and then on the next page click Learn More under Get a Complimentary SoundSource License. On the next page, enter the email, license name, and license code associated with your Rogue Amoeba product, and click Submit.
Like Volume, SoundSource lives in your menu bar. Click its icon and you’ll see options to choose your output device, input device, and which device should be used for system sounds. You can also adjust the volume for each audio source individually.
Another neat feature is Play-Thru, which lets you choose an audio input and play the sound through a selected output. Just choose Open Play-Thru Window from the menu, choose your settings, and click Start Play-Thru. Play-Thru might be handy to make sure your microphone is working and not muted, or to check your input level for recording.
If you want to replace the Volume menu bar icon with SoundSource, here’s how you can do that:
- Make sure SoundSource opens at login. Choose SoundSource > Options > Preferences, and select Start SoundSource at Login.
- Disable the SoundSource Dock icon to reduce Dock clutter. In the SoundSource Preferences window, select Only in The Menu Bar. SoundSource will quickly close and relaunch.
- Finally, disable the standard Volume menu bar icon by going to System Preferences > Sound and unchecking Show Volume in Menu Bar.
SoundSource 3 is aimed at the audio power user who needs to adjust input and output sources and level frequently, and it’s a simple utility that does its job well. Particularly if you already own any of Rogue Amoeba’s other products, it’s well worth installing.