How To Quickly Get MP3 files With Audio Hijack Pro (for Macs)

Audio Hijack is a free program for your Mac that  you can download here. There may be a PC version, but I have not yet found it. There is also a version that you can pay for if you want to record things that last longer than ten minutes, but considering how huge MP3 files are if they run over ten minutes, I’m usually okay with the ten minutes it gives me.

Audio Hijack can be used for converting anything to useable MP3s, and that includes your computer’s internal microphone (or an external one, if you’ve got it). It can also take sound off any application that you use on your computer. So if you can hear it on your computer, you can record it with this device. You don’t even need to hear it on your computer, considering you can use your computer’s microphone as well. I’ve used it to record “audio tapes” of my stories, and the quality is actually pretty good.

Anyway, there are multiple ways you can strip the sound off of videos, but Audio Hijack is a pretty simple– albeit rough– way of doing it. To record my soundscape, I used my Kodak point-and-shoot, which records video. As I have no use for the video, I decided to use Audio Hijack to record the sound from the video.

After importing my videos onto my computer, they are .MOV files that open up in QuickTime Player. This is pretty standard for Macs across the board.

“Hijacking” the sound is easy. Audio Hijack looks like this:

It looks like this when “Quick Record” is highlighted:

And the important stuff you need is this:

Under “Input”, it will have a drop down menu that lists what you want. Application? Audio Device? AM/FM Radio? System Audio? In this case, it’s an Application. So I go to the drop down menu on the right and select my application. I will be stripping the sound off of a video that uses Quick Time Player, so that’s what I choose.

Under “Recording”, you’ll want it to be high quality, usually for internet distribution (because MP3 files are the most compatible). Then you just decide where you want the saved recordings to show up, and what you want their name to be.

After selecting this, you open up your Quick Time Player movie. This is where it gets a little rough. The sound itself will be good quality, but there will be a small gap of silence at the beginning of your clip. This is why:

First you click Hijack, then “Record”. Then you have to find your application and play the sound/video. This means there will be a small gap of silence in the time it takes you to do this. Once again, if you’re editing the clip anyway, it doesn’t really matter. But it can  make your recordings a little unprofessional.

Anyway, sometimes this will not work. You have to make sure you open your application up AFTER you open Audio Hijack. If you don’t do this, Hijack will ask you to quit and relaunch your program, and will often do it for you if you don’t do it yourself.

You know you’re recording when the two bars beside the “record” button jump.

Kinda like this.

After the sound stops, simply click “Hijack” again and it will stop recording.

Once you’ve done this, your MP3 file will show up under “Recording Bin” on the left side. Scroll down to find it:

Once there, right click on the sound you’ve just recorded and click “Open in iTunes”. Once it’s in iTunes, you can listen to it in all its MP3 sound-y glory. And it’s ripe for editing in Adobe Audition/Soundbooth/whatever other sound editing program you got.

Last note: Audio Hijack is volume-sensitive. If you record when your computer’s volume is low, the volume will be low on the recording. I just jack up the computer sound and plug it into my speakers turned all the way down. That way you don’t have to disturb your sleeping roommates but you still get a loud volume to work with.

This isn’t the ONLY way to do it, but this program is great if you want any audio from anything. And it’s free!


~ by wandarox on October 1, 2011.

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