The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Software audio routers

Patch cables for the cable-shy

Audio routers are patching writ large.

Audio routers are “virtual cables” that route audio out of limited parochial software into differently limited parochial software, giving you flexibility at the cost of confusion and labour. Using audio effects software to apply effects audio synthesis software doesn’t sound like rocket science, but turns out to be tedious.

There are 5 that I am aware of, with different reliability, licensing, and platform support.

  1. jack (open source, Windows, OSX, Linux, powerful but unfriendly)
  2. loopback (commercial, OSX)
  3. soundflower (free, OSX, flakey)
  4. VB Audio Cables (donationware windows)
  5. Audiobus, the iOs router, which I have no use for at present.

Breaking it down by platform….

OSX

Jack on OSX has its only working version hidden deep in the github bug reports as opposed to the normal download page, indicating that development on this project has partially stalled. Soundflower is inflexible and periodically unmaintained despite intermittent commercial backing. Fragility hell in these free options is avoided somewhat by loopback, a rather expensive commercial competitor. Maybe owners Rogue Amoeba will use that funding to keep maintaining their product, having fucked up soundflower on their own watch? But should I reward that behaviour by buying a license?

Apparently I did.

Here is my config:

/images/loopback_audio_config.png
/images/loopback_audio_config.png

Linux

How to create virtual ports for bidirectional patching: Jack.

TBC.

Windows

Jack seems to work on windows. But there is also… VB Audio Cables seems to be a viable workalike for windows.