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Snow Leopard Compatibility: Some sound I/O utilities broken

The Mac OS X Snow Leopard update is an issue users of audio switching helpers — menubar items that can quickly switch sound input and output sources. Some of these utility programs are broken and others will require an update.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor on

The Mac OS X Snow Leopard update is an issue users of audio switching helpers — menubar items that can quickly switch sound input and output sources. Some of these utility programs are broken and others will require an update.

These utilities are very popular, especially for persons that have external speakers or USB microphones or other i/O devices connected to their systems for podcasting, speech-to-text input.

On the Rogue Amoeba blog, Quentin Carnicelli late last week announced the release of SoundSource 2.5, the latest version of the company's free audio I/O switching utility. He said the update had no new features but had "changed dramatically internally." It was now an application rather than a MenuExtra, like the Apple-standard Clock, Airport menu and others.

Most users are un aware that they can play around with these MenuExtras. For example, we can move them around with a Command-Click-Drag. And they are persistent across booting.

However, Carnicelli said that these capabilities are Apple only. Programmers have gotten around them, of course. But according to the post, Rogue Amoeba is tired of the extra effort and made the latest version of SoundSource into a straight app. It uses the NSStatusItem API to place the Menubar icon, which he admits "provides an inferior experience compared to menuExtras."

That all said, SoundSource running as its own application is not all that terrible. It is a little annoying to not be able to move it around the menubar, but there are some benefits. We no longer need an installer for it and it can live in your Applications folder like any other application. It’s also easy to open and close, and delete when you are done with it. And if we’re lucky, SoundSource may even work on OS X 10.7 without requiring an update.

That being said, Sound Menu, another free audio switcher, is currently incompatible with Snow Leopard.

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