Using the System Audio

Setup

Note: If you are ever having any trouble setting up the system audio with AVTouchBar, please do not hesitate to email me at [email protected] I try to be as responsive as possible and am always happy to help you get your setup working!

AVTouchBar can use the internal microphone with no additional setup, but to use the internal system audio there are additional steps. Apple does not offer a way to access the system audio, so we must install a third party audio driver that allows us to do this.

I will now walk you through exactly how to use each audio driver the correct way inside AVTouchBar. If you would like to avoid using an aggregate device because it disables volume control, please jump to: How to use Loopback or How to use Boom3D Audio

How to use Soundflower & BlackHole

Inside AVTouchBar, select Soundflower (2ch) or BlackHole (2ch) as the audio source.

Soundflower setup

Then choose the MacOS output you would like to hear the audio through.

choose output

Now you are ready to click visualize. When you click visualize, AVTouchBar will automatically create an aggregate output device for you, so you do not need to adjust any audio settings. Visuals should appear and you should be able to hear the audio from the output you chose.

When using an aggregate device, MacOS will disable the volume controls. This is an unfortunate annoyance of using aggregate devices on Mac’s. To counter this, I have implemented a touch bar gesture that will adjust the volume, even if you are using an aggregate. You can do this by taking a single finger and sliding it up/down on the visuals to increase/decrease the volume. 

For more information on all the touch bar gestures, please see touch bar gestures to learn more.

To avoid using an aggregate device, please scroll down to How to use Loopback or How to use Boom3D Audio.

How to use Loopback

Loopback is an awesome program with a lot of different uses. We can very easily use Loopback to get the system audio without needing an aggregate device. Open Loopback and create a new virtual device.

Add new loopback audio device

Next, we can select additional sources to get the audio from. Press the (+) button next to sources to add any program to the sources list. You can add as many programs as you want.

Add source to loopback

We can now add “monitors” that will receive the audio. In this section, we want to choose the output device that we will hear the audio through. You can also choose multiple outputs and turn them on/off when you want audio to go to them or not.

Loopback add output

If you play some audio through a program listed under the “Sources” you should see the audio path go from the program to the output. In this example, you can see the audio go from Spotify to my plugged in external headphones.

Inside AVTouchBar, select the Loopback audio device you just created. Make sure that “Create aggregate device” is set to “No” in the advanced settings.

AVTouchBar Loopback Setup

And now you are ready to click visualize! Give it a go and you should be able to see visuals without an aggregate device.

Important: If you want to switch back to using a different audio source, such as Soundflower or BlackHole, just make sure to turn the audio device off inside Loopback. Loopback overtakes all audio routing, so you need to turn it off to return to the normal functionality of MacOS audio control.

Turn Loopback off

How to use Boom3D & Hue Sync

Download and install Boom3D Audio or Hue Sync. Once installed, open AVTouchBar and select Boom/Hue Sync as the audio source. And that’s it! You can click visualize and visuals will appear, without needing an aggregate device.

Boom setup

Note: If you would like to change the output using Boom (ex. change from speakers to headphones), you will have to click “stop”, change the output, then click visualize again.