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Understanding Virtual Audio and Transitioning from Soundflower to BlackHole on Mac

Virtual audio serves as a digital bridge, allowing users to route audio between applications, eliminating the need for physical connections. While Soundflower was once the go-to solution for macOS users, it’s outdated and lacks support for recent macOS versions. Enter BlackHole – a modern, powerful alternative. Today, we’ll explore the world of virtual audio and guide you through transitioning from Soundflower to BlackHole.

The Era of Soundflower:

Soundflower, for many years, was a staple for macOS users requiring virtual audio routing. It was the unsung hero behind countless podcast episodes, live streams, and digital recordings. But as with all software, there comes a time when updates cease and compatibility wanes. For users of current macOS versions, Soundflower no longer cuts.

Why Consider Virtual Audio?

Many of us, at one point or another, have faced challenges in obtaining audio from specific sources. For instance, I’ve grappled with the complexities and expenses of downloading audio from YouTube videos. Virtual audio emerges as a savior in scenarios like these, offering a straightforward solution to directly capture the audio we need without the hassle or the cost.

Why BlackHole Over Soundflower?

As Soundflower’s era comes to a close, BlackHole rises to the occasion for several compelling reasons:

  1. Open Source & Free: BlackHole is transparently open-source and completely free.
  2. High Quality: It routes audio without introducing latency, ensuring pristine quality.
  3. Flexibility: With support for up to 16 channels, it’s tailor-made for intricate audio routing setups.

Installing BlackHole:

  1. Download: Visit the BlackHole GitHub page and grab the latest release.
  2. Install:
    • Launch the downloaded .pkg file.
    • Follow the on-screen instructions. Grant permissions when prompted to install system software.
  3. Verification:
    • Post-installation, navigate to System Preferences > Sound. You’re all set if you spot “BlackHole 16ch” (or 2ch, based on your choice) in the input and output tabs.

Setting Up BlackHole:

  1. Create a Multi-Output Device:
    • Launch Audio MIDI Setup (located in Applications > Utilities).
    • Tap the + at the bottom left and select Create Multi-Output Device.
    • Check Built-in Output and BlackHole 16ch (or 2ch).
  2. Engaging BlackHole:
    • Play any audio.
    • Head to System Preferences > Sound and switch the output to your freshly minted Multi-Output device. Your system audio now flows through BlackHole, ready for recording in tools like Audacity.


While Soundflower’s contribution to the macOS audio community remains undeniable, BlackHole takes the mantle, offering a modern solution for today’s requirements. If you’re transitioning or diving into virtual audio, BlackHole won’t disappoint.

A gentle reminder: Always respect copyright norms when recording and redistributing audio. Happy recording!

This video shows how to record the audio from Youtube after installing Blackhole and Audacity.

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