Did Audio Hijack Pro Almost Cost Me A New Audio Recording Interface?

For over a year, I’ve been having audio issues with my firewire audio recording interface, a Focusrite Saffire. When I’d do my live feed/broadcast on ITRadio, I use Skype to talk with my co-host Frosty, as well as interviews for another podcast I’ve worked on. In order for me to record both sides of the conversation I would use Audio Hijack Pro to record the audio as separate files, as well as use the Soundflower plug-in to route my audio sources for the live feed.  Everything works fine, until a Skype call happens, and my audio going in to the Saffire would mess up.

My Focusrite Saffire is almost 4 years old, and I thought it was starting to die on me, but I didn’t have the funds to purchase a new audio input device.  I finally bit the bullet and went to Guitar Center after a few weeks of research for something new.  When I was talking with the sales associate, explaining my issue, he said contact Focusrite to see if they have any solutions, but I can still take something new to test my issue.

Before I even thought of getting something new, I did look on forums for anyone experiencing the same issue, but I found nothing.  I did find some solutions I did use as temporary fixes.  I tried replacing the firmware, the drivers, reinstalling Audio Hijack Pro, and the quickest fix was to stop ‘hijacking’ the Saffire’s audio and restart it.  If worse came to worse, I’d unplug & re-plug in the Saffire from the computer, but the Saffire isn’t under warranty and it might be easier to simply replace it.

For the record, this issue happened on multiple machines running the same exact setup.

I tried the Native Instrument’s Audio Kontrol 1, a USB audio interface.  Everything worked fine as far as Skype calls and my audio coming in to the AK1, until I would turn on my MacBook Pro’s internal webcam. The audio going to my headphones would start giving me a weird hiss/record skipping sound, but the audio being recorded, which was also being sent to a live streaming website, sounded just fine.  For whatever reason, when the webcam turned on, it messed up the headphones. I took it back to Guitar Center, tested another AK1 and the same issue happened.  However, it wasn’t my computer that caused that issue, because a M-Audio USB device we tried didn’t have any issues with the same set up.

The assistant manager helping me let me know of PreSonus’s FireBox, another firewire interface, which was ten dollars more than the Audio Kontrol 1, so I did the exchange and tested it out the next night during my show.

FIVE MINTUES INTO RECORDING, my audio starts to do the same issue as the FireBox.  Was it something from Skype that was causing this to happen? Was my computer doing too much for it to run the Saffire? Or, was it an issue with Audio Hijack Pro’s software?

When this issue came up again, I was worried it may be my firewire input itself, because my Apple Care warranty is up tomorrow, June 16th, 2009.

I thought I was screwed, but I had one last resort, and that would be Ambrosia’s WireTap Anywhere.  “WireTap Anywhere is a suite of components that lets you take the audio output from any Mac application or hardware input device and bring it into your favorite audio recording application.”  I received a copy of it in September, a friend won a copy at the New Media Expo, but didn’t have a Mac, so she let me use it, but I never got around to really testing it.

Well, after re-watching the video tutorials, I figured out how to route my audio for everything to work.  Over the weekend, I tested the new set up quite a few times and didn’t have any audio hiccups with the Saffire, what so ever.  With that said, I was still under my return warranty and returned the FireBox yesterday.

Now this isn’t a slam against Audio Hijack Pro, because the program is a wicked program, but it hates firewire.  I did see some websites that included mentions of firewire not being supported, but that was when the program was first released.  Will I use it again? Probably, depending on what it’s needed for, and the fact it records each audio source individually, but I wish I figured this out sooner and didn’t assume that my Saffire was on it’s way to audio device heaven.

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