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The new 'SWB Audio Capture' driver

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Early 2020 we released a new application audio capture driver, called "SWB Audio Capture".  I know. It's an amazingly original name :)

This entirely replaces the older "iShowU Audio Capture" driver.  

Why did we do this?

A couple of reasons. 

  1. Apple are deprecating the older 'kext' based approach. At some point "iShowU Audio Capture" is going to stop working. We would rather have sorted out a solution for that before it happens.
  2. There were some long standing bugs that we never quite ironed out of the older driver. Notably: crackling audio for some users.
  3. The new driver architecture gives us options for the future, such as per-app volume levels and perhaps per-app recording while still being able to hear/preview all apps.  That later feature doesn't exist yet; but it gives you an idea that there's more available and more options than we had with the older kext based method.

What does it mean for me?

At the moment the real impact is a one (1!) minute disruption to your workflow as you install the new driver.

Our expectation is an overall better experience, by far. The new 'SWB Audio Capture' driver:

  1. Is faster (less latency, better video/audio sync, better GaragaBand/Logic usage)
  2. Is easier to work with internally. We can add features more easily. That means less time to get new stuff/features working.
  3. Has more audio Hz options (up to 192Khz at the moment)
  4. Is vastly superior with regard to "install experience".  Click a button. Enter your password. You are done. No more installer package + 'allow'ing the kext in system preferences + reboots. All that is gone (and good riddance).

Zero Risk Upgrade

The new driver is chosen by the apps, if it is installed. Thus you can keep both installed if you're worried about something failing (pretty unlikely from our testing so far). The old 'kext' driver can happily co-exist with the new one, it just isn't used.  If you uninstall the new driver, the apps will simply revert to using the older driver. So there's zero risk in upgrading.

We don't envisage any problems with the upgrade, but we do always like to make a way out in case something unforseen happens - hence the ability to uninstall and fallback to that older kext driver.  We honestly don't see this being something people will do. It's there purely "in case".

When we have gathered sufficient feedback to prove there are no problems; we'll update the apps to also intentionally uninstall the old one.  Then the kext will be no more!!!.

 

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