VLC

VLC Media Player is a powerful, cross-platform multimedia player from the VideoLAN non-profit organization that plays “most multimedia files as well as DVDs, audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.” Other features include subtitle support, extensive controls over video display, video and audio filters, deinterlace, transcoding, metering, a customizable user interface (“skins”), support for a huge collection of media formats and protocols, and much more.

VLC Vetinari was a major update, bringing support for hardware decoding (“to get 4K and 8K playback!”); 10-bit and HDR material; 360 video and 3D audio (“up to Ambisoncics 3rd order”) and “audio passthrough for HD audio codecs”; streaming to Chromecast (“even in formats not supported natively”); browsing of local network drives and NAS, playback of Blu-Ray Java menus, and quite a bit more.

VLC Media Player 3.0.10 is free, open-source donationware for OS X 10.7 and up, as well as Linux, Windows and Android. (Older versions are also available for earlier Macs.)

VLC Media Player’s latest release includes security patches, Catalina tweaks, and other improvements.

  • Multiple DVD fixes & improvements
  • Better adaptive streaming support
  • Fix video rendering on macOS
  • Various MP4 improvements
  • Better macOS Catalina support
  • Adds support for SMB2/3 shares
  • It also fixes security issues notably various DOSes in the microDNS service discovery
  • And a dozen more issues…

VLC for Mobile 3.2.8 is free for iOS 9 and up, with support for cloud sync (Dropbox, GDrive, OneDrive, Box, iCloud Drive, iTunes), direct downloads and through WiFi sharing, as well as streaming from SMB, FTP, UPnP/DLNA media servers and the web.

SoundSource

SoundSource is a Mac menubar app from Rogue Amoeba Software that is a vast improvement over Apple’s macOS audio user interface. Basic features include instant switching of input and output devices,  audio processing and effects (e.g. EQ, Audio Units support, etc.), and setting of sample rates, balance, etc. Even better, the software offer per-application control over volume, output destination (e.g. internal speakers vs. headphones vs. USB or display devices), plus audio processing/effects. (See SoundSource Support Center for more details.)

SoundSource 4.2.3 is priced at $29 for macOS 10.12 and later with a free demo mode that degrades audio 20 minutes after launch. The latest release update brings some bug fixes and an update to the Audio Capture Engine.

AirServer

AirServer is cross-platform software from App Dynamic EHF that “allows you to receive AirPlay, Google Cast and Miracast streams, similar to an Apple TV or a Chromecast device.”

Features include “no need to install anything on the client’s device”, encrypted transmission (like Apple TV), “retina-quality” picture quality, support for connections to HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt displays, support for WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet networks, side-by-side mirroring from multiple devices, plus multiple display support, an audio-only option, streaming from multiple devices, and live streaming to YouTube with picture-in-picture webcam support, and more. (See AirServer support docs for more details.)

AirServer 7.2.4 is priced at $19.99 for a standard consumer license with a free 30-day trial (Internet access required) for OS X 10.9 and up or Windows. (Educational and Business licenses are also available.)

Audio Hijack

Audio Hijack is Mac software from Rogue Amoeba Software Inc. that records audio from applications like iTunes (e.g. playing back encrypted purchases), Skype and DVD Player, as well as from external sources via microphones and other hardware.

Features include recording to MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, or AIFF audio formats; AppleScript support; support for VST and Audio Unit plugins; metadata editing; built-in audio CD burning; automatic removal or splitting of silent portions; a recording bin; sending to iTunes; timers and level metering; and a new Broadcast block for streaming to an internet radio server in MP3 or AAC formats.

Audio Hijack 3.7.1 is priced at $59 for macOS 10.12 and up with a free trial available. The latest release brings live streaming support.

With the brand-new Live Stream output block, you can transmit to RTMP-based servers. Quickly get a free stream up and running with one of the services offered by major platforms, including Periscope, Twitch, and YouTube Live. Live streaming is great for offering a live feed while recording a podcast, or transmitting content like concerts and DJ sets.

Piezo is a simplifed alternative, priced at $19. Rogue Amoeba legacy software is also available for use with earlier Mac systems.

Shotcut

Shotcut is a cross-platform video editing app from Meltytech LLC (Dan Dennedy) that offers a rich set of features, including native editing support for “oodles” of audio, video and image formats (including ProRes); native multitrack and multiformat timeline editing (no import required) with trimming, thumbnails and waveforms (cached); resolution support to 4K; audio mixing and video compositing across all tracks; append, insert, overwrite, lift, and delete (ripple) editing on the timeline; color correction and audio filters; the ability to create, play, edit, save, load, encode, and stream MLT XML playlists; encode/transcode, capture, streaming and batch encoding with job control; and much more.

Shotcut 20.12.17 is a free, open-source download for OS X 10.10 and up, Linux, and Windows. The latest release brings low-resolution previews, an audio pitch filter, and other improvements, while low-resolution proxies are planned for the months ahead.

Please remember that today there is still a processing cost to scale down the source video to the preview resolution. So, this is still not a silver-bullet, magical cure-all for performance issues. This feature will be more beneficial when low resolution proxies are used, which is planned for version 20.04 in April.

Subler

Subler is a Mac app from Damiano Galassi that can combine (“mux“) media types within MP4 files. The software handles subtitles (“compatible with all Apple’s devices – iPod, AppleTV, iPhone, QuickTime”), audio, video, chapters and closed captions, plus metadata editing and support for TMDb, TVDB and the iTunes Store. (File format support includes mov, mp4 and mkv; h264; AAC, AC3; Scenarist and VobSub.)

Subler 1.6.2 is an open-source, donationware download for OS X 10.11 and up. (Older versions support earlier Mac systems.) The latest releases bring various tweaks and improvements.

LosslessCut

LosslessCut is a cross-platform program from Mikael Finstad for losslessly trimming/cutting video and audio files. (It’s based on FFmpeg, Chromium, and Electron). Other features include:

  • Lossless re-merge of selected segments (for cutting out commercials etc.)
  • Lossless merge of arbitrary files (with identical codecs)
  • Lossless extracting of all data streams from a file (explode video, audio, subtitle and other streams of a file into separate files)
  • Take full-resolution snapshots from videos in JPEG/PNG format
  • Manual input range of cutpoints
  • Can include primary streams (audio/video), or all streams
  • Can remove audio track
  • Apply a timecode offset
  • Remux into different output format
  • Change rotation/orientation metadata in videos. Great for rotating phone videos that come out the wrong way without actually re-encoding the video.

LosslessCut 2.7.1 is freely downloadable open-source software for OS X 10.10 and later, Linux, and Windows.

Downie

Downie is a Mac app from Charlie Monroe Software for downloading videos from Internet sites – YouTube, Vimeo and a thousand others. Features include 4K video support with YouTube, postprocessing (e.g. automatic conversion to MP4 or iTunes), automatic retry (plus pause/resume), online searching, delayed download start, web browser extensions, dark and simplified user interface options, built-in help, and more.

Downie 3.9.8 is priced at $19.99 for OS X 10.11 and up with a free 14-day trial download available.

SoundSource

SoundSource is a Mac menubar app from Rogue Amoeba Software Inc. that can control audio on a “per-app basis” – volume, output device, EQ, effects, etc., along with keyboard shortcuts and a new “smart volume overdrive” feature, Bluetooth battery information for AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Beats devices and more.

SoundSource 4.2.1 is priced at $29 for macOS 10.12 and up with a free demo download available. The latest releases include full macOS Catalina support.

Swinsian

Swinsian is a music player and organizer for the Mac that offers an alternative to Apple’s iTunes app with better Mac OS X compatibility, plus support for additional audio formats, including FLAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and others. Features include AppleScript support, iTunes library import (including play counts, playlists and smart playlists) and music file copying from iOS devices, a customizable user interface, tag editing (with Find and Replace, multiple track operations, and a duplicate track finder), album art fetching, notifications, AirPlay support and more.

Swinsian 2.2.3 is priced at $24.95 for OS X 10.7 and up, with a trial version available for download. The latest version fixes a Catalina problem and some other glitches.

Reaper

Reaper is a cross-platform app from Cockos Inc. for multi-track audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering. Features include multi-source recording, non-destructive editing of audio “in almost any imaginable way”, track layering, hundreds of audio and MIDI effects, support for all kinds of hardware and plug-ins, track metering, automation, pitch shifting, a project management “bay”, customizable user interface, and “the highly flexible ReaSurround plug-in – apply rotations, transformations, and diffusions, and even automate the positions of the speakers themselves.” (See Reaper user guide [PDF], Quick Start [PDF] and other resources for more details.)

Reaper 6.0.2 is priced at $60 for personal use ($225 for commercial use) and downloads support Mac OS X 10.5 (!) through macOS 10.15, as well as Windows and Linux (“experimental builds”) and the WINE environment. The download is “a free, fully functional 60-day evaluation. No registration or personal details are required.”

Shairport Sync

Shairport Sync is software from Mike Brady (building on the original work of James Laird and others) that functions as an AirPlay wireless audio player – “it plays audio streamed from iTunes, iOS, Apple TV and macOS devices and AirPlay sources such as Quicktime Player and ForkedDaapd, among others.” (It does not support video or photo streaming, however.)
  Features include full audio synchronization – “it stays synchronised with the source and hence with similar devices playing the same source. In this way, synchronised multi-room audio is possible for players that support it, such as iTunes and the macOS Music app.” The software also handles Apple ALAC decoding, high bit rates and frame rates, metadata delivery, and more.

Shairport Sync is freely downloadable open-source software for Linux, Raspberry Pi, OpenBSD and other Unix-based systems. A Mac HomeBrew package is available but lacks synchronization capability.