A little disclaimer before I begin the review. Ambrosia Software, developers of Wiretap Anywhere, did provide me with a review license of their product, however please know that it has not in any way biased me in my review. I thank Ambrosia Software for allowing me to review their product.
Again before we begin, I have an apology to make. The above mentioned review copy of Wiretap Anywhere was given to me, at my request, almost one year ago, in March, 2009. I had every intention to review it immediately, but as often happens, life gets in the way. I hope Ambrosia will forgive me for this.
Now, into the review proper. Wiretap Anywhere ($129 USD, http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/wta/) is a piece of software for the Macintosh to allow you to direct any sort of audio in any sort of way. It does this by creating virtual audio devices.
The first portion of your interaction with WTA is within the application itself. WTA used to be a System Preferences pane, but has recently been moved into a standalone application. When you launch the app, you can create a new wiretap by clicking the + button, and at which point you can give it a name, choose which audio sources are being tapped into, and change some settings about the audio, including whether it is mono or stereo.You can have as many of these audio devices as you desire, each tapping different sources, such as an attached mic, a particular application, or all system audio.
Once you have done this, you can go into whichever application you would like to use, and specify your audio device as the input.
This opens up a whole world of possibilities. You could combine a microphone and a Skype call, and pipe it into GarageBand for recording. You could combine iTunes and your Mac’s internal mic to send to an iChat audio chat. You could even combine a Mic and system audio to record the audio portion of a screencast!
Now you might be saying “Connor, why is this blog post so short? It can’t be that simple.” As a matter of fact, it is! Wiretap Anywhere is one of the simplest apps I know, but it is extremely powerful and infinitely useful.
Wiretap Anywhere costs $129 US, which at first glance seems somewhat expensive. However, it is one of the only pieces of software available that allows this kind of flexibility—otherwise you would have to go out and buy a hardware mixer and some other things, and still not have all the capabilities of the utility.
One improvement I would like to see in future revisions of this product is more ability to fine-tune the audio sources. I would love to be able to change the gain level and a few other audio settings for each individual source, as well as the same settings for the entire audio device.
One note here: I have heard from a few people that they have had some issues with Wiretap Anywhere. I have not personally had any issues with the software, and it has been updated since then, and it has been found to be significantly more stable.
All in all, Wiretap Anywhere is a hugely useful and extremely powerful application. Although it is certainly not an application one should buy on a whim, if WTA fulfills a need you have to do this sort of thing, Wiretap Anywhere would certainly be an excellent choice.