Extract the sound from a video
Mac Tip #387, 03 June 2009
Here’s how to extract the sound from a downloaded YouTube video.
In Save a YouTube video I explained one way to download a YouTube video. Others kindly chimed in with comments explaining alternatives. Once you have a video on your computer though, you may find you’d like to take just the sound and add it to iTunes.
Open the video in VLC
- Select the video in the Finder. It may be named something like
- Control click. A contextual menu appears.
Open With > VLC.appfrom the contextual menu. VLC opens and starts to play the video.
- Pause or Stop the video if you don’t want to watch it just yet.
Choose a Source for Audio Hijack Pro
- Open Audio Hijack Pro. The Audio Hijack Pro window opens.
- Select Quick Record in the list on the left of the window.
- On the right, in the main part of the window, choose Application for the Input type.
- Click on the
Selectdrop-down button at the right hand end of the Application line, and choose VLC from the menu.
- In the
Recordingsection of the window choose a format for saving the recording. I selected the
For archive to diskformat.
Start Hijacking and Recording
Audio Hijack Pro can simply hijack sound — in other words ‘capture’ the sound before it goes through your computer’s speakers — or it can both hijack and record.
- Click the
Hijackbutton in the Audio Hijack Pro window. Everything is now ready to begin actually recording sound from the video.
- Click the
Recordbutton in the Audio Hijack Pro window. The recording begins.
- Switch to VLC and if necessary press the Rewind (
◄◄) button to rewind the video to the start, then press the Play (
While the video plays Audio Hijack Pro records the sound to a file on your computer. When the video finishes go back to Audio Hijack Pro and press the
Record button to stop the recording.
Send the recording to iTunes
- Open Audio Hijack Pro.
Recording Binin the list on the left of the window to see a list of your recordings.
- On the right, select the recording you wish to send to iTunes.
- Click on the
iTunesbutton in the Toolbar at the bottom of the window. iTunes opens, imports the sound track according your your iTunes preferences and starts playing the track.
Other softwareMany people speak highly of Audacity: free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. I haven’t actually tried it, as I’ve been using Audio Hijack Pro happily for years.
I also like and use Fission and Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba, the makers of Audio Hijack Pro. I’d recommend testing those applications too before you buy, as you may be able to purchase at a ‘bundle’ price.
I use Fission for quickly editing sound, and Airfoil for sending sound to any speakers.