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If you spent more than a day with your Mac, you're certainly aware that it can make sound. Well, it can also record sound. So how is all this sound handled on this machine? It's through the Sound System Preference, which we're going to look at now. Here we are in the Hardware Preferences, and here's Sound. You see three tabs. The first is Sound Effects. The first thing you can do here is change the kind of sound that your Mac makes when it sounds an alert. So you see we have a whole bunch of different sounds to choose from.
We'll come back to this area in just a second. Now let's look at Output. When you look at the Output settings for your Mac, you may see just a couple of options. For example, you might see Internal Speakers and Line Out, but there are other options as well. Most Macs also have a Digital Output. So if you use the right kind of cable, you get digital audio out, rather than analog audio, which you get out of the Line Out port. Now in some cases, that port is actually the same port. Whether you get analog or digital out depends on the kind of cable you use.
If you have some kind of audio interface plugged into your Mac, you may see another entry. For example, I have such an interface, and I see it here. You can also configure Input. If your Mac has a built-in microphone, that will be listed. In our case, we're using a digital input, but I also have my audio hardware here as well. And as you can see, as I speak, I can view my audio input here. Now let's go back to sound effects. I can choose how to output my sound effects.
Currently, I'm using sound out, but as you see, I can use any of the output destinations that appear in the output tab. I don't want to change that because otherwise, you won't be able to hear me. You can separately adjust your Alert Volume versus your Output Volume. You can also adjust the volume from your keyboard. So now I'm pressing my volume down key, and you can see that that's reflected in a couple of ways. Not only does the slider go down, but you see that on-screen representation.
If I want to mute sound out, I can click the Mute Box, or on my keyboard, I can simply press the mute key. If you want to, you can show volume in the menu bar, and then you can click on that and adjust the volume using that slider. Now here's a cool trick. Hold down the Option key and click on that same icon. When you do that, you can choose your Output and Input Devices. So if you quickly need to change your Output Device, for example, maybe between headphones and some external speakers, you can do that here.
Same idea with Input Devices. And if you want to quickly open Sound Preferences, select that and this window opens. And that's the ins and outs of sound on your Macintosh.
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