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I have an external interface (Presonus Firestudio Project) that I have hooked up to my Mac and am using it with my studio monitors for all my audio needs. I have the Mac setup to use the interface as the default sound card and the volume controls are greyed out and in order to control the volume; I need to get up a use the physical knob on the interface.

Is there a program or something that I can setup so I can control the volume of the signal being sent to the interface with the normal buttons on the keyboard?

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Does the hardware actually support controlling the gain from the computer? If not, then using software gain will just degrade your signal quality. I've designed products that have the computer volume controls disabled just like this. They're disabled for a reason: to make sure the user is turning the physical knobs and getting the best signal-to-noise out of it. – endolith Nov 5 '10 at 18:57
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Brilliant with Soundflower, it works perfectly. For the beginner, follow the following steps if you want your volume keys to control your volume in OSX while your are using an external soundcard (USB, Firewire...): - Install Soundflower > Look for the website - Open Preferences in OSX - In output, select Soundflower 2ch or 16ch (it means that your signal from iTunes or more generally from your OSX applications will go to the virtual inputs of Soundflower - Open Soundflower > A flower will appear on the top right corner of OSX - Select your soundcard in Soundflower 2ch (just below, your soundcard should appear) - Make sure the outputs in Soundflower are rooted correctly

Then, it will work ! It you want this to work permanently, make sure Soundfower is launched each time you start your mac. For that, go to Preferences, Account, Login Items and add Soundflower...

That`s it. Good luck, Note: adding simple comments on Internet could save some time for lots of people... this people might you one day !

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Some connections have the remote device control the volume; optical connections tend to cause the phenomenon you're experiencing.

Anytime the computer cannot feasibly control the volume the software controls will be disabled: typically headphone-like cables are the only way you'll be able to control the volume from the computer.

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I just wanted to chime in here and say that soundflower and my presonus was REALLY ghetto and glitchy and would drop out and crackle all the time.

I ended up with a different solution, which was this.

It only works for iTunes, but in my case that was my main objective. Works great, and it makes a lot more sense than doing all that rerouting.

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Just been through the same loop as you. I haven't yet made up my mind whether to go with this software solution or change to a external interface with volume knob, but what you want is possible.

Download Soundflower, a virtual audio bus for routing audio inside OSX. Set your system's sound output to Soundflower's 2-channel bus. The OSX volume controls work on this bus. You can then send this bus to your external soundcard using the menuling. In my case, I also turned down the individual channel levels for the Soundflower bus so I get a volume range a bit friendlier to sitting right in front of the monitors (via Audio MIDI Setup).

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