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I sometimes listen to music while working/browsing, and the music is mastered with relatively low average loudness (high dynamic range), so any sound from webpage is like explosion. And there are 2 sad facts:

  • Unlike Windows 7 and newer, OS X doesn't allow setting sound loudness per application.
  • Firefox doesn't have any control over sounds played from webpages. For example, if you open this test page* (WARNING — very loud sound record there, turn down volume first) http[s]:// magicgoose.github.io, it will play a music loop by abusing JavaScript, and seems like there is no way to prevent it other that just disabling JavaScript at all (which is not what I want to do…)

There are some extensions for Firefox that advertise themselves like they can mute Firefox and leave all other applications untouched. But looks like they are just using the system feature on Windows 7 and newer, and, as expected, they are not available for OS X.

Is there a solution to this problem?

My current solution is to visit only "well known" websites when not muted, which does the job, but it's not universal.

*The link is intentionally made non-clickable, for safety reasons

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I've never used this, but SoundBunny appears to be exactly what you're looking for: http://www.prosofteng.com/sound-bunny/ Sadly, it's not free, but $10 isn't very expensive either.

As an alternative that requires a bit more finagling, I'd look at JACK: http://jackaudio.org/ Jack may or may not recognize firefox as an input; you'll have to play with it. What Jack does is essentially creates a software patchbay for your soundcard, allowing you to route anything to anything (if it can sense the sources and destinations). I once used jack to rip a catchy tune off of hulu while listening to pandora separately. I couldn't hear hulu, and pandora was not captured.

In any case, if you wire jack to take firefox and put it into some sort of separate volume control app, that should do it. IF firefox can be seen by jack.

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  • Unfortunately, SoundBunny doesn't work on my system, it just hangs forever… – Display Name Mar 17 '15 at 20:07
  • Well that's unfortunate. I'd still take a look at JACK, if you can. – Russell Uhl Mar 17 '15 at 20:08
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Forgot to say that I solved it. In recent versions of Firefox there's a hidden setting in about:config named dom.audiochannel.mutedByDefault. When set to true, it indeed disables all sound output in Firefox.

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