How to adjust and manage alert volume keys in Mac OS X


When your watching a movie or relaxing with music if you notice some error coupled with a startling alert sound. The main purpose of Granted alert volume keys are intended to get attention, but when too loud they can be exceptionally frustrating. To restrict this, you have some options for managing alert sounds which includes relative volume levels, different alert sounds, and alternative output devices.

The alert volume in OS X will maximize at the volume output of your computer, so generally if you want it to be low then simply lower your Mac’s volume. However, there are times when this may not be feasible. For instance, if you are listening to relatively soft music, then you might have your volume turned up to compensate, which of course will result in a loud alert, if sounded. To prevent this, you can set your alert volume to a different level.

  • Open the sound system preferences.
  • Now tab on sound effects options.
  • Adjust the “Alert Volume” slider to a level where it is not so intrusive.

You can also consider using a different alert sound, some of which are less prominent than others. If you have a special non-default sound that you would like to use for your alert, then first ensure it is in a usable format like .aiff or .wav, and you can add it to OS X’s sound library in one of two ways:

  • Go to Macintosh HD >> library >> sounds add its to the folder.
  • Go to the Go menu in the Finder and choose Library by holding the option key and then add the sound in a sub directory called sounds.

The one of the important thing that alerts tones are not too long in duration, as mentioned above the main purpose of the alert sounds are to make you attention. Alert sound is played from beginning to end, as opposed to a cell ring which you can interrupt with a push of a button. Therefore, keep the sound duration under two seconds, and preferably under one second for best results. Secondly, sounds you place in the first mentioned folder above will be available globally to all users, whereas those in the second folder mentioned will only be available to your account. If you are the only user of your system, then either of these folders will do.

Here one more approach is also available which makes good for the devices and that is used to present media like slide shows and movies, where even if an alert occurs, you might want to hear it but not have it be broadcast to your audience. To do this completely you have to make an alternative device to play back your alert sounds separately from other audio your system plays

  • First you have to ensure the secondary audio output device plugged into your Mac
  • Now go to the sound effects tab of the system preferences.
  • Select the secondary device via a drop down list under alert sound list and optionally you can adjust the volume output for the alerts through this device.

Remember not all the devices can be used to play audio alerts. Probably it depends upon the setup considering to switch main audio device that your system will use for default audio, and then use the internal speakers or headphones for your alerts.




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