Run Audio Unit Plugins on Your Mac’s System Output

a screenshot of MenuBUS in the OS X Menubar


MenuBUS – “The Master Bus for your Mac” – lets you run audio unit plugins on your Mac’s system output, straight from the menu bar.


menuBUS is a lightweight menu bar application that lets you capture your Mac’s system audio, host Audio Unit plugins in real-time, and pass the processed audio to an audio output of your choice.

Until now applying effects to the system audio has involved the use of multiple apps, audio drivers and aggregate devices, and in the case of paid apps that can solve this problem the user is still left with a lot of prep work and time spent managing app clutter.

MenuBUS Highlights

  • Full control of any Audio Unit plugin.
  • Works with any Audio Unit plugin that works in your DAW.
  • You can save your own presets. These can be switched with keyboard shortcuts.
  • Unlimited plugin slots, draggable via drag & drop.

Download MenuBUS

menuBUS is still under development, but you can get early access by becoming a tester.

To download, click the link at the top of the menuBUS website.

The app will cost $39 USD once it goes on sale in March 2017.

Your email address and macOS 10.10+ are required….

(source: MacOSAudio)

Update – menuBUS version 0.96

Updated March 13th 2017.

Here are a few new features that have been requested by testers and have made the application better.

Buffer Sizes

There is now a choice of buffer sizes between 32 – 4096 samples. This choice is stored with the preset too, so can be changed on the fly to enable lower latency settings for tracking.

Clock Synchronization

There is now a choice between enabling device clock synchronization and disabling it. Synchronization is enabled by default to help menuBUS be compatible with the most audio setups, but synchronization isn’t required in every case and does technically change the sound.


Presets are now much more powerful. Nearly every aspect of menuBUS’s state is stored with the preset – including which output device to use and the audio channels of that device to output from. Super handy for users who want to switch quickly between monitoring paths with a customizable keyboard shortcut.

Decreased Latency

Since the first public release, menuBUS latency has been decreased greatly through driver and engine optimizations. menuBUS now adds only 16ms of delay to the overall audio signal at 44k/32 and only 10ms at 96k/64.

Global Plugin Bypass

menuBUS now has a global plugin bypass button with the ability to assign a keyboard shortcut to enable/disable all hosted audio plugins. To assign a keyboard shortcut, just right-click on the button and an entry field pops up. When menuBUS detects a new audio device has been added a notification appears, giving the user a choice between sticking with the current output or to switch to the new device.

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  • Van Haze

    Wow, this is great !!

  • I am a huge fan of Audio Hijack ($49) which is not a menu app, but can do what MenuBUS does on an application by application basis. Excellent tool. AU/VST. Seems like a lot of money for a single audio path…and AU only…

    • Urs Bollhalder

      So far I find it pretty buggy. Lots of crashes… But looks promising!

  • I downloaded and installed it. Setup worked well, I’d like to use it for room and headphone correction.
    Currently it does weird things to phase and the stereo image on my system.
    I use Audio Hijack as well which is my weapon of choice for this. Hopefully the developer of menuBUS can solve the problems.

    • Room correction is exactly why I use Audio Hijack (mostly). I have IK Multimedia ARC 2 installed and calibrated for the different sets of speakers/monitors. Changes the game completely

      • Cobb Bussinger

        Hi Chris,
        How do you use Audio Hijack with ARC 2? Are you able to run all of your Mac audio through ARC? I’m also trying Sonarworks Reference 3 now.

        • ARC 2 has an AU plugin which I use in Logic and friends. Same plugin can be inserted into the processing chain for an Audio Hijack session. I have a couple of different sessions, mostly iTunes and QuickTime player, and one that is “System Audio” -> ARC 2 -> iZotope Insight (meters) -> output device.

          Multiple, different hijacks can happen at the same time. I got ARC for a good price. Made a remarkable difference in my mixing and recording tasks. Bonus that it works with Audio Hijack.

  • slehman805

    Will any of these work with a FireWire multichannel audio interface?

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