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So I hurt my ears from excessively loud music last week at work. I'm well aware of the volume down key of course, but I tend to crank it up too much throughout the day without noticing it.

I need a limiter and it needs to be system-wide, since I listen to various other sound sources aside from iTunes. This isn't really an issue on my phone, since I can set a volume limit in the iOS settings.

Is there an equivalent built-in or third-party fix for OS X Lion?

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What's wrong with the default audio settings on your Mac? You can adjust the soundlevel for you entire OS, no? – Michiel Dec 19 '11 at 8:34
I tend to crank it up too much throughout the day without noticing it, ending up hurting my ears. So the same way I can limit the max volume on iOS I want to do it on OS X. – yusf Dec 19 '11 at 8:41

If you're not satisfied with the default audio settings of your Mac (I can increase or decrease the sound for my whole OS with one key), you can try Hear. It's an equalizer (and limiter) for the sounds your Mac is producing.

If you really want to limit your sound, I'm afraid there is no app for it right now. I found some other topics however where they asked the same question as you. Here and here. Basically, it comes down to "use limited external speakers" or "be aware of your sound settings" :)

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Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! Hear is a bit overkill so I won't try it, but the volimiter CLI app mentioned in the Ars thread was the thing I was looking for. It's not working too well though. – yusf Dec 19 '11 at 9:33
Working well since I recompiled it for Lion, even though the code uses som deprecated stuff. Win. – yusf Dec 20 '11 at 10:53
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I now got a working solution based on one of the links in Michiel's answer, but let's spell it out more clearly.

What I did was to

  1. Download volimiter, a faceless CLI application.
  2. Pair it upp with Lingon, a launchdaemon manager.
  3. Set volimiter to launch on login with preferred setting:

    volimiter .6

.6 means 60% of volume.

Works terrific!

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How Exactly did you pair Volimiter and Lingon? I am trying to set a maximum volume for my imac. – user17686 Jan 24 '12 at 17:09
The following setting would limit the volume to 80%. – yusf Feb 9 '12 at 1:14

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