For months, you’ve heard about Audiobus, an app that allows iOS apps to work together rather than being isolated tools. Now you can try it – and see if connecting apps on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad can make you more musically productive. The video above puts it more nicely than a written explanation could, summing up what it means to be able to easily combine apps. It’s nothing new: software for computers and patch cables for hardware have done this before. But that’s the point: connecting musical tools can make them more powerful, and the ease with which they connect makes a huge difference.

Here’s the bit you’ve been waiting for: Audiobus on the iTunes App Store:
Audiobus, A Tasty Pixel

In addition to the “here’s what this thing does in a minute” pitch above, we’re also seeing the first of what I expect will be many hands-on impressions.

I received an early copy of Audiobus yesterday to try it out while playing live MIDI through it. I was pleasantly surprised that it barely adds any latency and reacts really well. The shortcut bar is extremely useful and app-specific icons makes it very easy to interact with backgrounded applications while having another app in the foreground.

In this short demo I’m using my Eigenharp Alpha with a pre-release of PPG WaveGenerator. It’s fed into JamUp for additional effects and amp simulation. Loopy HD sits at the output side to build up the loops. I’m also using FunkBox, MIDI-synced to Loopy, for the drums.

The Eigenharp is connected with iConnectMIDI through a USB hub, into the camera connection kit to send the MIDI with virtually no latency and at a very high bandwidth. I use a Matrix USB/SPDIF interface that’s also plugged into the USB hub and recorded the iPad audio digitally without any post-processing.

This is all extremely promising imho!

Our friend and CDM reader Geert Bevin shared with us over the weekend his own experience using Audiobus so far, complete with video, via our Facebook page.

Also worth checking out as you investigate iOS creation workflows is this creation on virtual MIDI. It’s not Audiobus – this handles the MIDI portion – but combine this with Audiobus, and things get interesting:

Tutorial: Setup to Song in Genome [Discchord]

If you need a DAW to combine your Audiobus glue, Synthtopia notes over the weekend that Multitrack DAW has just added support:
MultiTrack DAW for iOS Updated With Audiobus

The developers also post a nice set of reflections on the development process:
Thirteen Months of Audiobus

For nearly all users – and even for many developers – today is really the beginning of this set of tools on iOS. Some readers were disappointed that there weren’t more apps available, but we know that a) the SDK is extremely easy to work with and support, b) a vast number of developers are signed up for it and have promised compatibility, and c) Audiobus’ creators are rolling out that SDK to developers gradually rather than all at once. So I expect the scene could be radically different by spring.

The place to watch that will be the official site:

And, of course, here. But I do hope the impact of Audiobus is beyond only iOS: it seems like there are some user interface ideas and usability notions that could be just as valid for creating new interfaces to tools like JACK.

Looking the opposite direction, all of this has gotten attention beyond just our little music tech-y circles. (I mean, yes, sure, we’re the sexiest and most intelligent boys and girls around, us music technology nerdsters, but it is nice to see the “normals” take note, too.)

Mobile music-making just got a lot more interesting: Meet Audiobus [The Next Web]

More interesting, indeed. Let us know how it works for you in The Real World, folks.

  • Magnus

    It’s cracking on the iPhone 5. Roll on Beatmaker 2, Animoog and Auria.

    • Peter Kirn

      Heh, assume that’s “cracking” good. (Not to be confused with crackling!)

    • Magnus

      Oh yes: cracking in the English sense, meaning very good indeed, as in “That was a cracking cup of tea vicar”.

    • Leon Trimble

      wot wot…

    • Brian stevens

      Are you suggesting Beatmaker updates for Audiobus ?

  • Brian stevens

    Great tool but… i’v got dropout and “crackling” issues with it on my ipad2. It seems that running two apps together ( Nlog and Funkbox for instance ) is just too much. Anyone else ?

    • Geert Bevin

      Here are some tips that might help:
      * force quite all apps
      * reboot your iPad afterwards
      * go into airplane mode to shut down every network related

      … only then launch Audiobus and from Audiobus the other apps.

    • Brian stevens

      Thanks. Works ok now.

    • Jamie Bullock

      That’s helpful… it would be even more helpful if the user is notified about this when the app starts up instead of having to search the web for solutions.

  • heinrich zwahlen

    awesome..this will revolutionize music making on the go.

  • Ngan Tengyuen

    now, this is what i call revolution.


    Audiobus ? A revolution ? hmm…be serious. The revolution will be when you can integrate any audio app inside GB or Beat maker (or another mobile DAW) without having to patch things together by hand. Of course it’s a good tempory solution for anyone who has got the compatible app, While waiting for a proper solution, I’m quite happy sketching out ideas in GB and DRM 1 (even if the sounds are limited) and then exporting to my PC Daw.*

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      that would typically be called “a plugin architecture”.

      audiounits exist on iOS but (a) you can’t install them (b) the apple docs note that the only valid manufacturer ID for audiounits under iOS is “appl”. so enjoy your walled garden.

  • pierlu

    Bought it but regretted doing so… despite having lots of music iOs Apps, I only own Rebirth who’s compliant… hoping for a greater integration with other apps. let’s hope the audiobus paradigm will be endorsed.

    • Geert Bevin

      Hmm, in all fairness the Audiobus website clearly lists which apps are compatible at the moment. A simple glance over those would have shown you that only Rebirth in your current list of apps was compatible.

    • pierlu

      Yeh you’re right, sorry for the direct statement. I bought it despite having seen the list of compatible apps, in hope more will be supported soon. But I misread a comment here on CDM (the one about animoog and so on) so I thought that maybe they where supported out of the box. My error, but, in the end, I’m happy to have supported your project. I really hope it will be integrated in other iOS App developers (major ones) as it would be very useful.

    • Geert Bevin

      I know there are hundreds of developers lined up, they’re doing a second wave now with developers that they can more easily manage direct contact with. After that the API will be totally opened and everyone can integrate it for free. So in a little while I’m pretty sure that almost every audio application will integrate it.

    • pierlu

      all right, now animoog and ikorgs supported… really gald to have audiobus now!

  • Jamie Bullock

    Does anyone have this working smoothly on iPhone 4?

    Loopy + JamUp + AudioBus hangs my device. And this is with all other apps closed and AirPlane Mode on.


    I’m actually fed up with buying “pro music” type apps that seem to be cheap (they are until I add up the total cost) and seem to be the next best thing since sliced bread. I’ve been such a mug head buying things that I really don’t need or use. Bought iPOLYSIX, it’s great yes, but I can’t really use it in my I end up firing up Garage Band and using the pretty decent instruments provided….and actually make music… instead of trying to use audio paste or patch apps like this adn losing the original idea…and yes trying to make 2 music apps work on an iPAD 2 just doesn’t work inj reality (Cracking, crashes, etc..) SO, I for one will simply wait until this “period of transition” is over and buy the real Killer app that surely will be available in a few years.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    audiobus looks lovely. shiny and easy to use. much better than JACK.

    except, err, wait a minute. what would the audiobus equivalent of this look like?

    or this?

    its hard to build tools that satisfy both ends of the spectrum equally well (though it does happen). it doesn’t seem to me that audiobus or jack manage to pull this off, at least on the GUI front.

    (and for those who don’t know, i’m the original author of jack)

    • Peter Kirn

      Right, but why couldn’t there be a simple GUI front-end built on JACK that did the sort of thing Audiobus did? Of course you can’t please everyone all the time, but even for some relatively advanced users, I can imagine there being cases where something closer to Audiobus might fit some use cases – let alone if we’re talking relative beginners.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      because in the 7 years since JACK was first ported to OS X, nobody from the OS X community has ever put any time or money into writing a nice GUI front end for that platform. there’s no reason it has to be this way, but it just is. JackPilot was a very crude first pass at an OS X native front end for JACK, and nobody with the skill to do better has ever bothered to do it.

      Contrast that to the situation with JACK on Linux, where we have a variety of different GUI front ends, including patchage (as shown in those screenshots), qjackctl and LADISH to name just 3.

  • Leon Trimble

    it basically draws a line between those apps with and those without.

  • Billy Kubina Jr

    people are such haters.

    this app is $10. dont buy it if you cant use it; but I literally just sold my MicroKorg (and recently another hardware synth) simply because I got a brand new $25 Akai SynthStation at Guitar Center and now can load in endless sexy wavetables/waveforms into my NanoStudio’s Eden Synth and have WAY more functionality, WITH a sequencer, drum machine, effects, and mixer….
    and now I could patch this all together in a modular way with the coming audiobus apps that we’ll have.

    people who complain for $10 iOS apps probably just bought too many that didn’t fit into their workflow.