Audiobus: Your virtual music studio.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

Download on the App Store

Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

The Future of Audiobus (spoiler alert: fine)

Hello!

You may be aware that Apple have just announced that Inter-App Audio, the technology on which parts of the latest version of Audiobus are currently built, is going to be deprecated in iOS 13 in favour of Audio Units (AUv3). I wanted to take a moment to explain what it means for Audiobus, and for those apps that support Audiobus.

tl;dr: It'll make pretty much no difference at all, so worry not!

In the short to medium term, there'll be no difference whatsoever; "deprecated" only means that developers are encouraged to use the replacement technology instead (which is great!), but IAA won't disappear any time soon. Some deprecations can take years and years, especially if the outgoing technology is widely used.

In the longer term, if Apple do pull the plug on IAA, the path forward will depend on what everyone's doing. If there's just no demand for sending audio from app to app, and everyone has moved over to Audio Units, then fine: Audiobus will be simply a best-in-class Audio Unit host, with all the features it has now with respect to Audio Units and MIDI. Old apps that haven't been updated to AUv3 will cease to function with Audiobus.

But if there's demand still for Audiobus-style workflows (which I suspect is likely, especially with DAW apps like Garageband and Cubasis), then Audiobus will step in and fill the gap left by IAA's departure. It'll look just the same to users and developers: there'll still be an Audiobus SDK and the Audiobus app will handle routing. It just won't be IAA under the hood any more (and let's face it, that won't be the end of the world 😉).

So, if anyone's worrying about the recent news from WWDC, I'm here to say fret not. AB was here before IAA, and it'll be here after.

All the best,
Michael

Comments

  • Audiobus. Yay! @Michael, Yay Yay!

  • Most excellent!

  • well written an spot on :+1:

  • We'll follow you master to the moon and back (speaks for himself of course).

  • Great to hear Michael :)
    I guess there will always be a demand because there’s no chance 100% of developers are going to update old apps to AUv3.
    But I thought the original Audiobus method of Inter-App was stopped by Apple? Would this be possible again?

  • Brilliant, thanks for the explanation.

  • 😊

    @Carnbot said:
    Great to hear Michael :)
    I guess there will always be a demand because there’s no chance 100% of developers are going to update old apps to AUv3.
    But I thought the original Audiobus method of Inter-App was stopped by Apple? Would this be possible again?

    One of the iterations certainly was, but there are plenty of other tricks up my sleeve 😉

  • "Tricks up my sleeve". Is that even a saying? Doesn't sound right now I've said it out loud. Just as well I'm not responsible for Englishbus

  • edited June 7

    Good,
    For musicians like me who don’t use midi very much, this is very welcome.
    If inter app audio was removed I’d throw the iPads in the bin.

  • Nice. :)

  • @Michael said:
    😊

    @Carnbot said:
    Great to hear Michael :)
    I guess there will always be a demand because there’s no chance 100% of developers are going to update old apps to AUv3.
    But I thought the original Audiobus method of Inter-App was stopped by Apple? Would this be possible again?

    One of the iterations certainly was, but there are plenty of other tricks up my sleeve 😉

    Nice sleeves!
    Yep I've also used that phrase so: confirmed authentic :)

  • @Carnbot said:

    @Michael said:
    😊

    @Carnbot said:
    Great to hear Michael :)
    I guess there will always be a demand because there’s no chance 100% of developers are going to update old apps to AUv3.
    But I thought the original Audiobus method of Inter-App was stopped by Apple? Would this be possible again?

    One of the iterations certainly was, but there are plenty of other tricks up my sleeve 😉

    Nice sleeves!
    Yep I've also used that phrase so: confirmed authentic :)

    Phew

  • This is very reassuring to hear :)

    I love the push to auv3 in general as I’m sure most people here do too, but I really feel that without some way to send audio from one app to another app outside of it (especially for DAWs as you said) something huge would have been lost that has helped make ios the exciting frontier of musical production that we all love.

    As far as a I can tell, Michael made so much of this possible and continues to do so today. If that requires a new purchase of AB4 I’m all for it. Thank you!!!!!!! Very grateful! 😎

  • Carry on sergeant-major...

  • My hopes for the future of Audiobus, are that it might take on a presence like Kontakt. It'd be great if Audiobus was the plugin that could launch and host various instruments and effects that are not necessarily programmed for AUv3. A tall complicated order and maybe impossible, but it seems like iOS is missing that. Audiobus as an engine for various makers would be great.

  • @chocobitz825 said:
    My hopes for the future of Audiobus, are that it might take on a presence like Kontakt. It'd be great if Audiobus was the plugin that could launch and host various instruments and effects that are not necessarily programmed for AUv3. A tall complicated order and maybe impossible, but it seems like iOS is missing that. Audiobus as an engine for various makers would be great.

    Audiobus is exactly that and always has been. Not sure if you are being witty, or if you just weren’t using iOS back in 2013 when Audiobus was the only option before IAA or AUv3 existed. ;-)

  • edited June 8

    @Hmtx said:

    @chocobitz825 said:
    My hopes for the future of Audiobus, are that it might take on a presence like Kontakt. It'd be great if Audiobus was the plugin that could launch and host various instruments and effects that are not necessarily programmed for AUv3. A tall complicated order and maybe impossible, but it seems like iOS is missing that. Audiobus as an engine for various makers would be great.

    Audiobus is exactly that and always has been. Not sure if you are being witty, or if you just weren’t using iOS back in 2013 when Audiobus was the only option before IAA or AUv3 existed. ;-)

    I think I wasn't clear enough. I don't mean hosting external apps and routing midi/sound through to another app. I mean internally. Audiobus becomes an AUv3 that allows you to launch other music apps within it like you would with Kontakt on your desktop/laptop within your DAW. It's no doubt, complicated. Perhaps this is somewhat similar to AUM in a way, but it'd be cool if an audiobus kit allowed for some kind of launching of other music app FX and instruments into other DAWs directly. You launch the Audiobus AUv3. Pick the instrument/library/FX and have it launch up in your preferred DAW.

    I think this is still lacking in iOS and much like with desktops, its okay to have a bunch of apps as VST/AUs, but to have Audiobus become something like Kontakt would allow for better management of your instruments, as well as creating multis and other potentially cool options that AUv3 instruments by themselves can't/don't do.

    This could be beneficial to developers too because the burden of making your own instrument app involves not only creating the sound and FX, but also the design and interface. Same with VST's on a desktop they often try to make their interface visually appealing with visual representations of the instrument, but for Kontakt, often times, simpler interfaces that allow users to control essential parameters only, are as far as design goes. So developers have less burden to worry about interface, and instead, just worry about the essential function and sound quality.

    Maybe this means developers sell their apps as EXS24 files outside of the app store and allow users to import them into Audiobus, or Audiobus makes a new file type/kit for it, or maybe it means audiobus takes up its own IAP store to release these things. No doubt more burden for Audiobus, but potentially profitable, versatile and further cement it as the most vital tool for iOS music making.

    I mean, I prefer AUv3, so this switch doesn't matter to me, but it is a pain searching through AUv3 menus in apps because the way they get sorted in various apps is chaotic. If there was one app that really closed the gap..hosted a ton of great music libraries, allowed for sorting those libraries and maybe even editing those libraries...maybe even allowed for smaller 3rd party developers to contribute their own submissions like the non-official libraries that you can use in kontakt that aren't regulated by Native Instruments...to have an app like that would be epic.

  • Probably Apple will release a Mainstage-like app (or even improving GarageBand) stealing all the great ideas/work from Michael or trying to hire him directly like they have done with lots of apps (from Alchemy to non-audio apps likes duet>catalyst).
    Just a simplified one for the usual target and, in the best scenario, letting users to keep the advanced one at the same time.

    Also it could be possible new API will implement all the IAA/AB3 resources and AB4 will be even better (but hard to imagine without that insider knowledge and roadmap).

    Who knows? Who cares?
    Let’s keep doing music and when the day arrive lets continue voting with our pockets.

  • @chocobitz825 : I don't understand the Kontakt analogy. Kontakt is a (very sophisticated) sampler. Sampling a synth is not the same as actually hosting the synth. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean or Kontakt has added some new hosting features that I don't know about. Can you explain more?

    In any case, I think @Michael's vision is sensible. Keep the basic AB functionality and have it magically figure out how best to accomplish that functionality depending on what the OS makes available.

  • It’s kind of hilarious that Korg have only just now added IAA transport controls to some of their apps that have always missed them... now that the IAA deprecation news is out.

  • Such a relief :) :)

  • Good to hear :blush:

  • @espiegel123 said:
    @chocobitz825 : I don't understand the Kontakt analogy. Kontakt is a (very sophisticated) sampler. Sampling a synth is not the same as actually hosting the synth. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean or Kontakt has added some new hosting features that I don't know about. Can you explain more?

    In any case, I think @Michael's vision is sensible. Keep the basic AB functionality and have it magically figure out how best to accomplish that functionality depending on what the OS makes available.

    You're right. This would turn Audiobus into a sampler, or sampler compatible platform as well. This is why EXS24 might be a possible way to simplify the process since sample libraries can be made on desktops, and easily imported into samplers that are compatible on iOS. The main reason I've not used Audiobus as much over the years since AUv3 came out is to do with how annoying and sometimes inconsistent the experience is bouncing between multiple apps. This is not a fault of Audiobus. What its done is incredible. It's just the format. I mean, imagine if your desktop DAW could not natively open up Kontakt or vsts, and instead needed a routing software to sync multiple instances of standalone software. It'd be exhausting, and that's mostly the experience with IAA.

    This is just a personal preference, and I can see why people used to Audiobus might disagree, but I don't find a ton of standalone apps beneficial to the process. If there were a way to consolidate better and organize, I'd love it. If Audiobus, in some way, could be at the center of the next generation of music apps, I'd like that too.

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