Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

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.

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

Has iOS immediacy ruined hardware for you?

I was thinking recently about how the immediacy of music apps on the iPad has ruined hardware for me in someways.

I feel that I can always get something musical and personally enjoyable out of an iPad using AUM, Rozeta Suite, Fugue, Patterning, some synths, etc. I also feel like I understand how the apps “work” after a day or two of use.

After the busy work day, long commute, and father duties are sorted I often can’t find the energy to coax something out of a digitakt, 0-Coast, MPC Live, Zoia, etc.

Hardware always feels like I need to dedicate so much more time to learning how all the parts come together before I am able to create anything I am happy with. I end up feeling like the money I spent on it wasn’t worth what I am getting out of it. Can’t blame the devices, that is all on me...

However, I look at an iPad or computer screen for about 12 hours a day, and at the end of the day just want get away from these devices. This leads me to always be on the lookout for that hardware box that is going to replace the immediacy of the iPad, and the cycle continues.

How about other users? Do you feel that iOS audio has influenced your approach to hardware. How are you balancing this in your musical life?

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Comments

  • Hardware has become obsolete to me. Honestly can’t afford it all and I enjoy not being chained down by hardware. I can have multiple noisemakers on one little device at a fraction of the cost.

  • Agree with both of you.
    Also, hardware tends to break or degrade over time.
    Broken hardware is pricey to fix.
    Broken app usually fixed for free by the developer.

    I don’t have the space for all that gear either.

    For @DYMS ,
    Maybe consider getting a decent Midi controller, so you don’t have to pay attention to the screen constantly, at least while you are playing.
    Or even consider getting a guitar or other instrument (not more hardware, though) for a totally different experience.

  • edited December 2019

    Short answer: No

    I used only my iPhone to make several songs in Gadget (mix/master on PC). I did one where I did some Gadget and some PC DAW. I've since returned to PC DAW land and invested substantially there because that's also where the highest quality is (for now). I also bought a Roland SE-02 last year and love it. I'm using iOS more for MIDI manipulation via midimux now days.

    I'm planning on buying a Korg XD module early next year. However.... I also dream of getting the OB-6 module (but my wife might kill me if I bought that) instead.

    I thought about something like the Peak or Rev2, but ... Too much menus to get the most from them I can use my PC softsynths for that kind of work. Plus iOS is so nice to use.

    Software: likely to upgraded most and fastest, but also first to be abandoned or become incompatible. Also, software is not yet equivalent to top analog hardware. Close, in a couple cases.

  • Attach a poll, my answer is a quick yes. PC hardware stuff seems so 1990’s

  • edited December 2019

    Agreed @vitocorleone123 short: no

    Well, iPads are reducing the space needed, wires, and it's relatively "easy" to completely "reverse" effects and synths every days...
    But at the end, it's not that cheap, and still takes a lot of time if you really want to make it great !

    I keep using hardware, even if it's not the "core" of my workflow, but still essential to me, so I choose it (maybe) wisely now...
    On IOS it's so easy to buy an effect or a synth in the middle of the night... :D

  • edited December 2019

    The only hardware that matters to me as a keyboard player, is the action of the key-bed on the controller I use.

    Right after I bought my first iPad in 2017 I went to my closest music store, and they had almost nothing in stock in the way of controllers to try out. I can't stand the action of modern plastic hinged keys that place the hinge right on the back of the key. I developed my style of playing on piano and old synths like the Juno 106, Korg M1, and Roland D50. Those older synths all had very playable key-beds where you could place a finger at the back of any key and press it down without effort.

    So I bought my first controller without first being able to try it, and I found it unplayable (by me).

    Later I did research on youtube by watching may people play controllers, and discovered by carefully observing closeups of people pushing down keys, that I could get some idea of how far back the hinge placement was for a particular controller. Based on that I ordered a Novation Launchkey, any I love the action it has. Very playable for the action I'm used to.

    My Korg Microkey Air has mini keys, but also has a good playable action.

    I'm perfectly happy using an iPad as my sound creation device. Although I think iPad has much room for development. I think a modular instrument paradigm, where the user can select from a variety of Audio units each having a singular musical purpose. Brings the iPad experience more in-line with the way individual devices each had their own specific purpose in the hardware world.

    What I liked about hardware back in the 80' and 90's. Was each piece of hardware by virtue of being an independent physical piece of equipment. Provided a more intuitive structure for creating music because I could learn how to use each piece of equipment. It was mentally easier to remember how to use each item of hardware. Because once it's in front of you, the mind accesses memory in a way that relates to the hardware as a specific physical object differently from any others.

    It's much more of tangible way of thinking than iOS, where the physical iPad remains the same, and just the image on the screen changes.

    This is why I think a Modular paradigm on the iPad would ultimately be more intuitive for users. Rather than packing an overly confusing broad range of functions into single programs. Separating those functions into individual modules creates a more "natural" "hardware like" way for the human mind to learn and think. Separate modules can be thought of as individual tools which each have a specific purpose and range of functionality.

    I think it's the same principle as how memory works when of using any type of tangible tool like a Hammer, a Wrench, or a Screwdriver. Just holding the tool in your hand, will put your mind into a mode of how to use it. No real thought is involved.

    Music hardware can be like that. Especially instruments like keyboards and guitars. Just having a guitar in your hands puts your mind into guitar-mode, and you can play it without really having to think much about it, because it's mostly muscle memory related to holding a physical instrument in your hands..

  • No but... iOS helped me realize I wanted to get outside of the DAW. I still haven't found the iOS solution that makes up for hardware, but it definitely influenced me to get back into hardware. ( i blame the drambo thread for that).

  • @DYMS said:
    I was thinking recently about how the immediacy of music apps on the iPad has ruined hardware for me in someways.

    I feel that I can always get something musical and personally enjoyable out of an iPad using AUM, Rozeta Suite, Fugue, Patterning, some synths, etc. I also feel like I understand how the apps “work” after a day or two of use.

    After the busy work day, long commute, and father duties are sorted I often can’t find the energy to coax something out of a digitakt, 0-Coast, MPC Live, Zoia, etc.

    Hardware always feels like I need to dedicate so much more time to learning how all the parts come together before I am able to create anything I am happy with. I end up feeling like the money I spent on it wasn’t worth what I am getting out of it. Can’t blame the devices, that is all on me...

    However, I look at an iPad or computer screen for about 12 hours a day, and at the end of the day just want get away from these devices. This leads me to always be on the lookout for that hardware box that is going to replace the immediacy of the iPad, and the cycle continues.

    How about other users? Do you feel that iOS audio has influenced your approach to hardware. How are you balancing this in your musical life?

    Yes, for the reasons you’ve mentioned. I haven’t touched my “micro rig” (DigiTakt, Zoia and Zoom interface to record onto iPad) in months because I don’t have time.

    Yet, I’ve finished two tracks using just my iPad and I have several more started.

    Might box up some of the machines for when the kids are older!

  • If I were rich and retired I would likely be hardware crazy but alas, lack of: space, funds, home time quality hours... so woohoo, iPad! The Circuit and mini Kaoss pad are my only active hardware toys right now. Tenori On may come out of retirement for a BM3 test.

  • edited December 2019

    Thousands of instruments right in our pocket at the tap of a finger! Give me Cubasis, GarageBand, SynthMaster One, Pure Synth Platinum, Poison-202, Animoog, SwarPlug, GeoShred, iFretless apps, stylus and headphones and I can dish out any cover song and polish it to perfection with expressive playing, legatos, etc.

    Software engineering is future-proof, flexible, cheap, easy and quick - but hardware engineering is expensive and set in stone because the products are shipped out and cannot be changed (jump to 5:00 if you wanna quickly watch the reasons) -

  • Nope. While iOS is indeed very cool, hardware is still my main focus.

  • @DYMS said:
    I was thinking recently about how the immediacy of music apps on the iPad has ruined hardware for me in someways.

    I find this a generalization that is only valid for certain apps and certain hardware.
    If you compare Modstep or Beatmaker 3 with a Digitakt, you'll get totally different opinions than if you compared, say, Nanostudio 2 with the Octatrack.
    When I look at recent hardware releases, I have to say that in some cases (MC-707 or 1010 Blackbox for example), I wish that an app like that would exist.

    I feel that I can always get something musical and personally enjoyable out of an iPad using AUM, Rozeta Suite, Fugue, Patterning, some synths, etc. I also feel like I understand how the apps “work” after a day or two of use.

    After the busy work day, long commute, and father duties are sorted I often can’t find the energy to coax something out of a digitakt, 0-Coast, MPC Live, Zoia, etc.

    Then the iPad is the better device for you, no question.
    It's not much different for me, but sometimes I just prefer exactly that: Power on the hardware and start jamming. Maybe you expect too much in the first place rather than just enjoying the jam and be surprised?
    Are you using templates (sounds, projects) that give you a good starting point?

    Hardware always feels like I need to dedicate so much more time to learning how all the parts come together before I am able to create anything I am happy with. I end up feeling like the money I spent on it wasn’t worth what I am getting out of it. Can’t blame the devices, that is all on me...

    In fact I would indeed blame the devices if that was my experience with them and sell the boxes.

    However, I look at an iPad or computer screen for about 12 hours a day, and at the end of the day just want get away from these devices. This leads me to always be on the lookout for that hardware box that is going to replace the immediacy of the iPad, and the cycle continues.

    Oh yes, we're screen junkies. Not much to do about it than giving our eyes enough rest and, well, using an old school musical instrument maybe?
    A guitar, a flute, a piano, a violin, your own voice, even an electric piano can create wonderful sounds and be part of a composition just as much :D

    How about other users? Do you feel that iOS audio has influenced your approach to hardware. How are you balancing this in your musical life?

    iOS definitely changed the way I compose big time.
    I finish projects now that I never did before iOS music apps, it's more immediate, more accessible, more fun. There is something about them, definitely.

    I'm still into hardware but the amount of hardware equipment required to compose and finalize has shrunk drastically.

  • edited December 2019

    Driven always by 1) a complete lack of musical skill and knowledge and 2) a love of experimental electronic music/noise, I spent literally decades buying hardware and failing to make music of any kind with it. An iPad changed all that, and I am rediscovering my love of wibbly wobbly noise all over again for ludicrously little money, using the iPad’s stranger and more experimental Soundscaping and mangling apps as a kind of meta-modular and recording studio all in one, glued together by AUM and AudioCopy and recorded in Cubasis. And yet...

    Yesterday, I copied a Krell patch for my Behringer Neutron that I found at https://patch-library.net/patches?device=behringer-neutron: and spent a blissful hour (real) knob tweaking it through the onboard Lexicon effects on my little Soundcraft 12 channel desk into something which I found wonderful.

    That experience reinforced a decision I made recently. Not having the budget to properly do (or wit to understand!) modular, I decided to focus future hardware purchase on a few relatively affordable things which are all about plugging and tweaking to make noises that apps find trickier, or at least trickier to pull off in such a satisfying physical way, starting with the Volca Modular I treated myself to last week. Loving it. Not understanding it, mind, but loving it. The best of both worlds. :)

  • edited December 2019

    I discovered iOS music before hardware, so, if anything, it’s helped me appreciate hardware grooveboxes and synths more. Plus, there’s no youtube or social media to distract me on my HW, so it’s easier to focus and create.

  • edited December 2019

    I spent almost 30 years on and off of making music "in the box" with software, including iOS. Then I bought a hardware synth. And now my perspective has changed. It's about what inspires you and what gets you going and helps you make your music. I went with a very knobby, not really any menu synth to start - I can spend hours modulating a single sound in Omnisphere, so I don't want that for hardware - I want something can sit down and tweak and go. This is why the OB-6 is calling to me over the Peak or Rev2 (I'm hoping the less expensive MFB will satisfy instead once it's out) - plus it sounds utterly bad ass! Heh.

    I don't plan to get more than a single mono and single poly in hardware.

  • edited December 2019

    @Svetlovska said: Yesterday, I copied a Krell patch for my Behringer Neutron that I found at https://patch-library.net/patches?device=behringer-neutron: and spent a blissful hour (real) knob tweaking it through the onboard Lexicon effects on my little Soundcraft 12 channel desk into something which I found wonderful.

    I just love software. because I can save things just like I have them now and come back to it later.
    this never works with a bunch of boxes.
    I remember I had a big patch bay in the 90s and a little book where I wrote down how things were set up for the track.
    what a fucking mess that was, lol

  • @vitocorleone123 said:
    I spent almost 30 years on and off of making music "in the box" with software, including iOS. Then I bought a hardware synth. And now my perspective has changed. It's about what inspires you and what gets you going and helps you make your music. I went with a very knobby, not really any menu synth to start - I can spend hours modulating a single sound in Omnisphere, so I don't want that for hardware - I want something can sit down and tweak and go. This is why the OB-6 is calling to me over the Peak or Rev2 (I'm hoping the less expensive MFB will satisfy instead once it's out) - plus it sounds utterly bad ass! Heh.

    Do or did you own the Peak?
    Would you say it's not much fun tweaking?
    I never got my hands on one.

  • @rs2000 said:

    @vitocorleone123 said:
    I spent almost 30 years on and off of making music "in the box" with software, including iOS. Then I bought a hardware synth. And now my perspective has changed. It's about what inspires you and what gets you going and helps you make your music. I went with a very knobby, not really any menu synth to start - I can spend hours modulating a single sound in Omnisphere, so I don't want that for hardware - I want something can sit down and tweak and go. This is why the OB-6 is calling to me over the Peak or Rev2 (I'm hoping the less expensive MFB will satisfy instead once it's out) - plus it sounds utterly bad ass! Heh.

    Do or did you own the Peak?
    Would you say it's not much fun tweaking?
    I never got my hands on one.

    I’ve got a Peak. Very cool. Fun? Depends on your definition. I love programming synths/samplers/sequencers.... I may be the wrong person to ask. IMO, one of the best values in a synth currently. Especially used. Also have the OB-6m. Much more simple architecture, but damn, it’s one giant sweet spot. Impossible to make it sound bad.

  • @Apex said:

    @rs2000 said:

    @vitocorleone123 said:
    I spent almost 30 years on and off of making music "in the box" with software, including iOS. Then I bought a hardware synth. And now my perspective has changed. It's about what inspires you and what gets you going and helps you make your music. I went with a very knobby, not really any menu synth to start - I can spend hours modulating a single sound in Omnisphere, so I don't want that for hardware - I want something can sit down and tweak and go. This is why the OB-6 is calling to me over the Peak or Rev2 (I'm hoping the less expensive MFB will satisfy instead once it's out) - plus it sounds utterly bad ass! Heh.

    Do or did you own the Peak?
    Would you say it's not much fun tweaking?
    I never got my hands on one.

    I’ve got a Peak. Very cool. Fun? Depends on your definition. I love programming synths/samplers/sequencers.... I may be the wrong person to ask. IMO, one of the best values in a synth currently. Especially used. Also have the OB-6m. Much more simple architecture, but damn, it’s one giant sweet spot. Impossible to make it sound bad.

    Thanks!

  • Good post, Yeah it’s definitely affected me in different ways.

    I love both software and hardware but it’s made me more picky about hardware, so hardware comes and goes. Software is so much more flexible when combining audio units, or on desktop max for live etc hardware is difficult to match it, but then dedicated controllers are nice. So I try and find a way to combine them best. Because software and processing algorithms advance each year, hardware synths I find slightly disappointing in comparison initially, unless you spend thousands. I find that I can make soft synths sound better because you can modulate and layer them with instances much more easily. But when you stop trying to compare and spend some quality time with good hardware it comes into it’s own as a great experience, so it’s not just about the overall sound but the whole thing. The iPad as a piece of glass on it’s own is great when mobile, but not as tactile as a dedicated controller with real knobs.

    The push 2 is a great dedicated controller for example, would love to see something like this iPad compatible, which you could set up to remember all your synths and show via a display which knob was controlling which parameter.

  • @Carnbot
    this:
    http://faderfox.de/ec4.html
    But this, with the overlay+pen works also great (keep it simple... :) )
    http://faderfox.de/pc12.html

  • edited December 2019

    That EC4 looks useful, had a similar older model without display but was never too pleased with build quality and size of the unit/knobs.

    This looks good but expensive, larger display etc. Hopefully will work ok with iOS

    https://www.order.electra.one/

    This is a better view of it:

    https://electra.one/

    This combined large display with knobs like a Push is where it works best for me I think.

  • @crony : now that is a very interesting thing...

  • edited December 2019

    Hardware, as in desktop equipment and software - no. Nothing on iOS compares to Ableton and some of my VSTs, and my audio interface and MIDI gear are better than the stuff I have for the iPad.

    Ditto file management - it’s just so much quicker and better on desktop.

    Instrument wise - no. Not even an iPad is as immediate as picking up a bass or guitar.

    But, inspiration and ideas are much quicker to jam out on an iPad, particularly if you have a load of setups saved in AUM, and it’s more accessible for those of us who might be restricted physically.

  • No, actually the opposite. It made me want to get more hardware and combine it with ipad.

  • No, I love all kinds of instruments as well as the process, I am not the type that feels like only the result matters, the process matters to me because music is what I do for joy more than anything else so Imo it's like asking someone who spends all of their time in their garage if they have too many tools or are there too many utensils in a kitchen etc...
    The iPad is many different things to many different people and for me it excels at being an sound module, instrument, sketchpad, and complete production unit it just depends on what you want at the moment..., but synths, guitars, drums, beat machines, basses, etc... these are things I would never know how to get tired of, and I have no idea what I would spend the money I used to spend on food if it wasn't for instruments, the problem would be not buying instruments.

  • Just put it on airplane mode and use it as hardware. The best hardware in the world.

  • iOS replaced my desire or even casual gear lust for hardware drum machines. The sequencing is way better on a big touch screen than 16 plastic buttons, as is going through a library of sounds. Same with samplers (keyboard type), no interest in a hardware sampler with a little screen, because the strength of a sampler is the strength of its library, and being a librarian is better with a big screen. Generally organizing a bunch of stuff is a great strength of computers.

    That said I prefer a hardware synth with a bunch of knobs, to tapping on glass. I also prefer looping on a 505 looper, because it is more of a sure thing with the foot pedal. Less fiddly. Same story with a little box that does MIDI looping, it just works.

    The jury is out on effects. I have a pile of snazzy pedals, but am impressed with the effects on iOS. At a pretty advanced state, things like Effectrix, or convolution reverb like AltiSpace, distortion like Shaper, Emo Chorus, the ring modulator that takes midi control, vocoders- the cup overfloweth. I don’t like switching apps and pages on iOS back and forth, though, so might use some pedals if the iPad is tied up.

  • Definitely not - too be honest I’m planning on reducing the load on my iPad and moving over more & more to hardware. I will not drop the iPad from my rig but I just find using hardware more inspiring to me.
    I mainly use the iPad for polysynth & drum machine duties but I hope to get both a polysynth & a drum machine in the next few months. However, the iPad gives me a lot & I will never totally stop using it.
    I started around 1980 with hardware, moved over to the iPad but now find myself drawn back to the hardware. It’s not the sound it just comes down to what I enjoy using most.

  • Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I really appreciate the various outlooks and approaches that people here have.

    @CracklePot said:
    Maybe consider getting a decent Midi controller, so you don’t have to pay attention to the screen constantly, at least while you are playing.
    Or even consider getting a guitar or other instrument (not more hardware, though) for a totally different experience.

    Yeah, I have used a few controllers, but nothing with a good keyboard. Maybe I should look at one of the Novation MKIII that was mentioned.

    @rs2000 said:
    I find this a generalization that is only valid for certain apps and certain hardware.
    If you compare Modstep or Beatmaker 3 with a Digitakt, you'll get totally different opinions than if you compared, say, Nanostudio 2 with the Octatrack.
    When I look at recent hardware releases, I have to say that in some cases (MC-707 or 1010 Blackbox for example), I wish that an app like that would exist.

    Sorry, it was a very general statement, and I agree with you that the type of App makes a big difference. I think part of the reason I put this out as a post was to hear from people like yourself, whose opinions I very much respect.

    I look forward to getting more perspectives.

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