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.

Download on the App Store

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

An open request to the developers of Audiobus 3 and AUM (with pictures)

@Michael @j_liljedahl

This is a bit of a weird post. But it’s been on my mind lately. Audiobus 3 and AUM are two of the apps that changes the way we interact with music. With the popularity of AUv3 as an application protocol, and Apple bringing out the Magic keyboard, iOS/iPad OS is becoming more of the computer of the future.

But the interaction with the regular keyboard and AUv3 apps need some improvement. I’m going to base this post off of the model app on iOS, namely...Moog Model 15.

Now, why Moog Model 15? Well, it does a lot of things right that I feel should be present in these apps.

First off,
1. Show Advanced features: Pressing and holding the “command key” shows a lot of features that one would not normally think of. It’s one of the most intuitive ways of knowing keyboard shortcuts, even though it takes the user remembering to press and hold the “command key”.

**2. Play MIDI via the typing keyboard: ** Moog Model 15 actually allows the user to play the keyboard directly on the app. Now, I am aware there is an app called “Sidecar”, but the implementation needs improvement. It always has to be running in the foreground, for the user to take advantage of, which prevents the user from using apps like AUM or Audiobus 3. Now, which app allows the user to be creative, while also being in the foreground? Audiobus 3, and AUM.

Here’s some snapshots to show some examples (and how to get to this menu). From the Moog Model 15 app,


Tap settings and go to user manual

Scroll down until you see keyboard commands

Voila...

If (say for example), the user uses the “Command + Caps lock” key to switch from the typing keyboard to a MIDI keyboard, it can then read MIDI Keys. It’ll translate the keyboard from regular mode into MIDI Mode, which would work similar to a Mac OS/Windows MIDI keyboard. That is,


BONUS FEATURE
3. Audio send: A lot of apps have the “Share” feature inbuilt. It was the way I made my iOS shortcuts, “ Send audio to app”. But, it’s a gimmick that relies on Apple not changing iOS Shortcuts functionality.
Now, imagine I’m able to share audio stems recorded from AUM’s file player (or Audioshare for Audiobus 3 users), directly into Reslice (just as with the iOS shortcut - Send audio to app), all within the same interface.




Question: Why don’t I develop this into an application? Because it’s adding another step to the process, which makes it unreliable. I can’t count the number of times a plugin crashed, and I was unable to hear audio in AUM or Audioshare. Plus, it’ll derail me from working on my other project, which (I hope) will be amazing. I’d be up for making a library in C, since I’m a lot more familiar with it.

(Sources: Moog Model 15, Audioshare, Audiobus, Reslice)

TL:DR: To summarize that giant wall of text,
1. Allow users to see advanced features of Audiobus 3 and AUM using the “Command key” on a physical keyboard. (E.g. Model 15 app)
2. Allow for MIDI keyboard to work using the actual typing keybard (E.g Model 15 app)
3. Incorporate “Share audio to another app” into AUM and Audiobus 3 - (https://routinehub.co/shortcut/5189)

These features are already present in iOS, and the fact that Moog Model 15 exists, and the “Send to Audio app” exists is proof that it can be done.
Although, to reiterate, this is not a letter to judge. I really feel that both apps are amazing. This is more of a push towards making iOS into an amazing platform. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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Comments

  • Just a couple of points:
    1. 2. I’m not sure what percentage of user base use qwerty but I guess low so this might be niche request.
    3. Audiobus despite having audio in the name is mostly an audio/midi mixer and doesn’t actually process audio other than just piping it through. It doesn’t even have a metronome!

  • As far as I understand it, in iOS, the typing keyboard only sends key-press messages, not key-release messages. This is a pretty much crippling problem with using the typing keyboard to play notes. Since the app cannot know when you are holding down a key, it has to assume some arbitrary note-length. This is different from PC and Mac, where there is actually separate key-up and key-down messages. Try playing a sustaining pad sound in Model D and you'll see what I mean.

    The typing keyboard can be OK for triggering things where note duration isn't important, but it's not really a substitute for a midi keyboard.

    I haven't tested this, but it seems that there is a key-repeat function when you hold down a typing keyboard key. I suppose if an app monitored for repeated notes they might be able to guess whether or not to sustain a note, but it would be inaccurate at best, and would potentially mistake rapid repeats for sustained notes. Probably not very workable IMO.

  • As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

  • edited May 3

    @supadom said:
    Just a couple of points:
    1. 2. I’m not sure what percentage of user base use qwerty but I guess low so this might be niche request.

    I agree it's more niche. But it's still really useful. For example, using the MIDI information to control specific channels. Plus, it's something that will increase in use case with the push for Apple Magic keyboards.

    In addition, it gives value in getting a bluetooth keyboard. There's less of a need to carry a MIDI keyboard or a drumpad since the typing keyboard can be used, and the actual iPad is a great controller. So, more usable features to work with.

    I'd also argue that features such as saving presets, CC mapping, window switching are niche in Audiobus. Yet, they provide a whole world of possibilities that one wouldn't have thought of.

    1. Audiobus despite having audio in the name is mostly an audio/midi mixer and doesn’t actually process audio other than just piping it through. It doesn’t even have a metronome!

    This wouldn't require audio processing. All we're doing is creating a similar " share sheet function" inbuilt i(except it's exclusive to Audiobus/AUM compatible apps). Plus, the "encode audio " engine that is already present on iOS could handle the conversions (if necessary).

  • wimwim
    edited May 3

    @Samflash3 said:
    This wouldn't require audio processing. All we're doing is creating a similar " share sheet function" inbuilt i(except it's exclusive to Audiobus/AUM compatible apps). Plus, the "encode audio " engine that is already present on iOS could handle the conversions (if necessary).

    To share something in the way you mention, it has to be saved to a file. Audiobus couldn't simply share its audio through the share sheet without a mechanism to record it and save it to a file first. That would be great to have. Just clarifying the distinction.

  • @wim said:
    As far as I understand it, in iOS, the typing keyboard only sends key-press messages, not key-release messages. This is a pretty much crippling problem with using the typing keyboard to play notes. Since the app cannot know when you are holding down a key, it has to assume some arbitrary note-length. This is different from PC and Mac, where there is actually separate key-up and key-down messages. Try playing a sustaining pad sound in Model D and you'll see what I mean.

    The typing keyboard can be OK for triggering things where note duration isn't important, but it's not really a substitute for a midi keyboard.

    I haven't tested this, but it seems that there is a key-repeat function when you hold down a typing keyboard key. I suppose if an app monitored for repeated notes they might be able to guess whether or not to sustain a note, but it would be inaccurate at best, and would potentially mistake rapid repeats for sustained notes. Probably not very workable IMO.

    True. But this was "solved" in an interesting way. Using the tab key changes state from held to is-held.
    And also, this won't be a replacement for a true MIDI keyboard but an extension of functionality. Imagine using the typing keyboard to change programs,
    or CC messages

    I'd even argue that you don't need a MIDI keyboard. The iPad has a lot of apps that already fulfill that.

  • edited May 3

    @wim said:

    @Samflash3 said:
    This wouldn't require audio processing. All we're doing is creating a similar " share sheet function" inbuilt i(except it's exclusive to Audiobus/AUM compatible apps). Plus, the "encode audio " engine that is already present on iOS could handle the conversions (if necessary).

    To share something in the way you mention, it has to be saved to a file. Audiobus couldn't simply share its audio through the share sheet without a mechanism to record it and save it to a file first. That would be great to have. Just clarifying the distinction.

    Yup. File player already has the audio, and Audioshare has a recorded sample. For this example, once the user records their session, they can navigate to their saved audio to share it to the other app.

    If they wanted to do it live, Effectrix, Looperator, or 4Pockets Flux would be a better option. But of course, if you add this typing to MIDI keyboard functionality, you can easily change the effects without needing to open the app, or needing an additional keyboard.

  • wimwim
    edited May 3

    @Samflash3 said:
    I'd even argue that you don't need a MIDI keyboard. The iPad has a lot of apps that already fulfill that.

    You'd lose that argument. Tapping on glass is no replacement for keys or pads on a controller. They are completely different, equally valid approaches. One doesn't replace the other though. (FWIW, I tap on glass 80% of the time.)

    Don't get me wrong. I would welcome universal typing keyboard support in apps. It could be very useful. I just wanted to point out that there's a difference between what can be accomplished with a typing keyboard musically on iOS vs. on desktop due to the way typing messages are handled.

    It would be great if iOS evolved to have separate key-down and key-up detection, but for now it's a limitation for playing notes, and is one reason more music apps don't try to implement it for that. (btw, another limitation ... no chance of velocity detection.)

  • @wim said:
    As far as I understand it, in iOS, the typing keyboard only sends key-press messages, not key-release messages.

    iOS Now has keyup and keydown events for external keyboards, as of iOS 13.4.

    https://www.swiftbysundell.com/tips/handling-keyup-and-keydown-events/

  • @wim said:

    It would be great if iOS evolved to have separate key-down and key-up detection, but for now it's a limitation for playing notes, and is one reason more music apps don't try to implement it for that. (btw, another limitation ... no chance of velocity detection.)

    Agreed, then I could use SunVox on the iPad just as I use it on the desktop :)
    Currently the lack of key-up detection in iPadOS makes it a wonky experience...

  • wimwim
    edited May 3

    @mistercharlie said:

    @wim said:
    As far as I understand it, in iOS, the typing keyboard only sends key-press messages, not key-release messages.

    iOS Now has keyup and keydown events for external keyboards, as of iOS 13.4.

    https://www.swiftbysundell.com/tips/handling-keyup-and-keydown-events/

    Thanks for that clarification! That's excellent news (at least for those who stay up to date with iOS releases). App developers also need to support it, but I'm sure eventually will.

  • @wim Until you mentioned it, I never even thought about needing keyup for a music keyboard .

  • @wim
    Yeah, velocity has been the main part that I wish Apple added 3D touch to the iPad. They'll probably just round robin based on the speed of travel.

    @mistercharlie Whoa, that's great news. Thanks for the update.

  • @wim said:
    As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

    In AUM, you can already long-press a recording and get the share sheet where you can directly send it to other apps (that has registered as being able to open that kind of file type) as well as save it to iOS Files, copy to pasteboard, and more.

    This is the same that happens when you tap the Share button from AudioShare.

    The share sheet is part of iOS itself, and all we developers can do is say "please show the share sheet for this file I have here".

    I'm not sure I understand the request regarding this, but isn't it already there?

  • @j_liljedahl said:

    @wim said:
    As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

    In AUM, you can already long-press a recording and get the share sheet where you can directly send it to other apps (that has registered as being able to open that kind of file type) as well as save it to iOS Files, copy to pasteboard, and more.

    This is the same that happens when you tap the Share button from AudioShare.

    The share sheet is part of iOS itself, and all we developers can do is say "please show the share sheet for this file I have here".

    I'm not sure I understand the request regarding this, but isn't it already there?

    It seems like a splitting hair in two exercise. The most recent posts from OP seem a bit click baity to me.

  • @supadom said:

    @j_liljedahl said:

    @wim said:
    As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

    In AUM, you can already long-press a recording and get the share sheet where you can directly send it to other apps (that has registered as being able to open that kind of file type) as well as save it to iOS Files, copy to pasteboard, and more.

    This is the same that happens when you tap the Share button from AudioShare.

    The share sheet is part of iOS itself, and all we developers can do is say "please show the share sheet for this file I have here".

    I'm not sure I understand the request regarding this, but isn't it already there?

    It seems like a splitting hair in two exercise. The most recent posts from OP seem a bit click baity to me.

    Lol. When have my posts never been click bait? People have to click for a conversation to happen. Although, I keep it focused on the thread. The goal is to learn, not to troll.

    @j_liljedahl - Thanks for replying. This is more an open request, so do feel free to not take it seriously.

    Regarding the share sheet, I was envisioning something similar to the list of applications that AUM has use for adding an AUv3 app. All we're doing is making a list of apps you can send audio to, without relying on Apple's share sheet feature which "sometimes" shows the right apps.

    That one is more of a "bonus festure" whichnis why I didn't add it to the other two listed above.

  • @Samflash3 said:

    @supadom said:

    @j_liljedahl said:

    @wim said:
    As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

    In AUM, you can already long-press a recording and get the share sheet where you can directly send it to other apps (that has registered as being able to open that kind of file type) as well as save it to iOS Files, copy to pasteboard, and more.

    This is the same that happens when you tap the Share button from AudioShare.

    The share sheet is part of iOS itself, and all we developers can do is say "please show the share sheet for this file I have here".

    I'm not sure I understand the request regarding this, but isn't it already there?

    It seems like a splitting hair in two exercise. The most recent posts from OP seem a bit click baity to me.

    Lol. When have my posts never been click bait? People have to click for a conversation to happen. Although, I keep it focused on the thread. The goal is to learn, not to troll.

    @j_liljedahl - Thanks for replying. This is more an open request, so do feel free to not take it seriously.

    Regarding the share sheet, I was envisioning something similar to the list of applications that AUM has use for adding an AUv3 app. All we're doing is making a list of apps you can send audio to, without relying on Apple's share sheet feature which "sometimes" shows the right apps.

    That one is more of a "bonus festure" whichnis why I didn't add it to the other two listed above.

    I see. Well, there's no way to implement that except building something from scratch which uses an online database to keep track of such apps, and then using the standard pasteboard internally to transfer the audio, triggered by an URL scheme. In other words, it would need an online service and an SDK for developers to implement, much like Audiobus. I certainly won't do it, and I don't see the need for it.

  • I’m certainly up for more qwerty support with AUv3 apps and AUM/AB. But while it won’t ever replace dedicated midi controllers, it’s useful when mobile since midi controllers aren’t always so easy to travel.

  • @j_liljedahl said:

    @Samflash3 said:

    @supadom said:

    @j_liljedahl said:

    @wim said:
    As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

    In AUM, you can already long-press a recording and get the share sheet where you can directly send it to other apps (that has registered as being able to open that kind of file type) as well as save it to iOS Files, copy to pasteboard, and more.

    This is the same that happens when you tap the Share button from AudioShare.

    The share sheet is part of iOS itself, and all we developers can do is say "please show the share sheet for this file I have here".

    I'm not sure I understand the request regarding this, but isn't it already there?

    It seems like a splitting hair in two exercise. The most recent posts from OP seem a bit click baity to me.

    Lol. When have my posts never been click bait? People have to click for a conversation to happen. Although, I keep it focused on the thread. The goal is to learn, not to troll.

    @j_liljedahl - Thanks for replying. This is more an open request, so do feel free to not take it seriously.

    Regarding the share sheet, I was envisioning something similar to the list of applications that AUM has use for adding an AUv3 app. All we're doing is making a list of apps you can send audio to, without relying on Apple's share sheet feature which "sometimes" shows the right apps.

    That one is more of a "bonus festure" whichnis why I didn't add it to the other two listed above.

    I see. Well, there's no way to implement that except building something from scratch which uses an online database to keep track of such apps, and then using the standard pasteboard internally to transfer the audio, triggered by an URL scheme. In other words, it would need an online service and an SDK for developers to implement, much like Audiobus. I certainly won't do it, and I don't see the need for it.

    Makes sense. Out of curiosity, does the Audiobus SDK give you a relative path for each app? I wanna try and script a mockup before deciding further on the next step.

  • @Samflash3 said:

    @j_liljedahl said:

    @Samflash3 said:

    @supadom said:

    @j_liljedahl said:

    @wim said:
    As @supadom mentioned, AB doesn't have any sound record ability. It would be very nice if it did, and had the share option as you say.

    AUM was architected from the beginning to leave audio file management to the AudioShare app. It seems like it would be a pretty involved rework of the existing app workflow. But, I agree with you that things should evolve now that Apple has caught up. I imagine it's being thought of.

    In AUM, you can already long-press a recording and get the share sheet where you can directly send it to other apps (that has registered as being able to open that kind of file type) as well as save it to iOS Files, copy to pasteboard, and more.

    This is the same that happens when you tap the Share button from AudioShare.

    The share sheet is part of iOS itself, and all we developers can do is say "please show the share sheet for this file I have here".

    I'm not sure I understand the request regarding this, but isn't it already there?

    It seems like a splitting hair in two exercise. The most recent posts from OP seem a bit click baity to me.

    Lol. When have my posts never been click bait? People have to click for a conversation to happen. Although, I keep it focused on the thread. The goal is to learn, not to troll.

    @j_liljedahl - Thanks for replying. This is more an open request, so do feel free to not take it seriously.

    Regarding the share sheet, I was envisioning something similar to the list of applications that AUM has use for adding an AUv3 app. All we're doing is making a list of apps you can send audio to, without relying on Apple's share sheet feature which "sometimes" shows the right apps.

    That one is more of a "bonus festure" whichnis why I didn't add it to the other two listed above.

    I see. Well, there's no way to implement that except building something from scratch which uses an online database to keep track of such apps, and then using the standard pasteboard internally to transfer the audio, triggered by an URL scheme. In other words, it would need an online service and an SDK for developers to implement, much like Audiobus. I certainly won't do it, and I don't see the need for it.

    Makes sense. Out of curiosity, does the Audiobus SDK give you a relative path for each app? I wanna try and script a mockup before deciding further on the next step.

    I'm not sure what you mean by path for each app? @Michael can answer any questions regarding Audiobus SDK.

  • boy am i glad this is an open request.
    i can‘t fathom what a closed request would look like.

  • edited May 20

    Thanks @j_liljedahl. I’ll start building up a library based on apps I have, similar to what I did on my previous shortcut.

    @dreamrobe said:
    boy am i glad this is an open request.
    i can‘t fathom what a closed request would look like.

    If it were a closed request, I’d probably send an email to the developer but wouldn’t know if it’s a good idea or not. This way, I get to vet my idea and use the knowledge of the Audiobus 3 community to understand others’ views.

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