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.

Opinion requested -- App/Apps suitable for triggering linear stems and MIDI live?

I'm looking for app or combination of apps that can trigger playback of track length audio stems along with sending MIDI data out. I'd like to be able to assign faders/mutes to the stems by MIDI CC so that I can ride the levels throughout a performance.

Reason for this is that for future performances (booked, pending those festivals happening again one day in the future!) we'd like to include our newer tracks from 2020 that we've taken a more studio heavy approach to. These tracks have extra orchestration and stuff that may as well be reproduced live as audio stems since playing them back as MIDI would just be the same end result with more opportunity for technical failure. I'd like to route the modular synth parts to the hardware as MIDI though so that I can turn dials and patch in real time and keep the live vibe.

If anyone's interested, you can hear one of these tracks here at a link we've put up for friends/family/colleagues to check out before it's released:

My first intuitions were AUM's built in file player with a separate MIDI file player app (I'd need to figure this out) or seeing if I can make BM3's scenes mode work to play full audio tracks along with sending out MIDI (I like this idea as the playback will be linked on one timeline).

Using BM3 if I can get that to work seems like a good choice as a host because it'll give me stable access to the sampler (not a fan of IAA/AB with BM3). Just need to make sure I can get the pad triggers to work well.

I've not been paying that much attention to the changing landscape of iOS apps though and have pretty much used the same stuff since 2017-2018 at this point. Maybe there's a more simple or more logical choice that I'm missing?

Thanks very much!
Oscar South

Comments

  • I think the AUM + Xequence 2 combo would work well for this.

    Both are lightweight, configurable and extremely stable.

  • edited January 14

    Have a look at LK for the midi part.
    NuRack has a pad for clip launcher.

  • @OscarSouth Since you'll most likely want to have all your tracks available at once which requires a lot of RAM, I would have a closer look at AudioLayer for track playback. It supports long tracks and disk streaming which basically gives you unlimited track memory. Add MIDI controlled processing plugins to your liking.
    AUM and Drambo come to mind. Only Drambo supports MIDI controllers with incremental/relative encoders.

  • Zenbeats is another standalone option.

  • Thanks for the replies so far. Lots of good possibilities to try out. Thanks @blakkaz @Sylvain

    @rs2000 said:
    @OscarSouth Since you'll most likely want to have all your tracks available at once which requires a lot of RAM, I would have a closer look at AudioLayer for track playback. It supports long tracks and disk streaming which basically gives you unlimited track memory. Add MIDI controlled processing plugins to your liking.
    AUM and Drambo come to mind. Only Drambo supports MIDI controllers with incremental/relative encoders.

    This is a very good observation! I recall that BeatMaker3 sampler has the option of Disk Streaming too -- I'll explore what options I have there too.

    @auxmux said:
    Zenbeats is another standalone option.

    Never occurred to me but I do own this app. I'll have a look!

  • edited January 14

    I use audiolayer for the reason that @rs2000 mentions. It is rock solid for live use. BM3 also could work but i have found it crashes at the wrong times! Could be solid for your use case however.

  • I don't own it, but the first thing that comes to mind is you might want to check out Camelot Pro. Your use case is what it's specifically built for, and it offers some very nice extras that you didn't mention as requirements but might find very useful.

  • @wim said:
    I don't own it, but the first thing that comes to mind is you might want to check out Camelot Pro. Your use case is what it's specifically built for, and it offers some very nice extras that you didn't mention as requirements but might find very useful.

    Agree, but it's an even bigger crash fest for me than BM3. Again, others may have different luck with this.

  • @lukesleepwalker said:

    @wim said:
    I don't own it, but the first thing that comes to mind is you might want to check out Camelot Pro. Your use case is what it's specifically built for, and it offers some very nice extras that you didn't mention as requirements but might find very useful.

    Agree, but it's an even bigger crash fest for me than BM3. Again, others may have different luck with this.

    Do you use it to host AUv3's or just to play audio and send MIDI? I wonder how much of the instability is due to the usual challenges with AUv3' hosting. My first instinct would be to leave the hosting to Audiobus or AUM, which I trust.

  • Wouldn't a conventional DAW, such as Cubasis, be the tthing to play song length audio and MIDI out?

    Am I missing something?

  • @wim said:

    @lukesleepwalker said:

    @wim said:
    I don't own it, but the first thing that comes to mind is you might want to check out Camelot Pro. Your use case is what it's specifically built for, and it offers some very nice extras that you didn't mention as requirements but might find very useful.

    Agree, but it's an even bigger crash fest for me than BM3. Again, others may have different luck with this.

    Do you use it to host AUv3's or just to play audio and send MIDI? I wonder how much of the instability is due to the usual challenges with AUv3' hosting. My first instinct would be to leave the hosting to Audiobus or AUM, which I trust.

    I didn't isolate the cause of the crashes, although hosting AUv3's was my gut hunch on the crashes. There's another thread here that was kicking around on the forum last week in which a forumite talked about using Camelot Pro at a worship service. It also didn't go well (worth a read). AUM has never crashed on me. Full stop. AudioLayer muted either by MIDI channel (using Mozaic to filter channels per "scene"/song) or using AUM faders/mutes (using 4pockets MidiMixer) is also rock solid with zero crashes.

    Again, I hate being a broken record, but this is all "my experience" and others may have different results.

  • wimwim
    edited January 14

    @lukesleepwalker said:

    @wim said:

    @lukesleepwalker said:

    @wim said:
    I don't own it, but the first thing that comes to mind is you might want to check out Camelot Pro. Your use case is what it's specifically built for, and it offers some very nice extras that you didn't mention as requirements but might find very useful.

    Agree, but it's an even bigger crash fest for me than BM3. Again, others may have different luck with this.

    Do you use it to host AUv3's or just to play audio and send MIDI? I wonder how much of the instability is due to the usual challenges with AUv3' hosting. My first instinct would be to leave the hosting to Audiobus or AUM, which I trust.

    I didn't isolate the cause of the crashes, although hosting AUv3's was my gut hunch on the crashes. There's another thread here that was kicking around on the forum last week in which a forumite talked about using Camelot Pro at a worship service. It also didn't go well (worth a read). AUM has never crashed on me. Full stop. AudioLayer muted either by MIDI channel (using Mozaic to filter channels per "scene"/song) or using AUM faders/mutes (using 4pockets MidiMixer) is also rock solid with zero crashes.

    Again, I hate being a broken record, but this is all "my experience" and others may have different results.

    Yeh, that's what I thought. I just wanted to clarify whether AU hosting was involved or not. Your input is helpful because I get the impression there are few actual Camelot Pro users here.

    Being the skeptic that I am, if I were to try Camelot Pro, I'd probably host AU's in something else. The old Modstep school of thought. ;)

    But hey, I don't even have a horse in this race. ;)

  • @Jocphone said:
    Wouldn't a conventional DAW, such as Cubasis, be the tthing to play song length audio and MIDI out?

    Am I missing something?

    Got to have enough performance control -- I'll be operating/patching a rack of analogue modular synth/sequencer/FX stuff, triggering samples from MPC pads, throwing in some touches of Samplr and playing a guitar at the same time. Needs to be able to be triggered/controlled simply and safely through the set by a pad controller/MIDI faders, without having to change things around in software between compositions.

    @lukesleepwalker said:

    @wim said:

    @lukesleepwalker said:

    @wim said:
    I don't own it, but the first thing that comes to mind is you might want to check out Camelot Pro. Your use case is what it's specifically built for, and it offers some very nice extras that you didn't mention as requirements but might find very useful.

    Agree, but it's an even bigger crash fest for me than BM3. Again, others may have different luck with this.

    Do you use it to host AUv3's or just to play audio and send MIDI? I wonder how much of the instability is due to the usual challenges with AUv3' hosting. My first instinct would be to leave the hosting to Audiobus or AUM, which I trust.

    I didn't isolate the cause of the crashes, although hosting AUv3's was my gut hunch on the crashes. There's another thread here that was kicking around on the forum last week in which a forumite talked about using Camelot Pro at a worship service. It also didn't go well (worth a read). AUM has never crashed on me. Full stop. AudioLayer muted either by MIDI channel (using Mozaic to filter channels per "scene"/song) or using AUM faders/mutes (using 4pockets MidiMixer) is also rock solid with zero crashes.

    Again, I hate being a broken record, but this is all "my experience" and others may have different results.

    Camelot Pro does sound really cool, but in light of that info I'll probably skip the price tag for the risk. Audiolayer solution sounds great and it's one that I've wanted to pick up for a good long time, however since I've not been able to play gigs for a little bit now I will also avoid the price tag on that one until different circumstances (or at least unless other more accessible options are exhausted).

    I've had a good relationship with BM3 myself (used it at pretty much every concert I've performed since BM3 release and no crashes), so I'll try the methodology that's being discussed here for Audiolayer with BM3. I can configure one entire track per pad and just leave enough empty space at the end of the pattern to comfortably stop the transport before it repeats.

    Thinking about it, I could do the MIDI sequencing from Modstep (I've also had a good relationship live with this app) and just have BM3 hosting it's Sampler for disk streaming (and other performance samplers for other utility). Would give me more flexibility with time signatures and tempo, although would take more setting up on the MIDI importing side.

    Have to do some playing around ..

    Thanks everyone so far for giving me good ideas and getting me thinking about how apps work (and work together).

  • sorry for not being able to contribute... but your demo track is impressive and top notch :+1:

  • edited January 15

    @Telefunky said:
    sorry for not being able to contribute... but your demo track is impressive and top notch :+1:

    Thanks very much! I’m planning to post more about that with info on the creation process and such likeas there were some cool techniques involved. Possibly the coolest (in my opinion) is that the orchestration was sequenced by computer code (Haskell / TidalCycles) and all the orchestral sounds come from a ‘one take’ capture of the MIDI data generated by the code hitting an Alesis Nanosynth module (http://www.vintagesynth.com/misc/nanosynth.php). I made sure methodologically that the sound that is generated in the could technically be playable by a real orchestra. The cultural elements and the Mother-32/DFAM combo that created the main riff is probably more interesting to more people, but the orchestration was what really gave me my personal fulfilment on this one! I’ll share the code once I clean it up a bit.

    Saydyy did an amazing job with the animated video too — as an illustrator it was her first go at something moving like that.

  • Is Korg Module Pro’s set list feature any use here?

  • edited January 15

    This is something I’d want to use a laptop for personally, but if I had to use an iPad and had a reasonably recent model I would actually use Nanostudio 2 for this despite it not having audio tracks...

    I’d use The slate sampler to trigger the audio tracks chopped up into sections, triggered by MIDI.

    What I would do is create a blank track and add objects marking the various sections.

    I would then import each entire audio track into Pad 1 of a Slate track and then duplicate to Pad 2 and chop that sample to however many bars suits the song, matching the section ‘markers’ i created in step 1. NS2 can handle very long samples with no issues.

    I’d continue with each subsequent section — duplicating pad 1’s full length sample — chopped to the next pad until I got to the end. Using NS2s grid makes it easy and quick to chop the sample up.

    Then I’d set every Pad’s trigger mode to Sustain.

    Then I’d duplicate the objects in the market track into the Slate track.

    In each section Is just draw in the midi note to match the pad and make it the full length of the section.

    That way I can start the song from any section, rearrange if necessary or lengthen sections, etc. It also ensures tight timing as each section is quite short and won’t drift much if at all.

    NS2 handles external midi really well and allows for latency compensation if you’re using it alongside Auv3s as well. And it keeps it all in one app which I’d want if playing live. Each additional app adds too much extra risk ;-)

    And the mixer is good and let’s you group the stems so you have a master control over all of them as well as Individual control of each track.

    Using a track as a marker track with empty regions that you can colour code makes it easy to see where you are in each song too.

    This is much quicker to do than it sounds and is how I’ve been using NS2 to flesh out songs I’ve started with BlocsWave on my iPhone.

    Works really well and just like I used to trigger loops with hardware sequencers back-in’t-day.

    I’d have my iPhone as a backup should anything go amiss with the iPad. NS2 is fairly quick at loading the next project too and it’s been rock solid on newer hardware for me.

    Having said all that the last time I gigged we had a similar setup but I used Logic Pro on an ancient white MacBook (the first Intel mac and dog slow) and it never gave me a single problem. I used to run backing tracks and also play live keyboards using logics plug ins and also played a Bass guitar through the same track using Logic’s guitar sim plug in. And this was 10 years ago. If we had another gig tomorrow I would use Logic. No doubt.

    But I might just have my iPhone with NS2 ready to go if anything happened to the Mac.

    I can’t think of another setup on iOS that I’d want to use. All of the MIDI+audio traditional style DAWs I’ve used on iOS are too flaky expect for GarageBand and that doesn’t have external midi.

  • @klownshed said:
    This is something I’d want to use a laptop for personally, but if I had to use an iPad and had a reasonably recent model I would actually use Nanostudio 2 for this despite it not having audio tracks...

    I’d use The slate sampler to trigger the audio tracks chopped up into sections, triggered by MIDI.

    What I would do is create a blank track and add objects marking the various sections.

    I would then import each entire audio track into Pad 1 of a Slate track and then duplicate to Pad 2 and chop that sample to however many bars suits the song, matching the section ‘markers’ i created in step 1. NS2 can handle very long samples with no issues.

    I’d continue with each subsequent section — duplicating pad 1’s full length sample — chopped to the next pad until I got to the end. Using NS2s grid makes it easy and quick to chop the sample up.

    Then I’d set every Pad’s trigger mode to Sustain.

    Then I’d duplicate the objects in the market track into the Slate track.

    In each section Is just draw in the midi note to match the pad and make it the full length of the section.

    That way I can start the song from any section, rearrange if necessary or lengthen sections, etc. It also ensures tight timing as each section is quite short and won’t drift much if at all.

    NS2 handles external midi really well and allows for latency compensation if you’re using it alongside Auv3s as well. And it keeps it all in one app which I’d want if playing live. Each additional app adds too much extra risk ;-)

    And the mixer is good and let’s you group the stems so you have a master control over all of them as well as Individual control of each track.

    Using a track as a marker track with empty regions that you can colour code makes it easy to see where you are in each song too.

    This is much quicker to do than it sounds and is how I’ve been using NS2 to flesh out songs I’ve started with BlocsWave on my iPhone.

    Works really well and just like I used to trigger loops with hardware sequencers back-in’t-day.

    I’d have my iPhone as a backup should anything go amiss with the iPad. NS2 is fairly quick at loading the next project too and it’s been rock solid on newer hardware for me.

    Having said all that the last time I gigged we had a similar setup but I used Logic Pro on an ancient white MacBook (the first Intel mac and dog slow) and it never gave me a single problem. I used to run backing tracks and also play live keyboards using logics plug ins and also played a Bass guitar through the same track using Logic’s guitar sim plug in. And this was 10 years ago. If we had another gig tomorrow I would use Logic. No doubt.

    But I might just have my iPhone with NS2 ready to go if anything happened to the Mac.

    I can’t think of another setup on iOS that I’d want to use. All of the MIDI+audio traditional style DAWs I’ve used on iOS are too flaky expect for GarageBand and that doesn’t have external midi.

    Thanks for the in depth methodology. This is actually somewhat related to what I set up in BeatMaker3 yesterday -- had the tracks loaded into the BM3 sampler and MIDI on other pads in the bank. Worked well as I could break up tracks as you describe or have them play through cleanly. I could set it up with one track per scene with the track disc streaming and have the whole set open in one project. The only thing I didn't really like was that I had to physically stop the loops from repeating to avoid them starting again from the beginning. It's possible to live with that though.

    I've been wanting to get into NS2 for a while but never had any use case push me to put the money into it. I'll consider this as an open as I experiment and figure out my best option. I definitely see that a laptop is the 'best' solution, but I'm avoiding that option deliberately to keep the complexity of the performance low (no hardware/software tweaking mid set & all performance software control being through MIDI performance controllers).

    Overall while BM3 is the closest viable solution yet, I'm still looking as while exploring other more parts of the set, it's clear that an AudioBus3 based setup with be highly beneficial. I can imagine a combination of Modstep+AudioLayer working in this case based on discussion so far, so I'll keep an eye out for a sale of AudioLayer.

    Thanks for your suggestions and exploration thus far, everyone!

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