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.

Beatcutter: Crowdsourcing the learning curve

Given the amount of frustration I’m hearing from various quarters as people try to wrap their heads around Beatcutter, I’m starting a thread for us to share those hard-won nuggets of insight. If you’ve got tips, insights, or interesting discoveries, post ‘em! If you’ve got questions, post those too - maybe together we can suss out some good answers.

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Comments

  • A few things that have worked for me in my first day with the app:

    -Start small. Don’t feed the app multiple full-range sources and inflict tons of processing and automation and expect to love what you hear. Give it a single, relatively simple source - I’ve had good luck with short drum loops and single chord hits, as examples - on all eight input busses as an appetizer.

    -A corollary with the above: resist the urge to randomize the template. The likelihood of getting a result that fits your definition of "musical" is relatively small, and if by chance you do get one, you won’t know why it worked. In fact, resist the urge to do anything with the template at all, if possible. I know it’s more laborious to tweak individual parameters in individual busses, but you’ll have a far better idea about how you got the result you did by working this way. If necessary, reload the init template (with all zeros), press Apply, and then leave that page alone for a while.

    -The simplest way to start with the trigger busses is by not using the Sensitivity control. At all. Turn it off on every trigger bus, crank the Sequence parameter to 100%, and make sure that the Length parameter is off. Each trigger will now fire when the sequencer step with the same number fires, and record a sample that’s the length of a sequencer step (by default, one beat). This behavior is very simple, compared to what the app is capable of, but it’s consistent, and minimizing the amount of fine detail you have to dial in during your initial sessions will reduce your frustration and help keep you focused on having fun.

  • You seem to be ahead of the game. Not sure if you noticed, but @Gavinski quoted this in the description of his YouTube walkthrough...

    @celtic_elk said:
    The realization that made this app start to make sense for me is this: each cell is a dynamically-triggered sampler. Each of the buses represent a stage in the sample/playback process: the input bus defines the sound source for a cell, the trigger bus defines the conditions for recording (trigger conditions, sample length), the control bus defines important aspects of playback (pitch, direction, how many times a cell plays before it empties, whether its first playback is delayed for one or more cycles), the sequence bus triggers playback (and can contribute to sampling as well, depending on how you set the trigger bus), and the output bus (which has two pages, one for effects/filtering and one for level/pan/EQ) handles downstream processing when a cell is played. Each trigger bus records no more than one cell when it fires; each sequence bus plays no more than one cell when it fires.

    It gets complicated from there, obviously, but that’s the basic setup.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • edited April 4

    A couple of surprising things I’ve learned in the past day:

    -The Repeat slider on the Control bus is centered at 0, and goes from 16 to -16. Negative values play your sample in reverse.

    -Speaking of the Control bus, the Repeat and Skip parameters interact in a specific way. The Repeat control specifies how many time a cell will play before it empties and can be used for sampling again. The Skip parameter delays the playback of a cell: every time the cell receives a playback command, it decreases its internal Skip counter by 1, and when Skip is 0, it plays the next time it’s activated. If Repeat is >1, and Skip is >0, the cell resets its Skip counter after each playback. So a cell with Repeat 2 and Skip 2 will skip two playback commands, play back on the third, skip the next two playback commands, and then play again on the third, at which point it empties and can be reused. Setting both of these parameters above 1 will therefore cause cells to hang around with their samples for quite a long time, which means that if your input source is changing content rather than just looping a couple of bars, you can find much earlier material suddenly resurfacing in a new context (which could be awesome or horrible, depending on that new context.)

  • He did notice, I told him about it.

    Let me post here the tweet I just posted in the other thread.

    Keeping it simple initially and building from there is the key. For a complete Noob, the main thing is making sure your inputs are set right. Here I have most input channels set to receive from ch1 and one or two receiving from Ch 2. The drum channel in aum is muted, I only want the processed drums to give a subtle rhythmic element. I plan to put more short vids with pointers on my twitter, so anyone interested might want to follow

  • edited April 4

    Once again if this is clipping in this browser, it is twitter's fault, wtf are twitter doing with their variable sound quality. Totally fine on my ipad but not on phone.... Fine on twitter on phone but not in chrome....

  • A personal preference that other people might find useful: everyone I’ve seen working with the app in AUM so far (a short list, admittedly) has put the app directly in the effects slot of their first input channel, like a standard effect. The downside to that approach is that it dramatically reduces your flexibility in terms of separating the dry signal from the Beatcutter signal for that channel. What I do instead is to insert a bus send in AUM instead of the effect, and send my signal to a parallel AUM channel where I insert Beatcutter as an effect. Now I can easily mute Beatcutter and leave my sound source dry (or vice versa), change their levels independently without going into the app, etc. It adds a channel to your project, which might be unwieldy if you already have a lot going on in AUM, but I think the flexibility is worth it.

  • @Gavinski said:
    Once again if this is clipping in this browser, it is twitter's fault, wtf are twitter doing with their variable sound quality. Totally fine on my ipad but not on phone.... Fine on twitter on phone but not in chrome....

    Maybe you could post these on YouTube as unlisted videos? That way you won't clutter up your lists or tarnish your brand. Some folks have Twitter blocked at their workplace, too. Just a thought...

  • Another tip: turn off beatcutter reverb, instead apply something like alteza tor Blackhole to the audio BEFORE you feed it to beatcutter

  • @telecharge said:

    @Gavinski said:
    Once again if this is clipping in this browser, it is twitter's fault, wtf are twitter doing with their variable sound quality. Totally fine on my ipad but not on phone.... Fine on twitter on phone but not in chrome....

    Maybe you could post these on YouTube as unlisted videos? That way you won't clutter up your lists or tarnish your brand. Some folks have Twitter blocked at their workplace, too. Just a thought...

    Maybe, yes, I do want to build my twitter following too though. Maybe I can do both. As you know, all this takes a lot of time 😂

  • But yeah, actually, could link to the unlisted yoytube vids from twitter, OK good idea

  • Thnx to celtic elk for starting this thread btw, good idea. I'm sticking a link to my walkthrough here too though, as I genuinely think it will be so helpful for most ppl

  • edited April 4

    In the meantime, @Charlesalbert buy that app again and start studying that manual 😂

  • You're a lawyer ffs.... Im sure you've read worse 😂😂😂

  • @celtic_elk I like your send/parallel processing suggestion. :+1:

  • @Gavinski said:
    Another tip: turn off beatcutter reverb, instead apply something like alteza tor Blackhole to the audio BEFORE you feed it to beatcutter

    +1 to this, especially if you’re triggering by sequencer instead of by input threshold, because you can get cells that are basically just full of reverb signal (with a sparse source and a long reverb, anyway - I was feeding it a dub-techno chord stab that was about a quarter-note of actual note and four measures of slowly-fading compressed reverb/delay wash). Some reverb downstream from Beatcutter can be nice too, especially if you’re using the separate-channel trick I described above. I got some good results feeding it with a dry drum loop, and then pushing the Beatcutter signal into the background by running it into a 60%-wet instance of Stratosphere with a really long tail.

    FYI: there’s no way to cut the dry Beatcutter signal and just have the Beatcutter reverb, as far as I can tell. The level controls on the output bus are pre-reverb-send.

  • Another FYI: it doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the manual, but Beatcutter’s sampling is mono. I fed it a drum loop with very noticeable separation between the open and closed hats, and Beatcutter flattened it right out.

  • And there is another tip - selectively muting and unmuting the multi input instances of beatcutter (not muting the main one usually, of course, but you could from time to time

  • @celtic_elk said:

    @Gavinski said:
    Another tip: turn off beatcutter reverb, instead apply something like alteza tor Blackhole to the audio BEFORE you feed it to beatcutter

    +1 to this, especially if you’re triggering by sequencer instead of by input threshold, because you can get cells that are basically just full of reverb signal (with a sparse source and a long reverb, anyway - I was feeding it a dub-techno chord stab that was about a quarter-note of actual note and four measures of slowly-fading compressed reverb/delay wash). Some reverb downstream from Beatcutter can be nice too, especially if you’re using the separate-channel trick I described above. I got some good results feeding it with a dry drum loop, and then pushing the Beatcutter signal into the background by running it into a 60%-wet instance of Stratosphere with a really long tail.

    Ah, that is a great tip

  • edited April 4

    Jeez I'm so glad I didn't ditch this app when I was having one of my early bad days with it. I was so close to doing that

  • Muting/unmuting/soloing: as @Gavinski observed in his tutorial, the Solo button doesn’t work the way you might expect - if you have a bus soloed, and change to another bus of the same type and press Solo, the first soloed bus is now muted, rather than both of them being soloed. Pressing Solo on a bus that is already soloed unmutes all the other busses of that type. This can actually come in handy if you’ve muted a few busses and need to turn off all of the mutes at once: open the bus page, select any non-soloed bus (could be muted or not, it doesn’t matter), and press Solo twice in quick succession. You can also mute all of the busses of one type by selecting a non-muted bus and then pressing Solo and Mute in quick succession (or just pressing Mute if the bus is already soloed).

    The input, trigger, and output busses can all be muted independently. Muting a trigger bus only has an effect if it’s being triggered by an input source; busses that have Sequence set to 100% will still fire even if they’re muted. If a triggered cell is on an input bus that’s muted, it will record silence.

    If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a matrix in the lower left of the main page that shows the muting status of all the buses at once. The columns are the bus numbers; the rows are labeled "I-T-I-T-O" and it’s the last three that show the muting status. (The first I and T rows indicate when you’re using the Test function on an input or trigger bus, which helps you dial in the filtering by muting Beatcutter’s normal output and only sending that audio stream out.)

  • @celtic_elk said:
    If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a matrix in the lower left of the main page that shows the muting status of all the buses at once. The columns are the bus numbers; the rows are labeled "I-T-I-T-O" and it’s the last three that show the muting status. (The first I and T rows indicate when you’re using the Test function on an input or trigger bus, which helps you dial in the filtering by muting Beatcutter’s normal output and only sending that audio stream out.)

    What I really want is for that lower left matrix to he bigger and to respond to touches. Ie. Being able to use it to mute, solo, etc

  • edited April 4

    When used in a host, Beatcutter syncs to host clock, and a number of parameters are defined in terms of beats (sequencer speed, delay time, LFO speed). It does not, however, obey the host’s transport controls, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to resync the sequencer manually. I haven’t noticed any dramatic weirdness in sound resulting from this yet, but my experience is hardly comprehensive.

    Side note: this actually highlights a downside to using the sequencer as a trigger. Beatcutter’s clock is running as soon as the app starts up in your host, whether your transport is running or not. That means that the sequencer is likely also running (assuming it’s following the clock, which is not necessarily a given), and if the sequencer is linked to one or more trigger busses, those cells are busily recording away - probably silence, because if your transport isn’t running, presumably none of your other sources are generating sound. Depending on your other settings - particularly if one or more control busses have Repeat and/or Skip set above 1 - those silent cells could hang around for quite some time after you start running your actual project. I wouldn’t call this a bug, necessarily, but it could have unintended consequences if, for example, you load up an AUM project that you’re going to record, but then spend a few minutes hanging around arming your tracks to record, getting a coffee, psyching yourself up, or what have you.

  • @Gavinski said:

    @celtic_elk said:
    If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a matrix in the lower left of the main page that shows the muting status of all the buses at once. The columns are the bus numbers; the rows are labeled "I-T-I-T-O" and it’s the last three that show the muting status. (The first I and T rows indicate when you’re using the Test function on an input or trigger bus, which helps you dial in the filtering by muting Beatcutter’s normal output and only sending that audio stream out.)

    What I really want is for that lower left matrix to he bigger and to respond to touches. Ie. Being able to use it to mute, solo, etc

    Yeah, that’d be useful.

  • @celtic_elk said:
    When used in a host, Beatcutter syncs to host clock, and a number of parameters are defined in terms of beats (sequencer speed, delay time, LFO speed). It does not, however, obey the host’s transport controls, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to resync the sequencer manually. I haven’t noticed any dramatic weirdness in sound resulting from this yet, but my experience is hardly comprehensive.

    Side note: this actually highlights a downside to using the sequencer as a trigger. Beatcutter’s clock is running as soon as the app starts up in your host, whether your transport is running or not. That means that the sequencer is likely also running (assuming it’s following the clock, which is not necessarily a given), and if the sequencer is linked to one or more trigger busses, those cells are busily recording away - probably silence, because if your transport isn’t running, presumably none of your other sources are generating sound. Depending on your other settings - particularly if one or more control busses have Repeat and/or Skip set above 1 - those silent cells could hang around for quite some time after you start running your actual project. I wouldn’t call this a bug, necessarily, but it could have unintended consequences if, for example, you load up an AUM project that you’re going to record, but then spend a few minutes hanging around arming your tracks to record, getting a coffee, psyching yourself up, or what have you.

    Good insights, u definitely need to email igor with your suggestions though I strongly suspect he's lurking here anyway.

    I feel that you understand this app better than me and Igor put together 😅

  • Was chatting to igor just now -
    The sequencer and lfo (automation) are always hard linked to the time sent by the host. The position of the sequencer is not synchronized but is calculated from the host time.

  • He says if people send feedback and feature requests he will answer. He's a really good guy, Igor

    Link is here

    https://motion-soundscape.blogspot.com/p/feedback.html

  • Has this one been posted? It’s a nice one.

  • When you’re faced with anything that’s complex you start small. Single simple sound source could as simple as a single sustained note of a sine wave waveform. Single track all effects off. Add one effect at a time starting with low intensity and do it for each and every effect. Identify the smallest building blocks and the signal flow.

    When you look at a 24 track audio mixer it looks complicated but most of us know that each channel is the same etc etc.

    I don’t own the app btw ;)

  • Great idea to set this thread up ... I decided to take the plunge as I think it will be useful once I get to grips with it.

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