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Best audio interface for loopback
I am new to iOS music (and new to anything beyond noodling, to be honest), and given the genres I’m familiar with, I really want to be able to use some GarageBand instruments. They actually seem pretty great. But it also seems obvious that I’d want to use those instruments in contexts beyond GarageBand, which seems like a bit of a walled garden.
Beyond exporting individual parts as audio files and reimporting them into something else, could I use a loopback-capable audio interface to play GarageBand instruments and Live Loops into something like AUM?
What’s a reasonably priced interface with loopback, that can also be powered from my iPad Pro’s USB-C port, that’d have the kind of low latency that would allow me to, say, play a GarageBand instrument or modelled amp live alongside, say, a groovebox type of app, and then record that? (I don’t care too much about sending MIDI out of GarageBand, just audio.) I’ve heard you can send the analogue outputs of a Behringer 204HD back into the unit, which performs some kind of DA/AD loop, but is the latency low enough? I was attracted to the EVO 4, which apparently does loopback purely in digital, but haven’t heard any success stories for iOS. Documentation of iOS compatibility seems like a bit of a black hole for audio interfaces.
Would a loopback-capable audio interface also go some way towards being able to use a lone iPad to produce a podcast over VOIP? Apparently the biggest impediment to iPad podcast production is the lack of software flexibility that comes with Mac apps like Audio Hijack. But would a hardware loopback device for an iPad enable you to record local high-quality audio from a mic AND, say, a Skype call, or is there an OS or app-level restriction that prevents recording VOIP calls? (You’d need to record the call in order to to make syncing the high-quality local recordings at each end not be a total nightmare, right?)
Thanks in advance!
Welcome to iOS music!!
I don’t believe the loopback feature of any loopback capable interface (Motu m4 etc) will work on iOS unfortunately. I hope I’m wrong.
I believe for your needs, just some internal audio routing would be the solution
iOS tends to respect the audio interface across all apps so in theory your interface and microphone should be what is heard on a Skype call. In terms of recording the call, you should be able to use the screen record widget and get the audio/video captured that way.
From there you could convert it to audio only and drop it into your podcast.
Most things are possible on iOS, it just takes a little creativity and patience to find the solution for ones desired outcome, since it isn’t as open as Mac
Fortunately, for all of the iOS producers out there, you are wrong.
My Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd gen) is loopback capable and is super easy to use! In AUM (for example), all of the Scarlett 4i4's inputs are visible and available as seen in this screenshot. Inputs 1 and 2 are the main (variable gain) inputs on the front of the unit, 3 and 4 are the (fixed gain) inputs on the back (along with the 4 line/monitor outputs), and finally 5 and 6 are the internal "Loopback" inputs that can be utilized for any audio source, for example a YouTube backing track, Podcasts, Internet radio streams, anything!
Just tried this on an iD4 mkii, and hours later have given up. The internal loopback channels and cable routing method, both failed to bring a guitars wet sounds back into AUM or Endlesss.
It’s supposed to be easy, but the loopback audio channel never made a sound.
I think it all boils down to iOS not allowing 'Loopback Recording' to protect media companies or something?!
It could also be caused by CoreAudio doing it's best to avoid feedbacks thus it simply mutes the audio that is coming back to the device treating it as 'feedback'?!
The dspMixFX app that I use to control my UR-242 shows the loopback toggle as 'grayed out' when used on iOS/iPadOS but enabled when running on macOS.
The device also remembers the setting between power-cycles but even with Loopback enabled it simply does not work on iOS/iPadOS...
If the interface has multiple inputs and outputs it's always possible to do 'analog loopback' using some cables...
@Edward_Alexander good stuff! Glad to know a solution exists!!
Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be the case with my M4 where I’m only getting 4 inputs. The M4 is marketed as having loopback (and it does on desktop)
So I guess it’s interface dependent. Focusrite 4i4 and above (I don’t think it works with 2i2) for the win with this one! I wonder if the EVO4 works the same way.... 🤔 💭
I have an EVO4 and loopback does not seem to work on iOS. As there is no control over routing in iOS, via the EVO mixer app, I was unable to get loopback to work.
I only tried once in AUM. Someone smarter than me may have more luck, but I don’t have hope.
Ok, so the Scarlet 4i4 3rd Gen and up do indeed have a 'Virtual Port' in hardware that allows loopback...
So the 4i4 3rd Gen would indeed be the 'Best Buy' for iOS/iPadOS if/when loopback is needed
Thanks @Edward_Alexander for pointing that out!
I guess in due time the Scarlet 4i4 4th get will be out incase I need to get a replacement for my trusty UR-242...
I’ve contacted Motu devs before and they’ve confirmed that currently there are no plans to offer the loopback feature on iOS. This may change of course but would probably require a Motu app, some firmware download, virtual input update, or maybe a new iOS Daw could solve this issue…
And this is from Evo 4 support page…
So far it seems that Scarlett is the only one that has figured out how to offer loopback on iOS…
Yeah, the added an additional 'virtual port' that routes the device output to the 'virtual port'.
Seems like such a 'no brainer solution' it makes me puzzled why it's missing on so many other devices...
Worth to note though is that it does not work with the 2i2 3rd Gen, it's from 4i4 3rd Gen and upwards...
On the M4, the loopback is in the driver. If you run it as pure USB class compliant on macOS, then the loopback won't work there either. So, they can't enable the feature until Apple lets them put an audio driver on iOS.
If you had a hardware loopback in the device, then you could do it on iOS and iOS wouldn't know it was happening.
I'm using the Zoom H1 via CCK3 with a stereo loopback cable from line out to line in.
Just tried to record something from Youtube played in stock Safari (using Drambo's Flexi) and it works.(Background audio needs to be enabled in Drambo).
Interestingly, it didn't work with TwistedWave although it's usually a very reliable recorder.
Yeah, the Audients do it through the desktop software mixer too.
As long as iConfig still works, the iConnectAudio4+ should work, in some recording apps.
Sounds like the rumors that spread like wildfire after Microsoft removed the 'Record What You Hear' feature in the Vista betas.
Doesn't the motu mk5 have loopback?
Thanks all. Can I assume that a Scarlett 4i4 would have much less latency than looping a Behringer 204HD into itself? @tahiche, you tried this, right? How did it end up feeling to play guitar with?
I haven’t used it while playing guitar. Why would you?.
Way I see it is route what you want to record into outs 3/4 and back into 1/2.
The use case that seems more obvious to me is for 1) routing and recording between apps or 2) a sort of “bounce in place” in a daw.
1) Zenebats doesn’t have IAA, with this loop back you can record a m IAA instrument. Or any source that can output to 3/4.
2) instead of freezing you can set output of a track to 3/4 and record it into a new track.
I haven’t noticed a problem with latency. Also the Behringer has inserts so you can use external gear quite easily although I haven’t tried it.
Ah, I must’ve misread your analogy in another thread as a use-case. My motivation is to route GarageBand instrument peformances out of GB and into other apps. Given that GB can’t currently be a live source for anything else, and only a host, I read your guitar analogy through my “performance” lens.
The case with GarageBand makes total sense in the loop back scenario. I don’t think it does when you’re talking about playing guitar, unless… if you wanted to use GarageBand effects or amp sim, then it would, but in that case I’d record it in GarageBand and do the loop back afterwards, once recorded.
You are correct. M4 does not provide loopback on IOS. Loopback inputs show up on desktop but they do not on iOS.
Check the arturia audiofuse studio , great audio interface
I just saw that the iRig Stream has a physical loopback switch and wondered if anyone has tried it…$99USD
check also Yamaha AG06
Loop back works fine here with RME fireface ucx and iOS
Also iconnect 4 has loopback working on iOS although I have to first set it up the loopback rooting. on desktop.
The iconnect app (Iconfig) is very very buggy on iOS
No hardware at all:
Host the AUv3 in both the source and the destination app and magically stream audio between them. Used locally on the same device, latency is minimal.
Wow, that’s a great solution for my GarageBand instrument scenario! Thanks, @rs2000! I might still go for a hardware solution eventually, though, for the ability to reroute any device audio (i.e. from a non-AUv3-host) back in.
Never used sonobus this way
Is the focusrite scarlett 4i4 still the only confirmed: audio interface that can loopback on iPad out of the box?
Do you mean without cables?
The steinberg 816c loopback works on ios. The setting is within Steinberg dspmixef ur-C app (make sure its for C interfaces, there’s 2 apps). Its too large an interface for many users but I assume the loopback works for the rest of their C line.
Note that I also have an older steinberg ur22 and that loop back would not work on ios.
Steinberg are trailblazers with their combination of app and interface.
Not literally "out of the box", but the iConnectivity interfaces (iConnectAUDIO4+/AUDIO4c) can do this internally after setup with iConfig (i.e. they don't require a driver)