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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A discussion on workflow

edited July 2021 in Knowledge Base

Hi all, I noticed that a lot of artists I like have used the same sounds for more than one tune. I felt much more empathetic with this approach after spending all day putting together a drumkit I want to use. Workflow, to me, is a bit like preparation when you're painting the house. I spend very little time actually putting on the paint but how good it looks is directly related to how long I spend preparing the surfaces it's used on. Maybe this isn't the best analogy, what do you think?

Here's a Bo Beats video on workflow.

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Comments

  • edited July 2021

    I'm more likely to use something I have an emotional connection to. That usually comes in the form of sounds that I program myself, drum kits I chop myself, vinyl or tapes from my own collection, found sound that I recorded, etc. It doesn't matter if my sounds are 'worse' than everything else out there, what matters is the sense of magic that they spark in me when I see them come to life in a composition. That's what allows me to take something that might not be perfect, but time and again gives me the inspiration to turn it into something beautiful. So recycling the things that inspire me is a-okay to me. After all, I don't make music for anyone else other than myself, so I could care less what anyone's expectations are for my music. The only thing that really matters at the end of the day is if had fun in the process (unless you're a professional musician, in which case results, efficient time management, etc, are what matters).

  • Yes, I have returned to this question on more than one occasion, @aleyas. Who is my music for? Do I even need to record it? What is music? Who am I?

  • edited July 2021

    This is an interesting and humongous topic.
    Some initial random thoughts…

    • New Order had like 1/100th of the sounds and options I have on my iPad when they recorded Blue Monday.
    • I’ve been on bands forever. Drummer, bass, guitar with pretty standard pedals and vocals… That’s like 1 drum machine preset + one ModelD + a nembrini … very limited sound palette and setup. Yet you could do completely different tunes, textures and vibes.

    What does this have to do with workflow?.

    I’d say 99% of us ABF forum regulars are here for the geekiness… we’re not looking for a workflow but rather fuck up our existing one to incorporate whatever drum machine and midi inception everyone is talking about. Or you bought a Launchpad pro and will happily change your trusty daw cos it doesn’t send the right midi CC, your workflow means nothing without the new gadget.

    Professionals on the other hand need a workflow and are very cautious in changing it. They know their gear and plugins upside down. For them changing daw would be like moving house.

    If I open up Drambo standalone, AUM, koala, etc I have a great time fucking around and get nothing done.
    If I open up Zenbeats, I dial in a basic drum pattern, pick up my CGB and have a song idea going in 20 minutes.
    But workflow means boring… specially if you’re not getting paid!. And specially specially if you have like 12 views on your amazing new track in YouTube.
    So I have a workflow that works, but if you can’t answer this…

    Who is my music for? Do I even need to record it? What is music? Who am I?

    Why do you want a workflow?.

  • I feel that it very much depends on the prominent elements of the music. For some whose music is about melody and harmony, then good harmonic progression and voice leading will be paramount and invention will fall into these areas, maybe to the point of ignoring the "sound". After all, Bach's music is Bach despite arranged for various ensemble types. Now if your music is about colors, I imagine you would craft the colors of each moment in the work in detail, and each of your works would likely be unique in this area, like many works of those early electronic music pioneers.

  • Workflow is so you can forget about the workflow – one less thing to worry about

  • edited July 2021

    One of my favorite "workflows" in Gadget is sound design by layering. Easy, intuitive and quick.
    I only spend more time with sound design for stand-out sounds like a bass or lead synth, where tiny changes in oscillator and filter settings can make a big difference.

    @u0421793 So you've found your perfect workflow already?

  • Almost 4 years with iOS and Music apps in this platform.

    Still can't get a easy workflow to start doing music. The CLOSEST to a "workflow" to me is really AUM jam, nothing too much "structured" but i least i have some tracks sounding around.

    Difficult AF to get a properly workflow here, maybe Atom 2 is an option to use. I try to use Koala in my Master FX to sampler everything what i play and then, maybe .... sequence it in Koala. But sometimes Ableton Link get fucked up with AUM/Koala

  • @tahiche said:
    This is an interesting and humongous topic.
    Some initial random thoughts…

    • New Order had like 1/100th of the sounds and options I have on my iPad when they recorded Blue Monday.
    • I’ve been on bands forever. Drummer, bass, guitar with pretty standard pedals and vocals… That’s like 1 drum machine preset + one ModelD + a nembrini … very limited sound palette and setup. Yet you could do completely different tunes, textures and vibes.

    What does this have to do with workflow?.

    I’d say 99% of us ABF forum regulars are here for the geekiness… we’re not looking for a workflow but rather fuck up our existing one to incorporate whatever drum machine and midi inception everyone is talking about. Or you bought a Launchpad pro and will happily change your trusty daw cos it doesn’t send the right midi CC, your workflow means nothing without the new gadget.

    Professionals on the other hand need a workflow and are very cautious in changing it. They know their gear and plugins upside down. For them changing daw would be like moving house.

    If I open up Drambo standalone, AUM, koala, etc I have a great time fucking around and get nothing done.
    If I open up Zenbeats, I dial in a basic drum pattern, pick up my CGB and have a song idea going in 20 minutes.
    But workflow means boring… specially if you’re not getting paid!. And specially specially if you have like 12 views on your amazing new track in YouTube.
    So I have a workflow that works, but if you can’t answer this…

    Who is my music for? Do I even need to record it? What is music? Who am I?

    Why do you want a workflow?.

    I am interested in workflow because to make anything, to create something, there is a workflow. To fuck up your workflow you have to have one to fuck up. I can wonder who I am at the same time as I approach making music. I can ask those questions along side others. They might inform my music-making choices. I feel that a workflow will give my efforts some structure. I need structure to understand where I am in these places I make music in.

  • @ashh said:

    @tahiche said:.
    So I have a workflow that works, but if you can’t answer this…

    Who is my music for? Do I even need to record it? What is music? Who am I?

    Why do you want a workflow?.

    I am interested in workflow because to make anything, to create something, there is a workflow. To fuck up your workflow you have to have one to fuck up. I can wonder who I am at the same time as I approach making music. I can ask those questions along side others. They might inform my music-making choices. I feel that a workflow will give my efforts some structure. I need structure to understand where I am in these places I make music in.

    It was a rhetorical question, just my point of view on a vague matter. Seems like you took it personally…

  • edited July 2021

    @tahiche said:

    @ashh said:

    @tahiche said:.
    So I have a workflow that works, but if you can’t answer this…

    Who is my music for? Do I even need to record it? What is music? Who am I?

    Why do you want a workflow?.

    I am interested in workflow because to make anything, to create something, there is a workflow. To fuck up your workflow you have to have one to fuck up. I can wonder who I am at the same time as I approach making music. I can ask those questions along side others. They might inform my music-making choices. I feel that a workflow will give my efforts some structure. I need structure to understand where I am in these places I make music in.

    It was a rhetorical question, just my point of view on a vague matter. Seems like you took it personally…

    I did, yes. Read back your comment to understand why it felt like an attack rather than a simple rhetorical question. There seems to be a lot of this on this forum recently. Person A will prod Person B and then hold their hands up and ask Person B why they have a problem? All they were doing was X but you seem to have interpreted it as Y?! I have lived long enough to know the difference between X and Y. Play your game somewhere else.

  • @rs2000 said:
    One of my favorite "workflows" in Gadget is sound design by layering. Easy, intuitive and quick.
    I only spend more time with sound design for stand-out sounds like a bass or lead synth, where tiny changes in oscillator and filter settings can make a big difference.

    @u0421793 So you've found your perfect workflow already?

    It was exactly as you describe, Gadget, with lots of layering occurring, put together whilst on a train.

    Now I’m dismantling a lot of what I did back then in Gadget, and reassembling it from the midi in Logic Pro X using hardware synths, I’m seeing a quite different workflow.
    Typically:
    take the song’s midi tracks and import (one by one it has to be);
    figure out where each midi track starts (because at first I didn’t realise they don’t all start at bar 1 when exported – they basically start at the first note in that track!);
    slice the tracks up into intro, verse, chorus, etc.;
    Change the scale into something approximating only major or minor (whereas Gadget gives you plenty of weird ones, so why not use them all?);
    re-pitch anything that needs it to fit the new scale;
    then get recording the audio recordings on separate tracks from the midi using a hardware synth, and so on…

    I’m finding that is now my workflow for the beginning of each remake, regardless of what is in it – so far there’s no consideration of the content, it’s just a mechanical sequence of steps I now follow, so that’s a workflow (or the first half anyway).

  • @u0421793 Nice!
    I see, you've already put considerable thought into moving a project from iDevice to desktop.
    I still kinda try to avoid that by forcing myself into finishing projects on the iPad and only switching to Logic e.g. for MIDI editing or Ableton Live for playfully arranging in and out of context exported audio snippets (which is easy with apps that support Ableton export).
    Theoretically I could also invest into Cubase on desktop and always work in Cubasis but to me that feels far too boring 😄

  • edited July 2021

    @ashh said:

    @tahiche said:

    @ashh said:

    @tahiche said:.
    So I have a workflow that works, but if you can’t answer this…

    Who is my music for? Do I even need to record it? What is music? Who am I?

    Why do you want a workflow?.

    I am interested in workflow because to make anything, to create something, there is a workflow. To fuck up your workflow you have to have one to fuck up. I can wonder who I am at the same time as I approach making music. I can ask those questions along side others. They might inform my music-making choices. I feel that a workflow will give my efforts some structure. I need structure to understand where I am in these places I make music in.

    It was a rhetorical question, just my point of view on a vague matter. Seems like you took it personally…

    I did, yes. Read back your comment to understand why it felt like an attack rather than a simple rhetorical question. There seems to be a lot of this on this forum recently. Person A will prod Person B and then hold their hands up and ask Person B why they have a problem? All they were doing was X but you seem to have interpreted it as Y?! I have lived long enough to know the difference between X and Y. Play your game somewhere else.

    I’m telling you it was a rhetorical question. In no way aimed at you. I’m sorry you took it that way
    when I say stuff like “And specially specially if you have like 12 views on your amazing new track in YouTube” I’m obviously talking myself. Isn’t it obvious?.

    I wouldn’t tell people off in a forum, that’s not who I am.
    I’ve lived long enough too and I’m telling you it wasn’t aimed at you.

  • Not sure I like the idea of a ‘workflow’ as it implies doing things the same way each time. For me the enjoyment of making music is just starting with whatever I feel like doing on that particular day.

    I play piano just about every day, but sometimes I’ll pick up a different instrument and get some ideas from that. I might continue to work on those ideas on subsequent days, or might take them to a different instrument. Maybe I’ll pick up my iPad, go sit on the couch and see if that takes me elsewhere. Sometimes I’ll abandon an idea because I don’t particularly like it, and start on something new. Most of the time I just play for enjoyment of playing, and I’m not concerned about recording at all.

    To me ‘workflow’ seems a bit restrictive, so I’m not really looking for one.

  • @michael_m
    I don't think that's a contradiction.
    Even if you always followed the same workflow, you could use different samples, different instrument and different sounds every time, and compose something completely different every time.
    If a workflow makes you create the same music every time then it might be worth reconsidering 😊

  • A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

  • @ashh thanks for sharing the link to the video. Some words I needed to hear.
    The workflow I used on my album was basically this:
    1. Play around on the piano to find a melody or 2
    2. Come up with a chord progression
    3. Put that into Gadget
    4. develop other sections to fill out the piece
    5. roughly mix in gadget
    6. mix down the rough Gadget mix
    7. Export the gadget stems with no FX
    8. import stems into Auria to mix with Fabfilter plugins
    9. Try to create a mix down in Auria w/Fabfilter that is close to the Gadget mix down
    10. Master the track in Auria (new project) with Fabfilter plugins (ProQ, ProC, Pro MB, Pro L, Saturn)

    I got through 5 instrumental ambient/downtempo pieces this way.

    Been thinking lately to find an iPhone only workflow. Just got an iPhone SE 2020, and the A13 CPU is miles ahead of the iPad Air 2 A8 I have. I find mixing in AUM w/o a timeline to be a little strange. I can't loop a section I want to focus on with AUM. I tried Multitrack DAW, but there are only 2 FX busses. I think I might need to buy Cubasis 3...or...track on the iPhone and mix/master on the iPad.

    Good thread/discussion topic.

  • @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

  • @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

    Thing on the radio in the morning a couple of days ago (I listen to BBC Radio 1), it turns out that some people put their socks on standing up, and some put their socks on sitting down, and neither group can imagine how or why the other group does it.

  • @u0421793 said:

    @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

    Thing on the radio in the morning a couple of days ago (I listen to BBC Radio 1), it turns out that some people put their socks on standing up, and some put their socks on sitting down, and neither group can imagine how or why the other group does it.

    It’s a real mystery. Let’s appoint a special committee to investigate.

  • @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:

    @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

    Thing on the radio in the morning a couple of days ago (I listen to BBC Radio 1), it turns out that some people put their socks on standing up, and some put their socks on sitting down, and neither group can imagine how or why the other group does it.

    It’s a real mystery. Let’s appoint a special committee to investigate.

    Lesson learned: No workflow is for everyone 😁

  • @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

    That sounds legit. On the other hand, I would question the necessity of putting or having socks on every day at all. I mean, it's currently summer outside, working from home noone ever sees you below the waist. Why would you even think about socks?

    @michael_m is right then; no need for workflow.

  • @ervin said:

    @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

    That sounds legit. On the other hand, I would question the necessity of putting or having socks on every day at all. I mean, it's currently summer outside, working from home noone ever sees you below the waist. Why would you even think about socks?

    @michael_m is right then; no need for workflow.

    “Workflow is over!”

  • @ervin said:

    @NeuM said:

    @u0421793 said:
    A workflow is typically to abstract away the repetitive or predictable parts of a process, or even to embed best practice, so that you don't have to think about it or worry about variability in those areas (those'll be areas where you simply won't want variability, if it varies, it's varying away from correct). A workflow doesn't dictate everything in the process, it simply 'contains' the process or 'joins up' parts of a process. It's still as creative and variable as it needs to be.

    One example of a workflow is putting your socks on each morning.

    Workflow improvement suggestion: Leave socks on all the time.

    That sounds legit. On the other hand, I would question the necessity of putting or having socks on every day at all. I mean, it's currently summer outside, working from home noone ever sees you below the waist. Why would you even think about socks?

    @michael_m is right then; no need for workflow.

    It’s not very rock and roll to have a workflow.

    Even socks and drugs and rock and roll.

  • With extreme workflow focus sooner or later everything starts to sound the same...
    ...but maybe that's something that some people are after? (Ie. create a 'sound' and make tons of tracks with the same 'sound').

    This is likely why most modern music is so boring, same few teams same producers different 'cover people' and everyone sounds more or less the same...
    (And we'll there are certain genres that even use the same sample-packs because the sound is 'in' at the moment).

    All in all the best workflow is one that doesn't feel like 'work'.

  • @michael_m said:

    socks and drugs and rock and roll.

    😶

  • @ervin said:

    @michael_m said:

    socks and drugs and rock and roll.

    😶

    Haha. Come on. That’s funny stuff.

  • @Samu said:
    With extreme workflow focus sooner or later everything starts to sound the same...
    ...but maybe that's something that some people are after? (Ie. create a 'sound' and make tons of tracks with the same 'sound').

    This is likely why most modern music is so boring, same few teams same producers different 'cover people' and everyone sounds more or less the same...
    (And we'll there are certain genres that even use the same sample-packs because the sound is 'in' at the moment).

    All in all the best workflow is one that doesn't feel like 'work'.

    💯 I remember trying to come up with a perfect workflow with Ableton and got so focused on that I didn't enjoy it and didn't make much music.

    Though I will follow a lot of the same steps (though different from desktop) when using iOS these days, I don't focus on the steps. I just listen to which sounds I like and what I don't. Though it helps I'm not focused on composing or replicating any particular genre or style.

    Typically, everyone falls into the same patterns, so my typical sounds happens to come out based on the steps (unthinkingly) I follow or tools/plugins I use.

  • @NeuM said:

    @ervin said:

    @michael_m said:

    socks and drugs and rock and roll.

    😶

    Haha. Come on. That’s funny stuff.

    It is. That's my deadpan-appreciation face. My favourite emoji.

  • Socks play a pivotal role in soul funk rock & roll.

    “Sock it to me!!” “Sock it to me, now!!” “Sock it to me, baby!!”

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