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.

Solution to a simple problem…

Hi
I’ve just picked up a Roland FA-07 keyboard. I perform in a band and want to use AudioUnits / other virtual instruments to supplement the Roland internal sounds. My plan is to connect the keyboard (via USB) to a recent iPad Air running Audiobus & the instruments. To work with iOS the Roland driver has to be set to ‘Generic midi in and out’ (so no audio). I’m no midi expert - is Audiobus the right product and will the midi back to the keyboard carry all the info for the Roland to faithfully reproduce the sounds? Or should I look at Cubasis (the Roland offers Cubase DAW control- again Cubasis does not offer audio (same applies to GarageBand). Another option might be to use the midi in out ports to an interface (in lieu of the USB interface) but this won’t handle audio. Also the iPad only has the one connector (USB-C).

Comments

  • Hi @HolyMacaroni
    First basics. A synth or instrument running on the iPad will not generate MIDI, only audio. MIDI is a pretty basic protocol consisting of Note On and Off messages and some control commands that can be connected to controls in your apps. So, when you use the Roland keyboard to play iPad instruments, there will be no audio from the Roland.

    You could use the iPad headphone jack to extract the audio, if you have one.

    Otherwise, you need a multiport USB hub to which you can connect both the keyboard and an audio interface, both via USB. But I'd check again whether you actually can use the Roland as an audio interface as well as MIDI, since that would be the most convenient path.

    Audiobus will work fine as a host for Audio Unit instruments; I use it every day. But there are alternatives, such as AUM and apeMatrix, with different advantages of usability. This forum is not exclusively bound to Audiobus, so you've come to the right place.

  • By the way, you might edit your title to include some descriptive elements, maybe "Roland FA-07 MIDI to iPad synths audio output." As the OP, you can do that. That would draw more attention from other experienced forum members.

  • Hi @HolyMacaroni

    What @uncledave explains is correct. I'll try to explain in a different way as well in case it helps.

    Audio is sound, MIDI are instructions. MIDI is like your fingers hitting the keys on a piano. They don't make the sound themselves, they only cause the piano to. So the answer to your question: "will the midi back to the keyboard carry all the info for the Roland to faithfully reproduce the sounds" is no.

    The FA-07 will be sending MIDI to the iPad, which can then be used to play apps on the iPad, but the sound will come from the iPad, not the keyboard. So now you will have two separate sound sources even though they're controlled from one physical keyboard. So, the problem that you'll need to solve is how to get both those sound sources to whatever you're using to amplify your sound. That is probably the next question you need to address. Knowing what you have to work with may help to narrow down recommendations.

  • heshes
    edited November 7

    The FA-07 has an audio input, which it seems to me could be used to simplify things.

    The setup I'm thinking of is this:

    1. Midi out from FA-07 to iPad.
    2. Synth(s) on iPad generate audio from the midi messages.
    3. Audio comes back from iPad to FA-07 via the FA-07's audio input, where it mixes with any audio the FA-07 generates internally.

    The ideal setup would use an iPad with a headphone jack, which allows connecting the USB for MIDI, and then just route iPad audio back to FA-07 with a cable from the headphone jack. If the iPad is a model with no headphone jack, then there are options: (1) use Bluetooth MIDI to send the midi from FA-07 to iPad, and an audio dongle on the iPad to get audio from USB-C port back to FA-07, -- OR -- (2) use an audio interface and USB hub.

    The specs of FA-07 indicate it does both MIDI and audio over USB, so I think there may also be some easy way to route audio back to FA-07 through the same USB connection, without needing anything more. Someone can correct me if this is wrong . . . . [Or maybe this is what OP means is resticted to midi only when FA-07 is used with iOS.. . . )

  • @hes said
    The specs of FA-07 indicate it does both MIDI and audio over USB, so I think there may also be some easy way to route audio back to FA-07 through the same USB connection, without needing anything more. Someone can correct me if this is wrong . . . . [Or maybe this is what OP means is resticted to midi only when FA-07 is used with iOS.. . . )

    Reading the manual, it looks like that's the case. The FA-07 is only class compliant in its MIDI-only mode. Still wd be worth a try, since the manual's kinda old, but not very hopeful.

    And it doesn't seem to know about Bluetooth, so USB (or 5-pin) MIDI is the only way to go.

  • heshes
    edited November 7

    @uncledave said:
    And it doesn't seem to know about Bluetooth, so USB (or 5-pin) MIDI is the only way to go.

    Wow, you're right. I didn't even check that, assumed a fairly recent workstation keyboard would have Bluetooth.

    Still, seems like there's a pretty simple setup to get the audio of both devices mixed if an iPad with headphone jack is used. I guess it depends on what OP means by "recent iPad Air".

  • How come people think the problem is simple? That would infer that there's one correct answer.

    For live work I recommend Korg Module and a lot of the IAP's. Everything loads fast and doesn't crash much... but (I know) you have favorite apps. So, AudioBus will help... but
    experience tells me you'll have issues for any fast changes.

    The FA-07 may do USB Audio out... but it would take a manual review to see if it takes
    USB audio in and mixes it with the FA-07 sounds.

    For live I tend to prefer the Korg PlugKey (since my keyboard offers 5-pin MIDI). It has
    a headphone jack with a physical volume knob. It plugs into the lightning port and
    weighs very little. You should power it with a micro-USB power adapter to keep the
    iPad alive all night long.

    The CCK Adapter with power port opens the world to using a better audio interface and
    potentially sending line outs to the PA, a headphone jack with volume knob and sometimes
    extra audio out your monitors or amp.

    That USB audio out and in needs someone to check. I have kitchen duty.

  • @McD said:
    I have kitchen duty.

    When should I be expecting you?

  • @AlmostAnonymous said:

    @McD said:
    I have kitchen duty.

    When should I be expecting you?

    Do you have any beer?

  • I would never subject you to beer.
    Tequila.

  • McDMcD
    edited November 7

    @AlmostAnonymous said:
    I would never subject you to beer.
    Tequila.

    I have this issue with the hard stuff... a couple shots and I start fights with the bouncers.
    2 beers is my limit. How about some Hard Seltzers?

    I had such good times hurling Tequila across the hood of our car in the 70's. Good times.

    I am the only one of my siblings that didn't drink himself to death or attend
    3,000 AA meetings. 2 beers? I can function.

  • edited November 7

    The OP probably knows this, but the Roland FA series has a pretty large library of downloadable patches directly from Roland. This might obviate the need to use the iPad altogether.

    I agree with @uncledave… the simplest route would be audio out from the iPad headphone Jack directly into the FA-07 audio in… and audio out from the back of the keyboard to speakers. Of course you would be using an Apple Camera Connection Kit (just USB won’t work) to get the midi info into the iPad from the keyboard using Audiobus, AUM or a DAW.

  • edited November 7

    @hes said:
    The specs of FA-07 indicate it does both MIDI and audio over USB, so I think there may also be some easy way to route audio back to FA-07 through the same USB connection, without needing anything more. Someone can correct me if this is wrong . . . . [Or maybe this is what OP means is resticted to midi only when FA-07 is used with iOS.. . . )

    I used to own an FA-06 (which I sold due to the fact that I already had Zenbeats on my iPad. IMO Zenbeats is a lot easier to work with, ZC1 supplies the Roland sounds and I got a MIDI- keyboard instead). The FA-series only send MIDI through USB to an Ipad, not audio. It is not class-compliant, like for example the Yamaha MODX-series. I used to record it as audio through my audio interface. The FA was also very sensitive to USB- noise, so I had to resort to using old-school 5-pin MIDI instead of USB….

    Never tried it, but as I recall I could not route audio directly through the FA, only sample audio input to the pads.

    /DMfan🇸🇪

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