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.
Exchanging projects between iOS and desktop
since we have a baby girl I’ve seldom gotten to make music on my PC. On the other hand this made me really explore my iOS apps for the first time and that‘s surprisingly fun and easier to fit into my timetable! But I often collaborate with friends and they don't have iOS devices. And finishing the songs on the PC would be nice.
Cross platform music making is not so easy it seems, there‘s limited DAW functionality and stability on iOS and there’s all the different plugin formats on the different OS. Which leads me to my question: what ways and tricks do you know for starting on iOS and then transferring the project (with as much convenience as possible) to a desktop OS? I really don‘t want to freeze everything and lose the tweakability.
A few more ideas and questions:
@ipadbeatmaking informed me about Zenbeats and I really like the concept of a cross platform DAW. But it was a bit unstable for me and I already have Cubasis 3. So I tried the Cubasis project importer with a trial of Cubase Elements and liked it. I’m close to buying the competitive crossgrade to Cubase Pro although I'm a Studio One user (and my friends also). What are other apps supporting export to desktop? I’ve heard of n-track, FLS mobile, iMPC, MultitrackStudio. Which offer the best stock plugins for an easy project exchange?
Another idea is to use Mixbox which I own on both my iPad and the PC - but an automatic translation from AUv3 to VST is not possible with both Zenbeats and Cubase/Cubasis. Maybe it would work on a Mac with the AU version of Mixbox. But with a bit of manual work (exporting custom presets to a cloud) this seems like a good workflow, which is independant of OS and DAW. Any tips for other high-quality and flexible Plugins on multiple OS?
I know that the Bitwig devs develop an exchange format for DAWs, this could solve a lot of these problems. Maybe there‘s some future there: https://github.com/bitwig/dawproject
Would be great to hear your opinions!
Koala, and some other apps, will export Ableton Live sets. That’ll get you the audio and (I think) midi clips. Otherwise, export stems and let your friends worry about how they want to use them
FLS Mobile is sort of a different concept. It's an app on iOS that exists as a native plugin for the FL Studio DAW on the desktop. You can make a full song on the iOS app using it. You don't then export that and have it import as tracks in the desktop version. Instead, you open a single plugin in the Desktop FL Studio, just like you would a synth and can work within that plugin just as though you were working on your iOS device - but only within that plugin, not in the tracks, etc in the host.
You can host IAA plugins inside the FLS Mobile app. So what happens to those tracks when you hop over to the desktop? I believe they're rendered down to audio tracks. But it's been a really, really long time since I've used it, so I could be wrong.
Project exchange, if that's the right term for it in this case, ran smoothly last time I used it.
One new feature (I think it’s pretty new?) is the capability to route each FL Mobile plug-in track to a separate mixer track. And the project import from mobile can include the midi as well
Thanks, yes, I should have mentioned that. It's still just one plugin, not a bunch of independent synth tracks, but at least you can leverage the FL Studio mixer.
Can you use that plugin in other macOS DAWs?
No, it’s FL Studio native only.
@wim That’s a shame.
@iTVbene Another option is to use Logic and export to GarageBand. You only get a stereo mixdown in GB, but whatever you add in GB on the iPad gets imported back into Logic.
Not ideal, but handy in some cases.
Probably the best cross-platform gig in town is Korg Gadget if you use macOS on your laptop/desktop. It's not the cheapest option but considering you're in the market for Cubase Pro it's worth considering. Korg Gadget for macOS has all the same gadgets that you get in the iOS variant but you will have to purchase the premium plugins again for desktop. However cost aside, it's close to a one 2 one translation. Many folk have moved away from Gadget on iOS but it still has many advantages that are worth considering.
I purchased the desktop version strictly as a bridging technology to get Gadget projects into Ableton. I mainly use Studiomux these days for streaming audio from any iOS sound-making plugin (AUv3 or IAA) but I still tinker with Gadget in my iPhone when I don't have an iPad with me (I have Cubasis 3 but I find it less pleasurable on an iPhone than Gadget) and if I like my tinkerings I bring the project into macOS via the Gadget desktop environment.
I have mentioned this elsewhere but I have done a lot of testing of apps between iOS and M1 (which I assume we are talking about here) since getting my Mac. Here are a list of apps you can use in GarageBand on iOS and then open the same project on the Mac in GarageBand or Logic and have the plugins and presets preserved:
Roli Noise (sort of works)
Cube Synth Pro
(Probably also Koala + AudioLayer but I haven't tested those)
If you have MultiTrackStudio then the nice thing about that is that you can edit the same project on iOS and desktop and it will open in both directions. If you get on with the interface (some don’t!) then that is the DAW option with the most potential at the moment, in my opinion. It is stable and is almost the same functionality as the desktop version which has some pedigree behind it, not a reduced functionality version of a desktop product as you see so often on iOS. It comes with a load of built in effects and something I have been making use of is the built in soundfont player. If you have the same soundfont installed on iOS and desktop then your track that uses it will work on both platforms without tweaking. MTS is free to try on desktop so you have nothing to lose there. Best thing to do is read the manual to see what it is capable of.
MixBox used to open both ways until the recent debacle but although even when it did load its state was not automatically restored when moving from iOS.
Here are some other plugins which are available on both iOS and desktop but you would need to manually load the plugin on the desktop as the presets etc do not transfer correctly:
Tal u no lx
Vk-1/Viking (different apps but same instrument)
Unfortunately these plugin vendors chose different plugin IDs for their desktop versions and so they are treated as different by the host. If Logic ever appears on iOS then this will become something that more people notice as it will be a blocker to moving projects around.
Another vote for StudioMux as a must-have for me as it lets you use your iOS synths directly in your DAW and also your DAW plugins directly in your iOS DAW.
The following work as standalone apps and their projects work between iOS and desktop as long as you stick to the first set of plugins above:
Audio Evolution Mobile
(note that you can use Atom 2 and Helium inside Drambo/AEM)
Genome or ModStep as sequencers driving a DAW is as fun as using it with AUM.
One that is recent to the party for me is the host VisualSwift which also lets you share projects containing audio and MIDI AUs between iOS and desktop.
I’m not suggesting for a second that anybody should not make music by transferring projects between iOS and desktop, but I thought I’d share my experiences as they’ve worked really well for me:
For context I’ve been using iPads since the iPad 2. I’ve been making music on macs since the Mac II, and I’ve been using Logic on Macs since v1.
For a long time I really struggled making music on the iPad as I was trying to replace the Mac as I was basically in the same position as the OP: kids. They took my time, my energy and my studio space!
i kept buying loads of iOS software and tried making songs on my iPad but never got anywhere.
Then one day I discovered Blocswave. BW changed how I made music on my iPad. I would make lots of little loops without the pressure of making a song. A drum loop here, a baseline there and just kept chucking them all into BW and mixing them together no matter the original tempo or key. BW loads instantly and lets me listen to a work in progress project and play around with arrangements in no time at all. Instead of 5 minutes of angry birds I could try an arrangement idea or work out what’s needed for the verse or chorus.
Once I’ve got an idea worth working on further I can export the full project, all nicely time and pitch stretched into logic to assemble into a song.
Sometimes I’d load the loops into NS2 (I use Slate for this) and trigger them with midi the way I used to with my old AKAI to add more iOS instruments before going to Logic. Again, I’d export the full song as audio from NS2 and not worry about midi or AUs at all.
In hindsight the key that unlocked it all was not trying to use the iPad like I use Logic on a Mac. Rendering everything, anything to audio straight away is very liberating.
I used to want everything as MIDI right up into mixing so everything could be tweaked at any time. For the longest time I couldn’t shake that requirement.
Now I get to enjoy audio on the iPad and iPhone for what it’s good at rather that’s getting frustrated by the shortcomings. And the fact that none of the iOS DAWs comes close to any of the big desktop DAWs is now irrelevant to me.
So if I have 10 minutes spare I can just play with a drum machine on my iPad or iPhone. If anything good comes out of it, then I just export the audio and forget about it. The same goes for messing about with AUM. I only need to make a small section of a song, I don’t worry about using AUM for a full song.
I now do this the other way too… if I come up with say an 8 bar section of a song in Logic I bounce the tracks to audio and rebuild it In Blocswave on my iPhone so I can mess about with arrangement ideas whenever I like.
iPhone + AirPods + BW = music anywhere anytime for me now.
And it works. I’ve been more productive I’ve the last couple of years than at any time since kids.
The thought of transferring complete projects no longer appeals at all. I dont even want Logic on iPad anymore!
Probably digressive now but i meant to say: each track within the FLSM project (within each FLSM plugin instance) can be routed to a separate FL Studio track - in other words your mobile project tracks, midi and audio, can be routed to separate tracks in FL Studio
This is a big deal to me because previously the entire imported multitrack project would route to a single track, essentially a mixdown
This sounds like a pretty neat feature. It's going to get a bit more complicated if/when FLSM gets AUv3 support implemented.
It's seems like you could do a similar thing with Drambo and using it as multi-output AU on the Mac within Logic or Reaper. I can't test this anymore because I've stripped all of my stuff, including audio apps, off of our M1 Mini and I don't think Drambo works on Intel based Macs. I'd be interested in hearing how well this works.
Awesome, so much to read and try here, thank you all! Really a lot of apps to consider.
There are a few restrictions in my case:
I only have a Windows PC (for now), so everything with Logic, Korg Gadget or opening iOS apps on an M1 Macbook won't work. I think this also means that third party plugins can't be automatically transferred going from one OS to the other.
I think AU <-> AUv3 can work but VST <-> AUv3 does not. If someone knows otherwise, please tell me!
I think using the iPad for creative/fast beat-making and spontaneous ideas is very good advice and I've done that with Koala, BM3 and especially endlesss (still waiting for their desktop app for Windows).
But the iPad and my combined keyboard /audio interface is also a very capable portable recording studio. And collaborating with my friends means mostly songs with many audio recordings (voices, guitars, bass). Especially the FX on our guitars often change later on when the song develops, so exporting rendered stems… I‘d really like to avoid that. There‘s great amp and FX sims on iOS+Windows and I like playing/tweaking guitar sounds on an iPad so much more than with a PC and a mouse.
For these things I somehow always come back to Cubasis, it just works like a classic DAW.
MTS sounds like a real alternative though. FLS is also interesting to me but also means a new „type“ of DAW to learn. Now if this FLSM plugin was a non-native VST…
So yeah probably CB3 or MTS for me. Zenbeats also is still a possibility, I think the included sounds and instruments were nice when I tried it with the free month of Roland cloud. Or I just buy a brand new Macbook 😅. Let‘s see.
Cubasis+Cubase. The simplest way to go without arcane overly complex combinations of software/hardware.
Idk about Mac but I was able to use it on Windows in Ableton.
Also, Koala exists on Windows although it’s in alpha.
Mmmmmm, your wish granted and more!
The FL Studio VST, which is the whole DAW? Or the FLS Mobile plugin? There's a difference.
You can for sure run the FL Studio DAW as a plugin in Live. But I don't think that's true for the FLS Mobile plugin. I don't feel like busting out my PC to verify that just now.
No, I believe I got the FL Studio Mobile to work as a plug-in in Ableton Live Lite. I haven’t bought FL Studio (or Ableton) but I had the FL Studio Mobile app on my mobile device then followed the steps here.
Here’s what I did.
I was looking at that page earlier, but I had the impression that this just updated the FL Studio application with some new dynamic libraries. The Mac file they link there is a .dylib, so I don't think it will be available as any sort of VST or AU.
Being able to run the mobile version inside the desktop version is pretty cool by itself. I didn't know you could run the desktop DAW as a VST. Can you run the mobile version inside the VST version?
@NeonSilicon FL Studio Mobile allows you to access this unlock for your PC that runs as a VST on other DAWs. Here’s a screenshot I took from my Windows Computer. I’m using Ableton Lite 10
That said, the standalone version of FL Studio Mobile can't host plugins. It's the Android/iOS version ported to PC.
Weirdly enough, the plugin version of FL Studio Mobile supports VSTs. I tried running Helm and it actually worked. This was Helm, running in FL Studio Mobile VST plugin, running in Ableton Live Lite 10.
EDIT: Information above is somewhat inaccurate. I had the trial version of FL Studio installed since February 2021 and that may have been the reason this worked.
I'm 99% sure you're mistaken about the FLS Plugin. There is nothing to lead me to believe that it's anything but a native FL Studio plugin. However, I will bust out my PC some time soon to check it out since I know you're a pretty careful person.
Oh, and I'm pretty curious why you would have the folder they tell you to drag the files into
C:\Program Files (x86)\Image-Line\FL Studio 20\Plugins\Fruity\Generators\FL Studio Mobileif you did not have at least the free demo version of FL Studio installed. You would have had to create that folder manually, and then you would have had to tell Ableton Live to scan it to find the VST plugin if it was there.
Can't leave a mystery like that hanging around though, so I'll check it out.
You’re right. Just checked my files and I had a trial of FL Studio 20 installed since February 2021. Uninstalling it and I’ll give it a go again.
UPDATE: Wim is right as always. My trial version was the reason why it worked. As soon as I uninstalled it, it stopped working.
There is this line on the FL Website that I'm looking at, with a bit of curiosity.
The FL Studio Plugin version is Free for all FL Studio owners. As usual, we reserve the right to change these terms. So if you own FL Studio Mobile (for Android, iOS or Windows App) register it to your IL account and you will continue to have free access to the FL Plugin version, should we decide to sell it as an add-on purchase (for which we have no plan at the moment). Put simply: All FL Studio owners get this plugin for free. Registering your mobile version to your IL account will guarantee it stays that way for you.
The term "plugin" is what's tripping you up. FL Studio has native plugins that work only inside FL Studio. It also has VST and AU plugins that can be used in other hosts. Some even have a free native version and an additional paid VST/AU available. All are referred to at times as "plugins". Lastly there's the FL Studio VST/AU wrapper itself, which allows you to run the full DAW as a plugin in other hosts.
Just to confuse things further ( ) you could run the FLS Mobile native plugin inside FL Studio, then host FL Studio itself in Live. So, in a convoluted way, FLS Mobile can indeed run in Live.
So, when Image-Line get the AUv3 support in FLSM they only need to make an FLSM AUv3 wrapper and you could run FLSM inside FLSM inside FL Studio Inside Live.
I'm not sure but from their wording "FL Studio plugin version", I think it's the plugin version of FL Studio that it gives access to. But I'll have to wait and see. I reinstalled it and it seems to work again.
Anyways, thanks for confirming. Appreciate the help. At least I understand why it's working. I'll have to do further tests on it at a later date.
Yeah, but it seems there was no need to buy endlesss studio 😅 - well that was a bit of sponsoring then. endlesss is just amazing…
Endlesss app and studio all happening in the cloud would be another straightforward way to get music onto the PC. Does this mean now everyone gets the HD audio quality? Quite confusing…
I was playing around with it last night recording Maschine into Endlesss on iPad at the same time running the VST in Samplitude on the PC dragging and dropping clips into Samplitude from the VST... pretty neat!