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.

What's the point of a real Moog synth when the apps are so amazing?

I’m writing an article about VSTs vs hardware synths. The news hook is that Moog’s iOS apps are on sale, but the article is about the advantages of hardware over software–if there is any. I’m looking for comments. I've also posted this over at Elektronauts

My points are that hardware has buttons and knobs, but then again computers have MIDI controllers.

Does hardware really sound better?

And what about those Korg synths, like the OpSix, that use the same software in the plugin as the hardware box?

I don’t want to start another hardware vs software debate. It’s more that I’m looking for the pros and cons of both sides.

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Comments

  • I agree, model 15 was the first ios synth to really blow me away. Bought my first ipad to run it more easily!

  • I always think about this rbma interview with Peter Zinovieff:

    DR PETER ZINOVIEFF
    Extraordinarily enough, people are wanting these old analog synthesizers more and more now. I can’t imagine why, really, because it’s so amazing what people can do with actual computers now. It’s not my world.

    TORSTEN SCHMIDT
    So, the whole fetish for these machines is alien to you?

    DR PETER ZINOVIEFF
    It is. My whole philosophy at the beginning was to do away with cutting tape, which is how people made electronic music at first; slicing tape, sticking together with Sellotape, roughly. This seemed such a terrible idea, which is why I developed the sequencer. This reminds me a bit of tape days, taking a pin, putting it somewhere, hoping there’s a sound, turning the level up, it not being exactly accurate. But there are lots of people who disagree with me over that.

  • Hardware synths, especially Moogs, look more impressive than computers, tablets, and plastic MIDI controllers in the 'Post your studio pics' threads on music forums.

    Arguing on music forums about why the original hardware is better than software is a hobby for some folks.

    Folks of a certain age may have coveted but couldn't afford a real Minimoog in their youth, but are able to now that they're older. Or a Gibson Les Paul, Corvette...

    Owning hardware synths makes some folks feel like they've been accepted to, and are a member of a virtual circle-jerk.

    Does hardware really sound better?

    They sound different, just like different DACs and ADCs sound different.

  • I covert a Moog Synth. I really want one, I just do. It would only sit gathering dust with all my other hardware but mmmmmmm a real Moog <3

    A nice toy to stroke and make buzzy noises occasionally.

  • Wooden cheeks?

  • To a certain extent it depends on what you’re trying to do, and how you feel comfortable doing it.

    The thing that persuaded me to invest in some hardware synths a few months ago (Moog Sound Studio 3) was MiRack, and discovering modular through it. If you want to be able to perform stuff, rather than just making purely generative patches (which I do a lot…), you need to be able to tweak knobs and switches. You can use MiRack's controllers up to a point, but otherwise you’re going to have to do a load of faffing about mapping stuff, which in my case just kills the urge to create stone dead by the time I’m ready to actually play the thing.

    That said, I am firmly in the hybrid camp, and I certainly don’t plan on giving up my iPad and the huge number of apps I already have: I want to combine the whole thing. However, there’s something very satisfying about creating something just using the hardware, as it’s a limited set of tools and you have to get creative with your patching.

  • An easy way to justify the difference in price is to insist hardware “sounds better”. There will be many who will jump on that band wagon.

    In my experience and in most cases, if you don’t know, you’d never know.

    Do a true blind test and in the majority of cases most wouldn’t know the difference.

  • I mean, I wouldn’t say no to a Moog synth, but on the other hand, I haven’t really got anywhere to put it.

  • @mistercharlie said:
    I mean, I wouldn’t say no to a Moog synth, but on the other hand, I haven’t really got anywhere to put it.

    Available space makes a difference, oh yes.
    As for the sound, there are quite a number of virtual synths that sound just as good but tweaking and playing hardware feels different nonetheless.

  • @JeffChasteen said:
    Wooden cheeks?

    Like Pinocchio?

  • on the other hand, inspiration is an elusive beast and it's your choice how to catch it. if a hardware moog inspires you and helps you make music — buy every moog you can.

  • There's room for both to exist, so it's not an either/or situation. For live performances you can't beat the visual of a real synth (especially one with visible knobs, switches, etc.). But the software one is obviously more convenient.

  • The experience of making music matters. Working with one or the other, your visual stimulation is completely different, your hands move differently, your posture is different. The speed of working is radically different. Your brain is working in different ways.

    Judging the process solely by its outcome misses the point of making art, which is in the making.

  • @JeffChasteen said:
    Wooden cheeks?

  • @mistercharlie For me personally, the allure of hardware is the same allure someone might have for nice watches, fine leather goods, well designed notebooks and pens, Range Finder Cameras. It's an aesthetic response to an aesthetic appreciation of what I find beautiful and unique. I am very particular about the gear I acquire, and always seek pieces which will motivate and inspire me to make music in new and different ways.

    I know that I can replicate most of what I want on the iPad or the Desktop...but there is just something organic and fulfilling about having a dedicated box in front of me when I want to play. I guess secretly, I just want to have the ability to play music how and when I want to, so having hardware makes this possible, when I want to pull away from the iPad/Computer, and not get distracted with Twitter or posting on a forum. :)

    Focus is so important when it comes to being creative, so having this focus on hardware is priceless, and I love slowing down when I sit with my gear. It stirs a different part in my brain...I dunno, maybe it accesses both hemispheres during these moments of play. I am sure if we hooked up our brains to an fMRI, I bet we'd see different areas light up when using these devices individually and together.

    Good luck with the article.

  • If you replace the words Moog synth and apps in this thread's title with partner and porn videos I find this question kind of answers itself.

  • Hardware feels better than a flat screen and all my analog hardware is just louder and more beefy. I think it ultimately comes down to preference though cos digital stuff does sound pretty good. I just prefer the hands on and I still think analog filters edge digital ones but not by much anymore

  • Mostly because of the fun, fast dedicated ergonomics, then nostalgia and lastly maybe to showoff? I was all like f--k analog untill i got a Mother 32, and no midi knobs I've tweaked feels as creamy and smooth. In a track nobody will notice though. Also they last for a long time and can be seen as investments.

  • edited May 10

    There is no answer to this. But I've realized over time that hardware is nice but software is better for me. I can do more in the way I want and not necessarily how the inventor intended. Have some hardware is definitely great. I have a modular system but my GAS and need for shiny new things is the least it's ever been, especially because of everything on iOS, VCV, and Ableton.

  • @tk32 said:
    If you replace the words Moog synth and apps in this thread's title with partner and porn videos I find this question kind of answers itself.

    so... a partner is an overpriced product that looks cool in your youtube videos and that music companies try to convince you to buy because these new partners behave just like partners did in the 70s? fair point :D

  • @Fingolfinzz said:
    Hardware feels better than a flat screen and all my analog hardware is just louder and more beefy. I think it ultimately comes down to preference though cos digital stuff does sound pretty good. I just prefer the hands on and I still think analog filters edge digital ones but not by much anymore

    Agreed on filters. Close but not quite there.

  • Another thing to factor in (to correct some bias) is that the prevalence of hardware is much greater in the professional artist-segment than between we weirdos online that make posts like this rather than grind out riffs for a living. I find many people (online) deriding hardware every time it costs more than 1000 global money units. And i would guess the people owning or using the hardware maybe doesn't even spend their time making posts arguing, the internet is a really loud minority really.

  • @echoopera thanks!

    I love my hardware, although I don’t have much. It’s definitely a different brain vibe to use it. For me, the very best (after my guitar) is the OP-Z, which I’ve used so much that most of it is automatic now.

    But software is a lot easier to integrate and stitch together. I do find that picking one very capable app and sticking with that can be a lot like learning hardware. I prefer Ableton, I know a lot of us like Drambo, or Loopy Pro.

    I was a graphic designer for a long time, and using Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts was similar to playing an instrument. They’re still “in my hands” even today.

  • I have a Moog Sirin and all of Moog’s iOS apps. Sound-wise there’s no discernible advantage, at least not to my miserable ears, and I don’t find any specific advantage in “true hands-on control” vs a touchscreen. However, I find it specifically difficult to fit everything I want to see and interact with on one screen, and I find it specifically difficult to keep track of more than two hardware devices. So I tend to work with a synth, a guitar, and some pedals readily at-hand, and I rely on apps for anything I don’t need to babysit. Having a blend of hardware and screens helps music feel like something I can understand and expand on, rather than a basic coordination challenge.

    Also FWIW I have quite a few virtual-analogue synths and the true-analogue Sirin is the most underwhelming synth in my collection. Limited distortion even with everything cranked, lots of hidden controls, and the resonance control rolls off more low-end than I personally prefer. There’s also no control over pulse width, and you can only adjust filter key tracking via MIDI. It’s a great-sounding synth, don’t get me wrong, but these days I reach for the Model D AUv3 almost every time I want the “Moog sound”

  • Yes, I bought Animoog 2 when it was released and love it, and have Models D and 15… but I bought my wife a Subsequent 37 for her birthday (mostly from selling on a Tempest) and the thing is awesome to play! On a tight budget I would be iPad all the way, what we have is amazing. However I’ve been able to build up some hardware over 30 years, yes, it’s expensive, but playing hands-on instruments is a joy. My latest is EWI in trumpet mode and a (small) Eurorack modular, to combine instrument skill from my youth with my later love for analogue synths.

  • Well the first reason I can think of is not everyone uses computers all the time. While I have a lot of software synths and Daws I use, sometimes I like to record without using my Mac. I have a Tascam Model 24 which is also a stand alone multi tracker and a Moog Sub 25, as well as a Korg Prologue 16, a Behringer Poly D and a Arturia Microbrute, and an Mpc Live 2, and I also have a set of Roland VDrums and tbh it’s a whole lot of fun just recording without a computer sometimes.
    And also sometimes even when I am recording using a computer, I like to record the audio straight from a hardware synth straight to an audio track. It leaves me with less temptation to go back and change presets and tweak the sound later and just commit, kinda like just recording using an amp vs using an amp sim. Sometimes I’m 100% all in the box but sometimes I appreciate the limitations of hardware. I love software synths too but for me both have benefits.

  • I love both and wouldn’t want to be without both. I’ve owned a couple Moog’s, including a Grandmother, and I’ve yet to try a VST that can replicate that sound or sounds quite that good. There are some amazing plugins and apps but synths like the Grandmother, Prologue, etc just have a little something special. And the workflow is great and totally inspiring in a different way.

    Sometimes I go all virtual, sometimes all hardware, sometimes both. I will say, the vast amount of options available on my iPad inspires me to get more experimental and try things I wouldn’t ever try with hardware. When I’m using my hardware synths I tend to work in a completely different way.

  • @vasilymilovidov said:

    @tk32 said:
    If you replace the words Moog synth and apps in this thread's title with partner and porn videos I find this question kind of answers itself.

    so... a partner is an overpriced product that looks cool in your youtube videos and that music companies try to convince you to buy because these new partners behave just like partners did in the 70s? fair point :D

    Well played and in fairness our great @tk32 was kind of asking for it with that unfortunate analogy. 👍

    In general, I endorse the healthy sarcasm in this thread.

  • I know it’s not a Moog but I recently gave my Behringer Model D to a friend of mine. In my opinion it didn’t even come close to neither Model D on iOS (well maybe but the convenience of taking the app with you anywhere won) nor certainly nowhere near U-he Diva that I have on desktop.

  • "our great tk32"

    @ervin , I can't work out if that's the highest compliment, or most brutal character assassination I've ever had. :D

    I'm content just being a second-rate humourist amongst this hallowed and esteemed group.

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