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.

Xequence 2.4: Workflow, Workflow, Workflow!

Now that the dust has settled a bit with the Xequence 2.3 release, Xequence 2.4 development is already going full-steam ahead, and 2.4 will focus not on features, but on optimizing what's there, and on tweaking the workflow and user interface further to make it even more efficient and enjoyable to use.

So, here's the question: Do you have any small thing (or things) would you like to see changed / added / made configurable? Any tiny frustrations / gripes that add up during your work, where a tiny change in the user interface would have a significant impact?

Let me know.

Here's a list of what changes are already arriving in 2.4:

NEW:

  • Pianoroll: New "Remove doubles" option in the "Process" menu to remove notes starting at (almost) the same time: Only the longest of all overlapping notes will be kept. Notes with higher velocity will be prefered if in doubt.
  • Recording: Prevent double notes: Only keep longer / higher velocity notes (can be disabled in settings).

IMPROVEMENTS:

  • Arranger: Instrument settings for each track's target instrument can now be accessed directly from the track menu.
  • Arranger: Mute and Solo buttons are now directly accessible at any vertical zoom level.
  • Arranger: Current track is now always drawn taller, providing access to all buttons at any vertical zoom level.
  • Arranger: Generally improved dynamic tracklist layout.
  • Arranger: Significantly smoother editing under high CPU load.
  • Arranger: Tweaked clip previews.

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Timestretching now turns itself off again every time the horizontal handles are used; we think that this is probably a rarely used mode and having it unexpectedly enabled probably often gives unexpected results.
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Comments

  • edited August 7

    This is almost certainly not a smal thing, but I’ll drop it here:
    Making clips/selections ‘launchable’ by MIDI-notes. Like the ‘Launchpad/Ableton/hold/one-shot…’ modes in Atom 2 or like playing audio clips in different launch-styles in Loopy pro.

    the double note remover sounds great!

  • edited August 7

    double post

  • Also probably not small (you're gonna regret making this thread), but I'd love to see Xequence keys au as an mpe keyboard!

  • wimwim
    edited August 7
    • Arranger: Instrument settings for each track's target instrument can now be accessed directly from the track menu.

    That one there would have been my first suggestion. I've always felt that switching to a different screen to maintain instruments was a little bit cumbersome. I'll be looking forward to seeing how it's implemented.

    I find myself wishing the keyboard had an option to act as a popup window or split window so that I can see the piano roll or arranger while playing. That one might not be minor though.

  • I have been using X2 a lot recently now that the AudioBus + AUM + Loopy Pro + X2 workflow works so well. Here are a few small-ish things I have thought would be useful additions, apologies if any are large enough to be considered features :smile:

    1. Ability to limit the upper/lower note range for each track. Not sure if this would be tied to an instrument or layout as I would want the range to be different for each track to match the natural range of each instrument. I know we have the different view modes but it is something that affects my cognitive load just knowing that all those other notes are there that I am not going to use when I scroll out.

    2. Option to automatically save the project at the point that the AudioBus state is saved. The latest update has so far solved my issues with AB state not getting saved but if X2 were to do its own project save at the same time as the AB state save then that would mean that I would not have to remember to do it manually. Obviously only applies to projects that have already been saved in X2 at least once. Maybe in addition, or instead, have a notification badge on the “Project” tab if the project has not been saved yet so that it is easy to see that a save is outstanding.

    3. One of the cool things about the MPE mode (ignoring the actual MPE part of it!) is being able to assign multiple channels on the same track, so you can control multiple instruments from a single track. I like that the channel number is overlaid onto the note but it would be nice if each channel also had its own colour. I also just noticed a small bug with the velocity editing widget on the right of the screen - it sends the preview note to channel 1 rather than the note that the channel is assigned. The “move up/down” button does use the correct channel each time the note changes.

    4. Big one for me would be raw MIDI copy/paste support, but likely to be too big a change for the purposes you requested. I like to do some of my songwriting using staff notation using MTS and then transfer that to other sequencers such as X2 which have better song arrangement capabilities. MTS lets you use the iOS general pasteboard to copy/paste MIDI, which some other sequencers such as Helium also support. It would be great to simply copy and paste raw MIDI data between applications and X2 instead of going via files.

    5. I would like to be able to tap the sequencer icon in the top left to close the piano roll view and return to the sequencer rather than only be able to close via the tick icon. (Probably the only suggestion that is the sizing effort you were thinking of :smile: )

    Thanks for asking for our input, it is appreciated.

  • @wim said:

    • Arranger: Instrument settings for each track's target instrument can now be accessed directly from the track menu.

    That one there would have been my first suggestion. I've always felt that switching to a different screen to maintain instruments was a little bit cumbersome. I'll be looking forward to seeing how it's implemented.

    Yes, I've always thought the same, but I still wanted to keep the instruments screen separate because they are, in most ways, separate "entities".

    The implementation is very straightforward actually:

    Tapping that button just opens the regular instrument settings popup, as if you had tapped the "..." button on one of the instrument boxes.

    I find myself wishing the keyboard had an option to act as a popup window or split window so that I can see the piano roll or arranger while playing. That one might not be minor though.

    I can see how that would be useful, yeah... unfortunately your suspicion is correct though -- Xequence is essentially in two completely separate "modes" between arranger/pianoroll and keyboard and the two can't easily coexist.

  • @prtr_jan said:
    This is almost certainly not a smal thing, but I’ll drop it here:
    Making clips/selections ‘launchable’ by MIDI-notes. Like the ‘Launchpad/Ableton/hold/one-shot…’ modes in Atom 2 or like playing audio clips in different launch-styles in Loopy pro.

    :) yes this gets requested a lot, I've lost count... but it's unfortunately not easy to do given Xequence's architecture.

    the double note remover sounds great!

    👍

  • @Gavinski said:
    Also probably not small (you're gonna regret making this thread), but I'd love to see Xequence keys au as an mpe keyboard!

    Haha, I have my "Anti-Feature-Request sunglasses" on, so that's okay! ;) but yes, adding MPE functionality to the keyboard is definitely on the roadmap.

  • punch in/out recording?

  • @SevenSystems said:

    @Gavinski said:
    Also probably not small (you're gonna regret making this thread), but I'd love to see Xequence keys au as an mpe keyboard!

    Haha, I have my "Anti-Feature-Request sunglasses" on, so that's okay! ;) but yes, adding MPE functionality to the keyboard is definitely on the roadmap.

    pads and keys au’s are great!

  • @MisplacedDevelopment said:
    I have been using X2 a lot recently now that the AudioBus + AUM + Loopy Pro + X2 workflow works so well. Here are a few small-ish things I have thought would be useful additions, apologies if any are large enough to be considered features :smile:

    :) thanks, that's an awesome list! Let me briefly go through it:

    1. Ability to limit the upper/lower note range for each track. Not sure if this would be tied to an instrument or layout as I would want the range to be different for each track to match the natural range of each instrument. I know we have the different view modes but it is something that affects my cognitive load just knowing that all those other notes are there that I am not going to use when I scroll out.

    Okay, I can see the usefulness and might consider this... as workarounds for now, you probably know that "VIEW -> All" will only zoom out to the used notes in the current clip? Another (nasty) workaround: You could put the instrument into drums mode, and then only create the notes you're going to use by clearing the drum map, setting its size to the desired amount of notes, and then using "PROCESS -> Fill" to fill it in.

    1. Option to automatically save the project at the point that the AudioBus state is saved. The latest update has so far solved my issues with AB state not getting saved

    That's good news -- this time I really thought that it is really fixed 🤣

    but if X2 were to do its own project save at the same time as the AB state save then that would mean that I would not have to remember to do it manually. Obviously only applies to projects that have already been saved in X2 at least once. Maybe in addition, or instead, have a notification badge on the “Project” tab if the project has not been saved yet so that it is easy to see that a save is outstanding.

    That is a great idea. I would probably opt for the former, i.e. just save the project inside Xequence automatically as soon as Audiobus requests the state... I can't imagine there's a situation when you would want to save the Audiobus session, but somehow keep the old state of the Xequence project... so I guess this is "sa(v)fe" 😊

    Probably worth to add a note about this to the existing popup that appears the first time you save an Audiobus preset.

    1. One of the cool things about the MPE mode (ignoring the actual MPE part of it!) is being able to assign multiple channels on the same track, so you can control multiple instruments from a single track. I like that the channel number is overlaid onto the note but it would be nice if each channel also had its own colour.

    Heh, that wasn't really intended but people come up with crazy ideas!

    This is probably something I would avoid though -- it would be better to have a "proper" implementation of this where each clip would be able to address its own instrument, for example, and then color the clips accordingly. Maybe even at the note level, but maybe a bit too granular? What would the use case for this be? You can already have any number of sub-tracks per instrument and thus it would probably be enough at the clip level?

    I also just noticed a small bug with the velocity editing widget on the right of the screen - it sends the preview note to channel 1 rather than the note that the channel is assigned.

    Good catch, thanks. That'll be fixed in 2.3.6.

    MTS lets you use the iOS general pasteboard to copy/paste MIDI, which some other sequencers such as Helium also support.

    In all honesty, I didn't know that was a thing. Will add this to my list to investigate... though I'm always a bit hesitant to spend time on iOS-specific stuff, as Xequence still is 99% cross-platform and I'm still planning to release it on Android, ChromeBook, Windows, macOS, Linux, ToasterOS etc... (just kidding mostly! ;) )

    1. I would like to be able to tap the sequencer icon in the top left to close the piano roll view and return to the sequencer rather than only be able to close via the tick icon. (Probably the only suggestion that is the sizing effort you were thinking of :smile: )

    This sounds perfect. I've hit this niggle myself a lot in the past days. I guess it would be best to have separate buttons there for the arranger and pianoroll. Tapping the arranger would then just close any existing pianoroll / controller editor session in the background.

    Thanks for asking for our input, it is appreciated.

    Feedback much appreciated as well. I didn't have a lot of time or inspiration for making music in the past 2 years or so, so Xequence 2.3 caught a bit of a "design by committee" feel I guess. Recently in the mood for music making again so I came up with lots of workflow tweaking ideas myself. Clearly shows that apps (well, ANYTHING) can't really be well-designed without the "designer" using them...

  • @prtr_jan said:
    punch in/out recording?

    Yes, that would be nice to have. Probably a 5 on the 1...10 easy-to-add list. I'll add it to the roadmap to check!

    pads and keys au’s are great!

    Thanks! Hoping to update them soon.

  • @prtr_jan said:
    punch in/out recording?

    By the way, in case it's useful -- Xequence already does punch in/out recording for controllers when you have the controller editor open during recording. (as soon as you touch the slider in the editor or on the keyboard screen, the existing controller data is cleared and overwritten until you lift your finger again).

  • AU version of Xequence… dreaming

  • @SevenSystems

    Timestretching now turns itself off again every time the horizontal handles are used; we think that this is probably a rarely used mode and having it unexpectedly enabled probably often gives unexpected results.

    Would it be possible to have a setting to not disable timestretching automatically?
    I like it the way it works now 😊

  • @White said:
    @SevenSystems

    Timestretching now turns itself off again every time the horizontal handles are used; we think that this is probably a rarely used mode and having it unexpectedly enabled probably often gives unexpected results.

    Would it be possible to have a setting to not disable timestretching automatically?
    I like it the way it works now 😊

    Interesting. I always found myself accidentally timestretching everything and then going into an undo frenzy!

    Will add setting! 🍻

  • @SevenSystems said:

    @MisplacedDevelopment said:
    1. Ability to limit the upper/lower note range for each track. Not sure if this would be tied to an instrument or layout as I would want the range to be different for each track to match the natural range of each instrument. I know we have the different view modes but it is something that affects my cognitive load just knowing that all those other notes are there that I am not going to use when I scroll out.

    Okay, I can see the usefulness and might consider this... as workarounds for now, you probably know that "VIEW -> All" will only zoom out to the used notes in the current clip? Another (nasty) workaround: You could put the instrument into drums mode, and then only create the notes you're going to use by clearing the drum map, setting its size to the desired amount of notes, and then using "PROCESS -> Fill" to fill it in.

    I was aware of the first option but I had not considered using a drum map. I’ll check this out, it sounds promising.

    1. Option to automatically save the project at the point that the AudioBus state is saved. The latest update has so far solved my issues with AB state not getting saved

    ... I can't imagine there's a situation when you would want to save the Audiobus session, but somehow keep the old state of the Xequence project... so I guess this is "sa(v)fe" 😊

    I think I would want to have to opt-in to the behaviour. If I was playing around with a template to test something out then that would be an example where I would not want to overwrite the project as I’d want to go back to the original template state when I had done messing about.
    .

    1. One of the cool things about the MPE mode (ignoring the actual MPE part of it!) is being able to assign multiple channels on the same track, so you can control multiple instruments from a single track. I like that the channel number is overlaid onto the note but it would be nice if each channel also had its own colour.

    Heh, that wasn't really intended but people come up with crazy ideas!

    This is probably something I would avoid though -- it would be better to have a "proper" implementation of this where each clip would be able to address its own instrument, for example, and then color the clips accordingly. Maybe even at the note level, but maybe a bit too granular? What would the use case for this be? You can already have any number of sub-tracks per instrument and thus it would probably be enough at the clip level?

    Use case -> I like to write music across multiple instruments at the same time so it is great to be able to both see and edit multiple parts on the same screen and (for example) preview a chord using multiple instruments without needing to switch between tracks or even start the transport (just tap the up/down slider on the right with the notes selected). You get some of this benefit from the new ghost note option but you can’t edit those notes directly like you can when you have the one track containing multiple channels, and cannot change a note and quickly preview it against the other ghosted track notes without starting the transport. If you are not careful then you can end up with the situation where you want to use the same note for two or more instruments, but this can be worked around with some transposition tricks.

    A couple of other workflow thoughts came out of thinking more on this: 1 - Ability to move back/forward between tracks from the piano-roll, or maybe from a dropdown and 2 - Should the Draw option in MPE mode use the last assigned channel by default, rather than use the global default? Maybe it could have its own channel selector?

    I do like your idea of having per-instruments clips.

  • Has Note fold in Piano roll been mentioned?

  • wimwim
    edited August 7

    Regarding per-instrument clips: I like that idea as it harks back to my favorite DAW, FL Studio. It's a favorite and very liberating feature to me. However I would also say that one of the number-one things that some people just can't stand about FL Studio is that different instrument clips can be on the same "track". It seems that the idea of one track per instrument is pretty deeply ingrained in most people.

    Per-note instruments in the same piano roll editor can be a very nice thing to have. FL Studio has this, with one color per channel. It can be really nice for quick shifts between instruments for, say, a kick, or hi-hats, or for changing the bottom notes of chords to a bass instrument, for example. You can even get into things such as providing a selection tool that grabs just one color no matter which notes you select, then making it possible to copy/paste/duplicate/change channel/delete, etc.

    Not a minor change though for sure. :D

  • @SevenSystems said:

    … You could put the instrument into drums mode, and then only create the notes you're going to use by clearing the drum map, setting its size to the desired amount of notes, and then using "PROCESS -> Fill" to fill it in.

    This is a good workaround for me, exactly what I was looking for to limit the note choice and fit everything nicely on one screen. I can then save multiple layouts for different instrument ranges, very convenient:

  • Smaller ones (I think :) ):
    -Ability to move around the screen Polyhymnia floating window, resizing/minimizing to a floating bar without closing it
    -Collapsing/minimizing view of selected tracks in the track editor without affecting others

    Bigger ones:
    -FL Studio like diagonal slicing of notes in the pianoroll (in fact many other FL Studio's pianoroll features might be a good 'inspiration' as from what I've seen FL has the most robust/feature packed piano roll around)
    -Bezier curve editor of automation instead of step-editor as it is now (it's so well done in the new Flux Pro and Flux Mini 2 plugins by Caelum Audio)

    Oh! And the smallest one...:
    -AU version of Xequence and 'Xequence Tracks' for timeline arranging of audio files

  • @Stuntman_mike said:
    AU version of Xequence… dreaming

    AI version of Xequence

    “2 Unlimited's No Limits in the style of George Formby”

  • @MisplacedDevelopment said:

    ... I can't imagine there's a situation when you would want to save the Audiobus session, but somehow keep the old state of the Xequence project... so I guess this is "sa(v)fe" 😊

    I think I would want to have to opt-in to the behaviour. If I was playing around with a template to test something out then that would be an example where I would not want to overwrite the project as I’d want to go back to the original template state when I had done messing about.

    Okay... I'll have to think how / where to best present that setting in the user interface so that it doesn't get confusing.

    A couple of other workflow thoughts came out of thinking more on this: 1 - Ability to move back/forward between tracks from the piano-roll, or maybe from a dropdown and

    Hmmm... currently, moving to another track takes only two taps -- 1) close the pianoroll (bottom right), 2) double-tap (well OK, three taps!) another clip. Also, how would this work -- how would Xequence know which clip you want to edit on the "other" track? Maybe I'm missing something...

    2 - Should the Draw option in MPE mode use the last assigned channel by default, rather than use the global default? Maybe it could have its own channel selector?

    Currently, the Draw tool uses the first free channel, i.e. for the lower zone, it'll start at channel 2, and if that's free, use it. Otherwise, try channel 3, etc... until it finds a channel that isn't occupied by any other note along the same timespan as the drawn note.

    Would it be useful to instead have an option to always assign the same channel for drawn notes? Just would need to see where to stick that option...

  • @SpookyZoo said:
    Has Note fold in Piano roll been mentioned?

    No, but I'm not sure if it's worth it adding a separate option for this -- you can already get pretty close to this behaviour by selecting all notes, and then "INSERT" -> "Scale from selection"? Alternatively, you can also make a drum map that only includes the notes you want.

  • @wim said:
    Regarding per-instrument clips: I like that idea as it harks back to my favorite DAW, FL Studio. It's a favorite and very liberating feature to me. However I would also say that one of the number-one things that some people just can't stand about FL Studio is that different instrument clips can be on the same "track". It seems that the idea of one track per instrument is pretty deeply ingrained in most people.

    Yeah, I think I'd like to keep it that way for now, and as you guessed it's probably not a minor thing to add :) especially not the note-level instruments.

    I guess the "Abuse MPE for per-note channels" hack might be enough for now for those crazies! ;)

  • @Foleslaw said:
    Smaller ones (I think :) ):
    -Ability to move around the screen Polyhymnia floating window, resizing/minimizing to a floating bar without closing it

    Yeah, I've already added the "X-Ray" hack to make it easier to work with Polyhymnia while still somehow having access to the notes... a sidebar-y thing would probably be best, at least for iPad.

    -Collapsing/minimizing view of selected tracks in the track editor without affecting others

    I have a "Collapse unused tracks" feature on the roadmap, I think this would be pretty close? Also, 2.4 will already draw the selected (current) track taller than the others, so this might also mitigate this a little -- i.e. in 2.4 you'll generally be able to zoom out further vertically while still being able to work properly with your selected track.

    Bigger ones:
    -FL Studio like diagonal slicing of notes in the pianoroll (in fact many other FL Studio's pianoroll features might be a good 'inspiration' as from what I've seen FL has the most robust/feature packed piano roll around)

    An interesting one, hadn't seen that... but a bit bigger, yes!

    -Bezier curve editor of automation instead of step-editor as it is now (it's so well done in the new Flux Pro and Flux Mini 2 plugins by Caelum Audio)

    Yes, being able to use interactive curves for automation is on the agenda, but also a bigger thing as you suspected.

    You can however get pretty far by using PROCESS -> Ramp, in case you didn't know.

    Oh! And the smallest one...:
    -AU version of Xequence and 'Xequence Tracks' for timeline arranging of audio files

    🤣

  • @SevenSystems said:

    @MisplacedDevelopment said:

    A couple of other workflow thoughts came out of thinking more on this: 1 - Ability to move back/forward between tracks from the piano-roll, or maybe from a dropdown and

    Hmmm... currently, moving to another track takes only two taps -- 1) close the pianoroll (bottom right), 2) double-tap (well OK, three taps!) another clip. Also, how would this work -- how would Xequence know which clip you want to edit on the "other" track? Maybe I'm missing something...

    Good point, I forgot about the timeline being made of clips. With that in mind then it would not make sense to have such an option.

    2 - Should the Draw option in MPE mode use the last assigned channel by default, rather than use the global default? Maybe it could have its own channel selector?

    Currently, the Draw tool uses the first free channel, i.e. for the lower zone, it'll start at channel 2, and if that's free, use it. Otherwise, try channel 3, etc... until it finds a channel that isn't occupied by any other note along the same timespan as the drawn note.

    Would it be useful to instead have an option to always assign the same channel for drawn notes? Just would need to see where to stick that option...

    When using MPE mode to edit multiple channels then I turn off all of the auto-assign options in the MPE menu so that I have control over which is assigned. In the absence of a specific option, and maybe only if all of the auto-select options are disabled, then using the channel that was last selected in process->assign channels could work as a way of deciding which channel to use for new notes.

    Atom 2 does this by having the channel selector as a long-press option on the draw:

  • edited August 8

    @SevenSystems said:

    @prtr_jan said:
    This is almost certainly not a smal thing, but I’ll drop it here:
    Making clips/selections ‘launchable’ by MIDI-notes. Like the ‘Launchpad/Ableton/hold/one-shot…’ modes in Atom 2 or like playing audio clips in different launch-styles in Loopy pro.

    :) yes this gets requested a lot, I've lost count... but it's unfortunately not easy to do given Xequence's architecture.

    Instead of a clip launcher would you be able to add the solo/mute buttons for all MIDI lanes somewhere so that you can access them easily without having to vertically scroll while in the arrangement view? It’d be similar to the Nanostudio 2 screen that shows all of the instruments with their volume, mute, and solo buttons arranged in a grid.

    Concerning bug fixes, I’ve noticed that when I use X2 with Logic Pro X via IDAM I tend to get the “hanging sustained MIDI note bug” A LOT. Unfortunately I won’t be near my computer for a few months to provide more details on this but whenever I push play on X2 and it plays an instrument on LPX and then I modify a note/pause in the middle of a note/drag a note/any action to a note then the instrument gets stuck playing the drone note and it won’t stop until I completely quit LPX and X2. When I go back to the same project the LPX instruments won’t play the correct MIDI notes at all (meaning if I have a note on each downbeat like for a kick then it’ll only play 2 or 3 of the notes instead of 4) even if I change the LPX instrument and/or MIDI channel. The only way to fix it is to create an entirely new LPX project and X2 project and create an entirely new MIDI clip and manually enter the MIDI notes. Even when I export the troubled X2 MIDI clip and use it in a new X2 project it still doesn’t play the correct MIDI notes.

  • @MisplacedDevelopment said:
    I have been using X2 a lot recently now that the AudioBus + AUM + Loopy Pro + X2 workflow works so well.

    Can you please elaborate on this workflow? I have all of these apps, but I have never been able to incorporate loopy pro into my workflow, nor really have i been able to use it alone.. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Ive never been a looper I’ve always been a traditional timeline DAW type of guy. So i just recently bought 4Pockets Audio Recorder with the intention of what I assume would be a similar workflow as you mentioned but with audio recorder in place of loopy pro. I have not done that yet I have not had time to open audio recorder and learn how it works yet.

    Do you have a video link of someone utilizing this workflow? or maybe could explain it to me, please and thank you!

  • @pr4y_4_beats said:

    @MisplacedDevelopment said:
    I have been using X2 a lot recently now that the AudioBus + AUM + Loopy Pro + X2 workflow works so well.

    Can you please elaborate on this workflow? I have all of these apps, but I have never been able to incorporate loopy pro into my workflow, nor really have i been able to use it alone.. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Ive never been a looper I’ve always been a traditional timeline DAW type of guy. So i just recently bought 4Pockets Audio Recorder with the intention of what I assume would be a similar workflow as you mentioned but with audio recorder in place of loopy pro. I have not done that yet I have not had time to open audio recorder and learn how it works yet.

    Do you have a video link of someone utilizing this workflow? or maybe could explain it to me, please and thank you!

    I’ve posted this for you in a separate thread so we don’t derail this one: https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/51449/example-x2-aum-audiobus-setup/

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