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.

Notion Mobile vs. other notation apps for iPad - thoughts?

I have Notion Mobile on my iPad and I like it, but the reviews on the app store are pretty negative on the recent versions, and changes to the UI. I've heard good things about Dorico and MuseScore, and Sibelius, among others. Notion is one of the cheaper choices, even with IAP's for the extra features and instrument sounds, so I factored that in. Any thoughts on how it compares to other similar apps, and how it compares to the older versions?

Comments

  • Notation as an app type is not a huge concern here but there might be a few. I eagerly downloaded Notion Modile and paid for the handwriting update too. At the time I was seeking better was to get from idea to sound. I tried making some music in Notion Mobile and passing the “Music XML” or MIDI outputs over to Staffpad for better sound. That was a good deal but adding notes into Notion Mobile was about as labor intensive as a pencil in StaffPad so I gave up. Notion does produce an audio rendering but it would never pass the Turing Music Test (is it a real ensemble of humans?). It’s similar to many other apps like SF2 libraries you can install in AudioLayer.

    I suspect Dorico might be more stable for traditional Notation purposes but that’s just not my thing… I don’t publish or print for humans to play my crazy musical experiments.

  • edited December 2023

    I'm not a heavy transcriber, but for general use, I find Notion to be fairly solid, although I only use the free version. I prefer it over Dorico and Musescore, but they are also free to try as well, so you might as well give them a whirl and see what you think.

    My only complaint about Notion is that you can't loop measures (this is true with Dorico as well), so I often end up using Synthesia when I'm learning a new song as it's easy to loop (I usually turn off the falling notes and just use the sheet music).

    I really wanted to love Musescore, but I had bad luck with crashes and other bugs before I settled on Notion/Synthesia.

  • I tried the biggest names in notation app. Notion, staffpad, muse.
    I tried very hard to love them. But they are just too slow for me. My thoughts were I would get faster ideas to sound using those apps, but I couldn’t get used to it. I’m like 10 times faster with pen and paper and then just playing. The Apple Pencil hand writing recognition doesn’t work for me.
    The biggest disappointment was staffpad. I really wanted to make it work, but nope.
    Also the export to midi and import in NS2 is a cumbersome extra step.
    I’m therefore back to what really worked for me: pen and paper.

  • @jo92346 said:
    I tried the biggest names in notation app. Notion, staffpad, muse.
    I tried very hard to love them. But they are just too slow for me. My thoughts were I would get faster ideas to sound using those apps, but I couldn’t get used to it. I’m like 10 times faster with pen and paper and then just playing. The Apple Pencil hand writing recognition doesn’t work for me.
    The biggest disappointment was staffpad. I really wanted to make it work, but nope.
    Also the export to midi and import in NS2 is a cumbersome extra step.
    I’m therefore back to what really worked for me: pen and paper.

    I get that… if you are writing for your own playback then this is the fastest was to get down ideas to prepare for recording.
    Do you use chord notation too or literally work out he inversions and voicings you will record? In other words do you create lead sheets of melodic ideas with chords over the top or write multiple staffs to get all the vertical details worked out.

  • Ooh a Notion Mobile thread.
    I've discovered this in the last few months and love it.
    I just use the on-screen piano to enter notes, it is very fiddly to place them by screen taps.
    It's not desktop quality in terms of sounds but they are good, supporting many of the common articulations.
    I started playing with it with the intent to understand voice leading and 4 part harmony visually, but I instead have ended up working on an orchestral arrangement of a piece by a forum member.
    I haven't asked their permission yet, and may not finish it this year as I've never written for orchestra before, so for now you'll have to guess what this could be, the first 8 bassoon bars below are the giveaway:

    Be really interested to hear how Notion mobile compares to Dorico or StaffPad too.
    I can't really see many extra notation features I'd want, but even better sounding instruments and better control over 'expressivity' would be good.
    Perhaps someone who has a few of these tools could load the same piece in each one and do a sound test?

  • McDMcD
    edited December 2023

    There is no comparison between Staffpad and the other IOS apps that render from notation. The only thing close sound wise is the free Mac/Windows MuseScore that uses sounds created by the StaffPad team. Those sounds are included free with IOS StaffPad now.

    Check out Staffpad compositions on YouTube. I keep a running thread of my Staffpad Sketches here. The recent update added MIDI to notation and “piano audio” using the iPad mic to notation.

    We can move scores are in these apps with Music XML or MIDI. The difference in rendered sound is pretty stark. The pain of StaffPad is the $90 cost and the required Apple Pencil but writing notes is pretty cool but frustrating when the music gets complicated. Your score would be easy to input. It’s the complex syncopations or multi-headed chords that kill you like piano music. I’ll often just split piano complexity across several piano staves which sounds great but looks funny to a real pianist. For me it’s all about the sound and not the notes on a virtual page.

    Staffpad also lets you import audio and video tracks into a score which is great for drums which are hell to notate with a pencil unless you use the multi-stave tricks or import MIDI drum parts.

  • @McD said:

    @jo92346 said:
    I tried the biggest names in notation app. Notion, staffpad, muse.
    I tried very hard to love them. But they are just too slow for me. My thoughts were I would get faster ideas to sound using those apps, but I couldn’t get used to it. I’m like 10 times faster with pen and paper and then just playing. The Apple Pencil hand writing recognition doesn’t work for me.
    The biggest disappointment was staffpad. I really wanted to make it work, but nope.
    Also the export to midi and import in NS2 is a cumbersome extra step.
    I’m therefore back to what really worked for me: pen and paper.

    I get that… if you are writing for your own playback then this is the fastest was to get down ideas to prepare for recording.
    Do you use chord notation too or literally work out he inversions and voicings you will record? In other words do you create lead sheets of melodic ideas with chords over the top or write multiple staffs to get all the vertical details worked out.

    Sorry missed that.
    I rarely use chord notation, just because most of the time the music is quite all done in my head, all I do is transcribe my thoughts, roughly sometimes, and when all the basic score is written, I can start working the details. It is very rare I sit with a blank page and try to figure out something to write. If the music isn’t in my head, there is almost nothing I can do. Must be why I suck so much at improvising.

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