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.

Pick a DAW, any DAW (Er... Help ME pick a DAW)

Hi all. I brought this up in the Cubasis 1.3 Sneak Peak thread, but rather than go majorly off topic I figured I'd start a new thread to get your guidance.

I'm a relative newb to the mobile music making process. Historically I'm a guitarist but I've always danced around the edge of electronic music making. The overhead and complexity of desktop DAWs kept me from diving into it before, but the iOS landscape is awesome, and has totally sparked my interest again.

Over the last couple months I've acquired a number of synths and noisemakers for my iPad Mini, but the only recording target I've had is GarageBand for iOS. It has been a lot of fun, and everything I've recorded so far has come through it. I like GB a lot, actually. It has great virtual instruments IMO. The smart instruments are lots of fun and can keep the creative juices flowing when I don't want to get mired down in the minutia of a backing beat or something. But I think I need more.. the limitations (track #s, effects, kitschy UI, etc) are getting old, and I want to graduate to something I can really work with. Now that GB does Audiobus it's more powerful, but still, I want to move forward.

I'm in love with the Cubasis UI and overall workflow. But I'm worried that it's little more than GB with more tracks. The UI seems brilliant, and it looks like it will be actually fun to immerse myself in. But is that worth $50? On the other hand, I really do like all-in-one DAWs that include instruments, effects, mixing, recording, the works. As nice as Audiobus is, I don't want to be REQUIRED to parcel out each and every function of creating a song to a different app. I think this is why Cubasis is so appealing.. its like GB but not so amateurish. I hope?
I also like the Steinberg seems to be committed to improving Cubasis with updates. They basically put out a beautiful, easy to use foundation, and will add the pro-level stuff over time. I think this is smarter than releasing a DAW with some awful UI and lots of features and making people live with it.

Auria is a powerhouse, but I only have an iPad Mini and an iPad 2. I'm afraid it will be nearly unusable, and I really prize usability and stability. If it's crashing or super laggy, I won't want to use it. My DAW needs to be solid and enjoyable to use. I see some people claiming that with freezing tracks it's manageable, but I don't want manageable, I want enjoyable. Any iPad Mini/2 Auria users who can offer input?

MultiTrack DAW looks like it can handle my recording needs fine, but like I said I really want an all-in-one DAW that can bring instruments and better effects to the table.

Meteor... I get so much mixed info on this its hard to make heads or tails of it. I will say I don't like IAPs for core functionality, but if it's really good (stable, good SQ, and enjoyable to use) then I'd consider it.

Beatmaker 2 -- this is the one that is throwing me off Cubasis the most. In the past I always ignored it because I thought samplers were only for techno geeks, and I was planning to do more guitar-oriented stuff. But after reading some posts and watching some youtube videos, I can see why BM2 is so popular. But then you get Pantsofdeath saying how awful its sounds are and I don't know what to believe!

I know there's no perfect DAW that does everything imaginable, and that's OK. I just want the perfect one for ME :)

MY criteria:

  • Stable on iPad Mini

  • Audio recordings (not just MIDI) - I will be doing guitar & mic recording & mixing, can't just be virtuals

  • MIDI of some kind. Decent built in synth woud be great. Virtual instruments fine too.

  • Good UI - fun to use, not frustrating to use

  • Decent to good effects. I know Auria with its IAPs are the best, but better than GB would be ideal. Though I am a reverb

  • Enough tracks. Doesn't have to be unlimited but at least 16-24 I would think.

  • Good sampler a plus, not required

And before someone says "just buy them all/both", I can't (Right now). Not enough spare fundage at the moment.. maybe one day, but for now, I need the best bang for my buck. I've got like $51 of iTunes store credit, so that's loosely what I'm working with.

Sorry for the long-winded post, I just wanted to open up to get your feedback. Even if you don't have an answer for me, I'd like to hear your opinions and arguments one way or another.

For those interested, here's some of the stuff I've been recording so far. Most of these are works in progress made with DM-1 and GB:

Thanks for the time all,




  • From your criteria it looks like Ciubasis may be the one, but let me further confuse you by putting Meteor into the mix.

  • Haha. I actually mentioned Meteor somewhere in the massive, sprawling jumble of text. But it was basically that nobody likes it so why should I? ;-)

    Another way of phrasing this question might be from the perspective of what I want to do with the apps.

    I want to record guitar and vocals, but I won't realistically need multiple simultaneous live inputs. I'm a one-track-at-a-time kinda guy. Heck, I can barely sing and strum at the same time, so yeah.

    I want to add MIDI synths and rhythm easily and happily to the audio recordings.

    I want to mix decently and have good-quality effects.

    Annnnd... go!

  • I smiled when I read "a DAW with some awful UI and lots of features and making people live with it", as this is a bit how I feel about BM2. That may be being a little unfair, but the Cubasis interface is much cleaner and easier to use (for me a least). Like you I have dithered about Meteor a lot, but I have yet to buy it. My feeling is that Cubasis will suit you best and I believe that Steinberg are commited to upgrading it on a regular basis.

  • @PhilW your comments on BM2's interface are interesting to me, because I got the general impression that BM2 was a pretty good looking app. Most people seem to say there's a learning curve to it, but that its actually pretty well designed once you get the hang of it. The screenshots and videos of it are attractive enough to me.

    My real question/hangup about BM2 is whether its as good as Cubasis for audio track recording and mixing. Obviously Auria takes the cake for mixing, but does BM2 come close to Cubasis for recording from the dock connector, managing tracks, adding effects, looping, etc? Since guitar is a big part of my workflow I want my DAW to handle audio well, not just MIDI (which I know BM2 has in the bag)

  • Cubasis currently lacks automation. That is the biggest gripe about it from a lot of people. I own Cubasis and Beatmaker both. I know Cubasis has a really user friendly way to do things but Beatmaker will probably do more things at this point in time. Cubasis will catch up before you know it though.

    Honestly, for the money spent on Cubasis, you could get Beatmaker, and Jamup pro and have what you are looking for and still pay less than you would for Cubasis. Although the drums in Beatmaker aren't all that great in my opinion.

    If you get Cubasis now though it will eventually be better with updates.

    If you can wrap yourself around Beatmaker and give it a good chance you will find out how really powerful it is.

    Just my opinions.

  • @sealpt thanks for your thoughts. I actually own JamUp Pro already so that's a non issue. But that isn't to say the $30 price difference between Cubasis and BM2 couldn't fund all kinds of other nice noisemakers >:)

    I've been seeing all these posts about BM2's "crackling" issue with AB recordings, but I suppose that will be fixed sooner or later, like Cubasis' undo wipe bug.

    If I were to go with BM2 for primary DAW duties, can it be used as an input to send tracks thru an AB effect app, and then back into itself as an output?

  • I just tried that with beatmaker 2 just now. I selected the Input first, but then it grayed it out for the output. I then tried the same thing with Cubasis and it worked, but was kinda quirky. So... I guess that Beatmaker doesn't work like that.

    Anybody else get Beatmaker 2 for the input and output slots at the same time?

  • Stienberg have been doing this a long long time..and they are very good at it...The entry level Cubasis we know now will only get better and better..I think they were feeling the ios water with this and they now see it as a viable commercial market, and they are not going to go away overnight..Cubasis is so much more than GB..the instruments are good and recording audio is super stable and very easy..the FX are OK but the next update is just around the corner and its a biggy..Iv'e seen screenshots of the new EQ and it looks can import from the general clipboard or ACP..only clipboard with GB...and it's export functions are, soundcloud, ACP, midi..there were a couple of bug with Audiobus but Stienberg sorted them quickly...I cant coment on Auria as I dont use it..but Iv'e heard great stuff..and some not so great..As a guitarist you would not go far wrong with Cubasis..and it doesn't have a massive learning curve so it lets you get on with the job of making music....

  • I just watched some youtube vids of Meteor and it's actually kind of impressive. Seems like it checks a lot of boxes. Ughhhhh now ANOTHER choice :\

  • I was a GB guy only until Audiobus came along, now I own MT Daw and Beatmaker 2 (and Nanostudio as of Saturday, but no AB). I didn't like either of them at first, but now I love both. Each took me a bit to figure out, and I can still get a little lost with BM2, but both fill different needs I have. I also want to pick up Auria/Cubasis and I'm always reading through these threads trying to pick out which would be best for me. The thing I've learned though, is that NO daw will be perfect, and I'm gonna dislike things about all of them.

    Having said that, with only $50 or so, I'd get BM2 and not think twice. It's got midi, a drum machine, keyboard, sampler, etc... But there are so many other apps out there that can be used to expand your creativity, why blow it all on one costly daw? Thumbjam, Samplr, Magellan/Addictive etc out there are all new instruments to learn, whereas a daw is just a bunch of waveforms to tweak. Money comes and goes, you'll find yourself with $50 again, you could upgrade later.

    I would consider getting both actually (MT Daw only has 8 tracks without an IAP, no midi/instruments), and then using BM2 in the input, an effect/eq from Magellan or Remaster etc, and then bouncing groups or track by track down to MT Daw.

  • Beatmaker 2 is my "go to" app for any style of production. Virtually unlimited tracks, decent effects (reverb and delays are pretty good) sampler is incredible...pair this with my custom drum kits, JamUp Pro, and're unstoppable.

  • I know I'm probably running this into the sue this is basically all done in Beatmaker 2, Jamup Pro added in with Audiobus for guitars.

  • People slag off BM2's workflow too much. No, it's not perfect. Yes, it has some issues. But once you know your way around the app, it's a breeze to work with. I'm far more willing to overlook some workflow quirks for the feature set it offers than I am to overlook the sorely missing features in apps like Cubasis or Auria.

    Another common complaint against BM2 is the quality of the effects. However, I've found them to be quite usable, and pretty much everything is automatable. Contrast this with Cubasis, which has effects that are universally described as "average" to "awful", with no automation to speak of. And then you have Auria, which has excellent effects, but you're going to pay for them, that's for sure (not saying they're not worth the money, because they are).

    Cubasis will get better over time, but BeatMaker 2 is king of the hill right now.

    As an aside, I wonder what PSP Audioware and Fabfilter have been up to since the release of Audiobus. They could probably make quite a bit of money selling the plugins they converted for Auria as standalone apps with Audiobus support. I'd love a high quality reverb, but I'm not buying Auria just to get it.

  • Agreed. BeatMaker2 is just great for everything and the fact it works on iPhone as well as iPad is a HUGE plus. The last two songs I did were almost entirely within BM2 and i gotta be honest it's the first time i didn't feel like i was trying to figure out how to do things on iOS.. I could just do them and it was easy. I always recommended Meteor but BM2 has taken that #1 slot.

  • @Ryan: Yeah, BM2 being universal is definitely a huge plus for me as well. I tend to use only apps that are universal so I can work on projects no matter which device I have with me.

    Working on a bigger screen is better than working on a small screen, but working on a small screen beats not working at all.

  • @haunted Well said! I remember prior to AB release, I was trying to figure out if I could "bus" midi somehow, midi i could write on PC and import.. Could not get anything to do it.. Sebastian told me about BM2 and i looked it up in the store and thought it looked like garbage.. Couldn't find any info that'd do what i wanted. It wasn't till about a month ago i actually picked it up... Lesson learned. Does everything i wanted. Always listen to Sebastian. lol :-)

  • Geez guys. I don't know what I was thinking starting this thread, now I'm more torn than ever! ;)
    This is a good problem to have though, I guess!

    It sounds as if BM2s effects are at least as good if not better than Cubasis, but Cubasis is probably more likely to get improved effects in future updates, along with other features.
    Is BM2 frequently updated, and are they worthwhile updates (audiobus aside, are there any significant additions added lately? Is there much hope for better effects, file mgmt, etc?)

    Auria is out. Even if I could make the performance work with freezing tracks and workflow optimization, I don't think I would choose a DAW that had no MIDI as my primary app.

    I've heard a good bit from the BM2 camp the last few posts, but anyone care to argue the opposite? Why Cubasis over BM2?

    I'm off to watch a bunch off YT vids. Love you all! :)


  • @Jesse. I would argue that the foundation of Cubasis lends to a greater potential for growth. As far as BM2, it would take a total overhaul to fix the UI for smoother workflow. I'm also getting good vibes from Steinberg as to where they are taking Cubasis. Their customer relations have improved drastically. I get the feeling that BM2 may be at its destination.

  • @jesse_ohio: BeatMaker 2 gets updated at least every couple of months (more often than that recently). Probably the biggest updates, aside from Audiobus, came last summer with the addition of audio tracks and a 6 band parametric EQ.

    I would imagine once Intua gets all of the Audiobus bugs smoothed out they could focus on improving file management and effects. The devs aren't very chatty on the BM2 forum, but they do listen to user feedback and requests, so if enough people ask for specific improvements, they'll get addressed.

  • @mgmg4871 I got the same impression. Maybe BeatMaker3 will have it all? lol Does Cubasis have automation yet?

  • @Ryan Look like its coming in next update.

  • Another vote for BM2 from me.

    I installed and deleted it several times on account of its obtuse UI before finally sitting down and giving it a proper go about a week or so ago. In terms of flexibility it wins hands down for me now.

    The built in samples are not too great and you'll really question the logic of the way it's been put together sometimes, but if you want to create detailed music without relying on too much in the way of external DAWs BM2 is the way to go.

    At any rate, for its price point and feature list it's definitely worth looking at.

  • Cubasis and GB dont do 24 bit, harmonic dog and auria do. end of story unless you only wanna make demos. that being said the reason i even bought an iphone was because of beatmaker 2. dude, its like having a mpc for $20. i play guitar too. my vote is for bm2 or harmonic dog. oh, if you wanna get into electronic music, try fl studio app. only does 16 bit (on iphone i believe) but thats where you can start doing those electronic 4 to the floor electronic house beats and POSSIbly record guitar tracks too.

  • OK guys, thanks. I'm going to look very, very closely at BM2. I like that at $20, it isn't as much of a risk. As pointed out earlier, if I don't like it, I can always buy Cubasis later and I'm only out $20. If I bought Cubasis first and hated it I could be out $50.

    The thing that is so tempting about Cubasis is the instant intuitive-ness of it. I can figure it all out just by looking at it, no tutorials required. BM2 definitely isn't like that, but perhaps that's where its power lies too.

    @gjcyrus 24-bit doesn't make a big difference to me at this point. I mean I know the arguments for it and all, but I'm an amateur, and I'm more concerned with something that will fuel my creativity, inspire me and make the process enjoyable than something as technically flawless as possible. Besides, doesn't using AB automatically limit the routed audio signal to 16-bit?

  • Any owners of both Cubasis and BM2 care to offer a comparison between them regarding sample quality and effects quality? Also, I've read a lot about replacing stock samples in BM2, either manually or using iFunBox or whatever. Any good resources on finding these? Are there free ones, or IAPs, or just 3rd party manual purchaseable packs?

  • I have both Cubasis and BM2. I agree with others that the stock sounds in both of these apps leave a little to be desired, but BM2 wins imo because of it's flexibility with replacing them. There are TONS of resources out there for BM2 sounds. Just google it (beatmaker 2 sound kits). I think Cubasis does a great job on the UI, but BM2 is a little ahead as far as functionality is concerned. That's just my opinion. I'm sure there are others who feel just as strongly about Cubasis. It's a wonderful app too. I just happen to prefer BM2.

  • edited March 2013

    @gjcyrus I and other people have told you numerous times that BM2 does support 24 bit but it doesn't matter because audiobus doesn't. Yet you continue to use it as your arguing point. Sup?
    BM2 Specs

    @jesse_ohio The Keyboard sampler in BM2 is amazing for sure. You can create the most realistic instruments I have found on iOS with it. If you do get BM2 I'd be happy to help you with any question you come across. :-)

  • Just buy BM2 and get to work....

  • Yes and if you want some decent instruments steal the above 2 characters guitar and drums respectively. Highly recommended.

  • edited March 2013

    OK OK! I bought BM2 on my lunch! :D

    I didn't have much time to delve into it, basically screwed with the demo tracks and played with a bunch of sounds. Yes, a lot of the preset samples seem weak but there were a couple decent ones. I'm definitely interested in adding more though, so any guidance would be appreciated.

    The interface definitely has more of a learning curve than I anticipated. It has great eye candy and a polished look, but there's more tapping required than should really be necessary. Navigating the track view is painful, but I can tell that it will actually be more powerful once I get the hang of it.

    I was having trouble getting a scratch drum beat recorded using the MPC. It kept screwing the timing up... quantizing seemed really agressive. I couldn't find a happy medium for the quantizing where it didn't forcible move my notes way off from where I intended them so I just turned it off. It appears it can't change the quantization after recording either, it only quantizes how you have it set when you start recording, unless you re-record it -- is that true?

    Anyway, this will be interesting. It's definitely not a typical DAW presentation so I will just have to get my mind used to the workflow.

    Thanks for the guidance all!!

Sign In or Register to comment.