Tweet What do you do if the power is out, but you need to charge your cell phone to make an emergency phone call? In this episode of DIY Hacks & How To’s, I show you how to tap the power flowing from your phone line. There is a small amount of electricity that is [...]
The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch are no longer toys when it comes to serious music production. No more will your ‘crippled’ iOS devices be restricted to GarageBand when it comes to laying down a rough mix, and GarageBand itself is no longer the fluffy, family-friendly workstation it once was after a recent update which added support for AudioBus.
AudioBus is serious music production technology that acts like an unending set of cables, allowing you to connect a series of apps together. It’s just like MIDI, working behind the scenes to process and record beats, grooves and melodies from other running apps. There is so much potential in iOS to be the new home producer’s go-to platform for production, and AudioBus for iOS is the missing puzzle piece that’s paving the way.
What Is AudioBus?
AudioBus is an app, which you can download like any other from the App Store for the usual price of $9.99, though as I write this the price has been halved to celebrate a big update to GarageBand. AudioBus is also an interface built into many of the best iOS music making apps, with more apps being added all the time. Once an app is AudioBus compatible it is either an input, an effects processor or a digital audio workstation (DAW).
This is a three-stage system that you should get used to, because it’s likely you’ll be using it a lot. Some apps can function in all three roles, particularly the higher-end advanced synthesizers which support sampling and processing, as well as samplers like Loopy.
As well as being a standalone app, AudioBus must be built-in to any apps that wish to make use of it. The developers would have a lot more supported apps right now if they hadn’t spent so long getting the SDK right, weary of releasing a version that thwarts developers and the iOS producer population with problems. As it stands the SDK is now ready to go, so expect to see a lot more AudioBus compatible apps being released over the coming years.
When you purchase AudioBus you’re not just purchasing an app, you’re also unlocking the potential for your other apps to far surpass what you thought they were capable of. The ability to route audio from one app, into another, manipulate the sound before looping it back into a DAW or sampler essentially means you have a ready-to-use studio and performance hardware in your back pocket.
How Do I Use It?
First thing’s first – AudioBus is only able to operate within the limits of your device’s hardware capabilities. This means older devices like the iPad 2 may struggle compared to the iPhone 5. You will need at least an iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 5G or iPad 2 to play, though the newer your hardware the more you’ll be able to do before you encounter the dreaded crackle. AudioBus is very CPU intensive, and it should go without saying that using it along with 5 or 6 other apps will destroy your battery life.
If you find you’re experiencing popping or crackling then you can increase the buffer size two-fold to 512 frame using the AudioBus settings, located at the top of the screen within the app. This might increase latency (and definitely increase CPU usage) but if you’re depending on a lot of apps interacting you might have no other choice. Remember, performance can only get better from here as Apple supplies faster hardware with each new generation of iOS hardware.
To begin routing apps through AudioBus you must first have some compatible apps. A full list of compatible software can be found on the Apps tab within AudioBus, or by visiting the website. You can also check out our recent post featuring some of the best sub-$10 music making apps for iOS if you’re on a budget. The only tab you really need to worry about is the Connections tab, on which you can add apps using the plus ‘+’ icon next to the Input, Effects and Output sections.
Tap the plus and a list of installed, compatible apps will be displayed – pick one and AudioBus will briefly launch that app before returning to the main interface. You can now add more apps until you are ready to play.
The main AudioBus interface will allow you to quickly switch between and control apps. A new bar should appear on the right-hand side of the screen which lists all currently connected apps, along with the option to switch to them, pause or begin recording depending on the app.
If you’re using an effects processor in stage 2, you might need to enable the speaker output in under the Output section in order to hear anything. That’s pretty much all there is to setting up AudioBus, now you’ve just got to experiment!
Use the bar that appears on the right hand-side of each connected app to control your connections. This bar can be hidden and revealed in much the same way as the iOS notification centre, by swiping from the edge inwards, useful if it gets in the way of your playing. In order to disconnect an app hit the eject button in AudioBus.
But It Crashed?
One thing that AudioBus doesn’t do, and quite possibly won’t do any time soon, is quit in a tidy manner. This is because it’s a background service that stays awake in case you’re still using it, and needs to be told when to quit. You can manually quit AudioBus using the iOS app switcher: double-tap the home button, press and hold the AudioBus icon and then close the app using the cross that appears.
You will have to do this after every time you use the app, which is a small price to pay for the interoperability offered by the service. Similarly, I find GarageBand and JamUp tend to hang in a similar manner after being plugged in to AudioBus, so you might need to force-close them too.
That’s pretty much everything you’ll need to know about AudioBus to make music, a must-have app for hobbyists and professionals alike. Take sources, route them through processors and record them in a DAW. Expect to see the refinement and further expansion of this system as our devices become increasingly powerful over the next few generations, and expect your bank balance to suffer as a result of the ever-increasing number of quality audio apps out there.
Download: AudioBus for iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch ($9.99)
Want to take a load off your iOS device’s CPU, battery life, and cellular bandwidth by preventing certain apps from running in the background? Sure, you could install a tweak like WeeCloseApps, but it doesn’t set automatic profiles for app behavior, and it doesn’t work on non-jailbroken devices.
Luckily, there’s a powerful iOS file browser for Mac and PC called iFunBox, which works on both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices. Among its features, iFunBox allows users to edit ‘Power Saving Mode’ profiles. Right click on an installed app and you can set one of three multitasking states: allow background, always background, and kill switch. ‘Allow background’ is the default state of most apps, while ‘always background’ is normally applied to music and podcasting apps that you’d want active in the background, and ‘kill switch’ is applied to power-hungry games…(…)
Read the rest of Use iFunBox’s ‘Power Saving Mode’ to prevent select apps from running in the background
Sonuus, maker of Guitar to MIDI hardware, has released a Universal iOS app that gives you all the same functionality in app form. Their hardware units are around $100, so this is a pretty nice deal as a $2 app! The price goes up to $10 next month.
The Sonuus G2M – Universal Guitar-to-MIDI Converter app delivers high-performance, low-latency, MIDI conversion for guitar (and other musical instruments). Featuring the same pitch-to-MIDI technology used in Sonuus’ acclaimed hardware products, the G2M app gives you an easy, low-cost way to enter the world of MIDI guitar.
This G2M app gives you access to the same technology of the Sonuus hardware G2M:
- Any electric guitar can be used as a solo MIDI guitar: i.e., it’s universal.
- No guitar modifications or special pickups required.
- Robust note detection — minimises wrong notes.
- Velocity detection of notes, so your playing dynamics are translated into MIDI messages.
- Fast, accurate pitch-bend determination, or alternative chromatic mode.
- Very low latency & very fast tracking.
- Built-in, precise tuner.
These features combine to do something that no other MIDI converters can do: accurately capture the musicality and phrasing of what you are playing. Whether you want to lay down a MIDI bass line, or a saxophone solo, the G2M ensures the musical nuances of what you play are retained.
Check out this really instructional video about how to us non-Audiobus compatible apps with Audiobus using two devices and a guitar interface
After the iOS 6 update removed the old Google Maps made by Apple from the iOS platform Google’s own Google Maps app was probably among the 10 most anticipated apps of all time. Finally it is here. Released just a few minutes ago worldwide Google Maps for iOS is now available in the iTunes Store.
It has full turn-by-turn navigation, street view, local search, public transit directions and everything else you expect from Google. You can also sync favorite places between your computer browser and your phone for easy trip planning.
The app is free, beautiful, fast and easy to navigate. Five out of five stars from me.
iTunes 11 just came out, and if you’ve upgraded, you know that it has changed many of the familiar features and moved many of them to different places. Let’s take a look at the different ways to use iTunes 11 the right way, with the following tips and tricks.
Quickly Add Songs To iTunes 11′s ‘Up Next’ Feature
iTunes 11 has a new feature called Up Next. It’s a way to let you know what is going to play next, of course, which is cool when you’re shuffling iTunes tracks, but it’s also a way to set up a playlist of sorts, letting you manage what songs come up at a party, for example.
There are a couple of different ways to add songs to the Up Next queue as well.
The first way is simple — just drag an item from the iTunes library window onto the iTunes LCD area, right there at the top, where the song title of what’s playing now is. You can drag a single song, a whole playlist, an album, whatever you like. The iTunes LCD window will show a blue border around it to let you know that it’s being added, and the Up Next icon will flash with the cover art of whatever you’ve added.
The second, less intuitive way to add an item to the Up Next playlist is to press the Option key while you hover your cursor over an item in the iTunes library window. The track number right by the track name will change to a dark gray plus icon. Click that to add it to Up Next, and iTunes will play it next.
Change The Search Feature Back To The Older Functionality
iTunes 11 has undergone many different visual tweaks and changes, not all of which may be welcome. One of the big ones is how the Search field works. By default, when you type in your search term, a drop down menu appears under the Search field, listing the songs, albums, or apps that include those search terms. This can be handy for searching the whole of iTunes at once, but you might want to use the older style of search, using the sidebar to filter the search results within the different media types.
Here’s how to revert iTunes 11 to the older style.
First up, be sure to enable the search bar by going to the View menu selecting Show Sidebar. Alternatively, you can hit Option-Command-S on your keyboard to toggle the Sidebar off and on.
Now, type in a search term. Notice how iTunes 11 puts a list of all different media in a drop down menu? Click on the magnifying glass to the left of the Search field, and then click to deselect the Search Entire Library option. This will limit the search to whatever media type is selected in the Sidebar on the left.
Now you will get to decide how to search for things in your iTunes library, depending on how you’ve set up the Search function.
Find Your Genius Playlists Again
As you may have noticed, iTunes 11 has switched a few things around. One of them is how the Genius playlists work. Previously, once you started a Genius playlist, you could save it as a stand-alone playlist, or you could replace it with the next Genius list you created. That’s a bit different now in iTunes 11.
First of all, you’ll need to turn Genius on. In iTunes 11, the easiest way is to head up to the Store menu, and choose Turn Genius On with a click. Then enter your iTunes account information, agree to the terms and conditions, and iTunes 11 will send your song info to Apple to allow it to give you Genius suggestions.
Wait for iTunes to send the info to Apple, and receive data back from the mothership. You’ll then be ready to roll.
Now, right click (Control-click) a song in your iTunes library, and you’ll see you have a couple of choices. The first, ‘Start Genius,’ creates a playlist of songs based on your seed song and places them into your Up Next playlist. The second option, Create Genius Playlist, will be more familiar to readers like James H., above, as it works similar to the older versions of iTunes.
When you choose Create Genius Playlist, your seed song will make a Genius list and place it in the Genius Playlists section of the Sidebar. You’ll either need to show the Sidebar with Option-Command-S and click on Genius there in the Sidebar, or you’ll need to click on the Music from the Library pop-up menu, then click the Playlist tab at the top, between Genres and Radio.
Bonus tip, when viewing a Genius playlist, you’ll see a gray arrow to the right of the name of the playlist, itself based on the title of the seed song. If you Command-click that gray arrow, you’ll add the entire Genius playlist to the Up Next playlist, which essentially does the same thing as ‘Start Genius’ option does, above. This way, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Find The Download Manager Again
Look, iTunes 11, I love you and all, but where’s all my stuff? First I needed to figure out the Up Next thing, retool my Search habits, figure out how to make a Genius playlist again, and now I can’t even find the Downloads window. What gives?
If you’re in the same boat, we’re here to help. If you have re-enabled the Sidebar, you’ll notice that there’s no way to click on Downloads any more. Even when there’s a download happening. Here’s the thing: the Downloads window will never be there. iTunes 11 has moved it. Here’s how to find it again.
Audiobus to launch on Monday, December 10th 2012.
It will cost 9.99 US$ and it’s going to be available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch on iOS 5.0 and later.
Supported apps at launch will be, in alphabetical order:
Funkbox (input slot)
JamUp XT (effects slot)
JamUp Pro XT (effects slot)
Loopy (input and output slot)
Loopy HD (input and output slot)
MultiTrack DAW (output slot)
NLog MIDI Synth (input, effects and output slot)
NLog Synth PRO (input, effects and output slot)
Rebirth for iPad (input slot)
SoundPrism Pro (input slot)
Sunrizer Synth for iPad (input slot)
We’ll be starting a limited second wave of Audiobus apps – limited so we can rapidly respond to any potential remaining issues – by giving another 25 developers access to the SDK. These developers will be selected from the list of developers who have expressed interest in acquiring access to the SDK – currently that’s a list more than 700 entries strong.
After a sufficient amount of apps from the second wave of developers have been approved by App Review and feedback is favorable, we’re going to make the SDK public. This is going to happen in the next months.
For those asking themselves how long it takes a developer to implement Audiobus support into their app: It depends on the complexity of the app and level of integration. The fastest teams have done it in one day. Testing and submission to App Review is typically the most time-consuming part.
We’re currently finalizing the manual and we’re going to post videos demonstrating the less obvious features of Audiobus over the course of this week to shorten the wait.
Sebastian uses MultiTrack DAW to record SoundPrism PRO, Sunrizer and Funkbox, with some Virtual MIDI magic. What are you going to do with Audiobus?