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)
Roland today released this video celebrating the 30th Anniversary of MIDI, which has become a massively important industry standard, due to the vision of Sequential Circuit’s Dave Smith, Roland’s Ikutaro Kakehashi and others.
For a 30 year-old standard, MIDI is going strong. In just the last few weeks, we’ve seen the standard show up in MIDI Tesla Coils, an iPad MIDI sequencer, new MIDI instruments and your Web browser.
In addition to noting the wide range of vendor support for MIDI, it highlights some of the standard’s more unusual applications, like musical fountains. And then there’s the MIDI-controlled skull.
Pretty amazing for something that started with connecting a couple of synths together, back in 1983……
If you’re the early adopting type living in an Apple ecosystem, you probably upgraded to iTunes 11 almost as soon as the bits reached the servers. You might not have noticed that Apple gave its iOS Remote app and Apple TV firmware shots in the arm to match. Of the two, Remote 3.0 is the larger update and brings a simpler UI that also takes advantage of iTunes’ new Up Next feature to add or prune out songs in ongoing playlists on a host computer. iPad owners reap the most rewards — the album view now expands in place to quickly drill down to a specific track. Apple TV viewers aren’t quite so coddled, although they too get Up Next support for iTunes 11 (and iTunes Match) as well as the usual rounds of speed-ups and bug fixes; we imagine a solution to some of the troubles with 5.1 is part of the package. No matter which update fits into your vision of musical harmony, you’ll find details at the source links.
New YouTube iOS app arrives, gives service a home on iPhone 5. YouTube is set to be without a home on the iPhone 5, so Google has released a new version of the service for iOS.
The app brings advertising to the service for the first time on iOS and is available from the Apple Appstore now.
Speaking about the app, Google said on its blog: ‘The new app is built by YouTube engineers, to give our iPhone and iPod touch users the best mobile experience.’
New features on the app include tens of thousands more videos, new YouTube channel guide, faster search functionality and better sharing.
At the moment, the app is for iPhone and iPod users but there will be an iPad optimised version ‘in the coming months’ according to Google.
Back in August, Apple confirmed that it was severing ties with YouTube and would no longer pre-load the app on to its devices when iOS 6 rolled out.
This prompted Google to create a new app and have it downloadable from the app store.
This isn’t the first time Apple has shunned Google – it also revealed back at WWDC, when it first announced iOS 6, that it was no longer using Google Maps, preferring to partner with TomTom for its own version of the software.
A tribute to Bob Moog, sonic doodler: “In the mid-1960s, Dr. Robert Moog unleashed a new universe of sounds into musicdom with his invention of the electronic analog Moog Synthesizer. The timbre and tones of these keyboard instruments (true works of art in and of themselves) would come to define a generation of music, featuring heavily in songs by The Beatles, The Doors, Stevie Wonder, Kraftwerk and many others.
When people hear the word ‘synthesizer’ they often think ‘synthetic’—fake, manufactured, unnatural. In contrast, Bob Moog’s synthesizers produce beautiful, organic and rich sounds that are, nearly 50 years later, regarded by many professional musicians as the epitome of an electronic instrument. ‘Synthesizer,’ it turns out, refers to the synthesis embedded in Moog’s instruments: a network of electronic components working together to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.
With his passion for high-tech toolmaking in the service of creativity, Bob Moog is something of a patron saint of the nerdy arts and a hero to many of us here. So for the next 24 hours on our homepage, you’ll find an interactive, playable logo inspired by the instruments with which Moog brought musical performance into the electronic age. You can use your mouse or computer keyboard to control the mini-synthesizer’s keys and knobs to make nearly limitless sounds. Keeping with the theme of 1960s music technology, we’ve patched the keyboard into a 4-track tape recorder so you can record, play back and share songs via short links or Google+.
Special thanks to engineers Reinaldo Aguiar and Rui Lopes and doodle team lead Ryan Germick for their work, as well as the Bob Moog Foundation and Moog Music for their blessing. Now give those knobs a spin and compose a tune that would make Dr. Moog smile!
(Via The Official Google Blog.)
Besides using Skype for instant messaging and video chats, a musician has found a way to use the service to his advantage – by giving his fans personal one on one concerts over the internet. Denison Witmer, a singer/songwriter, had to turn down a tour to spend time with his wife and newborn child but he still wanted to keep performing for other people. Fortunately with the technology available today – he managed to make it happen.