In the year or so since its release, Audiobus has essentially revolutionized the iPad music scene; even influencing Apple to add Inter App Audio in iOS 7. This week saw the first major update to Audiobus, and the new features make this the app a must for any musician involved in beatmaking and recording on their iPad. Best of all — the update is free (the app itself is a reasonable $4.99); although some functionality is available with an in-app purchase.
A Closer Look at Audiobus
Audiobus allows audio to be routed between apps on the iPad. In the Audiobus nomenclature, apps can either be Inputs, Effects, or Outputs; with some apps able to serve multiple roles. After starting up, it is a simple process to select your desired app from a list of those compatible with Audiobus; an overlaid transport control helps to switch between apps as well as control recording and playback.
For example, you can run Stroke Machine through Echo Pad as an effect and record everything in BeatMaker 2. Nearly all of the important iPad music apps support Audiobus.
One of the first major features in the new update really ups the usability factor. Audiobus now supports the saving of presets, which means a previously saved app setup can be loaded in one fell swoop. Musicians should definitely appreciate this added convenience.
Presets are related to another major new Audiobus 2 feature — saving the state of an app. So when you load a preset your synth patches and parameter settings are loaded as well — this is so cool! Remember that music app developers need to update their wares to support state saving; expect most of them to do just that over the next few months.
Just these two features by themselves really trumps what Inter App Audio is able to do; never mind that IAA runs like a dog on my iPad 2. I had no problem setting up a few presets and then reloading them in Audiobus. I recorded some Arturia iSEM synth tracks into Garage Band using JamUp Pro XT as an effect — no issues at all. Boom!
Multi-Routing available through an In-App Purchase
Spending $4.99 on an in-app purchase adds Multi-Routing to Audiobus 2. This allows you to build multiple audio pipelines in one Audiobus session. Multiple effects can also be chained in series — the use-case that interests me the most.
I’ve yet to jump on this feature (update: check out our review of Audiobus 2 Multi-Routing), as I wonder about the limitations on my resource-constrained iPad 2, just like Korg Gadget. I also do most of my music creation and overdubbing in ProTools on the desktop, with the iPad serving as one of my instruments. Still, I’ve heard promising things from other iPad 2 owners, so I expect to dive in soon enough; you’ll read about it here at TabMuse.
I can’t forget to mention the new streamlined interface in Audiobus 2, giving it more of an iOS 7 design feel. As mentioned earlier, everything runs like a charm on my iPad 2.
Audiobus really is THE must have app for anyone doing music on the iPad, and the new update really cements that status. It runs much better than IAA for me, and the addition of presets and state saving definitely ups the ante regarding usability. Maybe the developers can work next on a “MIDIBus” app that brings robust sequencing, metadata, presets, and state saving to the apps supporting CoreMIDI and Virtual MIDI on the iPad? Please?