Audiobus 2 — Checking out Multi-Routing on an iPad 2

At the time of our review of Audiobus 2, I hadn’t yet picked up its multi-routing feature available through in-app purchase. Intrigued by the possibilities of chaining effects — even on my resource-constrained iPad 2 — I bit the bullet, and here’s what was discovered.

Audiobus 2 Multi-Routing on the iPad 2

As I am more focused on the iPad for creating loops, beats, and its array of innovative synth apps, I don’t have much need to run 6 separate tracks into Garage Band or any other iOS DAW simultaneously. I figured a smaller Audiobus setup would be musically useful and still be able to run smoothly on the old iPad.

First off, using my standard 512 frames buffer setting with Audiobus, I tried a two route preset with one route having DM1 running through the iVCS3 used as an effect. The second route used iMini through the Moog Filtatron and Echo Pad in series. Both routes were sent to Garage Band for recording.

Audiobus 2 Multi-Routing Screenshot

Despite this pretty picture, I couldn’t get this Audiobus 2 preset to work properly on my old iPad 2. I had more success by simplifying things. Screenshot by Author.

I simply couldn’t get this setup to work. Apps were consistently going to sleep two or three at a time; garbled sound was coming out of the DM1 route, with clock running much slower than the expected 120 bpm. No sound came out of the iMini route.

I simplified things somewhat, replacing the iVCS3 with JamUp Pro XT and getting rid of the Filtatron. This became a bit more useful. I was able to play my DM1 loop, running it through JamUp with nary an issue. Adding an arpeggiation on iMini through Echo Pad led to occasionally garbled sound, but I wondered what actually got recorded in Garage Band.

As I suspected, non-garbled audio successfully ended up in Garage Band as an audio track. Now I’ve got an experimental distorted drum loop — a waltz even — with a delayed synth line on top. Nice. Raising the buffer to 1024 samples helped the recording performance even more.

I also enjoyed success running the iSEM on a single route through an effects chain made up of JamUp Pro XT and the Moog Filtatron. No audio hiccups nor app crashes impacted the session.

Since I really enjoy the experimental aspect of music creation, Audiobus 2’s limitations on my older iPad 2 aren’t a showstopper, but nonetheless I smell a tablet upgrade coming.

The Bottom Line is an Upgrade to a newer iPad is coming

Recent apps like Korg Gadget, Stroke Machine, and now Audiobus 2’s multi-routing feature really put a processor pinch on older iPads. I’d still recommend springing for the Audiobus 2 in-app purchase to get multi-routing functionality; the developers deserve the scratch anyway for the state-saving and preset management features.

Expect iOS 8 to be incompatible with the iPad 2 (iOS 9 for sure), so its days as a relevant part of Apple’s tablet lineup are numbered. It looks like I’ll be happily picking a newer iPad sooner than later. Not having to deal with the iPad’s crappy 30-pin connector — Apple’s worst invention — simply adds to the joy.


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