It’s that time again for another episode of Musician’s Corner, where we discuss all things musical for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Last week, we went hands-on with the Mikey Digital. I’ve been using that little microphone constantly. I love it. If you have anyone in your life that uses their iPhone on the go for recording audio, you should definitely look into getting it for them for Christmas.
This week, we dug a little deeper into the workings of AudioBus. You may remember that, last Monday, our own Bryan Wolfe announced the launch of this amazing new app. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with AudioBus and have an in-depth review for those wondering if it is worth the price.
AudioBus is a conduit that lets your music apps speak to each other. If you’ve felt frustrated that you can’t play the drumbeat samples from DrumJam at the same time as creating sound loops with SunrizerXS synth, then you are in for a real treat. Now, AudioBus connects these, and many other apps, together so that you can use them at the same time and even record your live performances for safe keeping.
To use AudioBus, the first thing you will need is a handful of music apps. The ever-growing list of supported apps includes Rebirth for iPad, JamUp Pro, Sunrizer, Loopy, SoundPrism, MultiTrack DAW, and many more. Don’t download this app and then complain that it doesn’t support your favorite apps. If you don’t see them on the list, don’t buy the app.
If you have more than one of the apps listed on AudioBus’ summary page, or you are ready to spend the money on the supported apps, then you can download AudioBus and get started.
Users start by adding supported apps to Audiobus. To add an app, tap the (+) plus button for input, effects, and output. AudioBus will automatically recognize which apps on your device are compatible. You can add up to three to the input section. The effect section lets you add apps that alter the sound of your synthesizers. In the output section, you can use apps like Loopy or ThumbJam for creating additional sounds, or you can use recording apps like MultiTrack DAW to record both the drum and synth tracks at once.
Once you’ve connected the apps you want to use, tap the thumbnail icon to launch them. You can then go into each app and start using it to make your music. For example, tap the DrumJam app to start your drum loop. Then, open the ThumbJam app to create a loop of some interesting synthesizer sound you’ve made. Then, tap the effects app, like JamUp, to adjust the tone, treble, and so on, of the existing audio tracks. Then, tap the output app to start recording your masterpiece in stereo with an app like MultiTrack DAW.
Whenever you visit one of the apps, an AudioBus sidebar will appear that shows you the rest of your connected apps. You can either tap the play, pause, or record button (depending on what the app does) or tap the “go-to” icon to switch to that app. If the sidebar gets in your way, you can drag it off the screen.
I had a couple of problems while experimenting with AudioBus. At one point, I was loading up the compatible apps when the AudioBus crashed on me. Additionally, whenever I switched to SunrizerXS synth, there was a drop out of sound for about a half a second. I also had trouble watching some of the support videos. I was using an iPhone 5 running iOS 6.0.1.
I highly suggest using AudioBus with the iPad over the iPhone. There are a handful of supported apps that are iPad specific. Additionally, the interface is much better with the iPad’s larger landscape.
This app eats up a lot of your battery life. I’d estimate that you will lose 1 percent of you battery for every two to three minutes that AudioBus and its supported apps are open. You will also have to shut the app down in multitasking to make sure it stops running. There is a big red bar that appears at the top of your screen, so it won’t be easy for you to forget about it.
This app could literally revolutionize the way we use music apps on the iPhone and iPad. Right now, AudioBus only supports about 20 apps, but they are constantly adding more and the developers are promising more than 750 supported apps in the near future. Anyone who uses multiple synthesizer and effects apps will appreciate how important this technology is.
Is it worth ten bucks? Absolutely. It is worth twice that if you regularly use multiple apps like Loopy, NLog Synth, and DrumJam. Visit the app’s summary page and see the list of apps that are currently supported with AudioBus. If you own at least two of them and have ever wished you could use them simultaneously, then this app is worth the money.
Thanks for visiting Musician’s Corner. Tell us what your favorite music apps and accessories are. You can either email me directly or leave a comment below. Speaking of leaving a comment, no one told me about their favorite Christmas album last week. Am I writing to myself here?
This time, I want to know who your favorite artist or group of 2012 was. Mine? Replica from Oakland, CA (check them out, they are awesome).