The iPad has revolutionized mobile digital audio creation. With a host of amazing, professional level audio software apps, anyone can create brilliant pieces of music with relatively little effort and cost. Instruments and recording devices that can cost thousands of dollars are replicated in all their Retina display glory on our multi-touch capable iOS devices, letting us all get our groove on at a moment’s notice.
One of the biggest drawbacks, of course, comes from the single task nature of iOS itself. When using a synthesizer, for example, musicians can’t send that audio to a preferred multitrack recording app. When trying to build a song with a drum machine app, a keyboard synthesizer, and, say, a looping effects app, the only option used to be sending the audio out, bit by bit, to a connected computer, then re-importing it all into a digital audio workstation app (DAW). This isn’t ideal.
Welcome, then, Audiobus, a live, app-to-app audio streaming system for iOS. Audiobus solves the problem beautifully. Here’s a video showing a synthesizer used with a looping app, side by side, connected via Audiobus.
Notice how simple that is? There was no other way to do this, sans extra hardware, before Audiobus. This is a mighty big deal.
The app comes out of a collaboration between the developer of SoundPrism (a digital instrument and MIDI controller), Sebastian Dittmann, and Michael Tyson, developer of Loopy HD. Dittmann told 148Apps that the initial spark for the concept of Audiobus came from Tyson, who wanted to be able to record live audio output from other apps without extra gear. “Virtual MIDI was around for a few months,” said Dittmann, “and we had apps sending MIDI to each other, so why not send audio?”
Initially, the pair were planning on creating a full multitrack recording workstation, but then reconsidered. “We figured that it would be a better idea to focus on making Audiobus do what it’s supposed to do – route audio – instead of adding features to it that can be provided by other apps,” said Dittmann.
Audiobus is a standalone app with API hooks for developers to build in support for it in their own music apps. “In fact, apps that are built upon Core Audio using Audio Units (Remote IO),” says the Audiobus website, “should be able to build in support in about five minutes flat.” Developers looking to add support in their own apps will also be glad to know that there will be no licensing fee to include the Audiobus API.
The possibilities are fairly endless, of course. Dittmann noted that while multitrack recording seems an obvious fit for the Audiobus software, the full potential of the app is something that will only be realized as users get their fingers on it. Using filtering apps to tweak sounds live or combining MIDI sync with Audiobus are two other ways Dittman has seen Audiobus used successfully. Here’s a video of Dittman recording three different sound production apps into MultiTrack DAW. He uses SoundPrism PRO, Sunrizer and Funkbox all at the same time, with some Virtual MIDI magic thrown in for good measure.
Audiobus isn’t just for electronic instruments, either, as the following video shows. Developer Michael Tyson grabs his guitar, and then connects Loopy HD to loop JamUp, with FunkBox and SoundPrism PRO being filtered by NLog in the mix as well. The result is a delightful little song snippet created on the fly, easily and quickly.
Audiobus should bring about a ton of new creative opportunities for musicians like myself that have been longing to use all these great music creation apps together without having to cobble together hardware, software, or mixing devices outside of the iPad.
The developers recommend using an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, or newer devices. Audiobus is available in the App Store right now for $9.99.
Developer: IK Multimedia
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPhone 5
Integration with iPad/iPhone Rating:
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IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly.
The manufacturer offers the free version of iGrand Piano or SampleTank, both IK Multimedia, as the apps to use with the iRig Keys, but this unit will work with any MIDI app on the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. It comes with an included USB cable to plug into a Mac or PC as well, opening up the use of any core MIDI compliant app on a laptop. I was able to make the keyboard work with iGrand, SampleTank, and GarageBand. The setup was as simple as plugging in the keyboard via the 30-pin dock connector and firing up any one of the keyboard apps on my iPad 3. I didn’t notice a significant battery drain while using the iRig Keys unit, either.
The small size of the iRig Keys is the killer feature, of course, as it can easily fit into a backpack or even just carried by hand. It’s small, light, and the controls and keyboard keys all feel well-made. The keys are indeed velocity sensitive, and the handy data send/volume knob feels solidly attached. The octave up/down buttons don’t feel chintzy at all, and the two expression wheels don’t wobble when used. All in all, the iRig Keys shows a superior build quality that should help it hold up over time as it moves from place to place, in and out of backpacks and shoulder bags.
For on-the-go composition, song recording, or piano practice, iRig Keys works well for an attractive price. The unit is powered by the included iOS or USB cables, but does not draw excessive amounts of power to drain the iPad or iPhone attached to it. The keys are easy to play, feel solid enough for mobile use, and will allow musicians at any level to create and record music as inspiration strikes.
IK Multimedia announced the availability of iRig KEYS, the new teeny keyboard for budding musicians and mobile pros alike. Be sure to head over to the website to see the iRig KEYS in action, and stay tuned for a review right here.
Small enough to fit in a backpack, iRig KEYS offers a unique combination of portability, playability, and functionality. Because it’s class-compliant on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac/PC, it’s plug and play — no driver downloads or software or app installations are necessary. iRig KEYS is also entirely bus powered, via the dock connector on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and the USB port on a Mac or PC, so it can be used virtually anywhere.
IK Multimedia, purveyor of fine musician-quality iOS peripherals and software, has announced a new keyboard today: iRig Keys. This portable keyboard has 37 velocity-sensitive keys, is Core MIDI and USB class compliant, and will work with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac or PC computers. There’s also free software for every platform, and it will work with any other MIDI compliant software, like Garageband.
iRig KEYS will be shipping in Fall 2012 for $99.99/€74.99 (excluding taxes) and will be available from musical instrument and consumer electronics retailers around the world. Pre-orders are now available from the IK Online store and other selected online stores.
The iPad is increasingly becoming a must-have tool for professional and amateur musicians alike. The sheer amount of accessories and tools that can be connected to the iPad for music is amazing. The Carbon 49 by Samson is another one of those musical iPad accessories.
The Carbon 49 is a USB MIDI controller designed with the iPad in mind. The MIDI controller has an iPad slot to hold the iPad and it works with almost any iPad synth or music app that supports MIDI. The Carbon 49 can even be powered by the iPad itself for those musicians that need increased mobility and less wiring to worry about. The controller has 49 velocity-sensitive keys, Transpose and Octave buttons, Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels, 14 adjustable performance-related parameters, and a 3-digit, 7-segment LCD screen that displays the controllers behavior.
Since it’s a ‘USB’ MIDI controller, iPad users will also need the iPad Camera Connection Kit to give the iPad a USB slot to hook the Carbon 49 into. The Carbon 49 is selling at various online retailers (like J&R) at $89.99.
Noted synthesizer and keyboard manufacturer Korg has announced a new iPad-compatible MIDI keyboard for use with various iPad music apps. The microKEY25 is a 25-key MIDI keyboard with a joystick, octave adjustment buttons, arpeggiator and sustain buttons. The keys themselves are velocity-sensing, designed to play chords, and to be customizable using Korg KONTROL Editor software for PC and Mac.
The keyboard connects to the iPad by way of its USB output to the Camera Connection Kit’s USB adapter. When used with MIDI-compatible apps, like Korg’s own iMS-20, it can send keyboard commands to play music and use its key functions to adjust various commands. It is compatible with GarageBand and its built-in MIDI keyboard support. Use VidRhythm to remix videos with the microKEY25. Cross the streams, and use a Korg keyboard to control Animoog! Any app that supports the iOS CoreMIDI framework introduced in iOS 4.2 can be used with a MIDI controller such as this, making it a portable and low-cost option for on-the-go musicians. The keyboard will be available from select music retailers for $69.99.
Here at 148apps.com we’re big fans of the iKlip and its ability to hold iPads and iPhone/iPod Touches (courtesy of the iKlip Mini) – now the manufacturer IK Multimedia has come up with another great tool.
Debuting at last week’s Summer 2011 NAMM show, it’s called the iRig MIDI and it provides iOS device users with the ability to connect MIDI keyboards, drum machines, drum pads and pedal boards, amongst others, to their device. There’s even the addition of a micro USB port that can connect to any standard USB power supply source thus ensuring that the iOS device can stay fully powered during sessions. iRIG Midi crucially ensures that users can use their instruments with apps such as the all mighty GarageBand.
As well as that, bundled with the device is IK’s new SampleTank app which is the mobile version of the software of the same name. It offers 20 studio-quality insert effects that can be applied to each individual instrument along with a master reverb-delay effect.
On paper, iRig MIDI looks to be an ideal tool for any musician who enjoys using their iOS device to create music.
iRig MIDI is coming soon and will be priced at $69.99.
If you think about it, iOS devices are capable computers, able to fit into our pockets or assorted bags. With a variety of musical apps and sound outputs available, why not be able to use them to produce music? While apps that use the touchscreen to simulate musical instruments have been made available, there’s been little in the way of support for actual musical instruments in iOS yet. Well, with the addition of support of the CoreMIDI protocol to iOS 4.2, iOS devices now support a variety of MIDI-capable musical instruments. Hooking them up to your device is the next step – enter iConnect MIDI.
This device from iConnectivity allows you to plug in MIDI devices – 2 through 5-pin DIN MIDI ports, and up to 8 through USB hubs plugged in to the USB ports, with support for output through 2 USB ports that support computers and 3rd generation and up (iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 3rd generation) iOS devices, and 2 5-pin DIN MIDI ports. This video shot at the National Association of Music Merchants show shows several keyboards and drum pads hooked up through iConnect MIDI to an iPad and iPod touch, as an attendee and a couple of iConnectivity employees play a song together, all generated by iOS devices hooked up to iConnect MIDI.
iConnect MIDI appears to work with a variety of hardware, given the flexibility of the MIDI interface – it’s just a question of the apps that support the CoreMIDI libraries, and the developers that are willing to make them. iConnect MIDI doesn’t just work with music, either – as this video shows, it can work with remote control of lighting systems too:
Even as a geek whose most musical experience comes from Rock Band, I can appreciate how impressive this looks – this could mean wonders for music creation as more music apps begin to support CoreMIDI and allow for musicians to use their instruments with their iOS devices to help facilitate music creation wherever. iConnectivity have yet to announce a release date or price for iConnect MIDI, but will be showing off the device at Macworld 2011, January 27-29.