As I posted a week or so ago, two new applications have appeared recently that allow you to send MIDI data between iOS hardware and a Mac desktop computer running OSX; Music IO from Secret Base Design and Midimux from AppBC. While they offer users a somewhat different workflow, both provide a very simple means of sending MIDI data back and forth between (for example) your iPad and Mac computer using nothing more than the standard USB-to-Lightning or USB-to-30-pin cables; no extra MIDI hardware is required. Having tried both apps, I was very impressed with the results. Setting up is simple and the connections seem both reliable and low latency.
As I also mentioned, both developers were promising to deliver audio connectivity via USB to sit alongside the MIDI connectivity in quick order. AppBC seem to be first of the mark and their new app – Audiomux – arrived on the App Store late yesterday. The app is currently priced at UK£4.99, is a 4MB download, is universal and requires iOS7.0 or later. It is a separate app from Midimux and, like Midimux, requires a small ‘server’ app to also be running on your Mac (and available as a free download from the AppBC website).
On your iOS device, Audiomux requires you to use Audiobus and you can place Audiomux within the Audio Output slot to then route it via the USB connection to the server app sitting on your Mac. Aside from running the app itself on both iPad/iPhone and the server on your Mac, there is no other configuration required. A new audio device then appears on your Mac and this provides a stereo audio device – with both input and output – within OSX.
Depending upon how you are going to use this audio link – and the audio/DAW software you are running on under OSX – there might be a little extra bit of configuration to be done in terms of audio settings. For example, in order to get Cubase to see both my usual Scarlett audio interface and Audiomux at the same time, I had to create an ‘aggregate audio device’ using the OSX Audio+MIDI Setup options (if you are not sure how to do this, a quick Google will some explain it).
However, once this was done, I was then able to activate the audio inputs created by Audiomux within Cubase and use then as an audio source with any audio track. You get a single stereo input and a single stereo output only so, if as in my screenshot shown here, you were actually running multiple iOS apps, their audio output is combined within the iPad before passing via the USB connection to your Mac. This is not such a major restriction in a recording context as you can easily monitor in this fashion while developing a song idea and then simply render each instrument/app as a separate pass to your desktop DAW/sequencer to get more control at the final mix.
However, if you have multiple iOS devices, you can run each of these with Audiomux and each will get its own audio in/out under iOS. In the limited time I’ve had with the app so far I have not had a chance to try this – or sending audio from OSX to iOS – or running Audiomux and Midimux side-by-side. I will, however, try these various options before putting together a full review of the app next week.
Once configured, I had no problems getting audio from my iPad and into Cubase running on my iMac. Again, without needing any additional hardware, this is a very neat solution and the performance seemed to be solid. The only thing I couldn’t work out was how to mute the audio from my iPad’s own speakers so that I was only hearing the iOS app’s sound via Cubase… although I’m sure there will be a simple workaround (such as plugging in some ear buds), it would be great, if technically possible, if Audiomux could offer the ability to mute the actual audio going to the internal speakers.
If you are into the integration of iOS and OSX in your music making process, Midimux and Audiomux are going to be a very interesting combination. Separately, the apps are currently priced at UK£7.99 and UK£4.99 respectively but there is a bundle pricing option in Apple’s approval queue apparently. It will be very interesting to see the Music IO take on this process when that arrives… However, as soon as I’ve fully explored what Audiomux – with and without Midimux – has to offer, I’ll post a full review.