I’ve posted a couple of things recently on using insert and send effects as part of an iOS recording workflow. The first of these looked at the basic concepts behind insert an send effects while the second looked at how you could create a sort of ‘DIY send effect’ solution for Cubasis that allows you to use some of the excellent iOS effect apps – such as AudioReverb, VocaLive, AUFX:Space or AUFX:Dub – and apply their high quality processing after you have recorded your audio parts (vocals, guitars, etc.) instead of having to apply them during the recording process.
Cubasis can achieve this ‘trick’ as it is capable of appearing in both the Input and Output slots of Audiobus at the same time. One of the other major iOS DAWs – Auria – is also capable of the same kind of thing, but the steps required are slightly different. This post, therefore, will provide a guide to the same ‘DIY send effects’ idea but look specifically at how to achieve it with Auria.
Step 1 – getting started
As in the Cubasis ‘how to’, let’s use a fairly typical example to illustrate this process in Auria; a music project where we have recorded all our main parts and now wish to add some effects like reverb and delay to our lead vocal. Auria is, of course, equipped with its own effects processors for these types of effects but, again, let’s assume that you think that, for this project, AudioReverb is better suited to the reverb treatment that you have in mind.
Fig. 1 shows the example Aria project with the vocal track that we are interested in processing as track 4.
Step 2 – setup Auria in Audiobus
We then need to make sure we have Audiobus running and Auria correctly configured within Audiobus. Fig. 2 shows the one key element of this configuration. Auria is already siting in the Output slot. We now need to add Auria to the Input slot as well. However, when we do this, note that in the list of available Input apps, Auria has a small blue arrow icon next to its entry. We need to tap on this arrow.
When you tap on this, you then see a list of Auria outputs appear (Fig. 3).
There are a number of audio routing possibilities this creates but, for this task, select AUX 1 by tapping on it and Auria will then continue to load into the Audiobus Input slot (Fig. 4).
What we have essentially done here is told the ‘Input slot’ instance of Auria to route any audio from mixer’s Aux 1 outputs through to the Audiobus Effects slot.
Step 3 – add your effects app
We now need to select which iOS effects processor app we wish to add to the Audiobus Effects slot. For this example, I’m going to use AudioReverb to add some reverb to the vocal track (Fig. 5).
Step 4 – configure Auria’s input/output settings
If we now return to Auria’s mixer, we can see that a new track has automatically been created. Indeed, you might well see two tracks have been created; one labelled ‘Auria’ and which was created when you added Auria to the Audiobus Input slot and a second one that is named after the effect app you added to the Audiobus Effects slot. To keep things simple here, I’ve deleted the ‘Auria’ track and just kept the one associated with the effects app (Fig. 6).
We now need to check that we have Auria’s various Inputs and Outputs correctly configured. From the main Auria menu, select the Input Matrix pane. Check that it follows the settings shown in Fig. 7 for the Audiobus inputs.
Then open the Output Matrix from the menu. This should be configured to match the settings shown in Fig. 8.
If you now flip back to the mixer, the record button for the effects track should now be flashing red to signify that the track is armed and ready to record. If it is not, go back to the Input matrix and repeat the selection process so the display looks like Fig. 7.
Step 5 – monitor your effect
If we then cycle playback of our project, we can monitor the reverb effect. To do this, simply adjust the Aux 1 knob for the track (or tracks) you want process through the reverb; the higher the Aux 1 setting, the more reverb will be added. In this case, we want to add reverb to just track 4 – our vocal track – so we just need to adjust that one control.
As you continue to playback your project, the level meter for the effects track (in this case, track 5 labelled AudioReverb) will be active (Fig. 9). This is where your ‘wet’ audio – basically the processed audio that has passed through the effect app in the Audiobus Effects slot – is appearing back into Auria. As you adjust the fader on this track, you will hear the level of the effect increase/decrease.
Set this fader to a suitable level so that you can hear the effect (in our example, AudioReverb) clearly. We can adjust the final level later in the process.
Step 6 – tweak your effects settings
Now we can adjust the effects settings themselves. It can be helpful here to just solo the track (or tracks) that you wish to process. In our example, that would be track 4 with our dry vocal recording. However, make sure you also solo the effects track itself (in our case, track 5) otherwise you will not hear the ‘wet’ signal at the same time.
Then, leaving playback looping through a suitable section of your project, using the Audiobus mini-panel, flip from Auria to your effects app. Here, you can now adjust the exact effects settings to suit your needs. In this example, I’ve selected a vocal plate treatment in AudioReverb (Fig. 10).
Step 7 – record the ‘wet’ signal in Auria
If we now go back to Auria, we then simply need to put Auria into record mode and the ‘wet’ signal will be recorded as audio to our effects track (in this example, track 5 – see Fig. 11). You can monitor just the tracks to be processed or the whole project while you do this; the choice is yours. Don’t worry too much about the absolute level of the effects (in our example, the balance between the ‘dry’ vocal and the ‘wet’ vocal) as we can deal with this in the final step.
Step 8 – Back to just Auria
If this is all you want to do in terms of DIY effects processing via Audiobus, then you can now remove Auria from the Audiobus Input slot and remove the effects app from the Effects slot to free up some CPU resources on your iPad.
Step 9 – blend the ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ when mixing
The final step is simple. In our example project, we now have two vocal tracks – one dry and the other wet with reverb applied – and, when it comes to making our final mix, all we need to do is adjust the faders of the two tracks to set the blend that we want and control the exact amount reverb that is applied.
And as Auria has a very respectable automation system, there is nothing to stop you automating changes in the level of the effect at different stages in your project.
In this worked example, we have kept things simple; a single effect (reverb) applied to a single track (the lead vocal). However, there is nothing to stop you taking this much further. You could, of course, simply repeat this process with a different effect – perhaps adding some delay to your lead vocal using AUFX:Dub – and you would then have three vocal tracks; the dry original, a ‘wet’ version with reverb and a further ‘wet’ version with delay. And you just balance the three faders to create the required blend.
There is also no reason why you couldn’t use the same basic process to apply a single effect to multiple tracks at the same time. The most obvious example here would be adding reverb to a multitrack drum recording. For example, if you had recorded four tracks of drums – kick, snare, hi-hat and a stereo overhead – you could use all their Aux 1 controls at the same time to pass different amounts of their audio to your reverb app and record the results to a single stereo audio track within Auria. When it came time to mix, this single stereo track can be used to blend in a little overall reverb into the drum sound.
As Auria offers some considerable flexibility in terms of audio routing, the ability to integrate 3rd party iOS effects apps into your recording projects in the way described here is – once you have done it a few times – really quite straightforward. And until we get that dedicated iOS plug-in format to emulate what VST or AU can do on the desktop, this DIY process makes for a very workable solution.
Happy recording :-)
Oh, and if you want to see a video version of this tutorial, then watch the clip below….