MiMix review – TTrGames move their Audiobus mixer utility app to v.2

Download from iTunes App Store MiMix logoI have to admit that, on first release, MiMix, from developer TTrGames, passed me by. However, with v.2.0 arriving on the App Store a week or so ago, and a somewhat harder promotional push by the development team, it certainly felt like a good time for me to play ‘catch up’ and give the app a bit of a spin.

MiMix has a tag line of ‘Mixer for Audiobus’ and this pretty much sums up its key function; whatever apps you have sitting within your Audiobus setup (up to a maximum of eight, although as we will see in a while, this is more like ‘eight audio streams from Audiobus’ rather than just ‘eight apps’), MiMix provides you with a single screen ‘mixer’ interface that lets you adjust the volume, stereo position, mute and solo of those eight Audiobus audio sources.

MiMix - a very neat idea and very well implemented.

MiMix – a very neat idea and very well implemented.

The app is currently priced at UK£2.99, is a very modest 5MB download, requires iOS7.1 or later and runs on an iPad. It is, however, already equipped with comprehensive Audiobus Remote support and a good selection of Remote Triggers. Equally, it has the capability to work with multi-channel audio hardware (ins and outs) if you want to use the app’s ‘Audiobus mixer’ functionality to send your audio on to some other hardware (an external mixer/PA system, for example, in a live performance context. The app also has a good-looking MIDI specification and includes a MIDI Learn system; if you want to control MiMix’s main software mixer features from an external hardware MIDI controller that is therefore also possible.

Ins and outs

Getting MiMix and Audiobus setup to work together is actually very straightforward but there are some interesting details that make the app quite flexible in terms of the routing of audio from Audiobus to MiMix. Within Audiobus, in the main, you simply work as you would normally…. put your sound source apps into your Audiobus Input slots, your effects apps into the Effects slots and, if you are perhaps sending all these sounds to a recording app, place your DAW/sequencer app into an Output slot.

Providing you set up your Audiobus session appropriatly, MiMix will they automatically configure itself so you can mix your various Audiobus sound sources.

Providing you set up your Audiobus session appropriately, MiMix will they automatically configure itself so you can mix your various Audiobus sound sources.

However, if you place MiMix in an Audiobus Output slot, any apps in that signal chain’s Input slot (including multiple Input apps in a single Audiobus chain) will automatically be assigned to one of MiMix’s mixer channels. You can also set up multiple Audiobus signal chains and, for each Input app – up to a maximum of eight), it will then appear on one of MiMix’s mixer channels.

Note that in this MiMix setup - based upon the Audiobus configuration shown above, iProphet and Cyclop pass through an Effects app (Stereo Designer) so the latter is the app that MiMix 'sees'.

Note that in this MiMix setup – based upon the Audiobus configuration shown above, iProphet and Cyclop pass through an Effects app (Stereo Designer) so the latter is the app that MiMix ‘sees’. Without Stereo Designer inserted, iProphet and Cyclop appear on separate MiMix channels (as in the top-most screenshot)

The exception to this is if your Audiobus signal chain as an app in the Effects slot. In this case, it is the output of the effects app that MiMix sees, regardless of how many apps are sat in that particular Audiobus signal chain. In this situation, you can not, therefore, mix the levels of the individual Input apps within MiMix but the options is actually quite useful as it gives you some additional flexibility if your Audiobus setup happens to include more than eight sound sources within Audiobus (and your iPad has not already fallen over under the stress of it all). Oh, and as the app includes Audiobus State Saving, it does make restoring your app/MiMix configurations – including all the MiMix settings – very easy.

If you want to pass the mixed MiMix output on to your DAW/sequencer app, then you just set up a further Audiobus signal chain with MiMix as the Input app and your DAW/sequencer in the Output slot (as I’ve done in the screenshot shown here using Cubasis). In this case, you are really using MiMix as a sub-mixer to feed a single stereo audio track within your DAW; you don’t – currently at least – get the option of sending the output of MiMix’s eight channels to different tracks within your DAW/sequencer. I can see how that might be very useful though so whether it is something that is technically possible for TTrGames to add at some point? Well… we will just have to wait and see.

MiMix magic

Having got your Audiobus setup configured appropriately, if you then toggle over to MiMix, the main ‘mixer’ screen will have automatically configured your apps into the various mixer channels. Rather nicely, you get the app icons at the base of each channel strip and these also act as ‘quick switch’ buttons to take you directly back to the respective apps.

The channel features themselves are fairly simple but even to be able to adjust the relative level and pan position of your various apps from a single screen is useful. Incidentally, the pan control can be switched between ‘pan’ and ‘balance’ modes. These produce somewhat different results but these are explained very clearly in the excellent PDF manual for MiMix that is available for download from the TTrGames website. This really is worth a read when you first get started with the app as it reveals a number of additional features that are perhaps not immediately obvious and also explains the different ways Audiobus can be configured.

MiMix can handle multiple output ports if your hardware supports them.

MiMix can handle multiple output ports if your hardware supports them.

Each channel also gets mute and solo buttons plus a monitor button. The Main Mix channel also features one of these and tapping any of these will change what audio single is displayed in the output meters at the top of the mixer display. The Main Mix channel also includes a master level fader and all the channels have a small ‘clip’ LED indicator so you can see if your levels are getting a bit hot.

That said, as explained in the manual, there is some interesting processing going on by the mixer engine under the hood (perhaps a little gently compression/limiting?) that attempts to reduce the likelihood or audio nastiness caused by overloading the outputs. To my ears at least, this seemed pretty transparent and, not only did I not see a massive CPU load placed by MiMix, it also seemed to do nothing too obvious to the audio quality.

More ins and outs

Tapping the Output button on the Main Mix channel opens the output settings panel top-right. This is perhaps of most use if you have a multi-channel audio interface and wish to feed the output of your various MiMix channels to different output ports on that interface. If, like I did when I was testing the app, you simply want to pre-mix your sound sources to send to an app such as Cubasis (and you have MiMix in an Audiobus Input slot) then your audio is automatically routed to the Audiobus output. There is flexibility here though and there might well be some potential for TTrGames to go further with this functionality at some point.

You can also control the app via MIDI and there is both manual configuration and MIDI Learn options available.

You can also control the app via MIDI and there is both manual configuration and MIDI Learn options available.

Tapping the MIDI button allows you to configure the MIDI input settings. It’s here you can use the MIDI Learn feature to like MiMix controls to a hardware MIDI controller but, if you wish, you can also configure the MIDI settings manually using the panel that appears top-right. The app includes four MIDI preset slots if you want to save a MIDI configuration for re-use. This would be particularly useful if you have an external MIDI control surface or two that you regularly use within the app.

I didn’t try this but, presumably, given the MIDI Learn options, and the fact that the app can received MIDI data from another app (such as a sequencer), you could automate the mixer’s controls in real-time if you needed to adjust the various levels/pan positions as part of your overall musical project.

All mixed up

As shown in the various screenshots included here, I experimented with three or four different Input apps and in different configurations (with and without Effects app, for example). MiMix seemed to cope very well with everything that was thrown at it and I had no problems getting my ‘mixed’ audio into Cubasis and recorded on a stereo audio track.

I found the ability to tweak the levels of my various Audiobus apps from a single screen to be very useful… and you can also do it from Audiobus Remote if you wish as you get volume up/down Remote Triggers for each of the eight MiMix channels; very neat.

I had no problems getting my MiMix 'mix' into Cubasis via Audiobus.

I had no problems getting my MiMix ‘mix’ into Cubasis via Audiobus.

Indeed, the whole concept is so neat that I’m kind of left wondering whether the very clever folk behind Audiobus might not be thinking how they could add similar functionality directly within Audiobus itself? I would not wish to undermine MiMix as a standalone product – it already does the job very well and with some very nice touches that add flexibility – but surely it must have crossed the minds of those at Audiobus HQ?

MiMix has excellent support for Remote Triggers within Audiobus Remote.

MiMix has excellent support for Remote Triggers within Audiobus Remote.

In summary

Rather like Audiobus Remote, having now used MiMix, I think it is very easy to say ‘doh!’ and wonder why we have not seen this functionality before. If you do make extensive use of Audiobus as part of your iOS music production workflow, MiMix is likely to prove to be a very useful ‘utility’ app; it might not be essential to every iOS musician or to every iOS music project but, at a pocket-money price of UK£2.99, if you use Audiobus, then MiMix is well worth having around.

MiMix is a no-fuss, get it done, sort of an app and, in my own testing, worked pretty much flawlessly. It’s also great to see a clear and helpful PDF manual available for the app and this is well worth reading…. MiMix comes highly recommended to all regular Audiobus users….

MiMix – Mixer for Audiobus



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    Comments

    1. The one type of “use-case” where I can see myself using an app like MiMix, is one where I’m not sure it could help me?

      Basically, I’m thinking of Positive Grid’s “Pickup” app, where you can record a video of yourself, and the app provides a single IAA “input” (nominally, for you to pipe the output of your guitar/whatever from BIAS, JamUp, etc. I just wondered whether MiMix could be used to mix more than one audio source – say, guitar and a vocal mic – and feed the mix output into Pickup (if necessary, via another app to channel the mix into an IAA output)?

      • Hi Tim, you should check out the PDF manual from the website if you have not already. This goes into some detail about the various audio input/output possibilities and you might be able to work out if what you are seeking can be done. However, my contact with the development team suggests they are very responsive… so a direct email to them would, I suspect, get you a helpful response…. Let us know how you get on :-) best wishes, John

      • Hi Tim,

        MiMiX does have IAA output. You can either use MiMiX in the input slot of Audiobus or connect with IAA to record its output (but not both). However, MiMiX cannot mix IAA sources, so You have to use Audiobus to route audio into MiMiX. I think this way the setup You would like to use is quite achievable. I double-checked this using Cubasis an i did manage to record the main mix output of MiMiX via IAA.
        Unfortunately i forgot to add this scenario to the user manual which i will correct asap.

        Kind regards,
        Peter

        • Hi Peter… thanks for dropping by and giving us some direct developer input – always welcome :-) Let me know if you do update the manual…. There are lots of iOS music apps that do not have this level of support (for all sorts of reasons that I understand) but it is great when a developer does go the extra mile and puts this together…. Best wishes, John

    2. This is a cool app and has worked well the few times that I have used it. Others too have speculated about this app, or a similar function getting incorporated right into AudioBus. That probably won’t happen because…there is competition on the horizon. Jonatan over at Kymatica recently announced that he is working on a mixer app, and it looks to have deeper controls than Mimix. It’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with, no doubt it’ll be a high quality app with many useful functions.

    3. Since Audiobus uses an “insert” effect paradigm, it would be cool if this mixer could be used as a workaround for an AUX SEND paradigm for effects.

      It could do this by adding several output busses (in addition to the main outs) that could be sensed by Audiobus– then on each channel have maybe 4 send knobs that are hard wired to those busses.

      In Audiobus, you then could choose those busses as input streams for a chain and insert the FX there. It would then be helpful to have some additional channels to act as returns for those fx. (Measures could be implemented to prevent feedback, such as eliminating the send associated with that particular return).

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