MultitrackStudio for iPad update – Giel Bremmers iOS recording app provides Audio Units hosting under iOS9

Download from iTunes App Storemultitrackstudio logoWe have a number of good iOS DAW/recording/sequencing apps available to us. What makes the ‘right’ app for you will, of course, depend upon exactly what that ‘job’ is. The few high-profile examples aside (Cubasis, Garageband for iPad and Auria (audio only at present but MIDI will hopefully be arriving shortly in the ‘Pro’ version), there are a number of other worthy contenders and one of these is MultitrackStudio by developer Giel Bremmers.

As I posted back in April, the app underwent a significant update to v.2.0.  This included some new features within the Pro Extension IAP such as time stretching and the ability of the tempo editor to process audio tracks. There were also some nice workflow touches such as being able to create a new song template based upon the current song.

MultitrackStudio for iPad; the app offers both audio and MIDI recording and has an impressive spec. list.

MultitrackStudio for iPad; the app offers both audio and MIDI recording and has an impressive spec. list.

A further update appeared just a couple of weeks ago bringing a very rapid ‘iOS9 ready’ status for the app (good to see). However, progress is obviously rapid at Bremmers Audio Design as a further update – v.2.3.1 – has appeared on the App Store today. As I reported earlier today when looking at the bs-16i update (which is interesting as it make use of the new 3D touch technology supported by newer iOS hardware and iOS9), this latest update for MultitrackStudio is quite a significant one; the app can now act as a host for the new iOS9 Audio Unit (AU) plugin format.

This is, as far as I’m aware, the first of the mainstream iOS DAW/sequencer apps to offer AU hosting capabilities so this is an exciting development. Of course, this new feature is, at present at least, more of academic interest than practical use, as I think we only have one iOS ‘effects’ app – Remaster from Audioforge Labs (an EQ/compression app) – that is currently available with AU capability.

MultitrackStudio now offers an 'AU plugins' category for effects for you to select from.

MultitrackStudio now offers an ‘AU plugins’ category for effects for you to select from.

Anyway, I was very keen to give the technology a try….  and, even with just a single app/AU plugin available, I have to say that I did a little jig around my iPad studio room when I saw this working this morning. When you tap on one of the Insert effects slots on an audio track in MultitrackStudio, there is now an additional category of effects available; AU plugins. Yes, sitting within this group was my solitary Remaster app, but it was good to see none-the-less. It loaded into the slot without incident.

Remaster seems to have a custom interface that appears within the host with used via AU.

Remaster seems to have a custom interface that appears within the host with used via AU.

Tapping on the effects slot button then opens the effect for editing. However, unlike when you do this with an IAA effects app where you then switch to that app’s standard iOS interface (as the app runs alongside MultitrackStudio), instead, Remaster opened within a custom sub-window within MultitrackStudio itself. The control set looks different (I have not yet had time to explore whether all the features of the app are supported in this format or not) but it appears to be nicely laid out and was easy enough to use.

Used as an IAA plugin, Remaster worked as normal with its usual user interface.

Used as an IAA plugin, Remaster worked as normal with its usual user interface.

The other point to note – and this was the bit that got be jumping around – was that I was able to load multiple instances of Remaster into my MultitrackStudio project. While we had all been hoping that the new AU plugin specification would allow this, to see the ‘one instance’ issue bypassed in this way is great and, if it is implemented in our other favourite iOS effects apps in the same fashion, this is going to open up all sorts of workflow efficiencies…  and, as the plugin selections and setups will be saved as part of your MultitrackStudio project, reloading the project to start working again is going to become a process more like that found on the desktop; very neat. Incidentally, I was able to use both AU and a single IAAS version of Remaster at the same time within MultitrackStudio.

I’ve no idea just how much work is involved for a developer to add AU support to their apps. However, if it does involve providing an alternative display layout so that the app can ‘work within’ an AU host app, that does suggest -technical issues aside – that, for some apps, it might well involve quite a lot of work. We shall just have to wait and see how quickly (or otherwise) developers can deliver on this if they choose to add AU support.

Multiple versions of Remaster running at the same time within a single MultitrackStudio project - the 'AU' effects shown are all instances of Remaster.

Multiple versions of Remaster running at the same time within a single MultitrackStudio project – the ‘AU’ effects shown are all instances of Remaster.

There are two other things that this brief demo – exciting though it is – doesn’t yet tell us about. First, we are still to see our first MIDI instrument app with AU support; a few of our better-know synth or sample-based instruments as AU plugins would be great to see and it will be interesting to see what, if any, limitations there are in how far the AU technology can take us towards the way these things currently work on the desktop.

Second, while MultitrackStudio is commendably the first iOS DAW/sequencer app with AU hosting support, there has not, as yet, been any indication from other DAW/sequencer developers as to if/when they might also add AU hosting support. This might be a little chicken and egg…  as more effects and/or instruments support AU, then that might drive development in the potential host apps (or maybe it works the other way around?).

Anyway, picking the right recording software for your own needs is never easy. MultitrackStudio for iPad is currently priced at UK£22.99 and the Pro Extension IAP is set at UK£14.99 and, if you pick your software based upon rapid development and keeping at the cutting edge of what’s possible under iOS, then MultitrackStudio for iPad certainly ticks that particular box. Giel has regularly updated the app and, gradually, the specification has evolved into something quite impressive. If one of the ‘names’ just doesn’t gel with your own workflow or needs, then MultitrackStudio for iPad is most certainly worth a look.

MultiTrackStudio for iPad


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    1. John, I danced a little jig when I read this. I’m surprised that GarageBand isn’t the first with this feature, I really thought it would be the first AU host. Well it’s the very beginning and I’m happy to read that you had success with your first go. And congrats to Multitrack Studio for leading the way!

      • Hi Toz…. I expect Apple will not be too far behind with GB and AU host support. Yes, very early days but it is encouraging to see the potential starting to turn into a practical reality… let’s see how it progresses…. Best wishes, John

    2. ElectricWombat says:

      Thank you so much for this update/review John; I’ve been eagerly anticipating the appearance of the AU format and I’m currently in the midst of discussing its technical possibilities online with friends over on the nano forum. I don’t blame you for doing a jig; my sentiments exactly! ;) Wow… So this is where it all starts – exciting times for IOS indeed and I can’t wait to see how things evolve from here! Thanks for sharing this breaking news much appreciated! :)

      • Hi ElectricWombat… yes, exciting stuff…. fingers crossed other developers have the resources/time/technical skills to get onboard without it being too much of an ordeal… Best wishes, John

    3. Fantastic news!!
      Hoping that Auria Pro ships as an AU host…and that Korg goes all in :)
      How about Alchemy for iOS?
      iPad Pro looking sweeter in November.

      • Hi David…. AU has surely got to be on the ‘to do’ list for all the major iOS DAW/sequencer developers…. how quickly this might all unfold is another matter (I suspect it might take some months)… but it is great to see the process started…. best wishes, John

    4. eustressor says:

      This … Is … Awesome news, John! Multiple instances, one solitary app or no, is quite worthy of a dance ’round the room. The fact that Apple provided AU technology on their tablet is proof positive that, however grinding the yearly update schedule is on developers, they are quite aware of their burgeoning iOS music production community.

      Yay! Cheers!

      • Yes…. let’s hope that this new AU technology within iOS delivers what we all hope for…. although I suspect it might take some time to fully mature…. best wishes, John

    5. eustressor says:

      And kudos to MultiTrackStudio and Remaster for blazing the trail :)

    6. syrupcore says:

      Wow, this is a very big deal! Thanks for the write up. Kymatica, we need you.

      > And kudos to MultiTrackStudio and Remaster for blazing the trail :

      • ElectricWombat says:

        Hey SyrupCore ;) I agree (in more ways than one)! When I found out about this it made me wonder if Kymatica (in addition to making his awesome AUFX range AU compatible) might also open up AudioShare to accommodate the AU format, as it’s pretty unique in that it acts like a DAW via being able to load FX plug ins etc? I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before Jonatan works his magic! :)

    7. A.I.R.Studio says:

      What this means is that everyone may be able to us FabFilter or FXPansion or PsP Audioware plugins just like Auria users currently do if these plugin developers decide to make them iOS AU and why wouldn’t they. I think they all will in time. How soon that would depend but my guess is it is right around the corner.

    8. Wow, this is happening sooner than expected. Great news. Hope the folks at Fabfilter get in the ios Au game soon. Thanks John for your pioneering effort.

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