Music IO update – tweaks to the MIDI+audio-over-USB system for iOS

Download from iTunes App Storemusic io logoOn the back of what seems to be a change of policy at Apple HQ, iOS developers now seem able to make use of the standard ‘sync’ USB cable connection between an iOS device and a desktop computer for more than just iTunes File Sharing. For iOS musicians, as we have seen over the last few months or so, that has resulted in a number of apps that allow MIDI and audio data to be transferred between iPad (for example) and desktop music production system.

One of the obvious contenders in this audio+MIDI-over–USB technology is Music IO (UK£7.99) from a development team combining Secret Base Design, Confusion Studios and Audeonic Apps. I reviewed the MIDI-only first release and the first release with audio support appeared soon after while v.1.2 introduced a plugin based approach at the Mac end for handling audio.

Are we connected? Under OSX, Music IO's server will now handle multiple iOS devices.

Are we connected? Under OSX, Music IO’s server will now handle multiple iOS devices.

When v.1.3 of Music IO hit the App Store it added the ability to create audio effects loops and, at a beta-level at least, Windows support has also been available for some time. And when v.1.4 appeared, it added support for multiple iOS devices for those working with OSX and the Windows support became ‘official’.


On the desktop, the Music IO plugin now allows you to chose between multiple iOS devices as well as identifying the audio stream from the chosen device to be used in this instance of the plugin.

On the desktop, the Music IO plugin now allows you to chose between multiple iOS devices as well as identifying the audio stream from the chosen device to be used in this instance of the plugin.

A further update arrives on the App Store at the start of the week-end. This brings Music IO to v.1.5 and, while this update is described as a ‘service release’, as with any app that serves a technical function, these kinds of consolidation updates are always going to be welcome. In this case, there are a number of refinements under the hood to improve the reliability of the app.

Like the most obvious competition – Studiomux – running Music IO does require a small ‘server’ app and a plugin to be installed on your host computer and new versions of the OSX and Windows servers are available from downloads section of the Music IO website. Anyway, having installed the latest server/plug-in combination this morning and given the app a brief test run, it seemed to be performing pretty solidly connecting my iMac and iPad Pro for both audio and MIDI data transfer.

At UK£7.99, Music IO is an absolute steal given what it allows you to do and, if you just want MIDI connectivity, then the Music IO team have a separate MIDI-only version of Music IO that is available for free. Apps such as Music IO and Studiomux are, I’m sure, something that lots of iOS musicians are going to get a lot of use out of. Even in the relatively early stages of this technology, the results are very creditable. Anyway, here’s hoping the updates – and features – keep coming.

Music IO: Audio and MIDI over USB

Music IO: MIDI over USB

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    1. Jake from State Farm says:

      Does anybody have both?
      Which one is better this or Studiomux?

      • Hi Jake, this one is a bit difficult to give a clear answer on as I suspect it will be as much about your desktop hardware/OS/software combination as about the feature sets of the two apps. For me – working with OSX/Cubase – I’ve found there is little to pick between the two…. but your mileage may vary. Both seems capable and both offer a similar set of features…. best wishes, John

    2. This is cool but what if I want to record sounds from my desktop into my iPad pro in real time, can it work that way aswell?

      • Both Music IO and Studiomux offer bi-directional data transfer for both audio and MIDI…. so, yes, in principle this should be possible. Best wishes, John

    3. michael scourfield says:

      I used music IO on my iMac and it worked like a dream with reaper. I recorded a vocal with vocal effects from iPad (voice rack) both direct and processing a dry vocal. Awesome. I don’t have anything on the desktop that can do what voice rack can do.

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