I posted a full review of AppBC’s Audiomux iOS music app when it was first released. Audiomux allows you to stream audio between your iOS device and OSX desktop computer using nothing more than the standard USB charging cable that is supplied with your iPad or iPhone. It also complements AppBC’s Midimux app that does the same sort of data transfer for MIDI data.
Both apps seems to work very well from the off and, used together, they make integrating your iOS music making technology and your desktop music making technology a much simpler affair; no unpredictable wireless connections, no other hardware required… just the apps, the associated ‘server’ apps for your Mac (free from the Audiomux website) and a cable Apple have already supplied for you. An update soon after the initial release introduced multi-channel audio support allowing you to stream up to 16 channels of audio at the same time.
I also covered v.2.0 of Audiomux which bought some big changes. First, Windows support became ‘official’ and, second, the app moved to an approach based around a VST and AU plugin for easy integration with the host desktop DAW. This is, of course, the same approach adopted by Music IO although, if you prefer the ‘aggregate device’ approach of the original Audiomux release, this is still available (at least, it is still working under OSX and, for recording – as opposed to just monitoring – audio from your iOS hardware, it does offer a somewhat easier configuration).
A few weeks ago, the app was updated to v.2.1.0 and this bought a further significant change; the functionality of Audiomux and Midimux was merged into a single new app; Studiomux… although Midimux is still available if you just want MIDI connectivity. While I’d explored the new ‘all-in-one’ app when it was released, I never got around to documenting the changes here. However, with a further update – v.2.1.2 – released yesterday, I thought I’d better put that right (especially as I also covered the update to Music IO that appeared this week).
Having given the update a bit of a spin using Cubase Pro 8 as my DAW/sequencer running under OSX, I must say that I think this version of AppBC’s audio/MIDI connectivity is the most solid yet. I was able to have both my iPad Air 1 and iPhone 5 (both running iOS9.0.2) connected up to my desktop system at the same time. This worked both via the plugin route and also via an ‘aggregate audio device’. MIDI and audio data could be passed between my various bits of hardware (for me, mostly MIDI data from OSX to iOS and audio data from iOS to OSX).
As with Music IO, multiple devices are supported under OSX and it is also possible to use any of the eight available audio streams as an send-return stream so you can process sounds from within your desktop DAW via effects running on (for example) your iPad. Studiomux also provides you with a basic ‘in app’ mixer so you can adjust the levels of the eight audio channels available under iOS if required. The app also has a neat ‘preset’ feature so you can (like Audiobus) load a series of apps, create a Studiomux configuration, and then save it for latter recall.
Anyway, if my (admitedly limited) experimentation this morning was anything to go by, v.2.1.2 seems to be worked pretty well when used in combination with OSX. I’ve not had a chance to test the app with a Windows setup (comments welcome below if you have explored this) but this is impressive and flexible technology when combining iOS and OSX.
If I had one current criticism it would be the lack of documentation – PDF or video – that’s available. Unless I’ve missed something (quite possible), the only thing I can currently find is a brief installation guide. This is a shame as I suspect it might be quite a challenge for new users to get things set up and the app has enough options that it really does require a little thought on first use.
While it would be unrealistic to expect AppBC to document use of the app with every major desktop DAW, even a couple of mainstream examples would be great and users could then take those principles and apply them with your own specific desktop DAW. Even so, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest that you give the app a shot if you want to get your iOS apps integrated into your desktop music production… this is very clever technology.
There are still some operational difference between Music IO and Studiomux and differences in the details of the feature set and/or workflow. I still think it is difficult to pick an obvious ‘winner’. Both have obvious potential and both have demonstrated the proof on concept. It will be interesting to see which way their various their development pathways now go and who can do the most to convince users that they are offering the best performance and smoothest workflow.
For users, however, neither are particularly expensive technologies… and if you have to buy both until that particular bit of competition sorts itself out, then so it it; it will not break too many banks. I think the competition is a good thing though. It is bound to drive the development forward at a somewhat faster pace than would otherwise be the case….
Anyway, if you are interested in integration of your iOS music software with your desktop music production system, Studiomux, at just UK£7.99, is well worth checking out – alongside the obvious competition – whether you are using OSX or Windows as your desktop platform.