Saturday, May 12, 2012 by Tim Webb
I've mentioned before how Arctic Keys saved me $700 on Easter. It's a good thing too, because the very next day Audiobus cost me about the same when I became the 4th person to see it working! Not because you need multiple iPads to use Audiobus, but because you'll want them! We've got all kinds of great interoperability going on with our apps thanks to Virtual MIDI, but for the first time ever we can now sync the audio across multiple devices. This allows us to actually play with the different apps at the same time, instead of having a bunch in the background.
I had hoped to skip an iPad generation, but after seeing the potential here I knew I needed a 2nd iOS device. I'm now eyeing iPhone 5 rumors in anticipation of adding a 3rd to the mix. If you have multiple iOS devices, you're set to take advantage of this new platform.
This screenshot is from my iPad 3. As soon as I connected the SoundPrism Pro running on my iPad 2 it started to play audio into LoopyHD running on the iPad 3. It was really that simple. This is the sort of "it just works" design that Apple developers aspire to.
Micheal Tyson and Sebastian Dittmann, have been working very hard on making this ease-of-use a reality. Pictured here is an animation of the slide-out connection panel that will be available in all Audiobus compatible apps.
Sebastian has been involved with Virtual MIDI and OMAC from the beginning, and has seen how splintered the implementations have become. Nearly every app developer has his own way of handling Virtual MIDI! This maddening confusion will not be present in Audiobus, thanks to this little slide-out.
I get lots of emails from people trying to figure out Virtual MIDI, but I'm certain I won't get any from people trying to get Audiobus going. It just works!
Now that I've got the Alpha version to play with I've been able to do some experiments! iOS has an audio-buffer limited to 3 apps making sounds per device. This is true of all iPad versions. Audiobus will allow you to get around this by bringing together multiple device audio streams! You can run 3 apps on one device, 3 apps on another and sum them together on a 3rd. Or, as in my tests, run 3 apps on one iPad, 2 on another and have Audiobus be the 3rd.
Combined with Networked MIDI and Virtual MIDI you could extend this to many devices and apps! Including an entirely new class of apps designed to fit in that filter slot that goes between the source and destination in Audiobus. I expect to have my synths running on a couple of iPads, while a iPhone/iPod is running dedicated effects, all going back into one of the iPads for summing in a recorder app.
All of this is cool and all, but I still can't disclose the most amazing part... yet!