Audiobus, the iOS app that lets you route audio between apps on your iPad or iPhone, just got an update. The version number is 3.0.5, which belies the fact that Audiobus 3 just got one huge new feature: support for Ableton Link, which means that it will now keep tempo with all the other music apps on your iDevice.
Ableton link on iOS
On the Mac, one tends to use one big DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to record and edit music. Apple’s own GarageBand or Logic are good examples. DAWs load plugins that do much the same job as individual music apps do on iOS. One advantage of loading these plugins is that they are controlled by the DAW app, and are hence all kept nicely synced up.
Until recently, this wasn’t possible on iOS. If you wanted to record a loop from a drum app, and have your synth app, or your guitar effects, sync up with the drums, it was a real pain, and none of the workarounds actually worked around anything at all.
Then Ableton Link came along. Apps which support Link talk to other Link apps, and they all stay in sync. If you change the tempo in one Linked app, it changes in all other Linked apps. Equally, all apps know when the first beat of each bar occurs, so they’re not just playing in time, but are locked in sync.
Link even works over the network, so if you are jamming with friends using apps on their own devices, you all sync up, using some fancy tricks to overcome any latency (delays) caused by the network itself. It just works. Seriously, Link is rock solid. I’ve never had one problem with it.
Ableton link and Audiobus
Now, Audiobus has added support for Ableton Link. That might not seem like a useful addition for an app that just routes audio between other apps, but Audiobus 3 also hosts Audio Units aka AUs, which work like plugins on the Mac. Audio Units are apps which usually perform one specific function (often an audio effect, or a sound processor), and which can be loaded inside other “host” apps.
Audiobus can load these Audio Units in-between the apps that it connects together. Now, thanks to Link support, those audio units are synced with everything else with Link.
If you use iOS to make music, then this is very exciting news indeed. If you don’t use iOS to make music, and you’ve managed to read this far, then you just learned about some of the coolest music-related tech that’s built into your iPad and iPhone already.
Buy It: Audiobus