Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bussing with Xewton music studio

I've had yet another few weeks with Audiobus and have been working a bit with Xewton Music Studio and Beatmaker 2.

In my last posts, I discussed the pros and cons of some of the other DAWs as Audiobus targets so here are 2 more. Auria and Multitrack DAW are both good targets but work only with audio files. The appeal of Beatmaker 2 and Music Studio are that in addition to acting as targets for Audiobus, they also provide MIDI tracks natively. This lets me combine their native sounds with other Audiobus inputs.

Both tools provide this but both also are imperfect and have their quirks. The quirks are more shortcomings in what they provide natively and not so much Audiobus. Beatmaker 2 is the more feature-rich of the two but suffers from its often counter-intuitive interface. It started its life as a low power iPhone app and that history shows. Many folks have used Beatmaker for years and for them, the issue is moot. For me, learning it is frustrating in many places. Most functionality is there and if you mine their forums you can figure things out.

Music Studio on the other hand has a beautiful interface and is fairly simple to use but has some glaring functional omissions. Fading out a song is almost impossible if you mix audio and MIDI tracks. The effects chain is also somewhat bizarre but if you are patient enough, you can get good results. For fading, you might do better to mix down and then copy into another app for posting.

My verdict for these two tools is to give Beatmaker 2 the nod. I need to get used to its weird interface, but functionality wise, it provides good audiobus support with decent MIDI capabilities. It's native samples are meh, but you can add your own.

Overall, MultiTrack DAW remains my favorite when I don't need MIDI. Auria is just too crash prone with audiobus (I'm on an iPad 3 with nothing else running but it is flakey with Auria).

Here is a track I put together primarily with Audiobus on Xewton Music Studio:

The beats and bass were created in the Korg iPolySix and it was easier to just mixdown and audiocopy/paste those into Music Studio - so no Audiobus there, though Korg does support it. The next few tracks were Audiobus from the Moog Animoog synth. I added a couple of native Music studio tracks for muted guitar, muted trumpet and flute. Then I added some ambient bells/drones via Audiobus from Mixtikl.

So, Xewton does work with Audiobus fairly well if you really want to use it. I think I may stick mainly to MultiTrack DAW with perhaps a little BeatMaker if I can ever wrap my head around its interface.

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