Music IO Update Lets You Route Audio & MIDI Over USB

screen568x568Secret Base Design has updated Music IO, adding the ability to route audio over USB between iOS and Mac OS X.


  • Music IO lets you send audio from your iOS device to your Mac using USB;
  • Music IO lets you route audio between your iOS device and your Mac over USB;
  • Music IO lets you integrate Inter-App Audio compatible iOS synthesizers with a traditional desktop DAW system; and
  • The developers say using Music IO over USB offers ‘near-zero latency’.

Here’s what’s new in version 1.10:

Version 1.10 brings audio over USB.

With Inter-App Audio support built in, you can host synthesizer and effect apps within Music IO, and send the audio to a Mac with low latency. All audio data is transmitted in 32-bit floating point, so there’s no degradation of sound.

Music IO integrates both audio and bi-directional MIDI functionality into a single app. It’s simple, easy-to-use, and better yet: one app means less processing and memory demands on your iOS device. This lets you use more instruments, create more complicated sounds, and add more (and more sophisticated) effects.

Music IO is available from the App Store for US $6.99.

Note: A Music IO server app is required on the OS X side. It’s a free download from teh Music IO site.

If you’ve used Music IO, leave a comment and share what your setup is and how it worked for you!

21 thoughts on “Music IO Update Lets You Route Audio & MIDI Over USB

  1. I’d love to see an app like this that transmits both audio and MIDI through a VST/AU plugin rather than having the iOS device appear as an interface. Not sure how hard that would be or if the technical specifications of VST or AU would allow it, though. Maybe I’m completely off-base.

    1. Not sure about the feasibility of this – but it would be great if your iPad synth could just show up as a VST in your DAW.

      Maybe at that point, though, it would be easier to just make a VST/AU version of the iPad synth? That’s the route several developers have gone.

      I like the idea of tighter integration, though. For example, wouldn’t it be nice if, when connect your iPad, you could automatically use your iPad synths as controllers for their desktop equivalents? Maybe Music IO and similar apps will be a better solution – I haven’t used any of the audio options yet, and, now that there are three options, I’m not sure which solution will be best.

      1. “Maybe at that point, though, it would be easier to just make a VST/AU version of the iPad synth? That’s the route several developers have gone.”

        Easier, yes, but then you’re in the arms race with the pirates.

        1. I have thought exactly the same 😛 This would be awesome for live because all ins on my soundcard are assigned… This idea is a little bit like elektrons unreleased “overbridge”

    2. Hmmm. Been thinking about this for a few hours now.

      I wanted to clarify that while Music IO is released from Secret Base Design, it’s a collaboration with Audeonic Apps (MIDIBridge, and other cool things) and Confusion Studios (MIDI Designer, Earplug, and other stuff as well). I’ll talk with the other teams later today, and will float the VST/AU idea. If this sort of thing is interesting to you, please drop us a line at [email protected] — we might need some beta testers.

    3. Use studiomux for that. The developers have also been really responsive and good at implementing feature requests.

  2. Not off-base. Check Remote Recorder and Sound Injector by Secret Base Design (one of the teams involved in Music IO). They have an experimental VST. It works.

  3. That is a fantastic idea. Obviously, that would have to be in addition to installing software on both devices, because you are getting at core services for MIDI and audio. I think plugins can only access published audio ports.

  4. This is especially great news for those of us who have purchased iOS versions of synths that were much more affordable than their desktop versions, or were iOS only.

    I’m looking forward to testing this on an upcoming project where I can port MIDI to Galileo and audio out to my DAW.

  5. Why is this only audio from iOS to Mac and not bi directional like AudioMux??

    I think this sounds better as one app but the fact I wana use the moog filter with some of my DAW synths is stopping me…

    In an update??

    1. “Why is this only audio from iOS to Mac and not bi directional like AudioMux??”

      Because they haven’t written that feature into the software yet?

  6. Thanks for the coverage! To catch a few of the questions (and feel free to email or post if you’ve got more)
    1) A VST/AU is possible (I’ve done this with Sound Injector), but it runs into a couple of hiccups. First, we’re planning multi-channel audio, and routing different audio streams to different tracks in a DAW — with one VST — that would be chaos. I might try to pull off a single-channel VST/AU, though, for people who want to go that way. A second issue with the VST/AU approach is controlling what gets recorded to the track — for many DAWs, they record the “incoming sound,” and not the processing from effects; it’s possible to get around this, but that was the #1 complaint with my Sound Injector AU/VST. If you really really want this, let me know, and I’ll try to make it happen.

    2) Audio from Mac to iOS is on the horizon. We’re trying to take things a step at a time, and get everything right. Maybe a month or two out. And before anyone asks (again!), yes, PC support is in the cards too, maybe a little further out, but absolutely do-able. There’s a PC VST for Sound Injector now (works with WiFi streaming of audio, with Apollo Remote Recorder on iOS, and Apollo Transmit on the Mac).

    This is an interesting time, and lots of cool stuff is coming out. The Audiomux/Midimux team is doing good work, and I’m impressed by MIDI LE too. While they’re in some sense competitors, I’ve got nothing but respect for them — we’re all in this together, and if we can make it easier for people to integrate their iOS gadgets into desktop DAWs, everyone wins! I’m loving the fact that we can now do in software (for a trivial amount of money) what would have taken a couple of hundred bucks worth of hardware to accomplish.

  7. As a music app developer, I think apps like this reduce the need for a desktop port of the IOS app (which is not an easy thing to do if you’re IOS native, i.e.: not using a cross-platform dev. kit like JUCE).

    And what is all this going to do to the cost of VSTs?

  8. Can anyone help me out? I can get audio back into the mac with several IAA synths, but my IAA Yonac apps (Magellan, Gallileo) will not transmit audio back to the mac! I can see their keyboards lighting up as I trigger from my midi controller – but that’s it.
    What do I have to click on in settings to have the audio go through the lightning connector? Clicking/unclicking BG Audio on those apps does not help. Baffled…

  9. Though I mainly use a DAW on a MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t really care about the AU/VST, as it would not add anything to the functionality. And it might (as suggested above) impose some limitations.

    In my DAW, I’d just assign the output to the iPad in whatever way I want, and pipe audio back into its own track. I’d like to keep that flexibility there. If I have to do extra steps on the iPad side to make sure the configuration is loaded correctly, that won’t be too bad.

    If they spend a ton of time making a plugin version (that doesn’t really ultimately add anything)– that might take away from development time on other aspects of the software (like a PC version for those nice folks.)

    1. Aggregate devices should work (I’m using them w/o trouble). Currently, only a single iOS device at a time, but we’ll be addressing that in coming updates.

  10. For all the folks who where clamoring for a VST/AU… here you go! Version 1.20 has just been released, and we’ve got four channels of audio, plus VST and AU support!

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