Three Ways To Use Your iPhone As An Effects Processor

The latest loopop video takes a look at three ways you can use an iPhone as an effects processor.

The video demos the three approaches with an iPhone, but they’ll work equally well with an iPad. 

Video Summary:

Most synths, especially analog ones, don’t have any onboard effects such as reverb, delay, tremolo, etc, and indeed are very well paired with effects and multi fx processors, which add a lot to the sound.

The problem with that is that it’s more hardware, cost and space.

However, phones have gotten so powerful recently, that they can be perfectly adequate multi-effects processors, and, in the case of the iPhone (and iOS in general), multi-channel and multi chain processors with hub apps such as AUM and Audiobus, along with broadly implemented AU and Interapp Audio SDKs.

This video shows 3 ways to get up and running:

1. Using a simple fx processor app
2. Creating multiple fx chains using AUM (or Audiobus)
3. Creating multi-input/channel fx chains (assuming you have a multichannel audio interface)

The video also takes a look at the differences between AU effects and Interapp audio fx.

12 thoughts on “Three Ways To Use Your iPhone As An Effects Processor

    1. Bingo. I’ve tried several interfaces, and the issue is as soon as you start using enough fx to justify the setup you need to set frame size so high that at least for me, latency becomes unusable.

      Keep in mind most of what I use it for are percussive sounds so flangeing of transients etc kills it. But if you use it for sounds with slower attacks, even geeeetar picking, you can get away with it. Or stick to a single multi fx app like Turnado so there’s less overhead.

      This is with an iPad Air 2. Maybe a pro would work better?

  1. only downside with using apple for this is sometimes the interface can cost you money. The irigs are not to bad but the others can be up there (plus cost of iPhone)
    But on good side is once you do tap in the support in audio on iPhone and iPad is very strong (it is reason why i have an iPad) One thing though that does not exist yet is an all-in-one workstation setup for iPad (behringer x-18 and few other come close) Something with muliple audio IO (more than 4 in AND out) and multi midi (more than the single 16 midi) (((no io connect does not count it either audio OR midi not both))) with maybe some tactile controls.
    Right now it could be done but by buying 3 pieces of gear and using a hub. Something like the akai MPC-X only an iPad sits where its screen sits and maybe not so crazy

        1. Focusrite has some reasonably priced cards with midi IO and multichannel audio. Scarlett range. Works even better with my ipad than my pc for some reason (it did crush heavily few times on fests where the power supply was done poorly, but not with the ipad; maybe a groundloop problem?). I have a very old discontinued 8i6 and it’s still in a good shape despite forementioned troubles with unstable electricity with a powered laptop, but works perfectly with all of my ipad gear (i have first gen mini and air2). And second hand one 8i6 should be dead cheap

  2. My little grain of salt :

    Phones are prone to be rather expensive, not super “hands on” in terms of controls, they need adapters to work with your gear, etc…

    While a little physical gear like a pocket pod or a couple of boss pedals is super cheap, provides hands on controls, and is irreplaceable in terms of fun and experimentation so for me the game has not even started that the hardware wins.

  3. Yeh, sure, there are more tactile options out there but it’s amazing what you can do with an iOS device especially if you use apps that take advantage of the touch screen instead of just trying to emulate hardware.

    I see a place for all, iOS isn’t going to replace dedicated hardware but it brings much to the table. And, obviously, it isn’t dedicated to one thing.

  4. I took 2 older iPhone 4s and bought one app. AltiSpace reverb is all I use because it works on a iPhone 4. I then went on flea bay and bought 2 trrs splitters for about $2 apiece.
    Now instead of useless phones I have reverbs for my volca keys and reface cs. The best part is no batteries or cables. If all your using is a Reverb app the battery lasts a long time.
    What they are doing here is too expensive for my taste. I would rather buy a pedal.

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