Mobile-based music can mean a chance to do more with less, but that hasn’t stopped lovers of production on the iPhone and iPad from wanting to move ideas between apps. So, you’ve got a great bassline … if you could just combine it with that vocal sample, and then finish a track…

That presumably explains why we hear so many readers clamoring for AudioCopy. It’s a proprietary audio API developed by Sonoma WireWorks with an available SDK, and it’s gained some real traction among iOS music apps. Latest to the fold is ReBirth, the iPhone and iPad all-in-one music studio. (A corresponding price cut makes the iPad version US$9.99 and iPhone edition $4.99, though if you have a choice, I’d avoid the iPhone version and stick with the iPad.) I know this was an oft-requested feature.


You can keep track of which apps work with AudioCopy (and AudioPaste) at Sonoma’s site:
Compatible Apps

A few apps stand out. Sonoma’s own FourTrack and StudioTrack allow you to multitrack arrangements from materials you’ve built in other apps, as well as add audio tracks recorded from another source. Other highlights:

  • Jasuto is a full-fledged modular environment.
  • Monle is a simple but elegant multitrack editor, ideal for laying out audio sampled from other tools
  • VoiceJam from TC-Helicon is a vocal sampler and looper.

…and, of course, there are countless synths and other interesting sound generators, including Korg’s offerings and various tools we’ve covered on CDM. But it’s nice to see these tools in the mix, too, in terms of workflow.

I’m still partial to the far more open and capable conventional computer as a way of working, but what’s interesting to me is that part of what many want on mobile is the same sort of studio-in-a-box flexibility. And there’s no question that with these tools, you can get music made. There are efforts to route signal between apps, too, but what’s nice here is that you still focus on one app at a time – avoiding performance bottlenecks in either their device or your attention span.

If you do use iOS, let us know which apps you use with AudioCopy.

  • Leslie

    AudioCopy is the step in forward but, so much requested two main missing features from RB iOS – iTunes file sharing (how difficult can that be to implement) and CoreMIDI support for MIDI sync got totally ignored by this slim update… 🙁

  • my real frustration is transferring files to Beatmaker 2 using its wifi app, and then if i want to use the same files in nanostudio i have to run another identical app. it's ridiculous! i am so confused about how to work with samples on iOS. 

  • What's wrong with UIPasteBoard?

  • I use everyday looper and four track currently.  I really like sunvox tracker, but without audio/copy paste, it is pretty useless to me.

    I'm very seriously considering getting rebirth and monle, as well as some kind of multi FX processor with audio/copy paste, but I'm not sure what exists on that front.

  • Miguel Marcos

    What I find astounding is that such basic functionality is being provided via a 3rd party API in iPhone OS. Why doesn't Apple negotiate with Sonoma and just standardize this so all or most apps integrate it and it will be formally annointed as official, too?

  • The basic functionality of copy & paste for samples *is* part of iOS, it's called UIPasteBoard. You can copy audio data along with all the info you find in a WAV header, most apps don't need more than that.

  • So I downloaded the iPhone version after reading this article and there is no audio copy in the iPhone version.  Lame.  It's still nice software but it's pretty useless unless it has audiocopy so I can incorporate it with my other apps.

  • Christopher Penrose

    There is some confusion regarding audio copy/paste between iOS applications. The Sonoma "API" is not precisely proprietary, as it is implemented using the standard UIPasteboard available to all iOS developers. Sonoma does not require any licensing for their "API"', and one can simply think of it as a marketing (for better or worse) ploy for audio applications which use the standard, and provides a consistent interface between these applications.

    Intua actually innovated here first with Beatmaker: they created a proprietary pasteboard mechanism which eventually was invalidated by Apple when they included official UIPasteboard support in iOS. At this point Intua reimplemented audio copy/paste using the Apple UIPasteboard method.

    Thus there are two audio copy/paste "standards" (Intua and Sonoma) but they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I chose to implement audio copy/paste for SynthTronica using the Intua "standard" but during development tested using Sonoma applications as well. SynthTronica can paste audio from all Sonoma applications that I have tested, and should work with all as the "standard" is consistent.

    There are incompatibilities out there. Sonoma restricts itself to 16-bit audio (the main reason I chose not to use it, among others). Filtatron uses Intua cop/paste but also restricts itself to 16-bit audio. This is very frustrating; these developers seem not to understand the ease at which a wide variety of formats can be translated using iOS' CoreAudio API. They probably wrote more code to create a restrictive implementation than it would have taken to support nearly every format CoreAudio supports. Because of this, SynthTronica exports (copy) 16-bit audio but accepts (paste) many more formats.

  • Christopher Penrose

    @Leslie local ITunes importing/exporting is decidedly non-trivial to implement, though there is a fair amount of documentation on it. Midi sync, done correctly, is even more complicated to implement and source examples are scarcer. I detect a bit of entitlement here which is hilarious; you pay as much money for a burger or two and yet you demand such esoteric features? Such attitude could catapult iOS developers down the Smule path where none of these time-intensive burdens are relevant. Effuseiveness goes a lot further than entitlement.

  • Christopher Penrose

    ITunes file sharing with a host computer is very easy to implement though, which is probably what you meant. I have Rebirth too and I didn't use it for any interoperability testing as, at the time, it was a rather insular app.

  • At least one iOS music app (ThumbJam) will export its "work" via a builtin HTTP server as an Ardour session. Makes it easy to futz while mobile then move stuff back onto the mothership for more elaborate big-screen tweaking. Not sure why more iOS apps haven't done something like this.

  • Stiksi

    Looks like only the iPad version of Rebirth got Audio Copy. There is no mention of it on the iPhone version's page. You should probably check for yourself.

  • empolo

    I just created a groove in RB and copied it over to Jasuto – pure goodness. Long travel days are no longer a problem with my iPad.