The original appeal of the iPad as a musical tool, for many, was just doing one thing at a time. Not using a DAW or advanced environment, but a single app.

Now here’s the question: can it be just as appealing when using multiple apps?

Audiobus 3 asks that very question. It certainly has a great video to explain itself:

Here’s what you’ll want to know, if you’re an iPad user.

Generally speaking, Audiobus 3 adds functionality but gets easier to use, with a cleaner layout and less setup.

You can mix apps from a single display, as you would with a hardware mixer, meaning mixing sound from apps is easier.

And significantly, in addition to support for the latest Apple plug-in format, you get advanced MIDI setup. That’s significant, because it means you can combine MIDI tools to turn Audiobus into an advanced environment for making complex patterns or generative setups.

And the whole thing is ten bucks, so it’s not a huge commitment.


I can see two big advantages to using Audiobus 3 for just about everybody. If you just want an easier way to record apps or mix or combine them in simple ways, it can already be a timesaver – even without necessarily getting hugely advanced with a lot of apps.

And the MIDI thing (which is the one that wins me over) makes for some neat new possibilities. Check this video:

Now, there are plenty of die hard iPad users who do want to use a bunch of apps, and they’re already sold. For everybody else, it could be another story. My only caution to all of this is, I imagine especially with Ableton Link to wirelessly sync your iPad to everything else, a lot of people will still find Audiobus to be overkill – and happily just run one app at a time. For those times you do need to do more, even occasionally, though, I find it well worth keeping in the iOS arsenal.

Everything you need to know:


    yes! i love your use of modular here and lets use it more to describe virtual environments, i think shying away from this is what has given many the fears of the modular world when they are already active participants.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      We’ve been doing that in the Linux world for many, many years, where this idea of chaining/connecting together many apps rather than using monolithic apps (e.g. your typical DAW) has a long history.

      As someone at the heart of making that happen, I’d say at this point that it was mostly a mistake except for a few rather unusual users/use-cases.


        i believe we are constantly working in standardized units or sections for easy construction or flexible arrangement, even inside of a daw on macOS. I think the modular world laughed at early pieces of software that literally use cables on screens to explain the flexible arrangement (and this might work well on an ipad) but i find people that are very capable at using LFO max for live tool are still irrationally scared of IRL modular synthesis… and i honestly doubt half the people presenting modules at namm could even keep tabs of a virtual environment to pay their bills let alone virtual/cross program modulation.

  • Max

    Heaven, I’m in heaven …

  • Alex Lichtenstein

    While I agree it opens a world of possibility, the midi capatibilities of audiobus 3 work only with apps that have the audiobus 3 SDK support…
    That means that for now korg gadget and many others dont work with this, so keep that in mind before purchasing the app.

  • Polite Society

    I’m so weirded out by hearing Jakob Hak pronounce his name like that.

  • Polite Society

    Loving the new direction here by the way. I had moved away from Audiobus to AUM because it felt more lightweight and had a mixer in the interface. This kind of makes me want to make an ipad only live rig. portable af.

  • cpc464freak

    I’ll pass. 1st I bought Audiobus, then they added IAPs for what should have been updates and now I’ve got to buy a separate app for the latest update (probably will add IAPs later). No, enough already.

  • abluesky

    What’s this difference between AB3 and AUM?

  • Bob Dobbs

    I only want to know if there is a midi chord app that will function as a “chord hold” for an external controller. Diminished 7ths on iMini!

  • Tejasmed

    I have long resisted investing in anything Apple as almost every job I had until I retired required extensive Win use. I recently purchased a new MiDI OVAL hand pan that requires the better audio quality of IPAD, so I purchased IPADPRO. It took me several months almost totally on my own searching for bits and pieces on how to use the product. I am super spoiled by having dual screen Windows to use when dealing with Reaper and other audio products. The IPAD is very frustrating to try to move from screen to screen to play an app and attach it to other screens to add more app inputs, like back tracks, and effects. So, I first purchased Audiobus 2 and never could get any real info on how to use it other than quick reviews on you tube. Now, I have purchased Audiobus 3 and same thing. Sure, lots of flashy adds and reviews…But, no book for Dummies yet. Yes…Dummie..but actually Newbie..( to Apple and Audiobus 3. ) I am old enough to remember when there were no computers…and I have built more than 5 over the years from scratch parts. But, please…someone write a readable “HOW TO” for Audiobus that we can use…. Put several step by step examples of how to take one app and add effects and produce and save. A step by step use of two or more musical apps, like Sound Prism pro and Odd Drum app…and produce the out come. There has to be a better explanation of how to use Garage Band along with all the features of Audiobus 3. For the time being, I have found a way through USB and TASCAM iXZ to make the IPADPRO and my Win 7 PC talk to each other… At least now, I can play live on streaming Vaughn with the IPADPRO apps. Anyone written a how to book yet?