Audiobus may have just gotten its killer app.

See if this scenario is familiar to you: you’ve got some instrument or effect on the iPad or iPhone, and you’re making some cool sounds. But you want to actually get to recording more than one track of that instrument, perhaps even as far as arranging it into something resembling an actual song. You could plug the audio jack of the iPad into your laptop, or go through the dance of trying to get files off your iPad. But there you are, comfortably reclining on the couch with a drum machine, and you don’t want to have to go back to your desk and turn on your computer and get distracted by Facebook, and…

Sorry, I was looking at another browser tab and lost my train of thought. Ah, yes – Audiobus.

We’ve followed Audiobus closely, with an in-depth feature around its release. And when Steinberg released Cubasis, a full-featured production tool for iPad, we talked to them about workflow.

Now, the two technologies meet. Cubasis is a traditional DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), that is, an all-in-one record / mix / arrange app. With the addition of Audiobus, it can now pipe audio from a growing number of compatible apps into the multitrack arranging window. That means you can use your iPad in a way familiar from a desktop computer, but in a much more portable environment.

Of course, at some point you may still want to brave your laptop. Cubase users are well sorted: Cubasis projects can be brought straight into Cubase on your Windows PC or Mac. For users of other tools, you can simply upload the whole project via Dropbox and get at its sounds that way. See the discussion on the Audiobus forum. (Readers, let us know if you try this or find your own workflow.)

All in all, though, this seems this could really be the tool that makes the Audiobus notion take off. And certainly other production tools won’t be far behind.

Cubasis is US$49.99; we’ll have a full review soon (just loaded onto my iPad 3).
Cubasis for iPad on iTunes App Store

Cubasis is I think closest to a traditional, full-featured DAW on the iPad – especially with Audiobus support – but it’s not the only option. See also, for instance, MultiTrack DAW by Harmonicdog. I’m not crazy about the look of the UI, but some users swear by it, it was out front with Audiobus support, and costs only US$9.99.

The best competition for Cubasis seems likely to be Auria. With 48-track support and a wealth of features and effects, it’s deeper than Cubasis in many respects, though Cubase users may appreciate the familiar interface and file exchange in Cubasis. And the big difference: Cubasis does MIDI, which Auria does not.

For more Audiobus apps: