The Ultimate Guide To Using Audiobus With Garageband

Posted by | 23 comments

Garageband Tutorial


Apple’s inspired decision to update Garageband IOS to be fully compatibility with the Audiobus app may have provided the best solution to getting great sounding audio with your iPad/iPhone.


What is Audiobus?


Audiobus essentially allows you to send audio from one app (an instrument app, microphone or synth app for instance), filter it through another (which could be any effect – delay processor, reverb unit or bitcrusher to name but a few) and receive it in another (a multitrack recorder, like the Garageband app.)



Check out the official intro video from the makers of Audiobus…



I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – Garageband IOS’ built amp models and effects sound less than fantastic when compared to a lot of other dedicated guitar/ bass apps.


Not only that, you can use lots of other specific or niche instrument apps too – great news if you are a big synth lover!


What Audiobus allows you to do is record the sounds from another app that sounds great (say, IK’s own guitar processor app, Amplitube for example) INTO your Garageband IOS project.


Sound good?


Let’s break it down…


First things first: Go BUY and download the Audiobus app.


That’s right. You need to buy it.


Look, you know me, you know I love a freebie, but trust me, if
you’re serious about getting your Garageband audio sounding top notch, it’s worth the £2.99/$4.99 price tag.


Open the app. You’ll be greeted with the Audiobus setup screen


Garageband Audiobus 1


For the purposes of this demo, we’ll link up 2 apps; Amplitube Free and Garageband. Tap the input tab and you’ll get a drop down menu listing the music apps that can be placed in this slot. go ahead and select Amplitube.


Garageband Audiobus 3


Back at the connections screen, tap Output and select Garageband from the drop down menu.
Now, on the connections screen you’ll see both apps are in the correct slot, but are grayed out. Wake them up by tapping them (Starting with the input app).


Garageband Audiobus 2


Now, you’ll see both apps are active in the Audiobus window, denoted by the cool flashy arrows between the slots.


If you open Garageband and navigate to the track selection screen, hit the plus sign to add a new track and Select ‘Audio Recorder’.


Garageband Audiobus 4


You can jump back and forth between active apps and and the audiobus window easily by using the Audiobus tab on the right of your screen. You’ll see a little grey tab poking out of the edge of the screen – tap and drag it to pull it out.


From here, you can tap on the app icons and hit the open door icon to jump to that app.


Garageband Audiobus 5


Use it to jump to the Amplitube app. There’s a lot of options for how to set up your guitar sounds in Amplitube (especially the full version), so go ahead and get your audio sounding just how you want it. When you’re done, hit the Garageband app icon in the Audiobus sidebar.


You’ll get a slightly different drop down menu. The icons here actually let you take control of the recording in the Garageband app. Let’s take a look:


Garageband Audiobus 8


1 – Takes you to the Garageband app

2 – Skips the track back to the beginning.

3 – Plays the track

REC – Records your audio from the Amplitube app.


Go ahead and give it a try, hit record and start playing. Once you’ve finished, simply hit the Garageband app icon and tap the open door icon to be whisked away to the GB App – from here you can add a plethora of weird and wonderful effects (great for a bit of fun, not recommended for ‘serious’ use though).


From here, just apply your awesome ninja production skills and mix your track as you would any other GB track.





A few of you lovely people got in touch after this post first went live looking for further clarification on how to get going with Audiobus…


Hopefully this’ll do it for you!




What Works?


There are LOADS of different apps that Audiobus works with, and the list is growing all the time.


For a full list of compatible apps, check this out:


Audiobus Compatible Apps



I recently looked at ways you can get the most from using IK Multimedia’s iRig with the Garageband app. I’ll come right out and say it: You will get better sounding audio (especially guitar tone) if you use Audiobus coupled with a dedicated guitar app.


As if that wasn’t enough, the ability to hook up a huge amount of different instrument and effect apps to ‘supercharge’ Garageband is something you can’t afford to miss!


Here’s 3 Audiobus compatible apps that I recommend you try out, with some samples of the kind of sounds you can get using them in conjunction with the Garageband IOS app.



Amplitube Free


You knew it was going to be on this list, didn’t you? You just can’t argue with great tone and the Amplitube app provides not only  the kind of sound quality the Garageband app’s amp models can only dream of, it’s incredibly easy to use too.


With a choice of mics and mic positions as well as two effects to choose from, the free version of Amplitube is well equipped to get you recording fantastic sounding guitar licks.


Here’s a quick demo I threw together using Audiobus, Amplitube Free as the input app and Garageband as the output app:




SunrizerXS £1.99/$5.00


If you in any way like using synths then this is the app for you. There’s a huge amount of presets for you to get to grips with as well as the ability to build your own sound from the ground up. The possibilities are pretty much limitless with this app.


Here’s a quick demo using Audiobus, Sunrizer XS as the input app and Garageband IOS as the output app.




Amp Kit Free


The free version of Ampkit comes pre loaded with a Peavey Valve King amp, a choice of two Valveking cabinets and manages to set itself apart by having a huge amount of customization options.


I love Peavey amps, so the accurate and brilliant sounding recreations in this app were right up my street. You can really get a huge range of sounds with all the drive options, pedal combinations and mic choices and placements.


Here’s my hastily recorded demo using Audiobus using Amp Kit Free as the input app and Garageband as the output app.




I can’t recommend the Audiobus app enough. If you’ve ever found Garageband on it’s own a little limiting or just can’t get things sounding the way you want, this is the way to take things to the next level.


What do you think? Will you be giving Audiobus a whirl? Let me know in the comments!





  1. We totally agree! We just released audiobus connectivity for our app, ImproVox, and we’ve been using it with Garageband ever since. Here’s a little video to show how that can work…

    • Hey Jon,

      Improvox looks great – decent Pitch Correction apps are few and far between on IOS, but your app does it brilliantly!

      I’m not impressed with your choice of song in the demo video though… it’s totally stuck in my head now… 🙁

  2. A lot of iOS users have been on the bus since it came out, and feel that GB is still most amazing as a stand alone. Other iOS DAWs have greater track count/editing controls and support higher bit rates (is it too much to ask for 16 tracks and 24 bit?), but lack the overall scope and versatility of GB (especially when you consider how staggeringly cheap it is…are you freaking kidding?!? Five bucks for a masterpiece?). I do think they need to get on it now as an instrument slot in Audiobus, or it will run the risk of being ignored- the specialized synths, effects, and samplers available now to Audiobus users have utterly crazy potential for sonic Utopia…It is a very integrated platform, but I believe it will thrive due to its evolving modularity. Garageband will always be self-contained, and that can work against the Audiobus concept if it is not perceived as a genuinely high end output (Logic Studio, anyone?)

    What would be UNBELIEVABLE is if Apple finally allowed iOS functionality within their OS systems, and perhaps even visa versa. That perceived division can be like a bridge nobody wants to cross if after a long creative trek, the final leg of the journey just seems too complicated (umm, iTunes file sharing). All this stuff has the power to just rock and flow seamlessly, but Apple needs to realize that, and instigate the process…

    Audiobus has arrived, and seeing as how they rolled out the red carpet for Garageband, it is time that Apple fully acknowledged what a great gift this tiny little three way portal been to iOS music producers…

    • Hey Chris – great comment!

      You’re totally right – allowing Garageband to be used in that middle instrument slot is something we will hopefully see sooner rather than later – as is cross platform functionality between ios and os.

      Fingers crossed!

    • Indeed – I usually use Nanostudio, even to record live instruments, because the sound quality, effects, and Eq are so good, along with the export options (especially the individual midi track to wav export for mixing on the PC) but I’ve recently done some songs in GB which are proving a pain to export (essentially exporting to iTunes with each track of the song soloed sequentially so I get the individual tracks to import into Reaper) If I could record from GB into NS using audiobus it would be so much easier.

  3. One of my favourite guitar apps is Jam Up. I can get pro guitar sounds from it with my Apogee Jam really easily.
    Is there any point in using Garageband now that Amplitube upgraded their app to a fully fledged DAW though?

    • JamUp is really good too Albert – I just preferred the Peavey models in Amp Kit.

      I’ve not had a chance to get to grips with Amplitube’s new DAW section yet. How is it?

      • It’s much easier to pick up and use than Garageband, plus has more drum patches.
        The overall sound quality is better imo too.

        • Hmm. I’d definitely be interested to give it a try Albert, but i’m pretty sure you have to pay for the app twice if you want to use it on iPad & iPhone?

          Also, the cross platform functionality you get from the Garageband App will always be a deal breaker for me!

  4. Audiobus has totally changed the way I record on my iPad.

  5. Any chance of a video on how to set all this up? I’m still not 100 percent on it. Very helpful though!

    • I hadn’t considered it Arthur, but if you think it’s a good idea, I might just put one together – watch this space!

  6. In fact when someone doesn’t understand afterward its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it happens.

    • Cool Beans Trevor, thanks for the comment! 🙂

  7. Hi Patrick,

    Very excited about Audiobus. Your video was really on the money except for one bump in the road . . . IOS 7. My ipad is running ios 7.02! Audiobus wouldn’t record Sunrizer tracks to Garageband 11. So bumbed out! Good news is I can still copy tracks from Sunrizer the old way via ITunes and drop the files onto the loops window of Garageband. Hopefully Audiobus or Apple will get together and iron this issue out. I guess we will all have to just wait and see.

    • Hi Lewis,

      I know – it’s VERY annoying! I have it on good authority that the boffins at Audiobus are sorting out a whole host of iOS7 related compatibility issues as we speak!

  8. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after looking at many of the posts I realized it’s new
    to me. Regardless, I’m definitely happy
    I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and
    checking back regularly!

  9. I can see vocal live, amplitube within garageband I don’t know why we still need audiobus? is there any special features in audiobus?

    • I think the latest version of Garage Band has resolved this with the Inter-app Audio Apps function available from the Instruments menu. When you select this GarageBand will list all the available apps (e.g. mine included Jam Up Pro, Amplitube, Loopy), you select the one you want to record in and GarageBand will open up that app. Let’s say you’re recording in Amplitube, you hit record in the usual way and GarageBand will record that in the same way it would its native guitar amp Instrument. @Patrick – if you’re still around can you comment on this solution vs Audiobus discussed in this article?

  10. If you love the garage band synths, which I did too, I’d suggest trying the fruity loops phone app, it’s just as rad and has a bit more MIDI compatibility, plus you can get some cooking layers going in loopy. Or, the over complicated full proof solution, use your old Iphone(if you have one) and run garage band through there out through a splinter so you can have headphones or whatnot and then link it through your device with loopy using a line-level audio input adaptor(kvconnections is good with that) and eliminate using audio bus in the process, or just man up and use garage band on your computer and AUX. cord it out to the converter adapter thing. 🙂

  11. Hey Patrick,

    Can you recommend a good drumming app (particularly for metal) that is Autobus/Garageband compatible?

  12. Hi

    I’ve just acquired the irig pro duo and I’m looking to use it for live performances, I want to know if it’s possible to use two channels using audiobus simultaneously, one mic through vocalive and a guitar through amplitube and finally to GarageBand ?
    Thanks Charlie


  1. Garageband | Garageband Know How - [...] how to use audiobus with garageband right [...]
  2. How To Use Audiobus With Garageband | - [...] In this video, I’ll show you the easy way to get set up with Audiobus and … (What…
  3. The Big Garageband Update – First Impressions | - […] Inter App Audio works pretty much the same way the Audiobus does – allowing you to link and record…
  4. WTF Is Inter App Audio Apps?? | - […] paper, it’s a fantastic idea – emulate the functionality of 3rd party programs like Audiobus and Jack, but make…
  5. Audiobus 2 - What's New? | - […] Audiobus was released back in 2012, it single handedly changed the way music was made on iOS devices […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *