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!