The Apple iPad is quickly reserving it's place among traditional and newer mobile producers alike. In this tutorial, I'll explain these two audio features inside iOS 7, and how you can get the most out of them.
AudioCopy allows you to render out an audio file and then open it in another audio app, all within the device. Before AudioCopy was available, you would have to do this via iTunes with the Share via iTunes option.
If an app supports AudioCopy, you'll see an option for AudioCopy in the apps share, save or export dialogue. You may also find the random app that uses a non-conventional name, such as Add to Clipboard, which is essentially what AudioCopy is doing.
The counter-feature to AudioCopy is appropriately named AudioPaste. Once you've saved the audio file via AudioCopy you can then open it in any app that supports AudioPaste. The way you do this will depend on the app you are using, but the basic process is the same. Let's have a look at a few examples of how you may find yourself using AudioCopy in your workflow.
Inside of Korg Gadget, I've created a drum groove that I want to copy over into another music app. In the Export options you'll see AudioCopy the bottom of the list.
Selecting AudioCopy will render out and audio file, then give you the option to preview and name your file. Tapping Copy Audio will add it to the iOS clipboard. You will be notified that your audio has been successfully copied.
Let's add it to the TRG-16 sampler inside of NanoStudio. NanoStudio is one of the earliest DAW apps, so it's workflow is a bit different than newer apps. In NanoStudio you have to use the built-in file browser. Tapping on Edit then Load will get you to the built-in file browser; then selecting Paste will give you access to any available AudioCopy files. Tap on the file you want to paste then tap Load and then OK. The sample has been successfully imported into NanoStudio and can now be loaded and used.
Inside of GarageBand, you can simply tap on an audio track and select Paste. This will paste the last file that was copied to the iOS clipboard into the Audio Recorder track.
Inter-App Audio, also known as IAA, takes the concept of AudioCopy further by allowing audio applications to virtually connect audio outputs to audio inputs. With IAA, you can now have a workflow that is vaguely similar to how the concepts of plug-ins work on a desktop, in that you have a host app and you have a plug-in app that's refereed to as a Node. This Node will feed it's audio signal directly into the host app, removing the need for manual sharing or even manual audio bouncing like with AudioCopy.
Inside of GarageBand, if you have any audio apps that support Inter-App Audio, you will see an option in the Instruments selection view for Inter-App Audio Apps. Tapping this option will show you a list of all apps that are available under two selections; Instrument and Effects. Selecting an app will launch the app.
When you switch to the audio Note app, you'll notice that you now have a basic transport overlay from GarageBand. This is a standard feature of Inter-app Audio, but I have noticed the transport may be in different locations in different apps.
If you go back to GarageBand you can see what the app has done for you: it has created a new Audio Recorder track and it's inserted the selected app as the Inter-App Audio Node. You can also do all of this manually by selecting an Audio Recorder from the Instruments view, and tapping the Inter-App Audio icon—an outline of a headphone jack—in the upper left corner. Tapping the icon will give you the same list of instruments and effects to chose from as in the Instruments selection.
When you select an app to use with Inter-app Audio, you'll see the iOS Status Bar turn red to indicate that the app has launched in the background. Tapping on the app icon will take you to the app.
Tip: I'm sure some of you picked up on this but just to clarify, this is recording audio, not MIDI. While Virtual MIDI does exist in iOS, I haven't actually seen any DAW apps that make use of it in a traditional way, sending MIDI information to a Node app, then recording the audio back into the host app.
To record using Inter-App Audio, simply click the record button, then play your passage. Once you're done recording you can go back to the host app and see and edit the recorded audio file.
While both Inter-App Audio and AudioCopy are built into iOS, it's up to the individual developer to add functionality to their apps. The best and really only way I've found to tell if a specific app supports either of these capabilities is to read the description in the App Store or in iTunes.
With every new release and software update, iPad brings a host of new capabilities the music making world. Features such as AudioCopy and Inter-App Audio are bringing full desktop-class functionality to the mobile device world, making for a great addition to—or even replacement for—a traditional desktop workflow.