Musicians, Can I send music and VoiceOver out of separate outputs on my iPhone?

iOS & iPadOS

Hi folks,
I'd like to begin to use my iPhone on stage to play synths ETC. during my performances, but, I don't want my audience to hear VoiceOver as I navigate the screen between songs, or make adjustments while I play.
First of all, any thoughts?
Second, my thought is to have two sound outputs, music out of one, and VO out of another one.
What is the best way to do this?




Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, September 10, 2015

I think airplay might work for you. You could use a airport express I think as your music output while VO stays on the phone. I've never tried plugging in headphones whilst using airplay though..

Submitted by Pa3k on Friday, September 11, 2015

Hi, I cant do this with my iPhone 5s and iOS 8.3. I have bluetooth speaker JBL rumble which I can connect with airplay but all the music source is sent directly to the speaker. In the controllcenter I can choose which i source I prefer, there is iPhone speaker and bluetoothspeaker.

I also would like to know how to separate VO source from music sound. If somebody know how to do this, please let us know, it would be very nice.

Many thanks

Submitted by Larry on Friday, September 11, 2015

Hey :)

You should be able to do this by using Airplay. There are some different Airplay stations that you can look at but my guess is that an Airport Express might be the best choice. This is my set up at home:

1) Airport Express connected to my Wi-Fi.
2) A speaker system connected to the AE.
3) I start a song on my phone using Music, Spotify and so on.
4) I go into Control Center -> Airplay
5) Choose the AE as target device.
6) The music is now coming out of the speakers while the VoiceOver stays on the phone. I am using this with many different devices (iPad Mini, iPhone 5s, Macbook Air).
If you want headphones for the VO sound make sure you plug them in before you send the music to the speakers otherwise the music will be brought back to the phone (If I remeber correctly).

Not sure if this works using bluetooth speakers though since Airplay and Bluetooth works in different ways.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Friday, September 11, 2015

As far as I know airplay is a wifi based connection. Yes, with bluetooth all output only runs through one channel but with airplay, the wifi, it leaves VO on the ios device. As suggested I think an airport express might be your solution. One thing to bare in mind is the latancy when dealing with wireless.

Submitted by Cliff on Friday, September 11, 2015

Hi! You could probably use airplay to separate VO from the audio, but as previous mentioned, the latency or lag would make this unusable in a live setting. You would most likely face latency of 1 second or even more, so this isn't a usable solution for any live musician...
Take care :)

Submitted by Rusty Perez on Friday, September 11, 2015

Hi All, and thanks for your responses. Yes, a wireless method would be nice for certain situations, but if there's a latency of even half a second, it's likely useless for most performances.
So, how about a wired option?
I keep hearing about a Camera connection kit, but then I read that it doesn't work for iphone.
I've read about special music devices from line6 and Irig, but I don't know if I can send just the music to these and not the VO.
Anyone have experience with any wired options for sending music out of the phone?


Submitted by Luke on Friday, September 11, 2015

Hey Rusty,
I too have wanted such a solution for several years now, so hopefully we figure this out. On a side note, I'd love to hear about which music apps you use that work with VoiceOver. I use GB on the iPad and its like 75% accessible, though a bit clunky in some areas. I've tried a couple other apps like Korg Gadget and a few other DAW apps and they were completely inaccessible. Got any recommendations? I've been building up a collection of hardware synths and just ordered a Beat Step Pro sequencer so I can just focus on the tactile experience of making music without all this accessibility stress and annoyance that seems to come with using software... But if there are actually truly accessible iOS programs out there I'd love to know. Anyway, cheers from another musician!

Submitted by Luke on Friday, September 11, 2015

They sell various recording interfaces that are iOS compatible, such as the Scarlet series by Focusrite. I wonder if, with such a second audio card connected to the iPad, you could tell your audio apps to use the external device while VoiceOver and other system sounds stay on the iPad. The big "if" is whether the VO output would remain local or automatically get pushed out to the secondary card.

Submitted by Rusty Perez on Friday, September 11, 2015

Hi Luke!

I'm gonna do my best to find a solution to split my audio.
I'm nearly certain it's possible because DJ apps on IOS which use a hardware device allow the DJ to queue on headphones, so, there must be a way to send two different sources out of two different outputs.

Now, as far as what I use.
I am a complete IOS newby. So I'm just starting to check things out.
I am primarily a singer / songwriter / guitarist / percussionist. But, I do some looping when I perform, and I think it would be realy fun to add some other elements via some electronic sources.

One thing I'm playing with right now is Korg iKaossilator.
It is totally accessible.
The kinds of loops which most people make with it are not really my thing, but I'm hoping to be able to create loops which would fit within what I do.

I've read that an app called Grain Science, which is a synthesizer is very accessible, and Thumbjam is also.
Now, admittedly iKaossilator and Thumbjam are more sequencer type things, but they seem to be pretty fun and usable.

What is GB which you mentioned you use?

Take a look at the reviews on Applevis. Look under the music section and you'll find a few other music making apps which seem to work well with IOS.

I'd really like to know if Animoog is accessible.

One other thing to think about is that you can connect midi controllers to the iPhone/pad/pod devices. That would allow us to twiddle and diddle knobs and switches to our heart's content.
I agree, a knob or a switch is somehow very satisfying.

I'll keep looking for a solution for the sound.

Submitted by Rusty Perez on Friday, October 9, 2015

That title is a bit misleading.
Actually I haven't found a way to listen to VO but I've recently gotten a small Braille display, a Refreshabraille. So, I can turn off the voice and still get VO output on the display.
It works pretty well!

I have several applications I'd like to try it with. I wan to see if I can do karaoke in Braille like this. I also expect to try and use some ios music making apps live using this method.
I think this, plus a hardware controller could be the key to using VO on an ios device live.