Jamming Over The Internet

The pandemic and lockdowns have probably been among the most difficult periods ever to be a working musician. It certainly has been the most difficult time in my music career. However, during this time I’ve discovered something amazing, something that I didn’t think was possible. That is, that jamming over the internet, in what is perceivably real time, is possible. I’ve successfully performed concerts and taught lessons using this technology and I’d like to invite you to join me!

The ultimate goal here is ultra-low latency. When making a phone call or video call the latency, between when someone makes a sound on one end and when it is received on the other end, is about half a second (500 milliseconds). To be able to perform in what is perceivable real-time over the internet, we need an overall latency of 30ms or less.

Bare minimum requirements

  • Jamulus; a free software that helps with lower latency and improve audio quality. There are others such as Jacktrip and JamKazzam but this is what I use.
  • A decent computer, most computers will do but if you’re running something that is more than 3-5 years old it may struggle.
  • An ethernet connection. Wifi just won’t cut it. You MUST be plugged directly into your modem.
  • An audio interface with an XLR microphone & headphones. This bundle seems like a great way to get started if you don’t have any of these things.
  • An ISP (internet service provider) that offers fiber internet capabilities. Unfortunately for us in Canada the only company that offers that at the moment is Bell Fibe and even so, it isn’t available everywhere at the moment.

Other Factors That Affect Your Latency: Outside Our Control

  • Internet traffic: usage in your home, neighborhood and beyond.
  • The network and routing of internet in your city (or beyond) by your available ISPs
  • Others

Another factor that is important when it comes to doing this with more than 2 people is the server location. Controlling the server location can have a significant impact on your latency. There is now a service that helps to optimize that which has been setup by a friend of mine. That is Syncspace.live. They have this helpful link for testing your latency with their servers which I highly recommend you use.

Please don’t drag your feet with regards to getting involved with this. This is the way of the future and it will only get better.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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