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Thread: Conference Call Jam Session !!

  1. #1
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    Default Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Might be the new way to have a jam session !!
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Zoom seems the way to go these days for meetings, lessons, workshops. I have a couple of writing classes I will start joining. I don’t know if you can hear more than one person at a time and simultaneously.
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    We used Zoom for a Finnish sing a week ago. Seemed to work best if other folks were muted and only the leader sang. And with my singing skills, that's a blessing.

    Am going to try Skype to get together with my fiddle partner and see if we can get that to work. She's used it for years. I just installed it.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    If only. For actual, real-time interactive music, the latency delay will ruin it. A 1/4 sec delay for player B listening to player A means a 1/2 sec delay for the return sound to player A. Even the delay from the back of a large stage requires the percussionists in the back row of an orchestra to aim ahead of the beat, in order to sound together. (And orchestra ensemble is kind of squishy already so close is good enough.)

    Real wire connections, like the old days of telephones, are nearly speed-of-light, so the delay from L.A. to NYC would have been about 25 milliseconds, the same as that experienced by two players standing about 12 feet apart. But much more delay than that and players start slowing to match what they hear, and everything slows down. Or you can just bang away and imagine you're together, but that is not very satisfying.

    Maybe some future quantum-computing system can overcome this, but communications now are not real-time, but slightly delayed by computation that reassembles the packetized data. (And if you add the uplink/downlink delay from the 45,000-mile round trip to the satellites that is another 1/4 second lag.)

    For very slow and not very tight music it can work, and of course we can play examples for each other if developing a song, but ensemble playing will be a challenge that can't be met, seems to me.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    Even the delay from the back of a large stage requires the percussionists in the back row of an orchestra to aim ahead of the beat, in order to sound together.

    Real wire connections, like the old days of telephones, are nearly speed-of-light, so the delay from L.A. to NYC would have been about 25 milliseconds, the same as that experienced by two players standing about 12 feet apart.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Franc Homier Lieu View Post
    Learn something new everyday: CHECK! And I banked one for tomorrow too!
    It may be that gentle and slow tempos will be satisfying, I would be happy to be wrong on this, but I suspect that much long-distance rehearsing and recording would be happening already, simply for the convenience, if it were possible.

    Long-distance overdubbing works fine--I send you a play-along mix on one side of a stereo track. You record your track and send it back. I drop your new track into the main file, nudge it into time alignment., stretching or shrinking the duration slightly if clocks don't match.

    But there is no real substitute, as of now, for being in the same room.
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  10. #7

    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by yankees1 View Post
    Might be the new way to have a jam session !!
    This is what Matt Flinner is already doing with former students of his online classes. He uses ZOOM and mutes everyone but himself. He sends music ahead of time for us to download. He will play the melody while I (we) chord along and then he chords along while I (we) play the melody. It is like having a one-on-one jam session with him. But, of course, he cannot hear me and my mistakes.

    Matt's online courses have run for several years and I have taken probably close to a dozen of them. My playing has really improved from these lessons. It is not the same as getting feedback from an in-person teacher but I didn't want that. I get feedback from my band
    mates and audiences when I try out new things that I learned in classes.

    NFI on my part.

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    I had lots of Skype for Business meetings these days, and just as they don't feel like the real thing (which is not always bad), a jam session won't (which is always bad).

    It's not even like those Jedi meetings in Star Wars. Half the time you're busy fighting technical problems, and you have lagging signals, of course. Video lags behind audio, and if two are talking at the same time, you don't have the spatial stereo information to tell them apart.

    It would be better to meet physically, everybody wearing space suits.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    fighting technical problems ...
    Reminds me of an incident from the old days. When I was a consumer fraud prosecutor, we were prosecuting a company that was falsely claiming to be able to set up a "turn key" internet business set up--basically, snake oil in a box. The Snake Oil Purveyors (hereinafter, "SOPs") told the judge they wanted to come in and prove to him that their little box worked, which would of course cut our legs out from under us. So the judge held a hearing. The SOPs came in that morning and wired the court room to show off their wares. 2:00, time for the hearing … the SOPs couldn't get it to work--"but soon, Judge, soon." 3:00: nada but more "soons". 4:00: less than nada and more "soons". 5:00: the judge instructed them to clear that crap out of his court room. Case over. We won. A good lesson for people using high tech: make sure it works before you bet the company (or your next 5-10 years of freedom) on it.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    We could take turns playing songs for each other in a given group that were online together. Sharing music, hearing each other and seeing various instruments, though jamming would produce timing issues, might make this activity meaningful. Dan
    Dan Brooks

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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by belbein View Post
    Reminds me of an incident from the old days. When I was a consumer fraud prosecutor, we were prosecuting a company that was falsely claiming to be able to set up a "turn key" internet business set up--basically, snake oil in a box. The Snake Oil Purveyors (hereinafter, "SOPs") told the judge they wanted to come in and prove to him that their little box worked, which would of course cut our legs out from under us. So the judge held a hearing. The SOPs came in that morning and wired the court room to show off their wares. 2:00, time for the hearing … the SOPs couldn't get it to work--"but soon, Judge, soon." 3:00: nada but more "soons". 4:00: less than nada and more "soons". 5:00: the judge instructed them to clear that crap out of his court room. Case over. We won. A good lesson for people using high tech: make sure it works before you bet the company (or your next 5-10 years of freedom) on it.
    You should watch the brilliant 1997 movie "Shooting Fish".

  16. #12

    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Try Jamkazam.
    The faster tunes will be better at resisting lag

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Wish I had seen this thread earlier. My 5-piece Italian group tried Zoom starting at 3pm today (from only 4 stations - one married couple), and hit all of the muting & lag warnings noted above. Maybe not real productive, but WAY entertaining to the point where my smile muscles hurt!
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  18. #14

    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Just going to point out that while conference calls by anything other than ISDN won't work, good old fashioned multitrack recording still works fine!
    - Lay down a click track and backing
    -Layer up various instruments and vocals
    -Working from a common software like Reaper or Audacity will allow you to all contribute without losing anything. Or for less savvy individuals, just send them the current mix, have them listen via headphones and have them send you their track for you to mix back in.

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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    As has been discussed, latency is the problem...

    Latency is caused by a combination of:
    1) The density of the data being sent
    2) The slowest component(s) in the equipment chain
    3) The distances the data is traveling.

    We're talking about speed vs quality related settings for audio and spead vs quality settings for video.

    We're talking the speed of not just your computer and its accessories, but also every device and cable that your data passes through and the speed of the receiving system -- AND the distance that your data is traveling.

    A group of us just evaluated JamKazam, a music-specific software package intended for jam/teaching/performing situations. It works fine for teaching which is mostly one-way non-simultaneous playing, and for performing with a physically-together band for an online listening audience, which is also mostly one-way non-simultaneous playing. Because of latency, unless everyone involved has special hardware accommodations and the fastest network connection and small dinstances, it does not do well for real-time multiple-distanced individuals.

    So it's not the software's fault, latency is the issue. We're talking about milliseconds here, but it's commonly enough of a problem that it will mess up timing if you're dealing with 16th or shorter notes, which most of us routinely do. At 120 BPM a 16th note will have a duration of 125 milliseconds, about the time it takes for a note of music played from an instrument in California to reach a listener in Florida, and that's just one way between two participants. It normally isn't a problem with conversations because we're used to dealing with cellphone latency, but it is a big problem for music.
    Last edited by dhergert; Mar-22-2020 at 9:21pm.
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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    There was a thread I saw in the last couple of months on some music forum (maybe the Jazz Guitar forum?) where a few folks tried playing with each other using several softwares/hardwares that supposedly "solved" the latency problem. They said none of them worked as advertised and all were frustrating to attemt to play with others.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Yup... It's a highly desired capability at this time, every music oriented performer would like to be able to practice or perform or jam or do something in real time with bandmates or friends or whatever, without having to be together physically. Maybe today's situation will encourage a tech breakthrough, but it probably won't be available for a while -- hardware and software development and production cycles take a long time.
    -- Don

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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Somewhere, someone is working on this......just wait a few weeks. We probably won’t see big leaps and bounds, but in six to eight months, things could be very different. Technology has a way of speeding along if there is a need. We are going to see some real technological advances as platforms for schools, universities, health care and business evolve very quickly to adapt.
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    We could take turns playing songs for each other in a given group that were online together. Sharing music, hearing each other and seeing various instruments, though jamming would produce timing issues, might make this activity meaningful. Dan
    More of a folk club approach, then: One person plays, the others enjoy, everyone takes their turn. I think that could work because latency is less of a problem.

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  29. #20

    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Just going to point out that while conference calls by anything other than ISDN won't work, good old fashioned multitrack recording still works fine!
    - Lay down a click track and backing
    -Layer up various instruments and vocals
    -Working from a common software like Reaper or Audacity will allow you to all contribute without losing anything. Or for less savvy individuals, just send them the current mix, have them listen via headphones and have them send you their track for you to mix back in.
    This is basically what these guys did. Turned out pretty well I think!

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts...aaron-copland/


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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    For jam sessions there is software that delays things by a fixed number of measures. The assumption is the measures repeat, like a blues progression, so you jam over what everybody else played 8 (or 16ish) bars previously. It supposedly isn't terrible, but of limited use, useless for classical or anything that isn't rhythm + melody or improv over a fixed repeating set of chords.

    I read a few articles on the physics of it, and the speed of light just isn't fast enough for jam sessions more than a small(ish) state away. 300-400 miles is the upper bound, and that's miles of cable with no router delays, not miles as the crow flies. So LA to San Diego might be possible for example, if your internet connection was perfect, but NY to SF (or London) just can't be done without FTL technology. :-)

    It's based on light speed of 186,000 miles per second, and 20ms maximum delay., which comes down to 372 miles. Some folks were saying you need half that delay for it to really work, as the round-trip time is what is important but I don't see why. If they are right, then about 200 mi is the upper distance limit.

    I for one can hear a 20ms delay, at least when drumming I could (although I see articles saying most ppl won't notice anything below 25ms). I had an electronic drum module with a 20+ms delay and that thing drove me crazy, but it was playable to a point.
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  32. #22
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Heartily agree w/ kurth83's analysis of delay amounts, except to clarify:

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    ... Some folks were saying you need half that delay for it to really work, as the round-trip time is what is important but I don't see why.
    Because we each need to play for our jam-mates to play along with, then we need to hear the combined effect of us + our jam-mates playing together. If we need to wait an inordinate amount of time before hearing the combined signal (say 20ms out + 20ms back = 40ms), as opposed to the direct signal traveling 2' to our own ears, then that delay is simply, uhm, an inordinate amount of time.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    A friend just sent me this...

    https://jammr.net/

    Is anyone familiar with it?
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    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    A friend just sent me this...

    https://jammr.net/

    Is anyone familiar with it?
    Hi Charles, I was impressed with the video and the concept. Are you going to download? Dan
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    Default Re: Conference Call Jam Session !!

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    For jam sessions there is software that delays things by a fixed number of measures. The assumption is the measures repeat, like a blues progression, so you jam over what everybody else played 8 (or 16ish) bars previously. It supposedly isn't terrible, but of limited use, useless for classical or anything that isn't rhythm + melody or improv over a fixed repeating set of chords.

    I read a few articles on the physics of it, and the speed of light just isn't fast enough for jam sessions more than a small(ish) state away. 300-400 miles is the upper bound, and that's miles of cable with no router delays, not miles as the crow flies. So LA to San Diego might be possible for example, if your internet connection was perfect, but NY to SF (or London) just can't be done without FTL technology. :-)

    It's based on light speed of 186,000 miles per second, and 20ms maximum delay., which comes down to 372 miles. Some folks were saying you need half that delay for it to really work, as the round-trip time is what is important but I don't see why. If they are right, then about 200 mi is the upper distance limit.

    I for one can hear a 20ms delay, at least when drumming I could (although I see articles saying most ppl won't notice anything below 25ms). I had an electronic drum module with a 20+ms delay and that thing drove me crazy, but it was playable to a point.
    Maybe I am doing the math wrong but for 372 miles at 186,000 miles per second I get 2ms of delay. Nonetheless, the delays from digitizing the audio at your computer, formatting it, sending it out via your network adapter and the delays added by your ISP and internet hops, the transmission speed is not the biggest factor

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