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Thread: On-Line Jamming Apps?

  1. #1
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    Default On-Line Jamming Apps?

    A couple of the folks in my usual jamming group are looking for an on-line app. that will support realtime jamming. They have already tried Skype, What's App, and Face Time, without success. There is too much time delay in these apps.

    Anybody know of one that works?

  2. #2
    Registered User MikeyG's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Yes. JamKazam works very well. It requires a WIRED (no WiFi) Internet connection (Ethernet cable), an audio interface, microphone and headphones. Also it requires patience.

    Check it out. Jamkazam.com

    MikeyG

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    To be fair, JamKazam will function with WiFi -- it doesn't crash or refuse to run -- but latency will almost definitely be a serious problem. JamKazam also prefers special audio interfaces, but it will run with standard audio equipped laptops.

    The biggest contributor to latency is distance. Figure adding a little more than 2ms to your total latency for every 100 miles. And keep in mind that latency is cumulative for each real-time participant.

    This latency is not a software problem. It's where the rubber meets the road with the speed of light.

    This Mandolin Cafe' thread talks more about this.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post

    The biggest contributor to latency is distance. Figure adding a little more than 2ms to your total latency for every 100 miles. And keep in mind that latency is cumulative for each real-time participant.
    Don, I've been using a Presonus AudioBox USB that I bought on Reverb for less than $100 with a reasonably fast (500 mbps download, 22 mbps upload) Internet service to jam successfully with a friend in Austin, TX (1350 miles from my location) for the last 5.5 years. He uses a MacBook Pro with a Resident Audio interface (Thunderbolt 2 connection). We both use headphones (of course) and XLR mics, each purchased for less than $100. JamKazam reports that my audio Interface adds 3.4 ms latency (with Windows 10) and his adds 5.0 ms. Typically the total latency averages about 35 ms, which we find quite tolerable for simultaneous playing. We are wired - WiFi is simply too unreliable.
    We've also welcomed a third participant who sometimes connects from Sanibel, FL, Seattle, WA or North Oaks, MN. Those sessions are entirely successful. But adding a 4th has sometimes proved problematic.
    JamKazam works if you're persistent and willing to shell out a few dollars for equipment and fast Internet service.
    We are both retired & are very grateful for JamKazam.

    MikeyG

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Yes. JamKazam seems to be the only one that has addressed the problem. Their videos explain, for example how their software checks the latency of your ethernet connected network, headphones, mic and interface equipment and adjusts for the best result.

    I've been struggling with Zoom and it is 'set up' for voice and background noise canceling, (which can be tweaked). But it still has too much lag time and echo.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Thanks to all for your replies.
    Richard

    Eastman 305 mandolin
    Martin D16 guitar
    OME 11" banjo
    Pisgah 12" banjo

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    Registered User T Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    I saw some groups using Acapella I have not downloaded yet it but the results were impressive.

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    I've used Skype for one-on-one videos but I don't know if you can pull multiple people into that. Zoom doesn't work well because the volume drops out probably due to bandwidth limitations, and jammr was just clunky trying to get through all their gates, passwords, etc. When I signed up to jammr it told me my ID and password were invalid and when I attempted to change it they told me it was already in use. Patience is not a strong suit. Anyone have success jamming online without lag, drop-outs, or one way gates?
    We few, we happy few.

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Everyone has latency (aka lag). Whether they recognize it or not depends on distance, hardware speed and the number of concurrent participants. Latency causes drop-outs.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Jamulus
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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Latency - the enemy of playing together online. True. However, like a movie hero investigator, some never give up! With hours of learning from audio engineers on youtube and the right equipment and the right settings, it can be kept to a tolerable minimum. It might even work for a while. Stay tuned for the great adventures of Mikey and Dugi on Jamkazam.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    For those who might be interested, there are typically a few bluegrass-ish jams being held on JamKazam daily now.

    Some of these sessions are unscheduled and just come up randomly, but at least one or two are scheduled daily so you can plan when to be online for them. They are both fun and educational -- they can give you an idea of what latency does. For a small group of jammers who have optimal hardware and setup, and who are close geographically, it can work out pretty nicely.

    Some of these jam sessions are by approval only, or by RSVP only. Others are open to anyone to join. Approval/RSVP jams are often either band practices or groups of jammers who are used to just playing with each other. Some of them are random groups, but are managed by someone who requires certain maximum latency levels and checks on that before a person joins the session.

    For the open jams, there's always the chance that someone will step in who has high latency and drags everything down (most often due to WiFi, but sometimes also due to long distance), and also if a jam gets larger than 7 or 8 participants, the latency can become bad. Most participants are polite but unsatisfied when this happens, but some participants can be pretty outspoken about only having low-latency participants play with the music. Plus there's the normal open-jam mix of musical ability and type-of-instrument to account for. Most folks are just happy to be there making or listening to live music with other people.

    In these jams, just about everyone who is seriously jamming has moved away from WiFi connections to avoid dragging things down for everyone else. And frequently if someone is a long distance away from the bulk of players, they will only listen in so to avoid adding distance related latency, for which there is no hardware or configuration related solution. Almost no one ever uses video+audio in this kind of jam, only using audio to reduce latency. And everyone uses headsets or ear buds in order to prevent echo.

    Over the last few evenings I have been in one of the regularly scheduled jams that had 5 or 6 players most of the time, with others randomly joining in. The 5 or 6 of us players were spread across the USA. We did have one person come in from the UK, which we were all happy about, but the distance related latency could not be avoided, so this player stopped playing after just a bit but stayed in to listen. For the 5 or 6 of us regular players, latency was present, typically somewhere around a total latency of ~40ms, but bearable. There were a couple of near train-wrecks, just like with any open jam, but most of the songs worked out well enough to enjoy. These are not polished band-quality presentations, they are just fun jam songs, so there wasn't a huge concern or loss with anything, and it was fun getting together.

    In order to keep the songs as well synchronized as possible, the bass player is the time keeper, we all try to pay attention to that instrument, and if the bass player happens to be geographically in the middle of the jam, that actually helps. And for all instruments, playing notes with long sustain (low decay) helps to hide the effects of latency a lot.

    It's a fun experience. Everyone wishes they could be jamming in person, but this is better than not jamming at all.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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    Registered User Christine Robins's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    Don--

    Thanks for your detailed report. My 3 local jam buddies (living within 20 mi. of each other) and I have been using Jamkazam fairly successfully for a couple of dozen sessions. Mainly bluegrass, with some blues and pop songs included. Our experience is pretty similar to yours. Jamkazam didn't work for me until I got much higher-speed internet service. It seems to help also to reboot your computer/device just before each session. I'm using my Zoom brand H4n digital recorder as an audio interface.

    We've enjoyed having folks join us from Australia, Canada, England, and around the US. But latency can be a problem that throws everyone's timing off. Drummers seem to have the most problem keeping in sync. Also, the more folks who drop in, the more coordination suffers (e.g. who chooses the next song, who takes a solo, when the song will end.) So we're changing our sessions to closed jam.

    I like your idea of having the bass player be the timekeeper. We don't have a bass player among the 4 of us, and my mando chops don't seem to work that well for timekeeping. I'm thinking of getting a bass uke.

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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    I've got a fretless uBass and a small amp for use when I just absolutely can't use my double bass... For those who wish for the sound of an amplified double bass -- which nowadays is pretty common for jazz, rockabilly and a few other genre, but is usually only found on stage for bluegrass (and usually not for jamming in bluegrass) -- well, an amplified fretless uBass is probably as close to you can get. But if you want the sound of an acoustic double bass -- meaning not plugged in -- you really need an acoustic double bass. That said, for most casual purposes in JamKazam, a uBass is absolutely fine.

    Related to distance induced latency, and our jam's UK participant the other evening... He knew pretty quickly that the latency was impractical for playing with those of us who were across the pond from him.

    A best-case ping takes around ~136ms from Los Angeles to London where this person was from, and for those of us jamming on the west coast of the USA he was running around ~200ms total latency... But for someone on the east coast of the USA it was a more manageable ~125ms total latency. Still a lot of latency, but more workable.

    For those folks who are more outspoken about latency, it's important to remember that latency is relative to where people are in relationship to each other. For example, three of the other evening's jam participants, including me on mandolin, the bass player for part of the jam and a banjo player, were in southern California. Total latency for just us when playing together was about ~40ms, but for between us and a couple of people in North Carolina total latency was about ~100ms.

    Distance. Remember a 16th note is 125ms at 120bps.

    Now if our UK friend was jamming with folks near him, he probably would have loved it. But, there's that randomness of a jam, no one knows where the other people are from until talking happens. And honestly, I really got a kick out of hearing our UK friend playing with us.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  20. #15
    Registered User Christine Robins's Avatar
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    Default Re: On-Line Jamming Apps?

    One of my jam buddies is highly tech-sophisticated, and he offers this detailed guide to using Jamkazam:

    https://jamonline.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page[/URL]

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