Hello again friends,
We have pretty much perfected the capacity for online real-time jamming. With the return to in-person gatherings, our bi-weekly on-line scheduled sessions will conclude. It's been an amazing two-plus years of community and sharing. After a rough start and lots of experimentation, we learned and evolved to where sessions became state-of-the-art and for all practical purposes functioned in real time. Our server continues to be popular with the tech-savvy musicians, and I often drop in. Going forward the server will remain active 24/7 for anyone who wishes to use it. If you want to hook up and work on some ideas, simply send out the invites. It’s not unusual to have some international guests dropping in.
Bottom line is this. If the participant is in the Puget Sound area, time lag and delay issues are nil. It's possible to play together pretty much without issue. It’s like everyone’s in the room together. Certainly no more complicated than what happens at any jam. It can be worse if someone joins from the other side of the world (yes friends, it has happened). If someone is way out of whack, for any reason, the software has a mute switch over each participant's footprint. So if something or someone bothers your sensitive ears, you can mute them. The flip side also holds true. You can join a play along in France, and if your timing is out of whack, you can mute yourself. In effect, you can jam with what you hear, and it sounds fine on your end, but you’re out of sync sound signal is not de-railing those on the other end.
Be prepared for surprises (usually pleasant). Once I was playing along with our friend Grant. We had a drop in listener from Santa Cruz who joined us for the entire session (and liked what he heard). Then, a drop in from Switzerland who added bass guitar. Also, a nice man from Italy who was a first timer, testing his equipment. On another occasion, I formed an impromptu group with a professional singer from Seattle, a guitarist from Long Island, a bass player from East Palo Alto, and a sax player from Illinois. It was a bit rough, but we were making music ... and having a good time. There are a lot more stories like that.
Best yet. One day I was practicing on the server, when a harmonica man from Florida showed. We played for over an hour, it worked, and lag was minimal ... barely noticeable. We sounded great together.
Here's an assortment of links which will get you to the software, and tell you all you need to know about how it all works:
(Copy the link into your browser)
Jamulus is updated relatively frequently. Though it’s not necessary, you might want to occasionally install the latest version, as there are often new and useful features.
Jamulus - a video overview and quick start guide
For those who prefer to read. Idiot's Guide to Jamulus
ASIO4ALL (ASIO sound driver - only if needed). If your interface has a dedicated sound driver, always use that first
Economy Interface (these are in rare supply these days). It’s cheap and will do the job reasonably well:
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface is cheap and will do the job.
The ones below cost twice as much, are vastly superior, and have many happy users. They also come with recording software, which I usually find to be more of a nuisance than it’s worth:
Prosonus Audiobox usb
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
For quick service in the Puget Sound area and a nice selection as to what best suits your needs and budget, call or visit pro audio at Ted Brown/Tacoma (253) 272-3211. They usually have the Prosonus and Focusrite units in stock, as well as a wide selection of microphones and cables (if you need them).
I personally use the Focusrite Scarlett interface, the 18i8 version. It’s a studio tool, and is expensive. I have also seen very good performance from the Focusrite Solo, and the Focusrite 2i2. They deliver extraordinarily high quality signals, with no discernible delay. They are favored by the serious online jammers. That said, I have friends who are very serious musicians who swear by the Presonus Audiobox.
One final option in lieu of an interface is a high quality USB mic. Here, you get what you pay for. The Audio-Technica AT2020USB is highly regarded, and I have seen them work well. This approach is less versatile as both voice and instrument will be competing for mic resource.
The only warning I would give is this. The items I have listed work. Everyone likes to go cheap and save money, or to disregard recommendations and go different. Be prepared to spend about $180 to get on board with an interface, microphone, cable, and headset. If you’re like most, you’ll already have some of those things on hand. Good, you’ll save money. Just remember, if you don’t have the right equipment, you will not be happy in the end.
A nice interface microphone for a great price
A fairly priced Large Capsule Condenser Microphone? Most users will not need this.
Problems installing to your Macintosh
Factors to consider in order of importance:
1. Proximity to server (<150 miles is optimal).
2. Your internet connection. An ethernet connection is best. The higher speed your internet package is, the better the experience will be. WIFI is hit and miss. You just have to try and see. For those who are strictly listeners WIFI is fine.
3. The interface. If you're going to play an instrument and sing, you will need an appropriate interface (and mic) which allows your voice and instrument signals to feed via USB into your computer. They’re listed above. I like Focusrite. Ted Brown Tacoma has several varieties available.
For players and singers, that's enough to get your foot in the door. The rest is playing around and experimenting. Listeners really don't have to do anything. It's common to have an audience of drop ins. You can do that too. Just connect to what's going on and observe. You can listen through your computer speakers. You can even communicate using your keyboard and hitting "chat."
As you may suspect, Covid-19 isn't going away anytime soon. We’re only now getting to where we can meet for making music, but the future is still a bit uncertain. I’m guardedly optimistic Covid will eventually become manageable under a program of systematic vaccinations. Our plan is to move forward, and do whatever it takes to get in-person gatherings scheduled regularly. Many of our participants are among the most vulnerable, so we must be mindful of their safety. It’s not an issue of rights as some would have you believe. It’s an issue of personal responsibility and caring. Those who act carelessly are taking chances of harming others. Without compassion, freedom is just another empty word.
The current jam schedule in provided on our Calendar page.
Remember, the server is now up and active 100% of the time. You wanna’ use it? Go right ahead!