Why do so few people jam online? Do you know dedicated software exists at all?

  • There are other approaches to collaborating with other musicians online.


    Here's one: BandLab


    It is many things, but one of them is a shared DAW in the cloud. These are the people who bought Cakewalk and it's now free from them.


    So no, it's not a tool for jamming live in real-time - so there's no latency issue.


    You play along with and add your track(s) to a shared DAW project.

  • I tried this several years ago briefly. Indeed not the same as live jamming but fun enough for sure. Recommended!

  • Early on in lock down my band tried a couple of options but we couldn't get it to work...from memory it was Jamkazam and I kept getting digital distortion ( like the CPU was tripping out). Also latency was crazy...


    I have no doubt its a set up thing, but to answer your question as to why people don;t use it, its because even with 3 people in my band that are IT guys and we couldn't easily sort it and we gave up, so I suspect Joe public will struggle...

    I totally understand what you're saying. And I could've answered my own question when I think of it. It's hard to set up. If you're lucky not that hard but for most people it's just too much!

  • We´re using jamulus over internet and it was quite a journey to make it work in our 4 people band. Particularly I had trouble to bring latency down below 30 ms. I had an upgrade on my network hardware and tried all the tips to set up my lenovo consumer laptop with i5 processor, only with very decent improvements. Then I´ve discovered the jamulus stick, based on Linux and ready to run from the usb port without installation. I compared different laptops (I have nothing else...) and voilá it works very well when I use my company laptop with jamulus stick. Even if the specs seemed ok and I never had any other performance complaints it seems that my lenovo comes with some cheapish components that prevent to get a good latency on it, I´m tired of further investigation...

    So, if you`ll try to use jamulus, search for the stick version, that seems to be the easiest way to get good results (there´s also an analizing tool included that lists out potential trouble makers...)

    To rehearse online is a pain in the a... compared to being onsite together- but it´s so much better than not to play in a band...

    I have no idea how that sticks works but nice to hear that it actually does work. Might be a good tip for people who want an easy start!

  • I didn't even know this was a thing. I currently have my work computer equipment setup on my recording desk. I am planning on moving it in the very near future. I have not been able to use my recording desk in a year now. I am buying an additional desk so I can get to my gear again. I will definitely look into this. I am not playing in a gigging band right now and this would give me an outlet to jam if it works well enough. You may see me on there in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for posting this.

    Awesome! Let me know if you need any help!

  • Just to flag Chris, my initial experience was the latency was in the order of 1.5 second, so beyond irritating, into unusable. From my perspective, it was that it takes so long to get it even usable.


    The market still seems immature for "simple" users like me :)

    When you have that much delay then there usually is a problem somewhere. And not the fault of the software really.

    Believe, it can work.
    If you want to try it again and need some help, let me know.

  • I have no idea how that sticks works but nice to hear that it actually does work. Might be a good tip for people who want an easy start!

    I've had a quick look at the Jamulus website, the "stick" version I believe is just a file you download which you "burn" or write onto a USB stick using some software like Rufus or Etcher. What that gives you is an operating-system-on-a-stick, you boot your computer from that USB stick and it loads a fully functioning Linux environment that is set up for Jamulus already (it's based on Ubuntu Studio and probably features a low-latency Linux kernel). It should mean you get an optimised operating system for Jamulus and can get straight on with connecting & playing, so long as your computer & hardware meet the requirements, and you don't have to do anything in your regular OS to make it work. It's called a "Live Linux" setup, you don't install anything, you don't mess with your existing OS, when you're done you just remove the stick, reboot and your computer is back to normal. It's a common method for trying out Linux before going for a full install.

    (note: I have no experience with Jamulus !)

  • When you have that much delay then there usually is a problem somewhere. And not the fault of the software really.

    Believe, it can work.
    If you want to try it again and need some help, let me know.

    Yep. My point is that set up is not easy to get it usable.

    I've worked in IT for 20+ years but I have little time/tolerance for getting tech to work. I'm also a hobby musician so no point investing a lot of time in it.


    Your question as why don't more people use it? My answer is that even with some tech know how, I found it difficult to set up to be workable.

  • You would need for all your jam guys to have superbly low latency to be any enjoyable. Add your input latency to the normalized latency of the bass player, to the network latency dependant on distance and steps to reach each point, and I dont see the experience being too nice. I mean, yeah, you could totally gag and enjoy a session or two with some friends, but for any band, it would be crazy how they would go out of sync so easily because the drum got a hiccup, or the bass is lagging behind the melody. It brings back nightmare fuel from my early days in a band, and tempo being the number one problem.

  • I've had a quick look at the Jamulus website, the "stick" version I believe is just a file you download which you "burn" or write onto a USB stick using some software like Rufus or Etcher. What that gives you is an operating-system-on-a-stick, you boot your computer from that USB stick and it loads a fully functioning Linux environment that is set up for Jamulus already (it's based on Ubuntu Studio and probably features a low-latency Linux kernel). It should mean you get an optimised operating system for Jamulus and can get straight on with connecting & playing, so long as your computer & hardware meet the requirements, and you don't have to do anything in your regular OS to make it work. It's called a "Live Linux" setup, you don't install anything, you don't mess with your existing OS, when you're done you just remove the stick, reboot and your computer is back to normal. It's a common method for trying out Linux before going for a full install.

    (note: I have no experience with Jamulus !)

    While my setup works great most of the time, I'm going to have to check this out. Always room for improvement!

  • Yep. My point is that set up is not easy to get it usable.

    I've worked in IT for 20+ years but I have little time/tolerance for getting tech to work. I'm also a hobby musician so no point investing a lot of time in it.


    Your question as why don't more people use it? My answer is that even with some tech know how, I found it difficult to set up to be workable.

    I can only agree with you. You'd have to get lucky already owning the right hardware and everything else set up correctly or spend quite some time figuring it out.
    I'm happy that I did. Basically a combination of both. And now I get to enjoy some nice jamming.
    But I can totally see how one would quit after an hour of no progress. It can be totally frustrating.

  • You would need for all your jam guys to have superbly low latency to be any enjoyable. Add your input latency to the normalized latency of the bass player, to the network latency dependant on distance and steps to reach each point, and I dont see the experience being too nice. I mean, yeah, you could totally gag and enjoy a session or two with some friends, but for any band, it would be crazy how they would go out of sync so easily because the drum got a hiccup, or the bass is lagging behind the melody. It brings back nightmare fuel from my early days in a band, and tempo being the number one problem.

    Yes and no.
    Yes, everyone needs low to decent latency. Believe me, it was a total eye opener how much latency you can get away with.
    And no, you don't need to worry about distance and normalizing of latency as long as everyone monitors through the server.


    There are usually 2 possible problems if a band can't play together.

    1: 1 or more band members simply have too much latency. No matter your settings, distance, whatever, if their hardware/software/internet connection is responding too slow then everything else fails.
    2: Someone is monitoring locally.


    If everyone monitors through the server and the latency works as expected then they all hear the same thing at the same time. Well, almost. Of course the sound needs to come back from the server to you and there can differences between the band members but usually this shouldn't be a problem.

    Even with slight differences in delay, try to follow the drummer and you'll be fine.


    I understand your frustration getting this to work but I have no reason to be here and tell you that it works when it doesn't.
    I'm pretty much every week online and having fun.
    Yup, some "rooms" are better than others and sometimes you're simply too far away from other people. But you know what, you simply click "leave room" and try another one.


    I can easily spend an hour with a drummer or other guitarist and have tons of fun together playing all kinds of stuff. It's the best things next to being actually together in a rehearal space.


    My only 'issue' is the lack of metal/rock players, which is part of why I started this post haha.

  • So after a lot of experimenting, we finally had our first full band rehearsal over Jamulus yesterday. Which was also our first rehearsal, period, in a very long time.


    It was glorious.


    I ran four clients to send out separate signals from my home studio: one for my vocals, one for my guitar, one for our stereo backing tracks and one for our clicktrack. That way, everyone can mix those elements to their liking. Everything is routed internally out of Ableton Live through JackRouter to the correct Jamulus client. The other three band members (guitar, bass and drums using a digital kit) just run one client each at their respective homes, so there's seven in total.


    The backing tracks are based on the extensive demos we record for each song; they contain the synths (we don't have a live synth player) but also each of our own prerecorded parts, which I can unmute to fill in for any absent members.


    We've tried different locations and setups for the server. There's a public server nearby that's always on and has excellent ping and latency times, but if you're trying to have a focused rehearsal it's not ideal (though quite funny) to constantly have other musicians trying to play along. We could mute them or solo ourselves, of course, but it felt rude to do that on a public server that isn't our own. We also didn't want to depend on the availability of that server.


    Running a private server on my studio computer, along with my four clients and Ableton Live, works but isn't great for latency. We tried a Raspberry Pi running the server from our drummers workplace, which has an industrial fiber connection and gave us very low latency, but we had trouble setting up port forwarding there and often couldn't reach the Raspberry Pi anymore.


    Finally, we settled on running the server at our drummer's home. That way, he always gets the lowest latency, and the rest of us get around 50ms, which is absolutely fine for us. Maybe the clicktrack helps, although on one of our earlier testing sessions the drummer and I spontaneously erupted into an hour-long jazz/funk jam with me playing synths and digital piano, which proved to us that the technology is advanced enough and feels natural enough to make musical things happen (we're actually a doom metal band).


    We ran a video call on our phones so we could see each other and communicate visually while playing. It felt very much like a regular rehearsal, which made us very happy. In fact, I'm pretty sure we'll continue using Jamulus even after the Covid restrictions are lifted, in addition to in-person rehearsals, because it's just so convenient to quickly work on a song without having to drive to the rehearsal space and set up. Also, the precise personal mixing and low volumes make for a very analytical monitoring experience: I could hear every note from everyone, which is not the case at regular rehearsals.


    So: thank you, SonusStudios, for making me aware of Jamulus. I always assumed online jamming wasn't really there yet, but your post convinced me to give it a try and it works!

  • Oh wow, just logged in after a while, awesome to read your post! I'll reply with a longer post tomorrow, when behind a computer!

  • So: thank you, SonusStudios, for making me aware of Jamulus. I always assumed online jamming wasn't really there yet, but your post convinced me to give it a try and it works!


    Sorry for the late reply. Not much online last few days.


    Very awesome to read you took the plunge and actually got it working. With a full band even!

    Yeah, the mixing options are great. It actually provides options a lot of people usually don't have when practicing.


    I was briefly online last weekend. And there was quite a big update. It read that they had a lot of improvements but sadly I actually had more troubles than before. Mainly with not being able to hear random others. This has been a problem for months and it seems to come and go. It was non-existant for me the last few times but the newest updates brought it back to life.


    The good thing is they really seem to work hard on the soft and hardware since they went paid so I'm going to assume it will keep getting better eventually. But again, great to see that a bunch of guys like you can get it setup like that! Many are still sceptical.

  • And there was quite a big update. It read that they had a lot of improvements but sadly I actually had more troubles than before. Mainly with not being able to hear random others.

    That's strange. We've been on the latest official/stable update the whole time (7.3.0, which has been out for about two months) and we haven't had any problems like that.


    The reason it took a lot of experimenting in our case was mainly the complexity of my own setup (combining live input and prerecorded tracks in Ableton Live and then routing separate channels to their appropriate clients), and the fact that we wanted to run our own server and had to test different locations for it. Getting the others to install Jamulus, run the client and log onto a server was easy in comparison.


    We've had three full-blown rehearsals now, we've been able to work on new songs and everything, so we'll definitely go on this way. We're still looking forward to actually playing in the same room again, of course, but for now, Jamulus is already giving us something we've been missing a lot. Can't recommend it enough!

  • Tried Jamulus for the first time yesterday. Also tried Jam Kazam but some really weird stuff in terms of wonky noise and artifact noise was happening with Jam Kazam so I stopped trying it. Jamulus was pretty fun. For the small amount of latency I was experiencing, it was worth the trade-off of being able to join a random jam with strangers and practice the guitar in that capacity. Being able to join an impromptu jam every day with different people is a fantastic learning tool. A little bit of latency like I said, is well worth the trade-off of having to figure out what to play in that moment. And with no video, even a better way to use your ears! I only fooled around with it for a bit, and I didn't try to optimize any settings outside of the main beginner setup. But when I was reading this page, I didn't understand the Jamulus "Golden Rule." See link below:


    https://jamulus.io/wiki/Client…ifficult-to-keep-together


    How do you not hear yourself and just listen for the server sound? Any tips for optimizing sound and overall experience in Jamulus? It was a lot of fun! I am using a PC with a wired connection as well. My latency was at 8 milliseconds which I've read is average. I can definitely tell there's a little latency on my end because my guitar tone just has that weird artificial sound you get from latency. Like I said it's manageable just because it's such a valuable learning tool. But I would like to dig in more and make it better. Any tips or advice are greatly welcome. I was using my Fractal FM3 which also acts as an audio interface.