Virtual Session!

Virtual Session!

Ok, this sounds a little crazy, but … we are doing a VIRTUAL session tonight, and we’d love anyone who wants to join us.

Here’s how it works: we all join a video conference, and take turns playing unmuted. Because of slight delays (usually just a split second) in synchronous transmission over the internet, it’s not possible to play at the same time, because playing music together is extremely sensitive to timing; it just turns into a big mess. So instead, we go in a round-robin, and have one person play unmuted at a time, leading a set. Everyone else can play along, but they have to be muted (so to them, it’ll feel like they’re playing a set with one other person, who can’t hear them). If you don’t feel like leading any sets, that’s totally fine, you can just play along with other people in private. In between sets, we’ll all unmute and gab a little bit, like a real session.

We did one last week and it was pretty fun. Who knows if that’ll translate to playing with strangers, but let’s give it a shot!

We’ll start at 6:30 pm US central time. Here’s the URL:

https://zoom.us/j/733469712

The cool thing is that other than time zones, your location doesn’t matter at all. Join from wherever! And if you’re in an incompatible time zone (e.g. not in North America), let me know if you’re interested and we can try on at an earlier time as well.

Re: Virtual Session!

I did this the other night. My connection doesn’t seem good enough to lead; they said I was cutting in and out. I might listen tonight if that’s ok. My wife is already in a Zoom meeting.

Re: Virtual Session!

I’d like to do this next time. My friends are running something similar here too.

Re: Virtual Session!

We had a great time! And had five different folks join us from seeing this post, from all over the US. We’ll do it again next week, I’ll post details here again.

Re: Virtual Session!

Steve Pribyl and I just had a very successful live internet-based session on pipes and whistle using the free Jamkazam real-time music session platform:

https://www.jamkazam.com

Worked very well. We had about 29ms latency with the two of us playing, no problem at all playing together.

After that I had a session with Pete Strickler, Dirk Mewes, and Kevin Rumery in Denver. About 40ms max latency. Totally workable.

We’re looking for more audio tech savvy players to test in a larger group. Probably best if you close to Southern California to minimize latency.

You can find other open sessions to play in, or schedule your own sessions.

It’s a fairly technical platform and requires an Ethernet connection to your computer (Windows or Mac, no mobile support), and high speed internet. Also, you’ll need a low latency sound card, either external USB or internal PCI-e and be comfortable with adjusting the low level settings on the device if required.

Re: Virtual Session!

We’ve run 3 of these with zoom to replace local sessions and one tip.

If you click the arrow beside the mute button, then “audio settings” the “advanced” there’s an option called “show original sound option” (or similar)

Tick this and a button will always display in the top left of zoom saying “turn on original sound” or “turn off original sound”.
Make sure all users have it set to “turn off original sound” (which confusingly means Original Sound is on!)

This removes all the audio wizardry zoom uses to make speech sound good on video conferences (remove high pitch noises, suppress background noise etc) and the instruments hence sound much better, especially high pitch notes.

Re: Virtual Session!

Yes, the original sound setting is huge. Whistles and mandolin were impossible on my first zoom session until we figured this out!

Re: Virtual Session!

Would love to join in whenever you decide to do this again.
Suffering withdrawals!

Re: Virtual Session!

Ian, definitely check out JamKazam (and the thread following this one). You might have some issues getting everyone set up with good hardware (an external sound i/o box is very helpful for getting rid of internal sound processing latency), but once you’re there, it can be pretty viable for actually playing together instead of doing the one leader, many followers scenario. Especially if all the players are geographically close.

I’d love to hear how your session went, how many people showed up, etc.

Re: Virtual Session!

Might also be best to only use it at night and weekends when a billion people aren’t on Zoom doing videoconferencing. 🙂 We tried a test at prime work hours today and it wasn’t viable.

Re: Virtual Session!

Depends what part of the world you are in! Here in the UK, Facebook Live apparently couldn’t cope with all the people wanting to get on it between 8pm and 11pm GMT Wednesday evening. Worked fine the next day before 5pm.

Re: Virtual Session!

Sounds good. Please let me know when the next session will happen. I am from Italy and if the time will be ok for neighbours too I am in

Re: Virtual Session!

Will do!

Re: Virtual Session!

Testing having a live virtual Traditional Irish Music session with Fiddler Mary and Patrick Maun using the free JamKazam live collaborative music platform.

This platform allows playing together in real-time with minimal delay. It does require an ethernet connection to your computer (Windows or Mac, mobile not supported), a decent low-latency audio card, and high-speed internet.

I am in San Diego, CA., Mary and Patrick are near St. Paul, MN.

What you hearing is exactly my experience playing tunes with them from 2000 miles away. It’s a vastly superior experience than using Zoom, which pretty much is only useful for single player / multiple listener style virtual sessions.

On this session, we were able to get about 50-60 ms latency. Distance matters, I was seeing about 40 ms latency playing with friends in Denver, CO. 1000 miles away, and less than 30 ms with friends in the Los Angeles, CA area 100 miles away.

https://youtu.be/G3auAxnJirw

Re: Virtual Session!

The posted video is just a still frame screenshot I took from the session, with the captured audio overlaid. JamKazam supports video as well as audio, but we found it impacted the delay and performance, so I suggest only doing audio sessions.

Re: Virtual Session!

Please do organise another zoom session for those of us without Ethernet connection!

Re: Virtual Session!

There is yet another program for real-time online sessions called Jamulus - it’s comletely free and open source.
Here an explanation on how it works

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8838jS2g3U


and here how to set up your own local Jamulus server allowing you to play with people living close to you (almost no latency then!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7WaU_QiYkc


It works pretty well - you can even have two bands playing at the same time on one server by clicking on "solo" for the musicians you want to play with.

And it’s sound-only.

So see you on Jamulus one of these days?

Re: Virtual Session!

We’re doing another Zoom session tonight if anyone’s interested, starts in about 15 minutes here:

https://zoom.us/j/162005266

6:30pm US central time. See you there maybe?