JamKazam (online session playing) sample

JamKazam (online session playing) sample

We’ve had numerous discussions recently about different ways to connect and play online, since the vast majority of the world is under Shelter-In-Place orders at the moment. We had a few discussions about JamKazam recently too, so I thought I would post a sample video so that you can see how it can be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVdexEecX0I


That recording was taken directly out of JamKazam, and not edited or remixed in any way. So that’s what it sounded like to us when we were playing. It’s certainly not perfect (half of that is how rusty we are at playing 😉). That video features myself, Dirk Mewes on uilleann pipes, and Kevin Rumery on bouzouki. We are all within 60 miles of each other, and each had around 17-20 milliseconds of total latency to each other. We can feel the latency a bit, but it’s mostly like being in the same room (about 17-20 feet apart). The latency is low enough that we can get a groove going, and can react to each other in "real-time"…

JamKazam takes some time and hardware to configure. You can’t just load the app and expect to be able to play in (close to) real-time. But with some work, it is doable. Here’s a recap of what you need to set it up:

1. A Mac or Windows computer (laptop or desktop). It does not work on Linux, Android, or iOS.
2. A wired ethernet connection. (WiFi adds too much latency)
3. Decent broadband connection. It doesn’t have to be too fast. If you have at least 15 Mbps upstream, you should be OK. (Satellite internet and cellular data will have too much latency, and DSL isn’t as stable as wired cable or fiber internet)
4. A microphone and headphones. (It’s possible to use the built in mic and headphone jack, but not ideal)
5. Ideally, you have an external audio processor box - the kind you would use to record. The built in audio hardware and drivers in most computers aren’t optimized for low latency usage, and generally won’t work well. An external box is going to the the analog <—> digital conversions much faster, and they’ll take a good mic with XLR or 1/4" jacks.
6. People to play with that also have good setups, and ideally reside within about 100 miles of you.

Then there’s the setup, which will vary depending on your platform and hardware. There are some useful tutorials out there for setting it up. JamKazam can be frustratingly buggy at times, especially with the current load that is being put on the internet from everybody being stuck at home. But it feels really good to be playing *with* other people, instead of playing *along* with other people! Good enough, in fact, that one of my sessions took our pooled tip money from the last several years, and bought sound hardware for all of our regulars, so we can keep making music together.

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

Nice work, Pete!

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

Tnx for sharing this knowledge, I had a blast tonight with a friend and later on with some people I didn’t know and who were playing different genres of music who dropped in out of curiosity and who stayed to hang out with me after my friend called it a night (neighbours). Of course it has it’s limitations and there’s the sound settings to get sorted out and there’s glitches… But hey, I wasn’t going anywhere and this sure was more fun then just playing by myself :D

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

does it still require a special plugin for the sound in on MacOS?

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Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

I have found that the built in audio on the Macs is a bit too slow, and I dropped about 8-9 ms of latency when I switched to using an external audio processor. But my Macs are aging a bit. I am actually running JamKazam on a 2010 MacBook Pro, because my audio processor is Firewire. And I have a 2012 iMac which also has too much latency in the built in audio (and doesn’t have Firewire).

However, I have played with a few people on newer Mac hardware that seem to do OK without an external audio processor. (FWIW, several of the people I play with are using PreSonus 96 audio processors, which run about $100, and they’re fine… But I know $100 isn’t in everybody’s budget, especially during these times).

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

Just had my first JK session with a local friend here in the San Diego area with <20ms latency and it was wonderful.

I’ve been playing a lot with Reverend and the Denver folks on JK the past few weeks, where I get about 40ms latency to Pete, primarily because of the distance (about 1000 miles). Totally workable, but can be a bit of a challenge at times.

Hoping to find more SoCal players who are willing to take on the task of getting setup with JK. PM me if you’re interested!

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

Folks, would this be possible using a webcam so we might be able to see each other as well?
Thanks.

Michael

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

Michael, JamKazam does have a video feature as well (that’s what I recorded in the video above, although, the recorded video changed the aspect ratio of everyone, and chopped some heads off… It didn’t look like that on our screens). I will say that we feel a hair more latency when the video is on, just from the processing power, but it’s a pretty minute difference. (The video itself has a fair amount of latency. But fortunately, JamKazam streams the audio and video separately, so you get the audio much sooner than the video, as it should be…)

Re: JamKazam (online session playing) sample

Thanks to those who shared the info about this platform and broke down the requirements for those of us who are technologically challenged but wanting to get on board. I got myself an Ethernet cable, an audio interface box and headphones (already had mics) and some friends have done the same. Been playing for hours and hours over the past - week or so? - in my house in Utica NY, with friends in Ithaca, Cazenovia, Manlius, Charlotte VT, Boston, and, finally, NJ!!! Exhausted but happy harper here. Playing WITH, simultaneously, not taking turns playing by ourselves.