What’s needed for realtime music over the internet?

Each performer downloads our software which gets them connected and deals with the audio sent to us as well as their monitor mixes. We send links to each performer allowing us to capture their camera through a web browser.

Each performer needs:

  • A Mac running El Capitan or newer (Windows support is in the pipeline but quite low priority at present).
  • The ability to connect said mac to their router (internet) with Ethernet. Wi-Fi is not an option here, neither are “power-line” adaptors. For modern macs that don’t come with Ethernet, USB-Ethernet adaptors work great and are available cheaply on amazon, as are long Ethernet cables.
  • A fairly modern audio Interface/Soundcard. If it’s USB, its most likely fine. 
  • Whatever Mics/instruments/DIs are required, and the ability to connect them to the interface.
  • Headphones/IEMs (the use of monitor speakers is discouraged as it creates echoes)
  • A phone, tablet or webcam for video.
  • A fast enough internet connection. At least 5Mbits upload & Download. The lower the ping time, the better the experience will be.

Things that need bearing in mind by performers:

  • In the software, each performer is presented with a small virtual mixer allowing them to adjust their monitor mix to taste, similar to the ‘Aviom’ systems found in many radio studios.
  • The monitor latency is very low, but not zero. It does take a little getting used to. The latency experienced by the musicians will depend on the quality of their internet connections and their physical proximity. Clearly, we have no control over this.
  • The Audio on the monitor buses is not perfect. In fact, it doesn’t want to be. If the audio was perfect, that would mean the users could potentially have lower latency. The system manages this to have the lowest possible latency at the expense of occasional audio distortion. This is by design and doesn’t affect the audio going to the engineer.

To have the best experience while using to the platform:

  • All participants want to make sure that as little as possible is using their internet connections.
  • Turn off wifi on all devices not involved with the production.
  • Close any unnecessary applications.
  • Disable any VPN services.
  • Ask nicely for any other individuals to avoid using the connection, perhaps even disable wifi and use 3G/4G instead.

It’s worth everyone keeping in mind that what we are doing is right at the forefront of what is currently possible, and things can go wrong. We can’t be held responsible for factors outside our control, like internet connections dropping out or people not following the above outlines.

We typically operate as a crew of 3; one audio engineer, one video engineer and one technician providing tech support to the band.