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Comparison of Remote Music Performance Software

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When playing music, musicians must reduce or eliminate the issue of audio latency in order to play in time together. While standard web conferencing software is designed to facilitate remote audio and video communication, it has too much latency for live musical performance.[1][2] Packet-based Internet protocols subject audio signals to delays and other interference which presents a problem for keeping latency low enough for musicians play together remotely.[3][4][5]

Software created specifically created to minimise or eliminate the issue of Internet-related audio latency enables musicians to perform live music together over domestic broadband connections. The use of various compression and other techniques, together with affordable low-latency audio interface hardware (which most of the systems listed here are also optimised to work with), has reached a state in which it is practical for even large numbers of musicians to play or sing together without experiencing significant problems.[6][7][8]

The following table compares key features of software written for the expressed purpose of allowing musicians to perform music together over the Internet.  It does not attempt to cover subjective features such as sound quality or ease of use. However, some software on the list may address different aspects of remote collaboration better than others, or may be more suited to certain musical genres.

Name Licence Charge Architecture Platforms Session type [a] Max. participants Synch. [b] Video Codec Sample rate Bitrate First release Current release Date
Jamulus GPL Free Client/Server[3] Win, Mac, Linux Open & Closed 100 [9] None No[10] Opus 48 kHz 2006 [11] 3.6.2 2020-12-12
Digital Stage Free for members of artistic associations and project partners Various Win, Mac Closed 30 Prototype testing[12][13]
Sagora GPL Free Client/Server Win, Mac, Linux, Raspbian Open & Closed None Opus 48 kHz May 2020[14] 1.0
LoLa Free/shareware P2P Win Closed 3 locations None Up to 4 cameras per location at least 1 Gbps 2005 2.0.0b1 2019-10-18
JamKazam Proprietary $0 - $19.99p/m[15] P2P, C/S (chooses faster route,[3] free is P2P only[15]) Win, Mac[16] Open & Closed Unlimited (for $10+ plans)[15] Metronome Yes (paid plans only)[15] 48 kHz; 44.1 kHz 2014 (?) 0.1.981 (?) ?
SoundJack Proprietary Free P2P, C/S[17] Win, Mac, Linux Open & Closed[10] ~60 None ϐ (OSX)[10] 2006 ? 2020-11-12
JackTrip MIT like[18] Free P2P, C/S[3] CLI: Win, Mac, Linux ? Unlimited None No 2000 (?) 1.2.2[19] 2020-08-04
SonoBus GPL[20] Free Peer-to-Peer Win, Mac, iOS, [Linux] Closed ? None No 48 kHz & 44.1 kHz 2020-08-31 1.2.2[21] 2020-12-23
HPS Jam BSD[22] Free Client/Server Win, Mac, Linux, freeBSD Open & Closed 256 None No - (PCM) 2020-11-19 v1.0.8 2020-12-10
Ninjam / Ninbot GPL (Server only) $60[23] Client/Server Win, Mac, Linux ? ? Delayed Sync[24] No ? REAPER 6.18 ?
Jamtaba GPL Free Client/Server Win, Mac, Linux ? ? Delayed Sync No 2015-09-26 v2.1.15 2020-06-30
Jammr.net GPL Free - $9.99p/m[25] Client/Server Win, Mac, Linux Open & Closed 20 Delayed Sync No ? 1.2.92 2020-09-13
Endless Proprietary Free - $4.49[26] ? iOS Open & Closed ? Metronome No ? 1.1.2 2020-11-13
Ejamming Audio Proprietary $9.95p/m Peer-to-Peer(?) Win, Mac Closed 4 ? No ? ? ?
Sofasession Proprietary (Fundraising[27]) Client/Server Web Browser ? ? ? No (?) ? ? ?
  1. "Zoom: online rehearsals (vocal) | Making Music". www.makingmusic.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  2. "Playing Music Together Online Is Not As Simple As It Seems". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Rosen, Peter (2020-11-15). "Social Distancing For Musicians: A Quick Guide To Low-Latency Audio". Retrieved 2020-12-26. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. Fischer, Volker. "Case Study: Performing Band Rehearsals on The Internet With Jamulus" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-12-26. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. Carôt, A.; Hoene, C.; Busse, H.; Kuhr, C. (2020). "Results of the Fast-Music Project—Five Contributions to the Domain of Distributed Music". IEEE Access. 8: 47925–47951. doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2979362. ISSN 2169-3536.
  6. Wise, Brian (2020-09-07). "Long-Distance, Online Performances Without the Latency?". Brian Wise. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  7. "Virtual Jamming: The Latest Tools for Playing Together in Real Time". Acoustic Guitar. 2020-05-15. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  8. "Networked Music Performance: An Introduction". SmartMusic. 2020-09-25. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  9. Limited only by server resources
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "SoundJack: Real Time Online Music". Ian Howell, DMA. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  11. https://sourceforge.net/blog/june-2020-community-choice-project-month-jamulus/
  12. "Features". digital-stage.org. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  13. Kurtz, Holger. "Noch ruckelt die digitale Konzertbühne | Ausgabe: 5/20 | nmz - neue musikzeitung". neue musikzeitung (5/2020). Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  14. "Sagora - Agora Sonora". sagora.org. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "What Are JamKazam's Free vs. Premium Features?". JamKazam. 2020-12-05. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  16. Wilson, David. "What Gear Do I Need to Play on JamKazam?". JamKazam. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  17. https://www.soundjack.eu/server-panel/
  18. "jacktrip/jacktrip". GitHub. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  19. https://github.com/jacktrip/jacktrip/releases
  20. https://github.com/essej/sonobus/blob/main/LICENSE
  21. https://github.com/essej/sonobus/releases
  22. "hselasky/hpsjam". GitHub. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  23. Requires purchase of a REAPER software licence.
  24. Marraccini, Fabio (2020-04-06). "Best services for online music jam (2020)". AudioGeek11. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  25. "Get premium! | jammr". jammr.net. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  26. Includes in-app purchases for advanced features.
  27. "Sofasession on Twitter". 2020-03-29. Retrieved 2020-12-31. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

Table Heading Notes[edit]

[a] - Whether the system supports public or private performance or playing.
[b] - Whether the system has a built-in mechanism for helping or enforcing the musicians to play together. For an explanation of "delayed sync" method see https://jammr.net/howitworks.html

See also[edit]

  • Networked music performance

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