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Jam on the net with Jamlink

Submitted by on November 23, 2009 – 8:32 pm 6 Comments

Trying to sync up musicians over the net is a fairly fruitless exercise – by the time the music goes in your sound card, into the computer, processed by software, then the reverse happening on the other end (and back again!), there is much too much latency to be able to play music with someone.

Well, a new software company called MusicianLink has come up with a standalone box that lets you jam over the internet. As a dedicated box, it dispenses with a lot of the latency-causing components, and they claim that using their box, you can jam with someone in real time over the internet.

The Jamlink boasts CD-quality sound with any instrument with a 1/4″ output, including a microphone, and is controlled by software via your computer’s web browser – there is no actual software that needs to be installed. It has an ethernet port on the back to plug into a high-speed connection such as cable or ADSL, with the recommended minimum bandwidths being 1,000 kbps upstream and 2,000 kbps downstream.

They’ve got a social network built for the Jamlink where you can make friends, connect with other musicians, and initiate jams. Check out the video for more info:

How much is it? They have an introductory price of $244 on their website. Not too bad.

6 Comments »

  • I’ll believe it when I use one in action!

    Seriously, the latency introduced by your sound card, audio drivers, etc., are ridiculously tiny compared to the latency introduced by the net itself. For most people with decent audio interfaces, the latency is going to be a maximum of, what, 16ms? And then double that for decoding at the other end and you’re getting, say, 32ms? Pinging Google right now, I get a latency of between 476ms at the shortest and 1001ms at the longest. An pings are incredibly small packets.

    Also, how many home users have the recommended 1000kbps upstream? Many high-speed internet providers for home users don’t even offer plans that go that high, upstream.

  • racy_rick says:

    I would love to see this in action. The video stopped loading for me after a few seconds.

    I wonder how this can work with only one device, because wouldn’t you always need contact both ways?

  • Each person (well, each location) participating in the jam session needs a separate device.

  • Okay to be fair, if you read their FAQ (which I hope anybody considering it will do), they do address some of my concerns by basically admitting that they’re a problem. They say that Jamlink only works if the other person you’re jamming with is within 500 miles maximum (to keep the latency down) and also that most ISPs do not provide enough bandwidth for Jamlink to work. They say that you can get a list of ISPs that offer sufficient bandwidth from them.

    So it’s certainly still useful, but maybe not quite as much as their video makes you think it would be. It’s probably most useful to members of a band who all live in the same city or large metropolitan area but who would find all trucking their stuff out to one member’s house or a rehearsal space to jam difficult. I can see it being really great foryoung people, students or people without a car, or for spontaneous jamming without having to go through a lot of travel and setup. But it’s not going to allow, say, me in Toronto to jam with my friend in Seattle. And while there are no subscription fees above the initial cost, the cost of the required internet service is likely to be more than the cost of a regular high-speed DSL or Cable service, and as such have to be factored in to a purchase decision.

  • It is actually useful in a variety of different situations. There are many existing bands using the jamLinks to rehearse and fine tune their music in between in-person rehearsals. Songwriting teams are using them to work on new material, even well beyond the approximate 500 mile range for in-the-room jamming. There are also some producers using them to listen in remotely during live tracking and playback from remote locations. They also make the most high-fidelity, lowest latency telephones you have ever heard.

    MusicianLink will also help you find higher speed Internet service if it is available in your area. Many of the cable providers are offering 16Mbps down/2Mbps up and are planning to roll out higher capacity services in 2010. The Verizon FiOS service is really nice if you can get it, and many dsl providers will be rolling out faster services in 2010 as well.

    We’ll be putting up some more videos of the jamLinks in action very soon at musicianlink.com.

  • CaptainCrunch says:

    Irfon…they just posted a demo video on Youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svN4ZmrR7vc

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