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I'm a singer in NJ, my accompanist is in western PA. He needs to record himself playing a piano accompaniment at my tempo and interpretation--my voice is not to be part of the recording. So we need to hear each other in headphones, remotely.

We tried this in Skype, but it does not work, because his acoustic piano completely drowned me out...to the extent that I am effectively, completely muted in his ears. As soon as he stops playing, he hears me.

Any ideas on how to do this or fix this problem? Any solution voice-over-ip (VOIP) or otherwise would be appreciated.

  • He's not trying to monitor the recording in the same headphones as you are talking to him in I am assuming? Does he have access to a digital piano just for the sake of making the recording? – Rockin Cowboy Feb 13 '15 at 22:58
  • Razer Comms has better voice quality than Skype, but it sounds like the issue is simply volume. He needs to wear over-ear headphones (probably isolation headphones) and turn you up. Also, the lag will be noticeable -- one-way would be fine, but trying to hear and adjust to each other at the same time will be a mess. – Matthew Read Feb 13 '15 at 23:35
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    Is there a reason why you are not using a click track to establish tempo and recording separately? If the vocals and piano have to be on two separate tracks, why do you have to be singing live for him to record - why not record yourself first and then have him record the accompaniment separately, or vice versa? – tarun Feb 14 '15 at 13:58
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Skype should work, or perhaps zoom https://www.zoom.us/. Your problems have nothing to do with VoIP (if you can tolerate the latency) but with the playback setup in PA. Get a decent sound card, a decent headset and perhaps a headphone pre-amp. If the acoustic piano is really that loud, try a noise cancelling headphone.

  • The OP said Skype didn't work, perhaps because he didn't know some extra features or simply it didn't work. Do you recommend a feature in Skype that the OP should try? – mey Feb 14 '15 at 2:03
  • @mey: it seems the problem that the OP describes has nothing to do with Skype itself but with the playback setup. This is independent of the VoIP in use. I'm assuming that the OP misdiagnosed the problem, but of course I could be wrong here. – Hilmar Feb 14 '15 at 16:22
  • i see. Sometimes people have tried a system and then they think it wouldn't work, while perhaps they simply are not yet familiar with certain features. – mey Feb 14 '15 at 21:20
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It looks like there's a software called OhmStudio that might meet your requirements, at http://www.ohmstudio.com/ . However, as others have pointed out, latency can be a real issue here. Data won't transfer over the internet instantaneously, so there might be some latency - you both likely won't be able to hear each other in real time.

As per my above comment though, if there's no strong reason you have to record together (since you're recording on two separate tracks), you can also explore using a click track to set tempo and recording separately.

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