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I am playing in a jazz band. We usually have band rehearsals every week. Due to coronavirus regulations, we are not allowed to meet for rehearsals for at least 6 weeks.

We would like to switch to band rehearsals over the internet with about 15 - 20 players (wind instruments, drums, guitar, bass) in different places and connected to the internet.

Is this possible and are there any practical experiences doing that? What are limitations (eg. how many players) and requirements (eg. internet connection speed, special hardware needed/recommended)?

I have looked at different apporaches including

but does anybody really use it for making music together over the internet at the same time as being in one room?

  • There is a discussion about this topic which is quite old (4 years). Does this sill hold? gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/… – WeSee Mar 18 '20 at 18:58
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    I reckon the latency problem still exists. – Tim Mar 18 '20 at 19:19
  • My team at work tends to do meetings via webex even when we're all mostly in the same place. There's a significant lag between when someone speaks and when I hear it over the connection. There's an audible lag even for 1-1 cellular phone connections. Maybe with an old-style analog phone connection you could make things work, although I think once it became a conference call, it would end up going through some processing that would generate an audible lag. I think this is going to end up being woodshedding time for the band members. – Don Hosek Mar 18 '20 at 21:36
  • Check out my answer here: music.stackexchange.com/questions/97764/… – cbracketdash Apr 1 '20 at 19:11
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    According to their website, Jammr attempts to solve the latency problem by delaying what you hear by one full time through the form. In other words, what you play against is what everybody played the last time through the form; they claim all G-chords are the same. It is shocking and ridiculous. Learning to Listen and Interact with what you are hearing, is one of the most important ensemble skills, especially in jazz. Students are already challenged in this, and I don't see how jammr is taking that situation in the right direction. – DrM Aug 9 '20 at 13:17
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In the month since I wrote this answer, I've had several good sessions with JamKazam, including classical string trios. If everyone is in the same metro area, typical total latency is 20-30 ms. Sessions appear to be limited to 8 or 10 participants. JKz recommends at least a dual-core CPU and 1 Mbps upload speed.

  • New users should plan for their first session to be primarily troubleshooting and duos. Established ensembles should be flexible in case someone's technical difficulties resist all efforts.

  • Headphones are mandatory. Speakers will feed back into the microphone. There is no echo cancellation as in voice chat software.

  • Wired Ethernet is mandatory. Low latency requires a small buffer, which requires lower packet loss and jitter than Wi-Fi can deliver.

  • Some players may find the microphone built into their laptop adequate. Experienced users generally recommend an audio interface box (e.g. Behringer U-Phoria, Focusrite Scarlett).

  • Everyone should play slightly ahead of what they hear and trust the others not to fall farther behind. With nonzero latency, mutual waiting will cause the tempo to drag.

In addition to the official tutorial videos, some users have written helpful guides to getting started: Josh Larios; Mewes, Kriner, Becker, and Eskin.

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A new fast device for online music rehearsals appeared – Push'n'Play.online. The project is now on Kickstarter, there is a video showing how it works, you can also check website. As I know, soon they'll going to make test of online rehearsal for choir using their devices.

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I myself am currently in a jazz ensemble and also due to the coronavirus we are not meeting anymore. There really is no way you can have a rehearsal over the internet without having a delay between the musicians. So we've been mainly practicing are music until perfection so that when we meet again, we can play with minimal errors. However, if you are still highly interested in rehearsing with each other, your best bet would be Zoom. It is basically a facetime with up to 100 people for the free version. It seems to be the best choice at the moment. Additionally, to reduce the lag even further, you can have everyone be right next to their router to completely minimize the delay.

Hope that helps!

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Even professional tools for online meetings have delays which are pretty annoying when only 4 people are talking, so I wouldn't even try with an instrument.

The way I've seen musicians work around the delay limitations in the past weeks was by not playing trying to play all at the same time. They played separately using a metronome and recorded themselves. Later someone put all separate video's together, synchronizing every video. You could approach this by having the drummer play first and give the recording to the rest of the band. Or drums + base + other instruments, just to provide enough context for the other members of the band. This would require someone who is able to put the video's together.

This could ultimately result in something in this video by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, though their goal was to actually produce a recording and show it to the world and not a rehearsal.

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