Has anybody used JackTrip for online jamming?

geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 466

NPR posted a story about playing music together online:

In the story they mention using JackTrip that was developed partially by a professor at UC-Irvine.

Here is the link:

Hopefully someone with some free time can test it out and report back on how it goes.

Best of luck!



  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Dupont MD50, Stringphonic Favino, Altamira Chorus
    Posts: 187

    I'm down to try it with someone else.

    I'd consider myself technically savvy, and with a decent good home recording situation (low latency equipment, good computer, great internet). I live in San Francisco, which gives me as far south as Los Angeles, eastward as Las Vegas, and northward as Medford.

  • AzazzellAzazzell CanadaNew
    edited April 2021 Posts: 178

    I'm up for testing it.

  • therealguyfitherealguyfi Milwaukee, WINew Barault
    Posts: 47

    I would be too. I am using jamkazam and that does work with fast internet and low latency gear. I’m surprised more people aren’t doing it.

  • edited July 2020 Posts: 4,812

    I think with most of these services people are expecting a plug and play solution, not bothering to use a hardwired internet connection and buy an interface which even the cheapest ones will offer a lower latency than the stuff that's built into the PC.

    I think any current high speed internet plan from any provider should be sufficient. Jamkazam requirement says a minimum of 1Mbps upload (I read somewhere that average data upload is actually less than that, about 0.5Mbps).

    The hardwired connection and a dedicated interface are a must though. They already hosted a couple of festivals. I scanned through some of it, sounds good, some better than others, dozens of bands participating. It works.

    They're raising money to buy a dedicated internet server, with that they say they would be able to dramatically lower the latency and make jams possible over much longer distances. They say the biggest problem they have is not having any control over routing the traffic. People who are physically only maybe 50 miles away from each other may have their internet connection router over servers hundreds of miles away over 2 or 3 hops raising the latency to unacceptable numbers.

    I'm interested to see if JackTrip people were able to somehow ease up on the equipment requirements and still host a successful jam.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Dupont MD50, Stringphonic Favino, Altamira Chorus
    Posts: 187

    TL:DR - I dove into Jack, and decided that it wasn't worth the time investment.

    TBH, JamKazam is muuuuch easier to setup. However, there's less tolerance latency in your gear vs Jack. Keep in mind, you need EVERYTHING to be as low latency as possible, which means optimizing:

    1. Microphone (my Yeti USB was too slow compared to my dedicated interface)
    2. Physical mic cable length
    3. Audio interface, bitrate, & firmware
    4. Audio interface connection to the computer (cable, usb port, DAC etc.)
    5. Computer audio firmware & drivers
    6. Computer software (e.g. routing with VB Audio, skype, JamKazam, etc.)
    7. Ethernet cable and connection
    8. Router and ports
    9. Modem
    10. Your actual internet speeds
    11. Steps 1-10... but for each band mate.

    Step 11 is what killed it for me. Even with a lot of technical know-how, Jack had a lot of trouble-shooting. Trouble shooting my setup is one thing. Helping guide through my less tech-savvy counterparts is another.




    Now take all the above, but compare it to socially distanced djaming with 2-4 people (sel-macs are more than loud enough) or recording video with a click-track for long-distance collaboration. The time, effort, technical know-how and possible gear improvements needed to jam long-distance is currently too great.

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2020 Posts: 879

    I agree, I have had numerous attempts at online jamming and I have checked all the boxes on 1-10 listed still too much latency.

    Another thought on social distance jamming is amps either hooked up in a backyard or battery pack so you can sit a good 15 feet away from the people you are jamming with. Amps do not need be loud, just enough to cover the distance between players.

  • therealguyfitherealguyfi Milwaukee, WINew Barault
    Posts: 47

    This is largely correct but a little off. It’s correct that the total latency of the jam is a function of everyone’s individual latency so even if you’re super low, if you buddy is not it’s not going to work. You need fast internet, that’s available to most of us now (I have between 5-10Mbps upload). You need an Ethernet cable connection (not WiFi). The closer your jam mates are to you the better; JK recommends less than 500 miles. You need an interface with a fast driver, this excludes plug and play hardware like the Yeti. I started with my RME FF800, which was a $1600 piece of gear when it was new (around 12 years ago), and it gave me around 7 milliseconds latency. As sound travels roughly 1.1 foot per ms, that would be like being around 8 feet from someone. There is a page on the Jamkazam users group where someone complied a list the the gear everyone is using, much of it includes reported latencies. Someone reported 2.7 ms from a cheap interface I never heard of, the ESI UGM 96 so I bought two on a whim, about $70 apiece (one for my friend). I am using that now with a 10 year old HP laptop and have a reported latency of 4ms. I have a student I teach weekly over JK, and have had successful jam with musicians from my hometown (Milwaukee) and oddly as far away as Kansas City and once even California.

    You can use JK with audio software but you don’t need to. I’ve done it with Reaper to use plugins, but now I jut use the JK program. I play guitar, bass, and sing so if I’m playing bass I run the headphone out of my amp into the interface; for electric guitar I use a Vox Stomplab for amp emulation before the interface (BTW this sounds good through the Compact 60); for acoustic guitar an vocals I just use a condenser mic, no effects.

    My buddy has slow DSL and I guess decided that JK wouldn’t work for him so I have an extra interface sitting here, never opened, I’d sell it for $60 (what they seem to be going for now)

  • V-dubV-dub San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020 Posts: 325

    Hey gang, I actually have been working a lot with JACK and JackTrip lately. As a matter of fact, I wrote a GUI for it that makes it way easier to use: JamTrip (linked below), since many people have trouble setting it up.

    Once both sides have it installed, connecting should be a couple of clicks away. Though one of the two (the server host) would need to open ports on your router to allow the connection (a little more involved). It's all explained on that site, as well installation instructions:

    I will give this assessment:

    • Latency (delay) + audio quality (ocassioonal packet drops, distortion): you will not get either of these perfect, but you can tweak things to settings that are manageable. Around 30ms latency seems to be just about the threshold in my testing for jamming that won't make you both frustrated and miserable.
    • JackTrip has the best latency out of all the solutions out there. Better than Jamulus, JamKazam, Sonobus, etc. Many of these optimize for audio quality or bandwidth use (using audio compression) and latency suffers as a result. IMO latency matters the most for jazz... even over audio quality.
    • 1-on-1 jamming is optimal. More than that the setup and coordination and latency all are factors making it impractical.
    • Not a chance you'll play a 250bpm gypsy jazz song. Even at 20ms latency, it will get too out of sync and start to throw everyone off. Ballads and medium tempos are manageable, but the rhythm player has to be very steady and not easily thrown off.
    • You must be within 200 miles of the person you're jamming with. Speed of light limitations there. But you can have a nice low-latency chat at greater distances... music playing doesn't work though.

  • V-dubV-dub San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020 Posts: 325

    Update, here's a recording from this afternoon. I was able to use JamTrip to jam LIVE with the wonderful Nataly Merezhuk on violin all the to Baltimore over 2800 miles away from me in San Francisco. I have no idea how it worked this well and I had my doubts, but somehow the stars aligned and the link was strong. We were able to play slower tempo songs quite well.

    You will hear packet drops (distorted audio). That is due to our distance making it difficult to maintain a constant steady connection, I'm sure some of you will find it off-putting, but I hope you can set your expectations to the feat at hand. I assure you in the moment you're so exhilarated that it's working that you tune it out and get wrapped up in the fact that you're jamming with someone so far away!

    When I jam with folks closer, like within 50 miles, the audio is much cleaner. I'll get a sample of that soon.

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