Across the Internet.
How It Works
Get in sync and perform together across the Internet
It’s called a “syncspace” because it’s a space where performers sync up through audio and video. Without getting into all the technical details, here’s how we do it (scroll down further below for the technical details):
Each performer runs software on their computer to send their audio to a server. The server mixes the audio from each performer and sends the combined audio mix back to each member of the ensemble. Under normal ideal conditions, the delay is so short that it sounds like everyone is in the same room together. This allows an ensemble to play music together even at fast tempos.
Each performer uses a webcam on their computer to exchange video with other members of the ensemble. No software required as it all works in a web browser. Unlike audio which is sent to a server, the video is sent directly to other performers so that it arrives as quickly as possible so that there is very little lag between the video and the audio. This makes it possible for performers to exchange visual cues while performing.
Each syncspace has a virtual broadcast studio which receives a high-quality version of each performer’s video. The studio syncs the ensemble’s audio with the video feeds so that the audience sees and hears everything perfectly in sync. Each video feed and each audio channel is individually controllable to give a broadcast engineer control over what the audience sees. The end result is a very high-quality experience with high-fidelity audio and video that is often better than many in-person performances.
We provide extensive documentation to assist with setup and tuning of audio and video as well as do-it-yourself broadcasting.
If you need help at any time you can connect with real people who are working musicians and software developers building and using the system.
Not everybody wants to know about the nitty gritty details but if you like that stuff we’ve got details for you right here.
Unlike companies pushing a single technology, we’re operate an evolving platform that integrates the best technologies for real-time collaboration across the Internet and brings them together into a fully-managed platform. Everything resides in the cloud with only a little bit of software required on your computer.
We offer two different solutions for high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex sound that allows everyone to simultaneously send sound while hearing everyone else with such short delays that it sounds and feels like you’re together in the same room.
Under ideal conditions our users will experience a one-way total (not just network) delay of single-digit milliseconds (9ms or less) with clear audio at the highest quality settings (48 kHz sampled stereo using either compressed 906 Kbps or uncompressed 2 Mbps formats).
This is like being about six feet apart in the same room. We’re able to achieve this level of performance by optimizing for latency throughout the entire signal chain including the audio processing and the network communication.
The two solutions we currently offer for exchanging audio for the purposes of simultaneous performance are:
Jamulus for easy setup with high-quality compressed audio of up to 906 Kbps in stereo sampled at 48 kHz. The Jamulus software is available for free and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It offers many options for each person to craft their own personal mix of the ensemble’s sound and tweak quality and bandwidth settings so that they’re getting the best experience.
JackTrip for higher quality sound and faster delivery with 2 Mbps uncompressed stereo audio sampled at 48 kHz. This higher performance is possible as there’s no time spent compressing and decompressing the audio. This is a great choice for the most demanding online music performances. Although this makes it a potentially better option than Jamulus, JackTrip is not as tolerant of slow or unstable network connections and can be harder to configure and tune than Jamulus. JackTrip software is available for free and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Each syncspace has its own Jamulus and JackTrip servers running all the time. Although everyone in an ensemble must use the same solution at the same time, you’re free to use either solution whenever you want.
Syncspace.live streams video directly between ensemble participants so there’s no central video server to slow things down. It allows high-quality video, with no limit on bitrate or resolution, to be sent by each member of an ensemble for broadcasting to an audience while sending lower-quality versions of that same video to ensemble members so that it arrives with minimal delay. The rapid delivery helps ensemble members exchange visual cues in real-time. Video connections are easily setup in a web browser with no additional software required.
How good is the video quality? As we said above, there’s no limit on the bitrate or resolution that each performer can send for the purposes of broadcasting. In practice most people will send a 720p or 1080p stream that uses about 5 Mbps but it’s possible to send higher-quality streams such as a 4K stream which could be used for zooming in during a broadcast.
Worldwide Server Network
We operate an extensive worldwide network of server locations and we’re expanding this all the time. We use location and network information from each musician to help us find the best location for a server for each ensemble.
Our motto is “quality over quantity” and hence the reason for operating all these server locations is not to have more users on our platform but to reduce latency for each performer and to make it easier to connect musicians between cities.