Is It For You?
So it seems cool but will it fit your needs? We’ve answered some of the more common questions below. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to contact us.
The first part of figuring out whether it’s for you is to see if it fits your requirements.
What are some of the ways in which you can use a syncspace?
Although syncspace.live is particularly exciting for musicians and music performances, it has many exciting applications for any performing artists who rely on interacting with one another in real-time. Possible uses include:
Virtual venue with live broadcasts of live performances bringing together multiple artists separated by distance (even between cities that are hundreds of miles apart)
Virtual teaching studio for music lessons with the ability to play together
Virtual rehearsal space for music rehearsals
Virtual recording studio to record studio-quality music by having everyone play together through a syncspace and then later multi-track editing with each musician’s locally recorded audio
Virtual dance stage for dance performances with real-time interaction between dancers and musicians
Virtual theatre for theatre performances or script readings that rely on subtle nuances between actors that can only be recreated with low-latency, high-quality, full-duplex audio
Virtual guest appearances for bringing guests into livestreams for discussion or to perform together
Does it work better for some types of music?
Our goal is to allow musicians, and other performing artists, to perform without limits.
There is no particular type of music that works better in this format but one of the reasons many of the examples videos on this site feature jazz, and why we launched our virtual venue with a live jazz series, is that jazz is an excellent testbed for syncspace.live. Jazz musicians need to interact constantly through both the music and through the exchange of visual cues. The groove in jazz, including the very specific placement of notes and beats, and the hookup between a rhythm section, is highly dependent on musicians being able to discern very small nuances in the music, including the exact timing of notes.
We believe that if we can use syncspace.live to play this kind of music, then many other use cases are also covered, at least for small ensembles.
What about large ensembles?
Handling the exchange of audio for large ensembles is no problem as long as the server is sized appropriately.
Video is where we won’t scale as well but where we also expect the requirements to be different for a large ensemble.
The way we exchange video is deliberately point-to-point between performers. This is unique and unlike most video meeting solutions that run everything through a central server. They are different solutions to different problems. Most video meeting solutions handle large numbers but at the cost of video (and audio) quality and with much greater time (higher latency) for the video to arrive. Our solution enables performers to receive video of other performers as fast as possible so that it arrives at the same time as the audio. It also gives a broadcast engineer completely flexibility with individual video feeds.
This point-to-point approach for video is a feature for us with smaller ensembles but can only scale so far and each person’s Internet bandwidth and computing power to send and receive all the video streams is one of the limitations.
In small ensembles, especially those where there is a lot interplay between different performers, each performer has a real need to see every other performer. In large ensembles, this is not typically the case. The simplest solution, especially for large ensembles that are led by one person, is for the leader or conductor, to send their video to every performer and that’s the only video that is exchanged. Another solution is to do this and also have every performer send their video to the leader but to no one else. This is all possible today as we already give performers the ability to send a video feed without receiving one and this is often used to send a second camera feed.
We do have a lot of flexibility to reconfigure the way the video works to support custom use cases for large ensembles and we’re happy to partner with them on this.
There is always the option to use a syncspace just for exchanging audio and use another service for handling video although with most services the video will be much more delayed and will appear quite out of sync with the audio.
Versus the Competition
Aren’t there already solutions out there to “jam” together live on the Internet? Can’t I use those? Yes there are solutions that offer some of what we offer and there are some that fail to deliver. We believe we have something unique.
What does syncspace.live offer over other solutions?
Syncspace.Live lets artists perform together across the Internet and broadcast that performance to a live audience and is built to meet the most demanding needs of professional artists.
Audio: There are some existing “jamming” solutions that offer the ability to exchange performance audio in real-time over the Internet. In fact, two of the best solutions, Jamulus and JackTrip, are used in syncspace.live. Both solutions have been around for a long time, are well-evolved and stable, and are actively developed as open source projects. Each syncspace includes a private Jamulus server and a private JackTrip server. The latency of our servers is extremely low for users with proximity to the server. More about this later.
Video: Syncspace.Live is the only solution that offers real-time video to be used in conjunction with Jamulus or JackTrip so that the performers can see each other and exchange visual cues during a performance.
While performers can use a syncspace by themselves to rehearse together, the real power comes in performing for a live audience.
Broadcasting: Syncspace.Live is unique in offering a virtual broadcast studio in which the performers can perform with support from a broadcast engineer (this can be an engineer we provide or you can provide your own “helper”). Find out more about broadcasting.
No limits: Syncspace.Live is designed to meet the most demanding needs of professional artists, allowing them to perform without compromises. This includes playing music together at very fast tempos (in excess of 300 beats per minute) and interacting continuously in real-time which is particularly important for many artists including jazz musicians and improv comedians. Audio and video can be synchronized and a broadcast engineer can produce a professional-looking broadcast.
Ease of use: Despite all the incredible technology used in syncspace.live, setup and tuning is made easier with a fully-managed cloud-based solution, extensive step-by-step guides, and support that goes to real people. This overcomes one of the biggest hurdles to using this technology which is the difficulty in setting it up.
Can't I just run my own Jamulus or JackTrip server?
If you don’t care about video or broadcasting and want to run your own private Jamulus or JackTrip you can surely try to do that however you may find it a challenge to achieve the ultra-low latency we are able to offer. In normal ideal conditions, with proximity to a server, our users are able to get one-way total delays (including network and all other processing) of less than 10 ms which is like being about six feet apart in the same room. Our round-trip ping or network latency times, for users with proximity to a server, are typically 5ms or less. We are able to do this because we have optimized for latency throughout every single part of the signal chain and this includes how we run our servers and where we run them.
Additionally, if you try to run your own Jamulus or JackTrip server at a location with any one performer, that performer will have low latency while every other member of the ensemble will have higher latency. Our belief is that an audio exchange server should be located in a central location between the performers so that each performer can have roughly equal latency.
The ability to truly play live across the Internet, especially without any compromises, depends entirely on being able to achieve consistently ultra-low latency.