How do I get started with Virtual Studio?
You can create a free account at https://app.jacktrip.org
How is Virtual Studio different from the open source JackTrip project?
The open source JackTrip and Jamulus projects requires someone with IT skills to configure and operate hub audio servers. Virtual Studio is a web application that automates every aspect of this so that you don't have to worry about it. It also provides advanced audio processing capabilities to improve the quality and realness of the sound, and supports bridge hardware devices that make it as easy as possible for musicians to connect.
Does Virtual Studio eliminate latency?
No. It minimizes latency by using software and hardware that is optimized for the efficient transmission of audio over computer networks. Most people who have tried it so far are able to achieve one-way latency of under 40 milliseconds, using typical home Internet connections.
Does Virtual Studio enable me to play music with anyone in the world?
Yes and No.
Virtual Studio sends your audio over the Internet, which is limited by the speed of light. Light takes about 67 milliseconds to travel half way around the world, but the Internet is less efficient and in reality it can easily take 150-200 milliseconds.
Even 67 milliseconds is a lot of delay. Research suggests it's very difficult to perform music with a delay greater than 25 milliseconds. However, that doesn't mean it can't be done. Your success will likely depend on the tempo and type of music you are performing. Many musicians are using JackTrip today to perform music over very large distances. It just requires a greater degree of adaptation.
Where is Virtual Studio available?
Virtual Studio requires the use of an audio server. For best conditions, we've found that the audio server should be located within about 250 miles of all the musicians who are using it.
Virtual Studio offers fully managed audio servers using our web interface for 50 geographical locations worldwide. We plan to gradually expand this service to additional locations as they are available. Please see this page for more details about our expansion plans.
While anyone in their world will be able to use these managed audio servers, your experience will be impacted by geographical distance (see the previous question).
If you are not within one of our supported regions for managed audio servers, you can still use the open source JackTrip or Jamulus software to run and manage your own audio server anywhere. You will still be able to use the Virtual Studio web interface to manage Virtual Studio audio devices and connect them to your server.
Can I get lower latency using Peer-to-Peer applications?
Virtual studio uses cloud computing technology to process audio as close as possible to you and other musicians. So long as you are located within about 250 miles from one of our geographical locations, it's unlikely you will achieve lower latency using peer-to-peer.
It's no coincidence that the Internet is frequently referred to as the "Information Superhighway." The structure of the Internet is a lot like the roads our cars drive upon. Some roads are fast highways, while others are slow and made of dirt. Some roads may take you more directly to your destination, while others may meander many miles out of the way. The fastest path from point A to B is often not the shortest path.
Our cloud computing servers are basically located at the intersections of the world's fastest Internet highways. This is where you will likely find all the fast food restaurants and coffee chains, because it's the same locations most Internet traffic passes by. If you live far away or just happen to be lucky with respect to the other musicians you are playing with (i.e. same Internet provider, down the street, etc.) you can achieve lower latency numbers with peer-to-peer. Otherwise, your audio is likely going to be driving right past our servers anyway.
How much does Virtual Studio cost?
Virtual Studio offers fully managed cloud audio studios. Our free tier allows you to host studio sessions for up to 5 musicians for 30 minutes. Our monthly subscription plans enable you to host larger sessions for longer periods of time, paying only for the additional resources that you actually need.
The easiest way to get up and running is by using our plug-and-play bridge devices. Total cost varies based upon your selection of accessories, but can be as low as about $200 per musician.
Please note that purchase of a bridge device is not necessary. You can also connect to our studios using the free and open source JackTrip desktop app, or the Jamulus desktop app.
What happens if I run out of studio minutes?
If you run out of studio minutes before your monthly term is over, you will still be able to start new virtual studio sessions for the maximum number of participants allowed by your plan. The new sessions will automatically expire after 30 minutes. After your monthly term is over, your studio minutes will reset and the 30 minute limit will be removed. You can upgrade your subscription plan to remove this limitation sooner.
What happens when I change my subscription plan?
If you upgrade your subscription plan in the middle of a monthly term, you will be charged a pro-rated amount for the remainder of your term. For example, if you upgrade from Basic ($10) to Standard ($25) midway through your term, you will pay 50% of the difference, or $7.50.
If you downgrade your subscription plan in the middle of a monthly term, your account will be credited with a pro-rated amount for the remainder of your term. For example, if you downgrade from Basic ($25) to Standard ($10) midway through your term, you will receive 50% of the difference, or $7.50. This credit will apply towards your upcoming monthly payments.
How much bandwidth does Virtual Studio require?
Virtual Studio currently supports two popular network audio technologies:
- JackTrip requires about 2.0 Mbps both download and upload bandwidth for two channels (stereo) of 48 Khz lossless audio (CD quality). Only 1.0 Mbps upload bandwidth is required if you change the number of "input channels" to 1 (send mono).
- Jamulus requires about 300 Kbps both download and upload bandwidth for two channels (stereo) of lossy audio (high mp3 quality)
Note that these requirements are exclusive of any other applications that use your Internet connection, such as Zoom, YouTube, Netflix, etc.
Even more important than bandwidth is the latency of your Internet connection. Unfortunately, very few Internet providers advertise or even talk about latency. Beware that latency and bandwidth are two different measurements, which frequently do not correspond with one another. Many very high bandwidth "gigabit" speed home Internet connections have relatively poor latency.
How do I name or re-name a device or server?
When you create a studio, click into the field "Descriptive Name". It is just above the word "Type" in the upper left side. The font is a bit lighter in color, so look closely. Click there and type the name you want.
For the device name, when you register the device, look just below the headphones icon at the top left side, and click into the "Name" field to type the name you desire.
To change the name of a device or studio, in the lower right corner click on the icon that looks like a 'Tr', the first one on the left. This will bring you to a place where you can rename the device or studio.
Can I use other JackTrip and Jamulus clients with Virtual Studio?
Absolutely! You can use Virtual Studio managed devices with JackTrip or Jamulus hub servers that you host externally. You can also use JackTrip and Jamulus command line and GUI clients with Virtual Studio managed hub servers.
Where can I get more information about Virtual Studio?
Please see our user guide for everything that is currently available. We'll also be making regular updates to the JackTrip website as more information is available. For the most timely updates, please subscribe to our mailing list.