Ever since the dawn of the internet, musicians have been looking for a way to jam over the web. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the easiest thing to do, as latency tends to make things impossible.
What is fortunate is that today, there are several services that offer the ability to jam over the internet. Curious to know how they work?
Well, you’ve come to the right place, as this article will highlight what makes each worth using.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
Free eBook: Discover how real independent musicians like you are making $4,077 - $22,573+ monthly via Youtube, let me know where to send the details:
JamKazam – Best Overall
When the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing in 2020, musicians needed a solution to be able to play together. One of the most popular solutions was the software, JamKazam.
This program has been used by instructors, bands, and orchestras to great success. So, what does this software have to offer?
For starters, you can join or create your own rooms to jam with other musicians in real time. JamKazam offers some of the lowest latency out of any software in this field of use.
Simply open the program, ensure that your sound card is set up properly, and you're good to go. JamKazam makes it easy to jam with others, whether they be your friends, or complete strangers.
JamKazam does have several tiers of membership, each with its own set of benefits. The free version is fairly limited, only offering:
- 1 hour time duration for each session
- 4 hours of jamming per month
- Maximum of 4 people per session
- No video
The premium versions really open things up, offering:
- Broadcasting capabilities
- Internet optimization
- High-quality sound
- Unlimited session durations
- Increased-to-unlimited number of monthly sessions
JamKazam also offers the ability to play along with your favorite songs. The service offers a library of over 4000 tracks that you can use to practice along with.
Furthermore, JamKazam does offer services tailored to hosting live concerts that require ticketed attendance. You’ll be able to chat with fans while performing from the comfort of your home.
LANDR Sessions – Best Premium
Have you ever wanted to collaborate on a recording with somebody who lives in a different part of the world? LANDR Sessions is exactly the kind of program you’ve been looking for.
With LANDR Sessions, there is no longer any need to purchase flight tickets to be able to meet with somebody. This video chat client seamlessly integrates into your DAW, allowing you to stream it through the software.
Essentially, using LANDR Sessions is the digital equivalent of being in the same room with someone else, and recording music. Each person can contribute to the song project in real time, without any latency issues.
Simply link the software up with the master bus of your song project, and you’re good to go. This gives you the opportunity to record in real time while providing and receiving collaborative feedback at the same time.
Sure, this isn’t exactly the same thing as jamming with another person in real time. However, it gives you the ability to create something without having to compromise because of technological setbacks.
Each person will be able to hear what the other person is playing and recording as it’s happening.
Whether you’re a guitarist or a producer, LANDR Sessions has something to offer. You can use this to give music lessons and hold mixing sessions for the final touches on a recorded album.
LANDR Sessions might not be applicable to everybody, and it does come in both free and premium versions. The free version is fairly limited, offering:
- Ability to collaborate with 6 people simultaneously
- Unlimited sessions
- High-quality DAW streaming limited to 15 minutes
The premium version offers unlimited DAW streaming and the ability to collaborate with 17 people in 1 room. You can also bundle this software with the rest of LANDR’s expansive services.
NINJAM – Best Budget
Open-source software often allows users to be able to tweak settings they wouldn’t normally be able to. Having this ability can come in handy when using a program that is prone to latency.
NINJAM definitely isn’t the most attractive piece of software as it does have a fairly basic user interface. However, you shouldn’t let that deter you from trying out this software.
In fact, more people have had success with NINJAM than just about any other service. Its customizable nature allows each user to fine-tune their settings for an optimum experience.
While most of the other services in this article feature the use of video, NINJAM does not. However, the program does have a chat box that you can use to communicate with others if needed.
To jam on NINJAM, you or somebody in your group will need to set up a dedicated NINJAM server.
NINJAM essentially counteracts any latency issues by broadcasting intervals of time that have already passed by. Because of this, the jam isn’t exactly in real time, as others are hearing what has already occurred.
Despite this, NINJAM seems to work incredibly well for playing together with other people. It just might take some getting used to not being able to react in real time.
NINJAM allows each user to customize the volumes of each person in the session. Plus, it has integration with REAPER, which is always a plus if you're wanting to record the session.
Because NINJAM is open-source, you can use it for free. If you do have success with it, it’s recommended to donate to its team of developers.
Looking for a way to jam with your friends and other people around the world, for free? You might want to take a look at Jamstud.io.
If you were to use software to jam with others, Jamstud.io takes the most simplistic approach. You’re not going to have to do much to get a session started, which is a massive plus.
To begin, all you need to do is sign up with the website, and download the client. Support for Windows, Mac, and Linux are all provided and can be found on the website.
For the most part, this is a video chat client that aims to provide the lowest amount of latency possible. However, that doesn’t mean that your connection will be immune to latency errors of any kind.
Jamstud.io does help to remedy this by allowing users to notate which country they live in. This helps to minimize the latency that might exist between 2 people in the same country.
Overall, the simplicity of Jamstud.io is one of its greatest assets. Simply connect your sound card settings, start or join a room, and you’re good to go.
This software also has integration with Soundtrap, allowing you to collaborate on recorded music projects in real time. You can also send files and utilize web-based guitar tabs directly through the software.
Jammr consists of downloadable software that is used to connect with other musicians around the world. While latency tends to be the biggest setback for internet jams, Jammr takes a unique approach to solving this issue.
The software accomplishes this by recording the input of each user.
In a sense, Jammr monitors the chord progression that is being played in a jam session. It then records the musical information and plays it back to all of the musicians as the progression repeats.
Because chord progressions are generally continuously cycled, the musical data remains relevant, no matter when it’s played. This gives Jammr a feeling as if there is no latency at all, and as if you truly are jamming in real-time.
If you’re confused, an example to illustrate how Jammr works between each user can help.
Let’s say that you start out jamming on a basic 4 chord progression. Jammr records the initial go, with everybody hearing that recorded data when the progression starts over.
So, in a sense, there aren’t any latency issues to have to worry about. However, it isn’t exactly in real time, which can be a crucial aspect in reactive live improvisation.
Nevertheless, Jammr does provide an opportunity to be able to connect with other musicians, no matter their location. This is an especially great option for those that might not have the fastest internet connection.
Jammr is completely free to use, offering public jam sessions that anybody can join. There is also a premium version that offers additional features such as:
- Private sessions
- Ability to download the recorded sessions
A premium member can invite a free user to join a private session at no additional cost. There is no limit to how many people can join a session.
Things To Keep In Mind When Looking For And Using Online Jamming Software
The simple (and unfortunate) reality of using online jamming software is that latency is going to be an issue. Music, especially when played with other people, is something that happens in the moment.
If any latency is present in your connection, your jam session could quickly become a frustrating experience. It might just be enough of a problem that you can’t jam at all, which can rain on anybody’s parade.
On top of this, each person’s connection quality will affect the overall quality of the session as a whole. So, what can you do in these situations to help mitigate this type of problem?
Perhaps the most important thing to take into consideration is that WIFI connections don’t really work for this application. You’re going to want to have your computer plugged directly into the internet router via an ethernet cable.
This will give you the fastest possible connection that your router is able to provide. Wireless connections are unable to transmit data as fast as a wired connection.
Likewise, you’ll want to make sure that you do have fast internet, with the fastest being the best. A fiber optic connection is the fastest, but not everyone has access to this, and it isn’t the most affordable.
Adding to this, you’ll need to ensure that your friends also have a wired connection. If they attempt to connect wirelessly, even your experience will suffer.
Along with the internet connection, you’ll want to be aware of the distance between you and your friends. This plays a direct role in the amount of inherent latency that exists within an online jam session.
For instance, jamming with somebody in your area will have far less latency than someone across the world. Data takes time to travel distances, and while the internet can be fast, it isn’t exactly instantaneous.
However, even this isn’t always the greatest criteria to follow when attempting to jam online. Other factors, such as somebody connecting wirelessly, could affect the session adversely, no matter the distance.
That certainly isn't to say that jamming with someone across the world isn’t a possibility with this software. Many people have had success in this department, it really just depends on many variables.
To be able to use anything like this at all, you’ll need to have some prerequisite hardware on hand. The most important for jamming software is a dedicated sound card.
Sound cards allow you to connect a microphone or instrument cable directly to the computer. These devices typically connect via USB or Firewire.
You’ll be able to find a sound card for just about any budget. Most will likely be fine for this application.
However, you will want to ensure that the sound card supports a sample rate of 48K. This relates to the frequencies that can be accurately digitized for recording and streaming uses.
Top Online Jamming Software For Online Band Practice, Final Thoughts
While they are excellent in theory, online jamming software is far from perfect. No software can provide a seamless, instantaneous experience like you would experience in person.
Nevertheless, this software can at least scratch the itch and chances are likely you’ll meet some cool people. If you don’t mind tweaking your settings, this software can open doors to possibilities not bound by location.