Creating an Audio Server
Note: for a limited time during the beta period, we are providing managed audio servers free of charge. You will soon have to start paying for this service, at a rate of about $1 per 5 musicians per hour.
To create a new audio server, first click on the green "CREATE SERVER" button located in the upper right hand corner of the "Audio Servers" page:
This will take you to a form for creating a new audio server:
It is recommended that you provide a "Descriptive Name" that distinguishes each of your servers. If you do not provide one, a unique name will be automatically assigned for you.
Leave the "Managed Servers" toggle enabled unless you have setup a JackTrip or Jamulus server on your own. For advanced users only, please see Creating Unmanaged Servers.
Default settings will be assigned; you can change them now or after your server is created. Click the "CREATE SERVER" button to finish the process.
Audio Server Types
JackTrip audio servers provide the most flexibility and highest quality, lossless audio. They also are required for any large groups (greater than about 40 musicians). Over time, we plan to focus any new feature development exclusively on JackTrip audio servers. Their biggest downside is that they require more bandwidth (about 2 Mbps upload and download for stereo sound at 48 kHz).
Jamulus audio servers offer less flexibility, which also makes them easier to configure. They use a lossy codec that offers inferior audio quality, but their bandwidth requirements are significantly lower (about 300-500 Kbps upload and download for stereo sound). This makes them more suitable for low-quality Internet connections.
The default setting is "JackTrip+Jamulus" which supports both protocols. The server mixes the audio channels together so that each musicians can use whichever one works best for their Internet connection. Virtual Studio Devices can use the "Quality" setting in the web interface to easily select the most optimal protocol. All Virtual Studio audio servers should also work with the command-line and graphical interface clients that run on desktop and laptop computers.
Please note: Jamulus can cause musicians who are using balanced audio cables to be inaudible. See this article for more information.
Audio Server Settings
The following settings are supported by both JackTrip and Jamulus audio servers:
All audio servers are created to serve a specific geographical region. We recommend that the audio server and all musicians are located no more than about 500 miles away from one another.
Larger audio servers are able to handle more musicians performing live music, but cost more money to operate. Our rough guidance is that 1 vCPU can handle up to about 5 musicians.
Note: for the free beta period, the maximum size is limited to 2 vCPUs. Please contact email@example.com if you require larger instance sizes.
This setting controls the sampling rate of frequency used to digitize audio.
- CD Quality (1.7 Mbps, 44.1 kHz)
- CD Plus Quality (2.0 Mbps, 48 kHz)
- 2x CD Quality (3.5 Mbps, 88.2 kHz)
- HD Quality (4.0 Mbps, 96 kHz)
The bandwidth rates (e.g. "2.0 Mbps") represents the minimum speed requirements -- both upload and download -- for all musician's Internet connections when connecting using the JackTrip protocol.
Jamulus requires 48 Khz or "CD Plus Quality" and we recommend using that unless you have a specific need for a higher sampling rate. Note that the minimal bandwidth requirement for musicians connecting to a server using Jamulus will be either 300 Kbps or 500 Kbps, not 2.0 Mbps.
This setting controls the number of audio samples grouped into frames for each period of time. Smaller values can result in lower latency, but require that all musicians have higher quality Internet connections. You may want to try raising this value if you are experiencing static or other audio issues.
This setting controls the queue size of the network jitter buffer for audio that the server receives from all musicians. Similar to period, smaller values can result in lower latency, but require that all musicians have higher quality Internet connections. This now defaults to "auto" which means that it will automatically adjust to an optimal value for each musician's Internet connection.
If this setting is enabled, anyone using JackTrip Virtual Studio will be able to see and connect to your audio server. We recommend leaving this disabled and using subscribers (see below) to control access. We have found it is useful to sometimes make a server public temporarily when troubleshooting access control issues.
If this setting is enabled, two channels (left and right) will be used for each musician. Disabling this will instead use a single, mono channel. Note that stereo sound requires twice as much bandwidth as mono, so it can be helpful to disable this if you are using low bandwidth Internet connections.
Audio Mixing is only available on JackTrip and JackTrip+Jamulus servers that support up to 200 maximum clients. Larger servers use a simple, flat mix that is not controllable.
Managed Virtual Studio audio servers use SuperCollider to mix audio. This enables each server to support unique programming and mixing control capabilities. The (sclang) source code used to mix audio is available as open source, enabling anyone to add enhancements or programs that process audio in different ways for different groups and environments. For example, a jazz band may want things to sound differently from a chorus or an orchestra.
The "Advanced" toggle switch can be used to modify the (sclang) source code that is running on the server. Please see SuperCollider for Virtual Studio if you are interested in modifying this or working on the open source JackTrip quark. When this toggle is disabled, basic mixing controls will be displayed in the web interface to easily generate the appropriate programs for you.
This setting selects the GitHub branch of the open source JackTrip quark to use for mixing audio. Normally this should be set to "Stable," but you may sometimes want to try out something new using "Bleeding Edge." Any other branch available in the repository may be selected if you want to try something more specific that is being worked on.
When this setting is enabled, the audio from each client will be automatically panned from left to right across the stereo field.
Enabling this uses the "AutoPanMix" class from the JackTrip quark. Disabling this uses the "SimpleMix" class from the JackTrip quark.
Please note: enabling auto panning can cause musicians who are using balanced audio cables to be inaudible. See this article for more information.
When Auto Panning is enabled, this setting configures the number of locations or slots used for panning. The slots are spaced evenly apart, and each client that connects to the server is evenly distributed across these slots.
This setting controls the default percentage that audio signals are amplified by on the server. For example, setting this to 200 (%) will cause everything to sound twice as loud as 100 (%), which is the default.
This feature is currently only available for audio servers that support fewer than 100 maximum clients.
When Auto Panning is enabled on servers that support fewer than 100 maximum clients, a unique personal mix will be generated for each client.
This setting controls the default percentage that one's own audio signal is amplified by in their unique personal mix. For example, setting this to 0 (%) will cause someone to not hear themselves in the mix even though everyone else can. Setting this to 200 (%) would cause them to sound twice as loud, despite everyone else hearing them normally.
The Audio Servers Page
The audio servers page displays all the audio servers that are visible to you. The top of the page also has "Show Inactive" and "Show Public" toggles to help you filter out servers you may not be interested in.
Click on the downward pointing chevron ("v") in the lower-right corner of an audio server card to expand its settings. Most settings can be changed at any time. The Region and Size settings can only be changed when the server is disabled. You must either be the owner (the creator of the server) or an admin of an audio server to change any of its settings, or manage its subscribers. Beware that changing settings while a server is running may cause all subscribers to disconnect momentarily. They should automatically reconnect within several seconds.
Audio Server Lifecycles
When an audio server is first created, it starts out in a "Disabled" state. This does not consume resources or cost any money, but enables you to preserve the settings and subscribers of a server across multiple uses.
Before you can connect a Virtual Studio Device (or client application) to an audio server, you first need to click on the "START" button in the lower-left corner of the server's card:
This will cause the server's icon to change from yellow to blue, and its state to transition to "Starting."
Once the server is ready to use, its icon will change to green and its state will transition to "Running." In addition, the IP address and port number for the server will be displayed underneath its name. Anyone using JackTrip (or Jamulus if that is the server type) clients should be able to use these values to connect to it. Users of Virtual Studio devices should be able to connect to it by selecting the server via a drop-down menu.
Server owners and admins can release it at any time by clicking on the red "STOP" button in the lower-left corner.
Audio Server Timers
To minimize the waste of resources (and ultimately your costs), managed audio servers have a timer that will automatically stop them when it expires. The timer starts out at 60 minutes, but can be increased up to 180 minutes at any time by dragging the slider located next to the "STOP" button towards the right. You can also add an extra 10 minutes at any time by clicking on the stopwatch icon with a "+" inside of it.
Audio Server Subscribers
Audio servers that are not public are only visible by their subscribers. To add a subscriber, enter their name (or email address, which usually works better) into the "Search for user" input field. This will search all users of Virtual Studio and display a list of matches. Click to select the name of the subscriber you would like to add, and then click on the green "INVITE USER" button. This will allow the subscriber to view the server and approve or reject the invite by clicking a button next to their name in the subscribers list.
By default, subscribers will not be able to modify any server settings or invite other subscribers. You can grant them permission to do these things by enabling the "Admin" toggle located next to their name. Note that admins can also start and extend the time for servers, and the server's owner (or creator) is responsible for any charges they incur.
Existing subscribers can be removed at any time by clicking on the red "REMOVE" button next to their name.
The subscribers list for public audio servers will also include any connected Virtual Studio devices, with status displayed as a "Visitor".
Connected Audio Devices
All Virtual Studio audio devices that are connected an audio server will be displayed next to the device owner's name using a headphone icon.
If a device is configured to be connected, but for whatever reason is not communicating with the server, its headphone icon will be displayed using a grey icon. Note that this will always be the case when the server is not Running.
If a device is connected and communicating with a Running server, its headphone icon will be color coded either green, yellow, orange or red, indicating the device's Internet connection quality. Musicians with yellow and orange devices have increased latency that may impact their ability to stay in sync with others. Musicians with red devices may also introduce undesirable audio artifacts such as static or crackling noise, or be completely inaudible (depending on how poor their connection is).
If you mouse-over the headphone icon for a device, it will display more detailed statistics about its Internet connection. Please also see the section under Managing Audio Devices for more information about this.
Other Server Buttons
The lower right hand corner of the server cards includes a few other buttons worth mentioning:
This button enables you to change the name of your server.
This button will delete your server. WARNING: THIS CANNOT BE UNDONE.
This button will link to a unique page for your audio server. You can share this with others to enable them to request an invitation to a server which is not public.