How is Virtual Studio different from the open source JackTrip project?
Virtual Studio uses custom devices and a web application running in the cloud to make it easier to get started with JackTrip's core open source technology. The hardware devices also feature very low latency of about 1 millisecond, versus the 10's to 100's of milliseconds that is typical for many laptop and desktop computers.
Does Virtual Studio eliminate latency?
No. It minimizes latency by using software and hardware that is optimized for the 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 will Virtual Studio be 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 will offer fully managed audio servers using our web interface. Initially for the beta, these will only be available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oregon, Northern Virginia and Ohio. We plan to add several more locations in the United States shortly after launch, and then gradually expand this service to other regions throughout the world. 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.
When will Virtual Studio be available?
The Virtual Studio Beta is now available to all users of our Virtual Studio audio devices. We plan to open availability to all other users of JackTrip and Jamulus clients in early 2021.
How much does Virtual Studio cost?
The easiest way to get up and running is by using our plug-and-play devices, which are available for purchase on Amazon for $149.99 (USD). You may also need to purchase a power supply, microphone, headphones, cables and adapters (see Recommended Accessories). Total cost varies based upon your selection of accessories, but can be as low as about $200 per musician.
Virtual Studio also offers fully managed audio servers using cloud providers. We plan to make these available free of charge for a limited time during the beta period. Afterwards, we plan to charge a per minute fee for running these servers, on the order of a few dollars per hour for a small group.
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)
- 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.
Can I use other JackTrip and Jamulus clients with Virtual Studio?
Absolutely! You will be able to use Virtual Studio managed devices with JackTrip or Jamulus hub servers that you host externally. You will also be able to 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. While the information is currently limited, we plan to post more here as it is written. We'll also be making regular updates to the JackTrip Foundation website as more information is available. For the most timely updates, please subscribe to our mailing list.
How can I ask specific questions or place an order for devices?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a member of the press and would like to schedule an interview for a story
Please contact JackTrip Foundation's public relations firm, Carla Befera & Co.