Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Virtual jams

Hello all!

I generally go to 5-8 jams a month depending on my travel schedule and with the COVID-19 issues they have all been cancelled (rightly so!) through at least the end of April. I’ve tried a couple of virtual jam sites and am curious if you have too and what has/hasn’t worked best. My experience so far:

My setup: I connect with an ethernet cable rather than wifi to improve connection speeds. The connection was audio only. I use an external USB mic and headphones plugged into the PC. I am running a Windows PC. My jam buddy is running a Mac.

sofasession - seems like an intuitive interface and pretty simplistic (but not in a bad way). Sound was really good. I was able to connect, add friends, and start a jam although it was only a 2 person jam (audio only, no video). When jamming there was a pretty pronounced lag. We ended up in a continued spiral of slowing down due to the lag and were not able to really play together at all. I’m sure the platform is overwhelmed right now, but over the weekend I was not able to connect regularly or stay connected and the site was super slow.

jamkazam - the interface is less intuitive and seems like it has both more and fewer options at the same time. Sound was not as good as sofasession. Again I was able to connect with friends and start a jam (audio only, no video but I think video is an option). The lag was way less pronounced but seemed to flucuate - I’m sure as my connection speed changed the lag changed. We did manage to play a couple of songs together but as we picked up the tempo the impact of the lag was harder to overcome. It was a little more stable over the weekend than sofasession.

Overall, I think the lessons learned so far are (1) use an ethernet cable, not wifi, (2) keep the group small, (3) play slow tempo. I think it may be a good solution for “hey I’m working on something, let’s go through it slowly” rather than “how fast? Wide open!”

Anyone else tried either or something else to jam while social distancing?



Yeah, the physics are that there will be a lag. The only questions are “how much will there be?” and “is that workable?” I haven’t ever had a live playing over internet where the lag didn’t cause a problem for me. That said… you could write songs online. Take (or give) a live lesson. Do a collaborative recording. Let us know if you find a good combination for playing together online.