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rich's podcast episode 2 - show your face

Back for round 2, it's another podcast.

In this episode I answer an email where a reader asked me about "online jamming", which is in reference to playing music with others in real time over the internet. I also talk about watches.

If you'd like to comment on the podcast, see it directly on YouTube (or email me) and you can post your comment there.

It's the online jamming thing I will talk about here more.

Firstly, let's be totally honest here, online jamming is nothing more than a glorified online conference call. The only real difference is that instead of speaking, you're playing an instrument along with other musicians.

Will I personally be trying this out? No, because it just seems outright awkward. There are many things that can go horribly wrong with something like this. Things that don't even have to do anything with the service itself, such as:

Latency (Lag)

These online jamming services claim to be lag free. I can't see how that claim can possibly be true because internet speeds vary wildly from place to place. The service itself, regardless of how good their data pipe is, regardless of how great their connecting servers are, regardless of how good the distribution of their cloud is, cannot accommodate for every user having a 100% lag-free environment. That's simply impossible.

A more accurate claim would be "mostly lag free". But that obviously doesn't sell the service as well as just "lag free".

Proper input levels (or lack thereof)

You know some dope is going to have their audio input levels set way too low or way too hot. Maybe these online jamming services employ the use of active audio compression to prevent this. And if so, that would be very smart. But even as smart as that is, it results in all participants in the online jam sounding like a washy mess - especially where drums are concerned.

High probability of awkwardness

Some people connect into one of these conferences and decide to have a jam session. Cool...

...but what if one of the participants really sucks? What if a drummer joins that can't keep time? What if a guitar or bass player joins that doesn't exactly know how to tune his instrument correctly? What if a singer joins that's always slightly sharp or slightly flat?

Yeah, that can totally ruin a jam real quick. What are you supposed to do at that point? Just say "Dude, you suck, get out?" and then give the boot, block and/or ban? Or are you just supposed to endure that person's crappy playing or singing and just deal with it?

You have to REALLY like conference calls to enjoy something like this

There are some people who are 100% comfortable wearing ear buds or headphones for many hours, and in addition to that are totally used to virtual environments where a lot of social noise happens. Gamers in particular are a breed of people like this. It takes a particular mind to actually enjoy something like that.

I am not one of those people. I'm not opposed to online jamming, but I'm pretty sure I'd have a hard time actually enjoying it.

Ultimately, I think online jamming services like this are better for rehearsals rather than actual jam sessions. When you have a plan and know the songs you're going to do, that's actually a whole lot easier than improvising in an environment that has no guarantee of being lag free even if the service claims otherwise.

At least with a virtual rehearsal, it would be much easier to deal with the lag (make no mistake, it will be there) since your brain can "plan ahead" being you know the songs already.

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