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#1 Oct. 10, 2021 00:55:03

Registered: 2020-11-19
Posts: 3
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Adventures with backing tracks on Windows - please share your thoughts!

Hi all, I'm a noob to all things digital music and Jammr. With regard to actually playing music, I've picked up many instruments and never stuck with them, but always have a good time. I think the world of Jammr - thank you Stefan! I think this product is way ahead of its time, which is why it's so important and sometimes difficult to work with (not to mention being a 1-person show).

I've been meaning for a long time to try to sit down and get a good setup working. After spending nearly the entire day fiddling with it today, I thought I'd share some learnings in case it's helpful to anyone. Stefan is very generous with his time, but I think it would be helpful to have as much discussion of tech fiddling as possible on these forums. If anyone has feedback/comments, I'd love to hear them.

The mission:
—Get back to jamming with a friend from a decade ago - just jamming - no practicing, no sheet music, no preparation, just sit down and have fun for an hour or two.

—Friend will be playing piano, I'll be playing bass/keyboard/something else

—I'll also run background percussion, bass, and some chords from Ableton (or some other DAW if that turns out to be smarter) for backing tracks on my end

—Minimize hardware equipment needed (ha!) for travel / convenience

My equipment:
—Intel i7-7700HQ 2.8Ghz
—GTX 1060 GB
—Plenty of SSD Space
—16 GB DDR4 2400mhz
—Windows 10
—Keyboard with line level, headphone out, and usb out
—Ableton Live 10 Lite

Where I got to:
Using Ableton to run the bass / drum / chords loop, I had the best results as follows:
—Connect Ableton to Jammr using Voicemeeter (from the VB-Cable people) and use Windows WDM audio in Jammr. In practice this means Driver type = ASIO and Audio Device = ASIO4ALL v2 in Ableton, then click into “Hardware Setup” and use Voicemeeter and nothing else checked for “out”. Voicemeeter is the input in Jammr, and then Jammr outputs to regular computer speakers.

—Jammr metronome seems to behave better (I might be imagining this, but I thought I read a forum post a while back about a thorny coding issue with the midi timer) when I don't export midi clock, so just click the play button in Ableton right before beat 1 of the progression

—At the moment it looks like Voicemeeter (along with vb-cable) introduces too much lag to play my own instrument through Ableton so I'm going to look into an uber-cheap 2nd computer for this that will run an instrument (likely using a synth VST plugin with Jammr) or microphone straight into Jammr. This was true using the keyboard as a midi controller, and trying both headphone out and line level out. I realize that I could just listen to the local output of my instrument and not worry about it, but won't that mean I'm hearing something that sounds on-beat to me, but sending something that is lagged and off-beat to my jam-mates? Unless I'm wrong about that, my preference is to use Jammr's monitor, so I'm hearing everything Jammr and my jam-mates are hearing. One thing I found confusing - the lag almost completely disappears if I run Ableton straight out through my speakers, but running Ableton through Voicemeeter to Jammr and then out to the speakers from Jammr introduces too much lag for me. I would think the lag for a single instrument (backing tracks are fine) would be an issue contained within Ableton, but it appears to be influenced by where Ableton is sending its audio to.

A few other learnings:
—vb-cable is a cool idea, but I couldn't get audio to move all the way from Ableton to Jammr through it

—Jack looks like a powerful tool, but either I need to spend a lot more time studying it or it's not well set up for sending audio from Ableton to Jammr in Windows. (It could very likely be the former - please let me know if you know!). I couldn't find an option in Ableton to output to Jack from within the Asio driver. For some reason all of the Ableton/Jack information seems to be several years old, making me think that one of them dropped the other at some point.

—I went through all the speakers and microphones in the sound control panel and turned off the option for allowing programs to take control of them, and I turned off system sounds. That seemed to help although I was trying a lot of things at once rather than running an intelligent, controlled experiment.

—Loopmidi works perfectly to send midi clock to Ableton from Jammr if you want to go that way

—I also messed around with midipatchbay for a bit - don't need it at the moment but it looks like it would be helpful to send midi clock data from Jammr to several other devices at once

—That's about all I have - this post was meatier in my head than it appears when written, but I hope it'll be helpful to someone.

—If anyone sees something obvious that I'm doing wrong or has thoughts, please let me know!

—I would love to know what the lowest spec possible computer that I could run Jammr with is. If you have thoughts, please share!

(edited to add a couple more learnings)

Edited Caboose (Oct. 10, 2021 01:02:08)


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