[LAU] Jamulus private server [WAS]: Re: online calls with decent auido for music lessons

Lorenzo Sutton lorenzofsutton at gmail.com
Fri Mar 19 15:02:06 CET 2021

Hi Brandon,

On 19/03/21 14:51, Brandon Hale wrote:
> Hey Lorenzo,
> As far as the Jamulus stuff, you can totally run a private server on 
> your main machine. The person connecting would just enter your ip and 
> port number the server is on and can connect to you directly. You have 
> to run the server from the shell to customize the options, but you can 
> use this command to do it:

Thanks for the hint. Will this work also with a dynamic IP and no port 
forwarding set-up? I can tinker with that, I guess, but probably most 
users wouldn't.


> Jamulus -s -n -o "*Server-Name*;*Location-name*;*area-code**(see documentation about this)*" -w"*Server name*"
> Just fill out the text that is in bold and you can run a private server.
> Brandon Hale
> On 3/19/21 8:53 AM, Lorenzo Sutton wrote:
>> On 16/03/21 09:14, Lorenzo Sutton wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>> Thank you so much for all the interesting insight and suggestions :-)
>>> Sorry if I can't answer individually for now, but I did real all the 
>>> emails, greatly appreciated. This mailing list rocks as usual ;-)
>>> I'll try and test some of the proposed solutions trying to factor in 
>>> all of the elements and the fact that I need to try and not to 
>>> overcomplicate things for my teacher who - I imagine - is having to 
>>> set-up all of the lessons, re-schedule etc. (I'm the student 
>>> here...). I'll report back after my first remote lesson ;)
>> For anyone interested, it is a bit long, but hopefully interesting / 
>> useful for other :)
>> For our first lesson yesterday we used Zoom for the sake of simplicity 
>> (especially for my teacher and to facilitate their schedule). Audio 
>> quality was decent on both ends), playing together was out of question 
>> (but expected with any similar platform due to latency). My teacher 
>> did point out that 'original audio' feature could improve audio 
>> quality even more... Unfortunately, as said, it doesn't seem to be 
>> available on Linux... Which is weird as you'd think that all of the 
>> funky 'noise reduction' / 'echo cancellation' stuff should be 
>> 'additions' and easy to 'turn off', not the reverse... I tried 
>> contacting Zoom but I assume they will never answer.
>> In the meantime I did some tests (alone, using two laptops, see some 
>> specs at the end) with:
>> - Discord [1]: sound quality was pretty good, especially after 
>> removing all of the noise reduction, and 'auto' features and lowering 
>> to the minimum 'voice activation' - and it does use Opus. It was not 
>> stereo (which for bass is ok, but would be nice to have e.g. if 
>> playing a backing track etc.). The nice thing was that video is 
>> included. I think that in order to have more fine-grained control over 
>> audio you need to download the client (so not using the web one), 
>> which does exist for Linux. Both parties need to have a registered 
>> account to use this, which might be a bit of a hassle for the other 
>> party who have to a) register and create yet another account b) 
>> install yet another application. Also log-in seems to require captcha 
>> and device verification (I guess due to abuse); but this makes the 
>> sign-up process and first star quite cumbersome. Audio is pulseaudio 
>> of course, which means pulseaudio sink for jack. A 'mobile App' exists.
>> - Jami [2]: This is a P2P calling system and uses Opus. A bonus is 
>> that it supports Jack directly. It worked ok and included video, but I 
>> did notice a few dropouts and high CPU usage, and one end did crash at 
>> an instance. All in all, it didn't seem the quality was much higher 
>> than Discord. Also mono-only. But I think that's expected as this is 
>> probably and evolution of SIP 'softphone0' clients (e.g. like Egika?). 
>> Account creation is easy as you really just enter a name and username 
>> (no central email registration etc. needed). It does require both 
>> parties having an installed client. Again this last point might prove 
>> a bit of an additional hassle. A 'mobile App' exists.
>> - Cleanfeed [3]: audio-only, web-only, freemium. Primarily aimed at 
>> online broadcasting / podcasting / news. Considering that this works 
>> out of the browser (Chrom* ones (including -ium) only officially 
>> supported but they try to make it work also on Firefox), I was quite 
>> impressed by the audio quality of the 'Music' setting available with 
>> the free account (they offer even higher bitrates with the paid ones. 
>> As a bonus 'music' is in stereo. I contacted support with a couple of 
>> questions and they were very friendly and helpful and seem also quite 
>> knowledgeable about Linux. The interesting feature here is that you 
>> just provide a link to the other party who join through a browser. 
>> This being browser-based also means you need pulseaudio and the sink 
>> if using jack (like in all my tests). No video means setting up some 
>> other (muted) video service for that. The browser-only link thing 
>> could make this relatively easy to propose by just sending the link to 
>> my teacher once we start the zoom call and having them use it for 
>> audio and mute their zoom, we shall see. They are also quite 
>> straightforward in saying that this is not primarily intended for 
>> online 'jamming'.
>> - Jamulus [4]: audio-only, realtime online jamming-oriented with 
>> public 'servers', jack-native. This was actually real fun to test and 
>> play with. I tried some close-by servers and jammed a bit in the 
>> central one. With 128 frames set in JACK and using Jamulus' own direct 
>> monitoring latency was definitely acceptable and the audio quality 
>> pretty good. Audio-quality and music-friendliness wise this is 
>> probably the nicest to use. Only thing for a teaching setting is the 
>> public-only servers (the documentation mentions 'private' ones, but I 
>> haven't looked into if this is possible without actually 'hosting' a 
>> server), there is a workaround via soloing or muting others, but I 
>> don't think most teachers (nor students) would feel comfortable with 
>> anyone possibly coming in and listening to the lesson. Also video 
>> should be provided via some other tool and, of course, all parties 
>> need to have the software installed.
>> That said this software is really well made and fun to use.
>> (aside note there were a couple of 'troll' events in one of the public 
>> servers, and although they say don't feed the trolls 'audio trolling' 
>> can hurt your ears... Not sure how this could be solved, maybe some 
>> 'reputation' system like on Stack overflow or similar.. but that does 
>> have its flaws.. and it's another topic :-)
>> In all tests my set-up was the following:
>> Hardware:
>> - Bass -> cheap Bass DI [balanced out] -> ZOOM H5 in | [H5 also 
>> providing microphone input via the included X/Y mics (so in 4-track mode]
>> In all cases the Laptop I hooked the ZOOM H5 to was connected via 
>> network cable to the router. I'm also using (since about 1 week) an 
>> FTTH connection. With the exception of Jamulus, I also tried 
>> connecting the other test laptop via thetering 4G just to test what 
>> the other user would potentially hear, and the results were always 
>> pretty good (I did not however test the reverse).
>> Software:
>> - Jack
>> - Zoom H5 shows 4 inputs in jack: the L/R mics and the inputs 1 and 2
>> - Where Jack was natively supported mic1+2 and input 3 were sent to 
>> the application
>> -  Where Jack was not supported I added the pulseaudio sink (I always 
>> start that manually via a script I have since ages), with similar 
>> routing.
>> - All of the software (with the exception of Cleanfeed which is 
>> web-based), I was able to find packaged for Manjaro either in the 
>> official repositories or in AUR.
>> Things I'd like to try but din't have the chance to, yet:
>> - SonoBus [5]
>> - SoundJack [6]
>> - JackTrip [7]
>> [1]: https://discord.com/
>> [2]: https://jami.net/
>> [3]: https://cleanfeed.net/
>> [4]: https://jamulus.io/
>> [5]: https://sonobus.net/
>> [6]: https://www.soundjack.eu/
>> [7]: https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/soundwire/software/jacktrip/
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