Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
FarleyCZ
KVRian
827 posts since 26 Jun, 2008 from Czech Republic

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:49 pm

Hi folks!

Ok, here's my situation. For some unpredictable life reasons everytime I really get on with someone musically, they move half a continent away. :neutral: I've done some stem-exchanging collabs, but it's not really fullfilling way of working on something together, is it. I'd love to continue some shared production experiences with those people, but the distance is such a hurdle. ...but I thought it's almost 2020, it can't hurt to explore some tech options. :shrug:

Found this trhead here on KVR: viewtopic.php?t=501875
There were some amazing tips. Dante over VPN, Jimjam, Ohm Studio. Out of these I'm tempted to try Ohm Studio, but I'm affraid that the "new DAW" learning curve might be quite demotivating. I'd like to continue that topic with a fresh start here, though.

See ... the other day I was messing around with OBS. I use that to occasionally stream a video game or to record a little tutorial here or there. I've even found a way how to mix a mic and output of my DAW and feed it into OBS. (Either externally in the analog domain or with a fancy soundcard.) I can do 1:1 stream of Ableton, but twitch transcoding makes huge latency and it would be quite one-sided collab.

I'm not really looking forward to do real-time jamming. That's impossible over the internet. But I'd love to be able to open a synth and nerd out about it the same way we would in front of one screen. For that I think anything up to half a second of delay might work. And if OBS + twitch transcoding server + whatever CDN they use + client decoder can do 3 seconds of end to end delay (tested while streaming a game to one of those friends), if I cut down the middleman somehow, it might be technically possible to get close to that 500ms. :box:

What I really need for this to work is pretty much a remote access app with voice chat that I could route my mixed signal into. So I did some digging, pinpointed four candidates end went testing. TeamViewer, Zoom.us, Parsec and Chrome Remote Desktop. First two were slower, but feature rich. Parsec and Chrome Remote had way less features, but I like how promisting the speed was. The problem was oddly enough, the audio, not so much the video. Parsec and Chrome have no voice chatting functionality at all. TeamViewer and Zoom.us do but there is a massive glitch there. Both of these platforms implemented some heavy echo-rejection algorithms to the voice-chat, that just screws the audio over big time. If it doesn't think it's a voice, it won't pass it through, so even a metronome tick was extremely confusing for it. :bang:

So ... when I get back on this, I will try Discord (for audio) + Parsec/Chrome combo, because that's the only idea I have left. I'm affraid that two different delays might be uncomfortable at best. But thought I'd ask you guys. There must be someone in this wonderful community who was solivng the same problem, doing the same research. Let's brainstorm a bit more. :)

dirtysnow
KVRer
27 posts since 20 Apr, 2015

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 pm

you could look into webRTC. i don't know offhand how it handles audio but it would cut out the middleman.

FarleyCZ
KVRian
827 posts since 26 Jun, 2008 from Czech Republic

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:24 am

Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunatelly seems like webRTC itself does not have controll access to your computer, so all of the screen sharing apps built with it have no remote controll functionality. ...which is a shame, cause this would have been by far the quickest method. If I was a better programmer, I'd try to stich up an app that would use webRTC for the streaming part ad some straight forward sever pinging for the control data, but so far I haven't been able to find anybody who would have already done that.

metaside
KVRist
139 posts since 11 Oct, 2012

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:21 am

FarleyCZ wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:49 pm
Out of these I'm tempted to try Ohm Studio, but I'm affraid that the "new DAW" learning curve might be quite demotivating. I'd like to continue that topic with a fresh start here, though.
I have some limited experiences with Ohm Studio, just tried it out for a collab and it worked and was easy and simple to use, but limited. Good to start collab tracks, not good to finish. Another even more limited option is Bandlab. I'll just quote what I wrote about both options in another place:
Bandlab:

- very limited
- internal synths and audio recording only
- not real-time, as it seems…
- very strange, collaborating didn’t really work for us, the projects were not updated with new tracks and midi files… for every change, you have to publish or at least save the project and then your friends had to open the new revision… or something like that… it didn’t work half as good and smooth as ohm and even if it would have, it wouldn’t support any plugins… so I say, forget about Bandlab (at least for now), go full Ohm Studio.

Ohm Studio:

General experiences: after a few bumps in the beginning, it was surprisingly cool to work with!
When set up correctly with plugins scanned correctly, it feels much more like a full DAW than Bandlab.

- use your own VST plugins!
- collaboration limited if not all own all plugins used, but real-time
- all participants that want to change or use somethig have to own the plugin
- if not, parallel work on different tracks is no problem and MIDI informaiton can be copied to and from tracks of synths that are not accessible
- 32bit-only host
- jbridged 64bit plugins problematic (DAW and jbridge crashed for me)
- not many users seem to be online in the general chatroom (between 7 and 12 when we were using it)

Blaster
KVRist
406 posts since 22 Apr, 2004 from Ireland

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:55 am

Did you try Skype? That worked well for me for work without significant latency (ok, it was Skype for Business and not sure if the underlying tech is the same or not).

FarleyCZ
KVRian
827 posts since 26 Jun, 2008 from Czech Republic

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:06 am

Yeah. Skype allows screen share, but you have to have Skype for business for the control handover.

enCiphered
KVRian
580 posts since 13 Dec, 2016

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:09 am

I think VST Transit from Steinberg was developed for such situations exactly:
https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/v ... ansit.html

FarleyCZ
KVRian
827 posts since 26 Jun, 2008 from Czech Republic

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:16 pm

VST Transit seems very promisting. I will test that.

Meanwhile while I haven't found out a remote desktop software with unaltered voice chat, I have managed to find one where you can finally select the audio input. It's called AnyDesk. That allows me to transmit DAW audio (looped back to input of the soundcard) in one stream with the video, leaving the actual communication to be solved externally. So far I've tested it with local friends in the city and latencies were anywere from 0.5s to a second. Not ideal, I still think webRTC implementation would be quicker, but this is the best I could get so far. 🤔 I'll try to get some long distance tests happening.

FarleyCZ
KVRian
827 posts since 26 Jun, 2008 from Czech Republic

Re: Real-Time Remote Collaboration Vol.2

Post Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:33 am

Alright. I haven't made the long distance test yet, but I have high hopes. AnyDesk's compression is quite efficient and when you're not moving your windows, it transmits like 300-500 kbit/s. That's moreless just the audio. Only when you do, it jumps up to like 5 MBit for a second. Impressive.

Also I found a way how to do this on a regular PC even without a soundcard. Windows OS only.
You need:
- http://www.asio4all.org/ (obviously)
- https://www.vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter/index.htm (that slows your performance just a tiny bit, but allows you to create a virtual loopback)
- DAW of your choice
- AnyDesk.

You run Voicemeeter with Asio4All selected as the HW driver (watch out for settings, you must choose the right samplerate and buffer size), then select Voicemeeter's "Virtual ASIO" in your DAW and in you select Voicemeeter's "Virtual Output" AnyDesk (or OBS for that matter, if you want just to stream). In Voicemeeter you route the virtual input to both hw and virtual outputs (A and B) ... and here you go. Working loopback.

If you connect normal soundcard without loopback, you just substitute Asio4All with the card's drivers. Rest is the same. I'll continue to use the RME driver's native solution as that's quicker and more stable, but this is feasible solution for the same thing on the go. 👌

I can't wait to try this with my music friends. Still kinda sad there's no webRTC remote control app with selectable audio input, but anyway. This looks VERY promising. 😊

Edit:
I'm kinda tempted to record a tutorial about it. Anyone interested?
Also to anyone trying this, be aware you're entering the same plugin licensing gray zone as you would if you'd sit with a friend in front to of one screen. The plugins are likely licensed to you only so anytime your friend touches a knob, if he/she doesn't have a his license too, you might be violating the agreenments.

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