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#2273522 - 02/13/11 04:25 PM Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions?
Gadi R Offline

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 14
Hi Guys,

I recently came across two websites dedicated to online jamming.

I would appreciate any opinions about these sites. Is one better than the other?


KC Island
#2273653 - 02/14/11 08:01 AM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: Gadi R]
JeffLearman Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 8693
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
There is a fundamental problem with online jamming, unless all participants are close (say, under 1000 miles): the speed of light. Packets travel at just under the speed of light, and don't travel in a straight line. But for long distances, the speed of light gives us a good lower bound on how long it takes packets to get where they're going.

It's the round trip time that matters, for your sound to get sent, heard by the other musicians, and their additions to the jam to be sent to you.

The round-trip time for light is about 10 milliseconds for every 1000 miles.

Add to this the buffering delays at each end (say, 10 milliseconds) to get a 30 ms round-trip latency. Note that the buffering latency is more than just your DAW's latency because the data has to be buffered to be compressed and sent on the network.

That gives us a minimum of 30 ms for a 1000 mile distance. That's quite tolerable: it's about like the musicians being spread out in a 30 foot diameter circle (without monitors).

Of course, 50 ms is more likely. For some real numbers, try pinging locations around the country, and add about 20 ms. 50 ms is starting to get dodgy; it's doable but far from tight. That's why I say 1000 miles is the rough upper bound.

Different techniques are used to overcome this. One is to have musicians at one site play without hearing the others. Musicians at a 2nd site hear the 1st and themselves. Those at a 3rd site hear 1, 2, & 3, etc. Listeners who don't participate would get all the musicians. It's hardly what we call "jamming", though.

Another is for all musicians to play a measure ahead of the others, buffering up. Every site gets a different experience. Only works for repetitive grooves.

I don't how what these sites work. I've never tried them and I'd be interested to hear what people have to say. This may not be the best forum for it, though.

#2273658 - 02/14/11 08:17 AM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: JeffLearman]
JeffLearman Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 8693
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
In a review of eJamming, I see this: "Each eJamming musician must wear headphones because his or her sound, as well as the audio from jam partners, is played back at a delay of about 30 to 100 milliseconds."

So, I assume they're not connecting between NY and Perth, where light itself takes 125 ms to get there and back.

It looks like eJamming is doing the best that can be done in realtime jamming, though. Hopefully the service providers at both ends introduce minimal delays. (It's generally in their best interest to do so, btw, so your chances aren't too bad here.)

Hopefully you can select whether to hear your own monitor delayed in the audio feed. It's very disconcerting to try to play with a delay in your monitor! (Over 20 ms is annoying to most players.) But they say, "The whole point is to focus on the music" that one hears, as opposed to on the sounds coming directly from one's instrument." Bad idea: we need to relearn how to play, to have good timing with a delayed monitor. Sounds like something a non-musician would say!

#2280100 - 03/05/11 09:17 PM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: JeffLearman]
JohnnySixString Offline

Registered: 03/05/11
Posts: 1
I've used both of these and it's like comparing apples to oranges when you want to make an apple pie; they're both fruit but only one is actually supposed to be used in the pie.

eJamming is a business that's been around for a while. When it first started you could only use midi. Then they added audio, but the latency was horrible. So they came up with a system that worked "with" the lag, by having each musician play however many measures behind each other, like learjeff was saying. Forget about trying to count off "1,2,3,4,play...", it wasn't happening.

Flash forward to the present day and they recently signed up with Fender and supposedly created new software that minimizes or gets rid of the latency. This involves opening your computer ports to the eJamming software so you're on a peer-to-peer network, like using torrents or limewire to download stuff. That makes it more involved getting set up and that only adds to the problems of their already buggy software program. The program itself is pretty good, you can create your own tracks and record takes together, etc. However, it does require ASIO drivers to work and this usually means having either an interface or getting ASIO4ALL to work, which can be iffy for some. Some people have no issues, while some can't get it to work at all.

Once and IF you get it to work, I will say it seemed to make the lag a lot better than it used to be, but that still also depends on everyone's internet speed and their computers. They say you need to have like 2.0mb upload speed in order to play well with more than 3 people. I've seen some of their vids that shows 3 guys playing "in time" and that must've been with absolute perfect conditions all around. I still ran into lag and I still don't think you can count off or play covers and such, but as the saying goes,"your mileage may vary",lol. However,it does work pretty well to jamming out improv and stuff. But that's really just going back to the idea of coming in a measure behind the person you're playing with. And that brings me to the next problem for most: Who to play with.

Every time I have ever tried the eJamming 30 day trial, over the past couple of years now, there simply aren't enough people using it. Unless you and some friends plan to log on at the same time to play, there needs to be a butt load more people in the pool in order to find someone else to play with. I thought this would be solved once they signed with Fender, but apparently Fender decided not to promote it like they could have. The result? There never seems to be more than 20 people on at once and that seems to be at peak. It usually averaged about 10 people. And it's not as easy as we'd like to think to just start jamming with someone. There are a lot of variables that go into finding someone you can play with like that, least of all that there are only 10 people in the room to try and make it happen. Especially if 9 are shredders and the other one plays country, lol. The last time I tried eJamming was this past January or so and nothing much had changed, although they're supposed to be coming out with new stuff.

It costs like $10 a month to join and at this time, for me, I don't think it's worth it. If you have people or band members you specifically want to log in and play with though, it may work for you. Good thing there's a free trial.


Online Jam Sessions came out a little over 2 years ago and is run by a single individual out of his home in Nevada. Unlike eJamming, it's not complicated at all to set up and get started playing and requires no software to download. It's as easy as turning on your webcam and/or plugging into your computer's audio line-in. That's because it's a video chat room that uses Adobe flash. This is the same flash that a lot of video chat sites use, like where you can make your own free rooms. Why, one could argue you could just as easily use tinychat instead! LOL, and you'd be right. The software that online jam sessions uses is a free community software. You can find, and use, the exact same video chat room at the software developer's own community site that's free to join, And there are also other free ones with the same video chat room.

Much like eJamming, there is latency. Ok, a lot more latency than eJamming has, especially now. And the audio on eJamming is better. But you'd expect that from a site that's using a video chat room as the "jam room". It's a chat room and was intended for people to chat and video conference, not play music together. But like eJamming, this can work and be fun for jamming. And it can be a pretty cool place to hang out and chat, show and trade licks with the video and even have some cool jams. But I've seen a lot of people come in, like band members who want a way to practice online, and they soon leave disappointed because it doesn't work. It would be fine for working on ideas and what not, but when it comes to actually playing together it's pointless. You'd have better luck with eJamming. Also like eJamming, online jam sessions suffers from a lack of people. OJS doesn't do any promoting, relying more on word of mouth, myspace and the like. As long as it's free to advertise,lol. The home page may boast thousands of members, but you'll only find about 10-15 at the busiest of times. Usually it's the same 5-8 regulars who have been there the past year or so, most of whom are simply given "free" time to hang out and entice new people to become a paying member. And that doesn't happen very often, if at all. And then there's the owner...which I won't even go into (don't mention Skype in his jam room,lol).

When I first found OJS it was $10 a month or $100 a year. Then he ran a "special", for almost a year, at $5 a month or $50 a year. Now that's the current regular price and I think he has a $150 lifetime "special". They also have a "free" 20 or 30 day trial. The site hasn't grown at all in over a year and given it's a video chat room you're paying for, I can't justify even $5 a month. Tell them I said 'HI!' if you do check it out though,lol.


If your intention is to play online and you can only choose between OJS and eJamming, I'd spend the extra $5 and use eJamming. Fortunately, those aren't the only ways.

The best free alternative to either, and for a while now, is Ninjam. Ninjam, at, is totally free and runs as either a standalone program or as a plugin that comes pre-installed with the Reaper recording software. Of course, it can also have latency depending on the users, but it's free. Also, there's only room for 6 people in any one of the 5 or so ninjam servers, but it's rare to find all of them full. Like both OJS and eJamming, there's a low number of users. At least Ninjam has an excuse though,lol. It's free and therefore there's zero promotion. Depending on the computer and equipment, the audio seems to be as good as eJamming. Better than the video chat rooms like OJS uses anyway.

So ultimately, as of now, I'd say Ninjam is the better one,lol. Let me know if you have any other questions about them.

#2363034 - 12/02/11 06:44 AM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: JohnnySixString]
ivy Offline

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 1
i see a topic covering online jam sessions posted 03/05/11 by" jo six string"
i find it odd you said "a little over two years" ive been there just over three
an spent plus another four months just listen'n before "pluging in". just saying..
And yes ive seen an been on e-jamming an got an offer for free,hmm, yes well
as far as"those" sites go "online jam sessions" is the best .in the three plus years
i have been there, i've seen more than a handful of folks go on to perform live or
start bands an were in the start just plunking away, that in it's self says a lot !
as a plus for both places you don't have to haul your gear to a "live jam" an the sound
problems are none to a many an there's not much help if your just starting out.
the service thats provided @ OJS for 5 bucks a month is worth it... P.S At the stage tv
or e-jamming/ u-tube/on line jam sessions AnR scouts, producers,engr's,are looking
for the next money maker.

#2363048 - 12/02/11 07:24 AM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: ivy]
CEB Online   content
10k Club

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12787
Yuck. I don't even like it when the band gets spread out too far on a long stage area. I start to feel disconnected.

Edited by CEB (12/02/11 07:30 AM)
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So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

#2363049 - 12/02/11 07:28 AM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: Gadi R]
Synthoid Offline
10k Club

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 10248
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Curious... all the first-time posters flocking to this thread.

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.
-- Aaron Copland

#2363095 - 12/02/11 09:07 AM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: Synthoid]
Sven Golly Offline
KC Ambassador of Goodwill
10k Club

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 12481
Loc: Toronto, ON
Originally Posted By: Synthoid
Curious... all the first-time posters flocking to this thread.


Yep; passive aggressive spamming. snax
"...there's something you better understand about me, 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it. I am definitely a madman with a box."

#2363566 - 12/03/11 08:58 PM Re: Online Jam Sessions vs Ejamming Opinions? [Re: Sven Golly]
Throbert Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 837
Loc: Colorado
huh, possible default to the slowest stream or longest delay. Then the others are auto delayed to sync
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