JackTrip Labs Eliminates Latency for the Modern Musician
Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses and individuals have continuously adapted to thrive in the rapidly changing landscape. While the lasting effects of the pandemic remain immeasurable, the past two years have cultivated an environment that has nurtured innovation by connecting global populations and communities on levels never before experienced. JackTrip Labs is at the cutting edge of solving one of the technological problems created by the pandemic and its increased use of Internet-based communication tools.
Since 2020, the use of Internet-based communication has skyrocketed as the COVID-19 pandemic required people to rethink how they connect. The use of tools for communicating online has existed for years, but global lockdowns pushed the limits further than ever before. As demands rose, problems with these services surfaced, especially for musicians looking to find ways to continue collaborating. Latency, the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer, began wreaking havoc on virtual band practices, performances, and collaboration sessions, among other aspects of life as a musician.
NAMM Member JackTrip Labs strove to solve the latency problem by reimaging traditionally engineered conversation video calls and creating a platform for musicians to play tightly synchronized performances over the Internet. The JackTrip team utilized an open-source project from the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics designed by Professor Chris Chafe to create its low-latency audio application. Editor’s Note: For a more detailed breakdown of latency and the science behind sound from JackTrip, visit https://www.jacktrip.com/technology.
Surprisingly enough, JackTrip existed for musicians with a high level of technological sophistication before the pandemic in the form of a command-line tool. Co-Founder and CEO Mike Dickey built a virtual studio to aid his son’s 40-member boys’ choir as they collaborated throughout the beginning of the pandemic. By creating the virtual studio to make JackTrip technology more accessible and approachable, Dickey and his team launched a scalable product depending on the level of internet connection and technical ability of its users that also served to connect musicians of all types.
With many alternative applications on the market, musicians must understand why JackTrip and its virtual studio are a cut above traditional platforms. We spoke with JackTrip’s Co-Founder, Russ Gavin, who said, “The [proprietary] virtual studio allows musicians to hear each other in ultra-low latency, high-quality audio environments. This combination makes users feel they are ‘in the room’ with the other users. More specifically, the audio latency you will experience in a typical meeting platform is between 100-500 milliseconds, while the latency in the virtual studio is between 5-20 milliseconds. In addition, the audio in other platforms is often compressed and lossly, and because JackTrip does not do this, the outcome is that users can play, sing, and collaborate easily in real-time.”
During The 2022 NAMM Show and its Grand Rally for Music Education, the JackTrip technology was showcased during a performance from GRAMMY®-award-winning composer Eric Whitacre as he entered a Virtual Studio to perform in real-time, performed his composition, “Sing Gently.”
Gavin shared that the biggest challenge facing JackTrip is getting people to understand that it is now possible to rehearse music online through its technology. “So many people have struggled to find a solution to playing music together virtually that they are shocked that we are facilitating this previously impossible outcome.” He reports that once musicians embrace this prospect and give it a try, their trepidation quickly shifts, and they become daily users.
An added benefit for the team at JackTrip is that through the innovation of its technologies, they are becoming a beacon of inspiration and mentorship for other emerging professionals in the industry. When asked about advice they may have for others looking to break into the industry, Gavin says, “The music industry includes so many wonderful people, but it is a highly segmented ecosystem. It is important to figure out what areas of the music space your innovation resonates with and learn a lot quickly. Then, keep remembering that nobody knows everything about this industry. Keep asking a lot of questions of everyone willing to take your call.”
In June, JackTrip Labs capitalized on several widely available opportunities to highlight its products in a vast marketplace. From partaking in NAMM’s Media Preview Day to participating in interviews at the NAMM Media Center powered by AKG and JBL, and demonstrating the power of their products as exhibitors, JackTrip Labs took full advantage of the opportunities only available at The NAMM Show.