Like many of us musicians, COVID-19 brought my band to a sudden stop last year – no rehearsals, gigs endlessly postponed with no prospect of when we would be allowed to perform again. How would we get ourselves ready for live performances again?
With the prospect of life beginning to return to a normal(ish!) state with the vaccine rollout, we started to think about when we should start rehearsing to support the gigs that hadn’t yet been postponed. With the sort of material we cover, we do need our rehearsal time! We looked at what our rehearsal studios were doing and yes, some had opened with appropriate social distancing but these got locked down again in the second wave of the virus and in all honesty we didn’t fancy risking our vocalist spreading his germs in a very physically enclosed space with no fresh air. In the current situation, it was not a good solution.
A few years ago we had tried online rehearsal solutions to avoid travel time & rehearsal costs but this had left us unimpressed with latency issues. It just didn’t seem to work. Was it time now to give this another try?
JamKazam seemed one of the best platforms in terms of the online reviews we had read. It was available to try on a free licence with 4 hours per month and a max 1 hour session allowed. The audio is streamed at 128kbps on the free version, which sounds pretty low quality, so what did we think?
It worked so much better than we expected!
You do need to have a proper audio interface. I use the Steinberg/Yamaha UR22 mk2 and my fellow band mates use PreSonus.
We have a lot of really detailed sequences with harmonised 12 string guitars and complex rhythms, so we were worried about latency. The platform actually tests and shows you the latency you are getting. Mine was not as good as the others until I discovered that you need to be using your audio interface’s ASIO drivers. These should be automatically installed when you install your audio device but read the instructions first (which I didn’t) which says disconnect your audio device when you are installing the software! Anyway, with the ASIO drivers installed, JamKazam was reporting a healthy 5ms latency.
The free version was fine to just try it out but I can assure you from personal experience – they do stop you after 4 hours of use within a month!
We all upgraded to the Silver Plan at $4.99 per month. This gives you 10 hour per month with a 192kbps audio stream – believe it or not that makes a real difference to the audio quality! As we rehearse 2 hours a week, this works for us and you can have up to 6 people rehearsing together. There are gold and platinum plans which eliminate time restrictions.
This is all detail that you can check out on their website. It also sounds like a cool platform for teaching as well as a nice way to jam with strangers.
It struck me as the person that runs MusoFinder, that members should be aware of this because it is a real benefit at this time particularly. I have also taken to add a JamKazam member indicator on your profiles and the ability to search for other musicians with JamKazam to make online auditions/jamming/teaching more accessible.
Signing up to JamKazam can be done by using this link. I’ll be honest, the link is part of my affiliate programme with JamKazam.
Is this a spoof to make money? Absolutely not! I wanted to share my experience with JamKazam because it’s a really useful way of rehearsing during lockdown. I’ll only get a fee if you sign up to a paid membership and that’s helpful to me because I don’t charge to use this site and I don’t advertise either. The site costs me money to run as well as time, but I’m glad to do this because I am a musician and I want musicians to be able to connect and make music together.
If this help you in your journey as a musician, please let me know as I do my best to encourage people to get value from our site.