MTS cross-platform collaboration

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stubbsonic
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:38 am

MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by stubbsonic » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:28 pm

I'm working with a musical group that is trying to find some ways to work on material and keep our skills while we are in COVID 19 pandemic stay-at-home mode.

We were thinking about cross-platform DAW's. And there are few that go between windows/mac and some mobile platform. MTS seems like a reasonably good option.

The way it might work is that the leader/teacher of the group posts a reference track with a click and/or percussion part and some verbal cues. Then students can take that reference and import it (or just share the project via cloud) then they add their parts one by one, until we have project with everyone's part. Each person could open the project, mute their own part and play to everyone else's part. We would then meet via Skype or Zoom, and mute our mics and do this as a group. Functionally, it wouldn't be different than working alone with reference tracks, but emotionally, we'd be working alone, ... together, which is kind of how this is all feeling.

Does anyone have thoughts about using MTS in this way?

Moozeeck
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:49 pm

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by Moozeeck » Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:28 pm

Can you clarify what exactly are you trying to do?
Everyone will record their part in MTS, and what will you do next in Skype?
I don't understand quite.

stubbsonic
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:38 am

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by stubbsonic » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:54 am

We used to have these rehearsals/classes, where we learn parts and play together. But now we can't, but we meet with zoom. So we're thinking about ways to use zoom meetings like a rehearsal-- sort of.

So, off-line, we would work collaboratively each record our parts and then distribute the tracks so we all have all of them. Then, during our zoom mtg/"rehearsal" (and this is the kind of awkward part), we would each mute our zoom mics, and would then play the multi-track on our own system (with our track muted), and play our part in realtime along it. We'd all be doing it independently, but just at the same time-- and seeing the others playing. Then after the song is over, we unmute our mics and talk about how that rehearsal pass went. We might talk about changes to the arrangement, or cues to listen for, or other things we want to improve.

Moozeeck
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:49 pm

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by Moozeeck » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:14 am

I don't understand why would you do rehearsal live in Zoom, if all of you already recorded parts in MTS?
I can't see the purpose of live playing since it's impossible to sync everyone due to lags in Zoom conference.

stubbsonic
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:38 am

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by stubbsonic » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:38 pm

You're right. I get it.

We could just do all of this off-line. Zoom doesn't technically add anything.

If anything Zoom pretty much sucks because of its lousy handling of musical sound (which it suppresses as background noise-- "You call that music?!"), and because its security sucks, and because it reports user data to Facebook without permission. Boooo!

We have the zoom sessions for togetherness time, and to discuss our progress and plan for things we'll work on.

The task of running through a song independently, then resuming the meeting after a pass, to discuss progress and arrangement could be compared to having neighboring practice rooms and meeting in the hall between passes.

Moozeeck
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:49 pm

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by Moozeeck » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:58 pm

I get it it's a social need in this time of isolation.
Did you try https://www.jamkazam.com ?

I seriously doubt that there is a software that can offer no lag for remote music playing, but surely can help what you wanted.

stubbsonic
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:38 am

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by stubbsonic » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:27 pm

I know of JamKazam. I also looked at Bandlab. Seems like they are bundling features that can be found better elsewhere along with promises they can't really keep. Bandlab is pushy, bossy and intrusive. I'm not even going to sign up for JamKazam-- looks like a big waste of time.

stubbsonic
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:38 am

Re: MTS cross-platform collaboration

Post by stubbsonic » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:35 pm

The goal is not to actually play together in realtime via vid conferencing. This is not possible or practical.

The goal is to have a side process whereby a person running a rehearsal could play a multi-track stream that members could play along with-- OR, members could have their own multi-track recording of a song, and play to it.

Ultimately, it is smoke and mirrors-- each member would mute their mics during the pass. No one would be hearing anyone else. We'd just be doing individual practice, while seeing the others, and knowing they are also working on the same material.

Pros:
1. The potential for a quality rehearsal track is there. Customize your mix & levels.
2. Have togetherness time, offer suggestions for arrangement and performance
3. Collaborate on the multi-track project, possibly have an actual release of that material.
4. An absent member's part is still present in the mix.

Cons:
1. Lack of actual listening and responding in rehearsal.
2. Lack of realtime/spontaneous creative evolution of the work--
it would mostly happen offline-- or via suggestions.
3. Dynamics (soft & loud playing) probably won't translate effectively.

Challenges:
1. New systems of communication during sessions are needed.
2. Needing to run separate apps (multi-track, vid conferencing, routing, etc.)
3. Organizing formats, tracks and cloud-based file sharing.

One tool that I found to be surprisingly helpful, (though not cheap) is Loopback by Rogue Amoeba, which allows me to route/merge audio from specific apps, and specific ports of my i/o into and out of the vid conference software.

I suppose another approach to the multi-track collaboration is to be platform-neutral, even DAW neutral, and just exchange sets of wav/aif tracks while adhering to specific rules. People can drag tracks into and out of their chosen DAWs, without the need to use single app.

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