Choirs YYJ first bigger group

Hi @paulr! Things went quite well, once people got in. I am tired of our old material so taught a chorus of a new song in harmony. People were ecstatic! I’ll reply to this post as I get more feedback, but for now:

  • I got disconnected 5 or 6 times, though I believe it is all due to the Thunderbolt ports on my Mac. I think no more tests until I can get a new one :frowning:
  • some folks were having a very hard time getting into the session - were copying and pasting session name and pw from my email.
  • latency wasn’t much an issue!
  • Asio4all is kind of a nightmare. I haven’t had the time to onboard folks one on one, wish I had. I think I’ve got some volunteers, but even an IT person in our group took a couple hours to get everything dialed in. Finding both settings for buffer size was an issue. All worth it though!
  • that singer that was having long latency issues can’t solve them. Flock test shows 15mbps upload, bumps to 35-40 once they join the session.

Overall I’m feeling like I’d run with Flock if:

  • my internet connection issues were sorted
  • internal metronome was optimized
  • could find the time to onboard PC users

Lastly, feature request: could a video portion be included, just for the director? Even low-res. I would use that just to talk to folks (they’d feel more connected) and while teaching new parts - my gestures are pretty integral.

Thanks!

Fantastic! Very cool to hear about your singers enjoying it so much and yes please post any feedback here - that would be great.

Getting the first larger group session under one’s belt is a big milestone. Good luck with the Thunderbolt connection problem - that sounds important to fix.

Any idea what the issue was for the people struggling to connect? Was it simply copy-pasting the session name and pwd? And were they able to connect eventually or they were prevented from participating?

Very pleased to hear that latency was not an issue!

Yeah, ASIO4ALL is not the easiest. Unfortunately it’s needed for Windows. A few suggestions on this:

  • If you’re able to get a couple of volunteers to setup other singers remotely that could work well. Having now setup a good number of Windows users, I can see the same issues keep repeating and 90% of them are easy to solve once one has read the instructional docs, watched the videos and seen a few examples. They don’t need to be IT experts, just relatively comfortable on Windows. I wrote this post today on how to help someone remotely: https://community.flock.digital/t/helping-singers-who-are-less-confident-with-tech/173/4
  • We have also updated the ASIO4ALL instructional post to make it clearer: https://community.flock.digital/t/asio4all-windows-everything-you-need-to-know/51
  • In the coming days, we’ll post info on how to bridge Flock to Zoom. @ceastburn did this successfully in Boston over the weekend. The idea is that people on Zoom will be able to hear and be heard, but they’ll need to be muted while singing. That way, people can get a taste for the experience before committing the time to doing the ASIO4ALL setup. It also works for those who don’t meet the tech minimum requirements or are having unusual problems like the one singer you mentioned with latency.

Metronome… definitely we’ll be updating that. Low-res video for the leader is also firmly on the list.

Thanks!!
Paul

This is all great Paul, you’re all doing a fantastic job and it is so appreciated!

  • Asio4All: ya I understand. And I did get some volunteer interest - those instructions should help!
  • connecting: a couple folks had to try several times before getting in. Another got in once, session crashed (my internet issue) and couldn’t get in again. She was copying and pasting login info, and also typing manually. She tried 30+ times, including multiple reboots. Successfully ran Flock test. Could still be user error?!

Thanks again!

Issues as described by one singer last night:

Here are the issues I encountered tonight (I am running Windows 10 with
Asio4all installed, using over-ear headphones and a USB desktop mic
(Samson Meteor)):

  1. Very jiggery, laggy sound at the start
  • I turned off my Blutooth, I exited my VPN client (it wasn’t connected,
    but may still have been active in some way), rebooted my system, and the
    sound quality improved
  1. Weird tone that came from me and disrupted everyone (?) Marc says: This was a blast of pure tone that was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard!
  • I wasn’t aware of it on my end, nothing changed on my interface and I
    had no awareness that I was the problem (could still hear everyone fine).

-I took Glen’s suggestion and unplugged my USB mic, and as soon as I
did, I got a pop-up saying that Flock wasn’t running properly and had to
close. I rebooted and reopened Flock, however even after replugging and
rebooting, Flock didn’t detect my microphone. I had to unplug and replug
my mic again before it appeared in my input list in my settings, then I
was able to rejoin successfully. (Seems like the initial problem was
with my mic - Flock stopped detecting it for some reason and it all crashed)

@paulr What’s the largest group test so far? Any expected cap on numbers? Is it at all reasonable to think I could do running Flock with 60-70 singers?

For most of those people, it might be due to your internet connection as leader. Disconnects usually happen when the network connection is unstable or being blocked.

For the person who couldn’t connect, it might be a firewall on her side.

Here’s a fuller description of the typical issues on the connect/disconnect topic:
https://community.flock.digital/t/troubleshooting-guide/85#heading–disconnected

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Could this singer post a few screenshots in the forum of their Flock Audio settings and ASIO4ALL control panel? Plus copy-paste of the self-test result. We might be able to see something that could help.

Yes 60-70 singers should be totally fine. We have run simulations with 100s of singers. The most real-life singers we’ve had in a session is 42. That was purely a logistical issue of having setup approx 50 singers and the 42 were those people available that evening. The two main constraints on group size are your computer’s processor (CPU) and upload bandwidth.

In our case with the 42 singers connected, Ed’s computer had very low CPU utilization and could easily have handled triple the load. The other constraint is bandwidth and the 1 Mbps upload per singer. So if you’ve got consistent 70Mbps upload then you should be able to manage 70 singers.

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Do you mean the singer with the Samson mic? I should have clarified that they had these issues but all were resolved and she sang for an hour with us!

Ok great. Yes I re-read your original post and see now that it was an issue with the mic. Thanks!

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A few suggestions from one of my singers (she also directs a choir of her own):

  • “away” feature - for when a singer steps away from the computer, so director knows if someone is not listening
  • Visible “mute” near person’s name - so director/choir knows if someone is muted
  • Ability for singers to turn up volume of a specific section or of the director
  • Chat window - so choir members can ask you questions during rehearsal w/o interrupting

@paulr Ok so that singer who had decent test results but slower latency is still having issues. They verified that their connection to their provider is sound (1 hour tech support call) but their latency on Flcok is stioll 40 mbps. I’ve attached her screenshots, anything come to mind?

One other possible factor - the sound stopped working on her Mac a while back. Took to shop, they tried some things but said ‘we couldn’t do anything, you should upgrade to teh newest os.’ But then the sound DID work so she hasn’t upgraded.

Screen Shot 2021-03-03 at 2.48.04 PM

A few thoughts of things to explore:

  • does the singer have a VPN that is on?
  • is someone in the household streaming video at the same time (netflix, zoom, skype, etc)
  • is it possible to try Flock on another computer to determine if it’s an issue with the computer?
  • is it possible to try on the same computer, same internet connection, but with a different router? sometimes the standard router provided by an ISP can be slow (ie. low-end processor) or misconfigured
  • is it possible to try on the same computer but on a different internet connection (i.e. from the office or another house)?
  • aside from the numbers that show up, is there a very noticeable lag when she sings?

Thanks Paul, will forward all this! Hopefully something works!

Hi Paul

I’m a member of one of Marc’s choirs. First I’d like to say Flock’s achievement is significant. I have some experience with other synchronous music tools and they are more frustrating. I also have coached s few people on ASIO4ALL. I use a MAC so It’s not an issue for me but I have lots of Windows experience as I was he SIO for a college here for some years. Some suggestions to ease the integration of Windows users for choir directors I would suggest considering are: integrating access to relevant ASIO4All controls directly into Flock. I notice that the TRACKTION DAW does this.; videos or tutorials on the key elements of ASIO4ALL. ASIO4ALL is a nice free tool but it plunges users into the deep end of both IT and digital music tech worlds. Once you are wildly successful and have the resources maybe provide your own drivers. Great work so far and thanks for listening

Kevin

Hey Kevin, thanks very much for your post. The aim is to make Flock as easy to configure and use as possible given the tech constraints, but as you correctly point out ASIO4ALL is the weakest link in the chain.

Have you got a screenshot or more detailed info you can share on what TRACKTION does? That sounds like it could be an interesting path to explore.

On the videos and tutorials, we’ve just started with those. Any recommendations of what’s missing or ways to improve are appreciated. Here’s the main post: https://community.flock.digital/t/asio4all-windows-everything-you-need-to-know/51

Best
Paul

Hi Paul

I have to apologize. I couldn’t find it in TRACTION and then remembered it was JAMKAZAM that had the direct connection to ASIO4ALL. It’s been a while since I’ve used JAMKAZAM. Anyway I use so many programs I got confused. I just looked through JAMKAZAM’S latest and it is no longer there. In their new help site there is a reference to ASIO4ALL that says to not use it as it is unreliable. I guess they gave up. They only reference using audio interfaces now which is asking a lot from choir participants. I don’t think singers would take kindly to going that route and most wouldn’t do it. So sorry to mislead you.

Having said that, JAMKAZAM used to do this so it is possible to vector to ASIO4ALL directly from another application. I don’t know if there are any other free drivers out there but I will take a look around.

Best . . .
Kevin

No worries - and thanks for all the info!

You or your developers are probably up to speed on this but just in case, the ASIO4ALL API was published on the official website in February.

Best Regards
Kevin

Thanks! This could be very useful for an idea we’re exploring to auto-configure certain headsets.