Easy bridge to Zoom

One very useful feature request would be to allow a bridge to Zoom. There are two important use-cases: 1, “concert like” broadcasts; 2, novice users.

  1. concert like broadcasts. A common scenario is a choir/music group wants to share their work with a very broad audience. Obviously the audience doesn’t need to join Flock. Also, most audiences are familiar with joining Zoom, but unfamiliar with Flock. They won’t download it, etc. Also, audiences don’t need to “speak”, they only need to listen. And, finally, they don’t care about latency, they just want fidelity. So, you could have a Zoom bridge with a huge buffer (multiple seconds) that simply consolidates the audio stream (corrects it?) and sent it out to Zoom. The choir director would join the Zoom, and Flock server (hosted on AWS :slight_smile: ) would join as a participant. Then the choir director would mute everyone except the “Flock user”, which would be the entire choir.

  2. Novice users. It is always difficult with these high fidelity audio sharing tools to get novice users to join correctly. That said, it’s easy for them to join Zoom. If you could bridge to Zoom easily, then these users could sing along with the choir. The key would be that you wouldn’t allow the sound BACK from the zoom to the choir. They would sing along “listen only.” I think it would be useful to allow, in this scenario, a limited ability to share audio back to the choir. So if the choir director could “unmute” the zoom link, they could "speak back to the choir. This would be for sharing feedback or instructions, questions, etc. As above, latency and quality expectations would be low because the zoom participants would not be sharing singing audio back to the choir (just from the choir to them) except in the case of speaking.

The key in both of these cases is to make it dumb-easy to have Flock “join” the zoom. I could imagine entering the zoom meeting number, and password, and Flock joins the zoom as a participant. I would suggest not trying to bridge the audio on one of the client machines, but rather do it centrally. Its hard to be a participant in the choir AND be the bridge to zoom.


Thanks for this - it’s firmly on the request list! Thanks also for breaking down the specific use cases - that’s really helpful.

I think this should be partly possible to do already if the leader is using an audio interface.

@Sander, I remember you mentioned something about this the other day. What’s the easiest way to try set this up?

Yeah, there is this super cool application, called Loopback, and what that does is that is enables you to combine and re-route audio devices. That way, Flock can output to a virtual combined audio device that goes to your headphones and straight into Zoom at the same time.

I haven’t played with this instance that much, but it should cover all your needs for now.

Check it out here: Rogue Amoeba | Loopback: Cable-Free Audio Routing

@Deighton_NFS I believe it went well with the Zoom bridge and Loopback over the weekend. Any comments or tips to share ?

I uploaded some screenshots of how we set things below. The host computer was a mac. In this setup there was an audio breakout box that was the INPUT and OUTPUT to flock. What Loopback does here is take the audio from Flock (which is coming from/to the breakout box) and creates an audio device on the host computer called “Loopback Audio”. Then, in Zoom, we pick Loopback Audio as the “Microphone” and “Speaker”, so the audio from Zoom comes from Flock (through Loopback). Generally we keep everyone on Zoom muted, except the leader. The monitoring seemed to be an important part of the setup, which allows the leader to hear what’s happening on Flock and Zoom. I suspect there are some optimal setups we can do here, and we will continue to play with it.

The result of this set up is:

  • Flock people hear: other people on Flock AND the leader (who, obviously is also on Flock). When Zoom people speak they are NOT heard by people on Flock.
  • Zoom people hear: the people on Flock and anyone on Zoom who is off mute. To be clear, people who speak can’t be heard on Flock.
  • Leader hears BOTH people on Flock and people on Zoom.

One very cool thing we did later was add Spotify as a source, which allowed the leader to play songs from Spotify and that audio showed up BOTH in Flock and Zoom. That would also work for iTunes or any application on the mac. Very useful.

Brilliant! Thanks v much. That looks quite straightforward to setup.

I’m guessing one would need another virtual device, Loopback_Audio_2 for routing the Zoom audio back into Flock. The Sources for that virtual device would be:

  • Zoom
  • Leader’s mic
    And then in Flock for the Mic input, select Loopback_Audio_2

That’s just a guess. I suspect it may be more complicated than that. We’ll play around with it on our side and report back.

If there were say, 30 people on Flock and my data speed was 32mbps would my Mac and bandwidth be able to cope with the Zoom load of another 20 people? Thanks.

Zoom won’t make much of an impact, because Zoom consolidates the stream of audio on their server. So the Flock host only “sees” that as one stream. So, the impact is negligible. Even the video is quite small, since it works the same way (and Zoom prioritizes audio).

Is there an equivalent to Loopback anyone can recommend for a non-mac user?


Any expanded tips for Loopback? I bought it and the test period (20 minutes!) ran out before I really got anywhere. So, I paid for it but even tthough I’ve routed exactly as shown, Zoom is getting no audio. Thanks!

Sorry for the delay on this. See screenshots below for the basic setup in Loopback. Under Sources Where it says Built-in Microphone replace that with whatever your mic is. And under Monitors, replace Built in output with whatever your headphones are.

Then in Flock, set your Headphones to “Flock-to-Zoom” (the new virtual audio device you’ve just setup in Loopback)

And then last step is in Zoom, set your Mic to “Flock-to-Zoom”.

Or for that last step, you can do exactly the same while you’re in a Zoom session.
Screenshot 2021-04-01 at 09.32.17

Ed has also tried a few different iterations on this including getting Garageband outputting to both Flock and Zoom. We’ll cover this at the Info session next week and also plan to do a write-up on the forum on that too.

Details for Info session to be held on Zoom next week Wed 7 April are here:

One more tip on managing the sessions. If you want to have everyone start together on Zoom with video and then at a point in your session you want folks who are setup on Flock to move their audio over to Flock while staying on video in Zoom, then this is how you do it.

When a singer wants to switch from Zoom to Flock, they should select Leave Computer Audio in Zoom. That will disable audio in Zoom. so that the Singer’s mic and headphone work exclusively with Flock.
Screenshot 2021-03-21 at 15.32.02

And then when a singer wants to exit Flock and switch back to Zoom audio, they should click Join Audio in Zoom.

Screenshot 2021-03-21 at 15.32.44

Thanks @paulr I had this all set up as described, but my mic audio doesn’t make it to Zoom. When I test audio in Flock, that successfully routes to Zoom, and is the only signal I see in Loopback.

Sounds like your mic needs to be added as a source in Loopback. Can you send screenshots of your setup and maybe I can spot something.

Thanks @paulr - here you go. I have a feeling it might be in my interface’s complicated routing.

I think i can see the problem.

In Loopback, in the Sources column, remove Flock. And then in the Sources column add your Mic.

See the pic I posted above. In my case my mic is just “Built-in Microphone”. In your case it will be the Universal Audio Thunderbolt.

Oh wow that was so simple, not sure how I overlooked that!

I am hearing a noticeable bit of latency on my voice with this setup, is that expected? I didn’t pull out my long ethernet cable for this quick test, not sure if that would affect it?

Not sure. Could be the wifi. You could also play with the volume slider under Monitors (the right-most column in Loopback). Click Options and it should open the volume slider.

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I’ve learned that the loopback engine is expected to have 20ms latency on average…