Elk Live Bridge Review: Play Music Together Online

Playing reside music collectively is one in all the most cathartic experiences people can have. I do know this reality intimately; one refrain of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” with just a few cool older youngsters in fifth grade and I used to be hooked. Over the subsequent 20 years, taking part in drums with individuals grew to become a cornerstone—not simply of my training {and professional} life, however of my psychological well being. When I really feel like crap, I’m going bang on one thing with my pals to really feel higher once more. 

Then, the pandemic: no extra reveals to play, and I didn’t need to be inside six toes of anybody indoors. As a musician whose instrument takes up a great chunk of a transformed storage, I used to be notably screwed. It’s fairly powerful to lug a drum package to the park for a jam session. The Elk Bridge, a brand new audio interface that lets you play with as much as 5 individuals without delay inside 620 miles in actual time, would have actually saved my pals and I nearer collectively throughout a troublesome time. 

The Bridge wires into your router, pairs up with a musician on the opposite finish, and lets you play with no latency—so long as they’re within the aforementioned 620-mile circle and have a fairly speedy web connection. Can’t make the drive throughout city for a rehearsal? No downside. Global pandemic have individuals fearing for his or her lives and unwilling to go away the home? Hey, at the least we are able to nonetheless jam.

Talking Time

Photograph: Elk Live

Ever attempt to play music with somebody over Zoom or Facebook? You’ve in all probability discovered an issue. Latency, or the delay between the time you play one thing and the time you hear it again on headphones or audio system, has been the enemy of recording digital audio for some time.

It’s fundamental physics. It takes time for a microphone to seize audio; on your interface to transform the waves to digital sign; and on your laptop to play it again. Factor in community velocity and laptop processing for rebroadcasting immediately, and there’s by no means been an reasonably priced manner for musicians to play collectively over the web reside. 

Until now. The Elk Live solves this downside by becoming a member of every of its in-house interfaces instantly by way of a peer-to-peer connection and utilizing a proprietary working system. Because the interfaces don’t truly hit your laptop for processing—they as an alternative act like standalone servers to broadcast your music to the opposite aspect in actual time—it saves sufficient time you can play with others with none audio delay in any respect. 

So lengthy as you meet distance and web velocity standards (620 miles, plus at the least 10-Mbps up/down velocity and fewer than 10 milliseconds of ping), you’ll hear the opposite musician as if they’re in the identical room, which is really a sport changer for every part from practices to reside distant performances.

Going Live

The Elk Bridge (the identify for the yellow brick that you simply plug your microphones and headphones into) appears principally like every other audio interface. You’ll discover two microphone/line inputs on the entrance, a 3.5-mm and ¼-inch jack. On the again, there’s MIDI out and in, optical out and in, a USB-C energy enter, and an Ethernet port to attach it to your router.

Unlike most audio interfaces, not one of the Elk Live service’s software program runs in your laptop. Instead, you management the software program by way of a web app (which requires a $15 per 30 days subscription). While you mess with ranges and a mixer contained in the app, each little bit of the audio processing is occurring contained in the yellow field and being transmitted instantly to a different individual’s yellow field on the opposite aspect.

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