Online jamming exploded in 2020, and it’s easy to see why.

Jamming online has been possible for years though. It’s only recently that people have recognized the need for musicians to play together, and technology has made it possible–sort of.

While online jamming has never been better and more accessible, there is still one factor that makes it tough to feel the music—latency.

Latency is the time it takes for information to reach one point to another. In a real world jam session, the sound reaches you immediately allowing yourself to react to the music instantaneously.

Developers of online jamming platforms have done a great job of getting around latency, but it still exists and can drastically affect the energy of your jams.

That being said, in this article I’m rounding up the best online jamming platforms where you can actively send and receive audio to and from other musicians.

I’ll also give you tips on how to have the most effective online jam sessions, and explain how each platform works.

JamKazam was initially developed in 2014 as a tool to jam remotely. The service was largely defunct for many years, until the demand for remote collaboration in 2020.

Since then it’s gotten significant upgrades, and is a great solution to jam with other musicians.

While online jamming has never been better and more accessible, there is still one factor that makes it tough to feel the music—latency.

JamKazam is available in free and premium versions. The free version is peer-to-peer only, while the paid version offers client-server connectivity.

It also allows streaming to social media, and has pre-recorded “JamTracks” for subscribers to play along to.

JamKazam highly recommends a wired connection, as well as a low latency audio interface to achieve the best results.

While LANDR Sessions wasn’t specifically built for online jamming, many musicians are turning to its simple workflow for real time collaboration.

The setup is extremely simple compared to other online jamming apps. All you have to do is install the LANDR Plugin, add it to your master bus and you’re ready to host a Session.

Many users have reported super low latency allowing them to work together in real time, without sacrificing audio quality.

Your DAW audio travels directly through the plugin to the video chat, allowing collaborators to hear exactly what you’re hearing.

Give sessions a try, it’s a highly effective video chat tool for sharing musical ideas online in your DAW.

Jamulus is a free open source solution for online jamming. The standalone app is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

It makes use of compressed audio and User Datagram Protocol to transmit audio data. Compressing the audio before being sent over the internet allows for quicker transmission.

Time-sensitive applications like online jamming apps will often use User Datagram Protocol because dropping packets of information is preferable to waiting for delayed packets.

Jamulus currently offers only server-based solutions, although you’ll have the ability to set your own computer as the server.

The downside with using a server-based solution is that the latency between any two people is going to be the latency between each of those people to the server added together.

SoundJack is a free low latency online jamming platform created by Dr Alexander Carôt.
It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but the SoundJack interface runs on an internet browser.

What’s special about SoundJack is its ability to allow for peer-to-peer communication. Cutting out the middleman does wonders to combat latency.

Your signal goes straight to the people you’re jamming with, and vice-versa.

Another great thing about SoundJack is its public chat room on the homepage. From there, you can speak to other users that’ll help you troubleshoot, or even meet others to hook up a jam.

Until latency can be defeated or reduced to under 10 milliseconds, we’ll have to make some sacrifices for online jamming to work.

A wired connection is obviously preferred, as well as headphones and an audio interface. Strangely, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface is not recommended for users on Windows machines.

Ninjam is a free plugin found within the DAW Reaper.

Like the other online jamming apps listed above, Ninjam also uses compressed audio. The big difference is how Ninjam deals with latency. Ninjam embraces latency by measuring it in musical measures. It recalibrates the shared audio to a global click track.

This solution comes with distinct benefits and drawbacks.

For example, anything you or collaborators play will be perfectly in time to a click.

But, you won’t be able to immediately react to the music. Since the latency is measured to sync up to a click, there’ll be even more latency added in order to globally compensate with other participants.

That being said, it’s still possible to have that ‘jammin’ feeling with Ninjam. Since everything is synced to a click it makes it easy to sync up sequencers, and pre-recorded audio to jam sessions which can be a ton of fun!

Another bonus is the ability to remotely record. You’ll be able to send synced up audio to a collaborators session. That means you can record an instrument right to their session, while hearing the other tracks being played at a distance.

Jammr is a standalone online jamming app available for Mac or Windows. Jammr works similarly to Ninjam. It’ll measure latency in order to keep everyone in sync to a click track.

Jammr is available for free to access the public servers, but requires you to upgrade to premium to create your own private servers, and to download and listen to pre-recorded jams.

Jammr is a great solution if you don’t want to deal with latency, and prefer not to use Reaper.

Latency killer

Until latency can be defeated or reduced to under 10 milliseconds, we’ll have to make some sacrifices for online jamming to work.

That being said, the tools available to jam online have never been better. Grab one, and start making music now.