Elk Live Bridge Review: Play Music Together Online

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Playing dwell music collectively is considered one of the most cathartic experiences people can have. I do know this truth intimately; one refrain of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” with a number of cool older youngsters in fifth grade and I used to be hooked. Over the following twenty years, taking part in drums with folks grew to become a cornerstone—not simply of my schooling {and professional} life, however of my psychological well being. When I really feel like crap, I am going bang on one thing with my mates to really feel higher once more. 

Then, the pandemic: no extra exhibits to play, and I didn’t wish to be inside six ft 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 robust to lug a drum package to the park for a jam session. The Elk Bridge, a brand new audio interface that means that you can play with as much as 5 folks without delay inside 620 miles in actual time, would have actually saved my mates and I nearer collectively throughout a tricky time. 

The Bridge wires into your router, pairs up with a musician on the opposite finish, and means that you can 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 folks fearing for his or her lives and unwilling to depart the home? Hey, a minimum of we are able to nonetheless jam.

Talking Time

Photograph: Elk Live

Ever attempt to play music with somebody over Zoom or Facebook? You’ve most likely 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; to your interface to transform the waves to digital sign; and to your laptop to play it again. Factor in community pace and laptop processing for rebroadcasting immediately, and there’s by no means been an inexpensive manner for musicians to play collectively over the web dwell. 

Until now. The Elk Live solves this downside by becoming a member of every of its in-house interfaces straight through a peer-to-peer connection and utilizing a proprietary working system. Because the interfaces don’t really hit your laptop for processing—they as an alternative act like standalone servers to broadcast your music to the opposite facet 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 pace standards (620 miles, plus a minimum of 10-Mbps up/down pace 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 recreation changer for every thing from practices to dwell distant performances.

Going Live

The Elk Bridge (the identify for the yellow brick that you simply plug your microphones and headphones into) seems 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 through a web app (which requires a $15 monthly 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 straight to a different individual’s yellow field on the opposite facet.

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