Bandlab

BandLab is a free online Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that allows up to 50 people to form a virtual band, collaborate remotely, record acoustic guitar tracks using PCs, Macs or just smartphones, and mix a song (or an entire album).


Bandlab live collaboration

Bandlab also has a live session mode in which you can record tracks together across the world in “realtime”. After one user in the live session records a track, it is automatically synced to all the other users.

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https://www.bandlab.com/
https://www.bandlab.com/download

NOTE: Recording latency is wonky and inconsistent in Bandlab, and might cause tracks to be out of sync. So make clicks in time and align them manually to an MP3 BPM to sync the tracks.


Record & Share Multi-Track Files with Bandlab


Using Bandlab Live Session

The biggest issue we are finding is is that latency in Bandlab is inconsistent. But there is a workaround.

An usual DAW would figure out the latency from the soundcard driver and compensate for it automatically, so you wouldn’t even know it’s there. An usual DAW deals with latency of 5-50ms because it can access the soundcard directly and even exclusively.

Bandlab is built to work in a browser and supports Chrome currently, so it cannot access the soundcard directly. It has to go through the Chrome sound engine with all its limitations. There is a Bandlab latency test that listens for loud clicks to figure out the round trip latency. Comes out high at around 100-200ms currently, but it really wouldn’t matter if Bandlab could compensate and align the recorded lead track to the rhythm track you heard while recording.

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The problem is not that recording latency is Bandlab is high. The problem is that recording latency in Bandlab is variable and inconsistent. Depending on what Chrome is doing and on what your computer is doing it seems to move around by 10-50ms on every take.

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The way we found around this inconsistency is to import a short metronome BPM track into Bandlab and record some clicks in time with it at the beginning of each track, by banging the pick on the guitar. Then just manually drag around and align the recorded tracks to the metronome track. Might need to clip the track to drag it left. Also zooming in seems to have problems sometimes. It’s not perfect, but it’s fast, easy to do, and the end result sounds decent. And it’s free. So it’s good enough 🙂

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Download BPM tracks from https://djangojazzcalgary.com/bpm/