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  1. #1

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    Like many people, I am now doing my private lessons via video chat (zoom for some reason).

    I'm trying to think of the optimal setup. I have no shortage of gear - interfaces, pedals, webcam, headphones, software, microphones (plus two turntables :-)). My computer is an imac mini ~ 2014.

    I want to find the simplest way to do the following

    • play guitar and be heard by my teacher and myself, with the guitar not sounding awful
    • play a backing track on my computer and have us both hear it
    • Of course, be able to hear and be heard by my teacher


    Would this be good:
    • XLR mic into interface (focusrite something or other)
    • Guitar into a pedal or two, then into interface (no effects via software)
    • Computer audio out cable (3.5" mini) into interface
    • headphones plugged in to interface
    • Set audio preferences so input and output are all through inferface


    It seems ok, but my broad concerns are
    • Something is totally wrong about the above, and I will waste lots of time figuring it out
    • Latency between backing track played on computer and signal from my guitar.

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  3. #2

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    I use Mainstage, along with various programs like Transcribe, a metronome, etc.i also have a program called Loopback, by Rogue Aomeba, which allows me to route everything into Zoom. I can plug a guitar directly in, along with a mic, and hear everything With virtually no delay. There are some limitations, you can’t play in real-time with another person because of the internet delay, and Zoom only allows one person to speak at once, so you have to take turns. That said, it sounds like that setup would work for what you want.




    Quote Originally Posted by rlyacht
    Like many people, I am now doing my private lessons via video chat (zoom for some reason).

    I'm trying to think of the optimal setup. I have no shortage of gear - interfaces, pedals, webcam, headphones, software, microphones (plus two turntables :-)). My computer is an imac mini ~ 2014.

    I want to find the simplest way to do the following

    • play guitar and be heard by my teacher and myself, with the guitar not sounding awful
    • play a backing track on my computer and have us both hear it
    • Of course, be able to hear and be heard by my teacher


    Would this be good:
    • XLR mic into interface (focusrite something or other)
    • Guitar into a pedal or two, then into interface (no effects via software)
    • Computer audio out cable (3.5" mini) into interface
    • headphones plugged in to interface
    • Set audio preferences so input and output are all through inferface


    It seems ok, but my broad concerns are
    • Something is totally wrong about the above, and I will waste lots of time figuring it out
    • Latency between backing track played on computer and signal from my guitar.

  4. #3

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    I have Zoom students as well as Skype and FaceTime. Zoom gives the most options for teaching, in that I can share my screen with the student. So I can show a score, and they can see my mouse arrow moving around, and similarly I can show a video on YouTube, should I want to, or a fingering chart for chords, etc. And I can record video excerpts to send to the student after the lesson. So, of the three platforms, I prefer Zoom.

    One drawback is that students have said they can't hear a backing track if it is a file on my computer. I haven't figured out why, so if anyone can offer advice there, I'd appreciate it. Currently I play the backing track on my tablet, but there are balance issues as I can't hear what they are hearing through their speakers.

    None of the three platforms allow playing together, as latency will always be an issue. That is the most annoying thing, but there is no way around it.

    Good up-to-date modems get the best reception, but even there we can have problems these days when so many more people are online at the same time as a result of being boxed-up in their homes.

    Sorry I can't answer your specific questions, other than to say expect to make compromises.

  5. #4

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    I’m doing the ArtistWorks ukulele lesson and their program works with videos back and forth for a lesson, rather than real time. Maybe you could record your progress on the last lesson and send it in before the next lesson? That way you could control all of those variables and give your instructor the whole package with no lag?

  6. #5

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    Both FaceTime and Skype have an auto-ducking feature which can't be turned off. It makes everything other than the mic quieter (not the case with Zoom). Check out the Loopback demo, it's a little pricey for a utility, but if you teach for a living, it may be worth it. It's Mac only, so won't work on PC. There is a monitor option to check the mix of the listener. They also make Audio Hijack which is a great utility for recording Spotify/Apple Music/Youtube.

  7. #6
    Thanks, this looks very useful. Loopback is functionally identical to something I've used on windows, so I can see I can set up a virtual source that combine my computer output (e.g. backing track) and guitar input from my interface. I guess you are using mainstage for effects and then routing the output through loopback, rather than having the interface go directly into the virtual device.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlyacht
    Thanks, this looks very useful. Loopback is functionally identical to something I've used on windows, so I can see I can set up a virtual source that combine my computer output (e.g. backing track) and guitar input from my interface. I guess you are using mainstage for effects and then routing the output through loopback, rather than having the interface go directly into the virtual device.

    exactly, (though Loopback gives you the option of also routing hardware inputs to the virtual device). I can then screen share an app like transcribe with the audio, plus mic and guitar. I still hear MainStage through speakers attached to interface, with no delay. Pretty slick.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I have Zoom students as well as Skype and FaceTime. Zoom gives the most options for teaching, in that I can share my screen with the student. So I can show a score, and they can see my mouse arrow moving around, and similarly I can show a video on YouTube, should I want to, or a fingering chart for chords, etc. And I can record video excerpts to send to the student after the lesson. So, of the three platforms, I prefer Zoom.

    One drawback is that students have said they can't hear a backing track if it is a file on my computer. I haven't figured out why, so if anyone can offer advice there, I'd appreciate it. Currently I play the backing track on my tablet, but there are balance issues as I can't hear what they are hearing through their speakers.

    None of the three platforms allow playing together, as latency will always be an issue. That is the most annoying thing, but there is no way around it.

    Good up-to-date modems get the best reception, but even there we can have problems these days when so many more people are online at the same time as a result of being boxed-up in their homes.

    Sorry I can't answer your specific questions, other than to say expect to make compromises.
    Only with tracks on your computer? Doesn't do the same when you play a video etc.?

  10. #9
    Dave, does the mic go directly into the interface? If so I need to pick up an XML mic - i just have a Samson USB mic.

    Thanks for your help!

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlyacht
    Dave, does the mic go directly into the interface? If so I need to pick up an XML mic - i just have a Samson USB mic.

    Thanks for your help!

    It depends on the routing software. In Loopback, you can route hardware inputs to the virtual output, so you could just use a USB mic as one of the inputsBest setup for home lessons via video-screen-shot-2020-03-26-5-54-00-pm-jpg

  12. #11
    Dave, I sent a note to loopback support with some questions. But I think I'd ask you too since you've been so helpful. Please don't feel obligated to reply though!

    I am almost there, in that I can "send" the output of a guitar (plugged into interface, routed to loopback), mic (plugged in to computer, routed to loopback) and Transcribe! (output going to loopback). However i can't hear anything in the headphones plugged into the interface. There are so many different places to changes settings, that I'm getting confused! Trying various combinations of the computer's audio settings and output from transcribe, I can get various things to work, but nothing at the same time.

    If it's obvious from the above that I'm missing something basic, please let me know! Otherwise, don't feel obliged to spend time debugging my setup. Thanks!


    Best setup for home lessons via video-screen-shot-2020-03-28-11-20-00-am-png

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I have Zoom students as well as Skype and FaceTime. Zoom gives the most options for teaching, in that I can share my screen with the student. So I can show a score, and they can see my mouse arrow moving around, and similarly I can show a video on YouTube, should I want to, or a fingering chart for chords, etc. And I can record video excerpts to send to the student after the lesson. So, of the three platforms, I prefer Zoom.

    One drawback is that students have said they can't hear a backing track if it is a file on my computer. I haven't figured out why, so if anyone can offer advice there, I'd appreciate it. Currently I play the backing track on my tablet, but there are balance issues as I can't hear what they are hearing through their speakers.

    None of the three platforms allow playing together, as latency will always be an issue. That is the most annoying thing, but there is no way around it.

    Good up-to-date modems get the best reception, but even there we can have problems these days when so many more people are online at the same time as a result of being boxed-up in their homes.

    Sorry I can't answer your specific questions, other than to say expect to make compromises.
    Rob, if you are playing back the audio file from a program running on the same computer you’re using for your zoom session, you should be able to share your screen to the zoom session. When you do, zoom will allow you to choose which window to share. Share the one that’s playing the backing track and it should let your student hear it. I’ve been helping my teacher navigate the same problem and this worked when he was using Transcribe! during my last lesson.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlyacht
    Dave, I sent a note to loopback support with some questions. But I think I'd ask you too since you've been so helpful. Please don't feel obligated to reply though!

    I am almost there, in that I can "send" the output of a guitar (plugged into interface, routed to loopback), mic (plugged in to computer, routed to loopback) and Transcribe! (output going to loopback). However i can't hear anything in the headphones plugged into the interface. There are so many different places to changes settings, that I'm getting confused! Trying various combinations of the computer's audio settings and output from transcribe, I can get various things to work, but nothing at the same time.

    If it's obvious from the above that I'm missing something basic, please let me know! Otherwise, don't feel obliged to spend time debugging my setup. Thanks!


    Best setup for home lessons via video-screen-shot-2020-03-28-11-20-00-am-png


    So a couple things, make sure under options triangle in Loopback, mute on capture is unchecked. Also, you don't have to set the output of Transcribe to Loopback, you can just have it play out system settings as normal. The virtual cables are routed in addition the the specific program output. Lastly, you need some monitoring of your input, just as if you didn't have Loopback. So I have MainStage, with the output routed as normal to my Quartet. If you want to hear a mic, you can either enable hardware monitoring in your interface, or use a program like MainStage, or any DAW with software monitoring. Happy to answer any questions and avoid practicing...