Jamulus – about jamming online

Since Corona has become a massive disruptor, fundamentally changing everyone’s lives, I’ve dedicated myself to making music together online again, which has been on hold for me for a long time.

How I started…

My first attempts some years ago, were based on NinJam, because I personally use the DAW software REAPER for music recording. NinJam and REAPER orginate from the same developer team (cockos), which makes a seamless integration of both applications easier.

During my occasional stays in Spain, I didn’t want to let my band activities rest, but no matter what I tried, my internet connection there (out in the campo) was very unstable and poorly performing, causing:

– ping times heavily varying
– intermittent disconnections
– network congestions due to intensive media streaming by neighbors

that I finally stopped my engagement making music online, even though NinJAM had a promising design.


With the beginning of the Corona Pandemic and the first lockdown in Spain mid of March 2020, I continued testing with NinJAM and Jamkazam.

Bottom line: this was not even a fair compromise coming close to the experience making music together. The communication quality (mostly LTE and broadband WIFI ) just wasn’t sufficient. So once more I gave up.

Until mid 2020: after returning back to Germany, I was able to give it another try.

I skipped NinJAM and Jamkazam though and directly started testing an open source software named Jamulus, after having studied various articles, which were very convincing.

Although we currently only have a 6.0 Mbit/s DSL contract (Real: ↓ 5.6 Mbit/s ↑ 2.0 Mbit/s), continued tests with Jamulus have been very successful so far.

On some evenings I started a jam with a friend from Stuttgart and after 1-2 hours we were grooving with a full band lineup (drums, bass, vox, keys). The average latency on my side was between 29ms and 40ms, the total delay was 60ms. Other participants reported only 15-20 ms of Ping-Time, which means, that the private Jamulus Server I have set up on AWS, does a pretty good job for the moment.

It is a good idea though, to monitor using headphones during the online jam and avoiding loud sound sources in the room. This is the only way to optimally tune in on the other fellow musicians connected via Jamulus. Trying to keeping the rhythm tight otherwise can turn into freestyle, because in no time, the tempo synchronization feels like samba dancing in quicksand.

A small glimpse into the features of Jamulus….

Big thanks to Volker Fischer and Team for his excellent vision and work on Jamulus, which delivers a client component with graphical frontend out of the box for Windows, Linux and MAC.

A client can be setup as a server, so there is no immediate need for maintaining a dedicated Jamulus Server. But: you need to activate Port-Forwarding on your router.

For higher scalability and in order to enable a Jamulus Backend for a large number of musicians playing at the same time, a real Jamulus Server totally makes sense.

Checkout this project: Wilhelmus Live via Jamulus

For the Dutch King’s Day, an orchestra with 101 musicians was lined up in a Jamulus room (*) and the result is quite audible.

(*) Info from a musician I know, who participated himself.

How to add a playback (e.g. for rhythm) and how to record a Jamulus Session….

Of course, you can also operate the Jamulus Server for recording a session.



For example, on Windows to enable recording with the -R option: right-click on the Jamulus shortcut and choose “Properties” > Target. Add the necessary arguments to Jamulus.exe:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Jamulus\Jamulus.exe" -s -R "C:\path\to\your\Jam Recordings"


In the meantime, I place my REAPER DAW Software in front of my Jamulus Client, which allows routing the mix of my Audio Interface (CH-1: Vocals , CH-2 Guitar) and one or more playback channel into Jamulus. In addition I can record the output from Jamulus Client locally on a REAPER track.

Thanks to Rob Durkin for documenting Record Jamulus With Reaper.

And Tutorial on using Jamulus with Reaper on Windows by Simon Tomlinson