Revolutionary Audio on Musicology

Feb 7 2022 Feature image

What makes Musicology’s audio great.

Audio Latency Tests on Musicology

Today’s blog is a throwback to Summer of 2020 when our brilliant developers were first testing out waveform analysis for the audio and latency on Musicology that would be acceptable for teaching music online.

This was no easy task and a lot of technical uncertainties had to be addressed. Many were solved and many were not but the most important of them (the lowest latency possible with no audio cut outs) was.

Musicology’s audio is so unique that it took several months of testing to get it just right. We investigated whether we could develop an online music teaching tool designed to duplicate the in-person experience and interactions between music teacher and student, while retaining simplicity and ease of use. Existing online collaboration platform technologies suffer from deficiencies with latency and interactivity. Latency refers to a short period of delay, measured in milliseconds, between when an audio signal enters a system and when it emerges. When latency is greater than 20ms, the experience degrades and disrupts the teachers/student online experience.

So, we designed experiments to determine if the available technologies would allow us to build a platform to provide sub 20ms latency where we initiated a connection between two devices and input a short wavelength sound into the sending side which was output from the receiving side. (see images below)

In the end, we managed to create an experience online that was as real as an in-person lesson, just like we hoped, without the need for additional accessories like headphones and microphones or complicated settings. Musicology is so user friendly that even a five-year-old can log on by himself. You can’t find anything out there that replicates what we have done with this experimental code!

The feedback from users that have tried software like Jamulus, Cleanfeed or SoundJack has been that Musicology is far superior in audio and latency but even more important, it was simple to use.

Two key points to remember:

  1. Ease of use – The user interface of Musicology is designed to be simple and intuitive for anyone, including young kids. No need to dig around in confusing menus, toggling flags with obscure names and hoping things are better. It’s setup out-of-the-box to provide the best audio possible for teaching music.

  2. Interactivity – Kids get bored and zone out. Musicology provides tools to allow the student to engage directly in the lesson without the need for multiple subscriptions or complicated screen sharing that doesn’t actually keep the kids involved.

Waveform Analysis Test

The highlighted section shows the length of time it took from initial sound detection (the big spike on the left) and the first sound recorded after (the clap coming from the iPad speakers). In this example, that time is about .226ms as shown in the Start and Length of Selection bar on the bottom left of the screenshot.

Audio Latency Test

A MacBook Pro running an iPad simulator connected to a video room. A loud, sharp sound (clap) is generated in front of the Blue yeti microphone while recording on a secondary PC that the mic is connected to. The MacBook Pro microphone picks up this sound, relays it through to the iPad Pro which plays it on its speakers. The audio out on the MacBook Pro is muted so the only sound received is from the iPad and we can see the echo pattern.

Latency Test

Hear what teachers are saying about Musicology’s exceptional and revolutionary audio

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