GUIDE: Online music collaboration over Skype

2년 전

So the last couple of days I’ve been working on a project producing some songs for an artist that doesn’t live here in Copenhagen. I’ve been searching for some solution to collaborate in real-time without it being a distraction. I usually do all the sounds and mixing so the feedback needed was more of pointers on style and form, and a way the artist could be apart of the process.

What I ended up with was to collaborate through Skype - this way I can share video of myself as well as of a specific window, in this case the arrange view in Logic Pro. This way she can watch the playback and see what I’m doing.

The audio is a little more tricky. The problem with using my iMac’s microphone is obvious: it will sound terrible at the other end. But I’d need a microphone to communicate with the client. For a solution I’ve used 2 apps from the brilliant audio developer Rogue Amoeba: Audio Hijack and Loopback.

Audio Hijack allows me to hijack the audio from Logic Pro and combine it with my computer’s microphone. I’ve been using the app for a long time to record audio off of things like YouTube or Spotify to be used for sampling. What I was trying to accomplish here was to mute my microphone whenever Logic is playing, and open it as soon as it stops. This way I would send the clean signal from Logic without it being mixed with the sound from my speakers. Thankfully Audio Hijack has a ducker function which when setup properly does exactly this.

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You can see that I also added Spotify so we were able to listen to references together.

Loopback functions as a bridge from Audio Hijack to Skype. It creates a link between a virtual output I can choose in one app and a virtual input I can use in another. This way I can choose Loopback as my microphone in the Skype settings and send the combined audio.

All in all this works really well. I’m wondering how good the sound quality is at the receiving end, but it’s good enough for production decisions. I don’t think it could work for mixing, there I’d need to stream the feed via a dedicated streaming server to get the high quality audio signal required. Also of course I’m also receiving a signal and the noise from this can be somewhat distracting if doing mure subtle things.

Have you tried anything like this, and have any suggestions?

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