Online rehearsal platforms: SonoBus

Online platforms are websites or software that allow musicians to meet up in a virtual music room to play together using their internet connection. SonoBus uses specialist techniques to minimise 'latency' which is the delay heard on online video conference platforms (Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc).

Download SonoBus

Versions for Mac, Windows and Linux can be found on the official website: alongside information about the Apple and Android apps which are currently available as test platforms.

Prepare your device

For best results, before launching the software:

  • Connect your computer or device to your internet router using an ethernet cable
  • Plug your computer or device directly into the power supply (rather than running off battery power)
  • Plug in your headphones - these platforms will create feedback if used without a pair of headphones
  • If you have an audio interface for your microphone, set this up and plug into your computer

Launch the platform

You will see the screen below - first of all select 'Setup Audio' seen in the middle of the window

Setup audio

  • Choose your audio device - this will be your audio interface if you are using one
  • Select your desired microphone as your 'input'
  • Select your headphones for your 'output' 
  • Test your microphone by making sounds into your microphone. If it is working correctly the Input display bars should light up in response to sounds heard on the microphone
  • Test your headphones by clicking 'Test' - you should hear an audio tone lasting 1 second

Set up a rehearsal room

  • Click the blue 'Connect...' button found in the top left corner of SonoBus
  • You'll be shown the following options:

  • Leave 'Private Group' selected seen at the top left of the options (the selected option will be highlighted blue)
  • Type a name for the rehearsal in the 'Group Name' field
  • If you would like to password protect the rehearsal space, add a password in the 'Password' field
  • Add your own name or role in the group in the 'Displayed Name' field 
  • Click 'Connect to Group' to start the rehearsal
  • If rehearsing immediately leave SonoBus running. Alternatively close SonoBus - your rehearsal space will be saved for you to use in the future
  • NOTE: It is possible to re-use the same rehearsal room on multiple occasions, so you shouldn't need to repeat this setup process

Invite members to the rehearsal room

  • Send the 'Group Name' and password (if using one) to those wishing to attend the rehearsal and set a time / date to meet in the online rehearsal space

Joining a rehearsal

  • Open the SonoBus software
  • Check your audio settings (as shown previously)
  • Click the blue 'Connect...' button found in the top left corner of SonoBus
  • This is the same process as initially setting up a rehearsal space, however this time the Group Name and Password will have to match identically to the details added when initially setting up the room to make sure you enter the correct room

  • Select 'Private Group'
  • Type in the correct 'Group Name'
  • Add the password if necessary
  • Type your 'Displayed Name' - we recommend using first name and instrument or section
  • Click 'Connect to Group'
  • You will now be taken to the rehearsal room

In the rehearsal

You are now in the rehearsal space - please see below for key features and controls:

Options: This opens up the options window allowing you to make changes to your own audio setup

Disconnect: Click this button to leave, it also displays how long you have been attending the rehearsal

Your level control: This slider controls your microphone's level - as you move the slider to the right the louder you will appear within the rehearsal

Monitor controls: This slider controls how loud you will hear yourself in your headphones - this does not impact how loudly or quietly others hear you in the rehearsal

Output level: This slider controls the overall volume of the entire rehearsal room

Backing track: Click here to open up an audio file on your computer to play to the entire rehearsal room as a rehearsal backing track

Record: Click here to make an audio recording of some of, or all of, the rehearsal

Metronome: Click here to turn on and see options for a rehearsal room metronome

Mute controls: These allow you to mute just yourself or the entire room 

Controls for others in attendance: For every other person in the rehearsal room you will see a horizontal rectangle of controls and information as shown below:

The blue slider allows you to control how loudly you hear that performer in your headphones. And if you click the 'Latency - PRESS' button (far right) you will see the current latency delay between yourself and that other performer in milliseconds.

Group size

This number shows how many are currently attending the rehearsal

Troubleshooting: Now you should be up and running, hearing each other in the rehearsal space. However it could be the case that some or perhaps all of the members are having latency issues. Here are some suggestions to try and lower the latency delay when using SonoBus:

  • Click the 'Latency' button for each of the other performers' controls within your view in SonoBus. This should allow you to see which people have the largest latency delays
  • Ensure that all in attendance are plugged directly into their internet routers rather than relying on WiFi
  • Make sure you're not using any of the SonoBus audio effects
  • Ask all members to change their 'Send Quality' to an uncompressed option
  • Whilst using an audio interface is preferable, some models do not perform well with SonoBus, so do check the official website help page for information about known issues with certain models
  • Time of the day - it could be that you're attempting to rehearse when the network is receiving a lot of traffic
  • Location - in theory those living furthest geographically away from the rest of the group will have a longer latency time. This could make it impossible to get a fast connection with those in another country
  • Listen - if an individual has a latency issue that cannot be resolved it may be that it's best for them to listen in on this occasion, with their microphone muted and then investigate the issue before the next rehearsal

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