Thanks to the Covid lockdowns, a friend and I are unable to get together to play music.

Using most popular services like Discord, Skype, Zoom etc, we have over half a second of delay which makes it absolutely impossible to play any sort of music together.

I am fairly positive that there is a way to get the delay to under 100ms, and possibly even under 70, but frankly I'm having a nightmare and any searches I'm doing are giving me information about streaming video, not just audio.

I have a Windows PC, but potentially could use a Raspberry Pi if absolutely necessary. My friend has a Mac.

I have tried using ffmpeg to make an rtp or a udp stream, and then capturing that on another device. However, no matter the options, this has a 600+ms delay. Even using for a local stream, that delay is still there. I have a feeling this is thanks to ffmpeg's dshow capture rather than any actual network delay.

To that end, is there any relatively simple way to do this? All I want is a simple, two-way stereo audio connection between the two of us that has a low enough latency to be able to play together with in real time. I can't imagine that's impossible in this day and age.



Try peer-to-peer to reduce the delay of going out to a server and then back, but the issue remains that the internet has variable delays... one packet might be routed through your local ISP, yet another might go by way of four or five jumps spanning much of the globe. VPN's make this delay & uncertainty much worse. The ear can distinguish latency on the order of tens of milliseconds. Certainly, you can have fun practicing together, and experiment with different services (turn off video to reduce bandwidth) but don't expect great results.

  • That's basically what I was trying, but after a bit more testing it seems that most methods that are within my knowledge to implement have a ton of latency on the windows audio side. I managed to get something working with VBAN between me and a friend, we were able to get it down to about 150 with little tweaking. The main issue is that while I personally can do quite a lot, the person I'm trying to play with isn't really technically inclined. It has to be something simple enough that he can do without hours of tweaking. – Jademalo Mar 31 '20 at 21:51
  • Amateur (ham) radio or a long wire (with lightning protection). In the days of copper landlines, telephony delay was limited primarily by the speed of light, but fiber is a shared service, with it's concomitant delay instability. – DrMoishe Pippik Mar 31 '20 at 22:49

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