Sue Lewis' Virtual Studio
Below are some great suggestions for getting superior sound that will replicate being together in person without distortion and/or sound cutting out.
1. Be sure to use a newer laptop if possible.
Older laptops can updated by adding more memory and replacing the hard drive with a solid state HD. My computer guy, Steve Lewis, set it up for me. It's very inexpensive. My 2012 Mac is like a new computer now and is super fast. This is what you need for good streaming. Call him at 760-433-9300.
2. You probably don't listen to music straight from the internal speakers of your devices because it sounds thin and tinny. Use headsets and an external mic to improve the sound quality in the same way. The headsets are a must for using the enhanced setting on RockOutLoud.live platform which is what I use. This is a game changer! It's much better than Zoom because it's specifically designed for teaching music. No lag time! No fooling around with the Zoom audio settings. No more distorted sound. With the enhanced setting teachers can play duets with their students. Views can be switched to get different angles of your students. The teacher and student can easily check their connections to the internet on both sides. Users can then determine if an email program is running or if someone in the house is streaming on the same channel which can cause internet signal disruption. The most important data to look at is the bit rate for uploading. Upload rate of around 2,000 is ideal. Download is what is used for Netflixs, viewing pictures etc on the internet..
I have researched this extensively and highly recommend purchasing additional equipment for the ideal sound enhancement. Purchase an external Blue Yeti Pro microphone on Amazon for $130. I’ve heard that they have jacked up the price to $169. If so, check out Target which is keeping it at the lower price only it might take a couple of weeks to get. Also Check out Guitar Center (they have good used equipment also) and Best Buy. If you get a different brand of external mic, make sure it's designed for music recording and has a USB plug-in that will plug into your laptop. The external mike should also have a 1/8 inch port to insert earbuds (NOT earbuds for talking on a smart phone. The voice part will cause an echo loop.)
This serves the double benefit of being able to record quality sound for recording purposes like uploading music on YouTube or FB and other platforms to share with friends and family and for recitals. You don't want to send around video recordings that sound distorted or tinny. With this equipment you will sound terrific.
3. Use a headset with no mic attached for listening (most people have these laying around the house). This is the one I use: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ATHM20x--audio-technica-ath-m20x-closed-back-monitoring-headphones The cable is 10' long so it doesn't get in your way and so you can move around to position yourself in front of the camera. The cost is $49.00.
4. Use an ethernet cable to connect the computer directly to the modem. In this way the student is not effected by others in the house using WiFi. If this is not possible, use small cube shaped devises that enhance the WiFi connection throughout the house. This is especially useful if using a computer upstairs far from the modem or in homes with 4 or more bedrooms. These devises can boost internet connection greatly.
5. Install high speed internet. I purchased additional bandwidth through Xfinity comcast. It comes with 2 channels. One is a 2.4 and one is 5.0. Use the 5.0 for streaming. Both channels are fast but the extra bandwidth is better streaming in real time to avoid a lag in time. Sometimes I play music accompaniments or metronome beats from my end during the lesson. The 5.0 is better for syncing in real time. If possible use an ether cable plugged directly into the modem for un-interupted internet signal. This isn’t usually a problem but once In awhile wireless WiFi will freeze the video for a second or two. The 2.4 can be used by other family members with WiFi while the student is Zooming on a separate, dedicated channel.
6. Purchase an external wireless speaker so that the student can play along with the mp3 accompaniments and easily adjust the volume. Download the mp3s to a phone for convenient and fun play along practice.
7. Purchase a metronome. I highly recommend downloading an app to a phone. In this way the student can use an external speaker and be able to adjust the volume better. There are many free metronome apps but I highly recommend the 'Pro Metronome' which is what I use. The cost is $3.99 and well worth it since it can subdivide the beats. Any brand will do so long as it has the capability to subdivide.
Student/Parent Quick Start Guide for use on the RockOutLoud.live Platform.
These instructions were prepared for you to be sure you get the best experience when taking a lesson on RockOutLoud.Live’s Virtual Music Lesson Platform.
When taking your lesson on a Mobile Device.
Be sure you download the RockOutLoud app. If you are using an iPhone or iPad, visit the App Store and download the RockOutLoud app. If you are using an Android, visit the Google Play Store and download the RockOutLoud app.
When your teacher sends you their Lesson ID, for example: https://rockoutloud.live/join/yourteachersroom, you’ll need to enter the Lesson ID into the App and Your Name, then hit Join Room.
When taking your Lesson on a PC, Laptop, MacBook or Chromebook Device.
1. If you do not have Google Chrome, you will need to download it in order to take your Virtual Music Lesson on the RockOutLoud.Live platform. Click HERE to download Google Chrome. This is a free download.
THIS WILL NOT WORK ON SAFARI, FIREFOX or EDGE.
2. When completed, open up Google Chrome and use the link sent to you by your teacher to login.
3. Type in your name, input your Teachers’ Lesson ID (if it is not already filled in) and hit Join Room.
*RockOutLoud.live will never ask for any of your personal information. There is no registration process to join a room, you won’t have to register to use the platform and there is no cost to download the application in the App Store or in the Google Play Store.
For the best Virtual Music Lesson Experience, consider using Headphones (without an attached Mic*). Headphones (without an attached Mic*) will prevent any sound coming from your speakers (your music teachers voice or your Instructors instrument they are playing), from coming out of your speakers and back into your Mic. This creates an uncomfortable noise (or swoosh sound) that can be avoided by simply wearing headphones. The quality or type of headphones (closed back headphones, open back headphones or ear buds, all without a Mic*) does not make a difference.
* Attached Mic’s (Microphones) that are found on Headphones are not recommended because the wire connecting the Mic that leads to one side of the Headphones sends a vibration to the Mic causing the sound to transmit from the Headphone to the Mic, which will produce an echo.