FarPlay Delivers Internet Promise of Live, Online Music Collaboration

SBO Staff • News • July 26, 2022

Powerful new software transmits uncompressed audio and video with exceptionally low latency, empowering real-time interaction at a level of quality and convenience never before possible

Jamming live with musicians in different locations has been a promise of the internet for almost 20 years, but one that has remained largely unfulfilled. Popular conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams create latency—the delay between transmission of a signal and its reception at the other end —that’s a mere nuisance in conversation but unusable in terms of musical timing.

FarPlay—a new tool developed by musicians for musicians—changes all that.

FarPlay is the brainchild of acclaimed jazz musician and composer Dan Tepfer, who saw the need for music to bring people together during the social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and veteran VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) developer Anton Runov. The cross-platform app (Windows, macOS, and Linux) employs a simple peer-to-peer topology, allowing groups of performers to interact in real-time via ultra-low-latency audio and video. This is importantly different from software that requires a central server, which adds a “middleman factor” that increases data travel time and, therefore audible latency.

Using the new FarPlay app, creatives hundreds or even thousands of miles apart can rehearse, perform, and record as though they were literally in the same room. In air, sound travels one foot per millisecond, so there’s always been a degree of latency in every real-world musical interaction. Online, FarPlay can deliver mic-to-speaker latencies well under 20ms in many situations, which is unnoticeable to performers. For session recording, FarPlay captures separate high-resolution tracks for each participant that can then be imported into a Digital Audio Workstation for further development or mastering. For real-time recording or webcasting of a concert, FarPlay offers separate outputs for monitoring and broadcast, the latter ensuring that the audience hears all the musicians in studio quality and in as perfect sync as they hear each other.

Musicians can now feel one another’s humanity over the internet, inspiring better and more organic performances. Likewise, teachers can now directly interact with students over a wide area. The results truly must be heard to be believed.

FarPlay works seamlessly with any computer system’s external audio interface or built-in audio hardware like any other music software. It also offers fine-tuned control over buffering, allowing users to locate the precise sweet spot that eliminates both latency and audio dropouts.

What’s more, FarPlay is also the simplest to use of any online collaboration software ever created. Tepfer and his team have ensured that users need not be network experts to enjoy its benefits immediately. There is no need to configure a server, open ports on a router, go through elaborate setup procedures nor deal with any other I.T. “plumbing.” Starting or joining a FarPlay session is much like using Zoom—only without all that pesky latency. Plus, since no server is involved, audio data is securely shared between session-mates.

Further features of FarPlay include:

  • Uncompressed audio for studio-quality sound and human-feeling connection.
  • Built-in low-latency video.
  • Simple, intuitive interface focused on speed and usability.
  • Super-efficient, lean codebase for the lowest-possible mic-to-headphone latencies.
  • No time limit on sessions.
  • No specialized hardware is required.
  • Real-time monitoring of participants’ sound levels.
  • Real-time monitoring of latency with unprecedented accuracy.
  • Persistent sessions: participants can leave and return to sessions freely.
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

On International Make Music Day (June 21, 2022), Tepfer demonstrated the power of FarPlay by playing for 12 hours with musicians from all over the world. Tepfer, who was in France, performed the jazz standard “’Round Midnight” with friends in Australia, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and both coasts of the USA. “It may feel like midnight in only one time zone at a time,” said Tepfer, “but we now get to share that feeling across the Earth.”

Pricing and Availability
During the current Open Beta period, FarPlay with all features activated may be downloaded for FREE at www.farplay.io. Once the Beta period concludes on July 25, 2022, the company remains committed to sharing the essential features of FarPlay in a free version. A $5.99/month “Standard” subscription includes advanced features such as persistent sessions, multi-user sessions, and freedom from time limits. A $7.99/month “Standard Plus” tier offers additional features such as multi-track recording and separate multi-channel broadcast output.

For more information about FarPlay and to download the app, please visit www.farplay.io.

About FarPlay

FarPlay was conceived in late 2020 by acclaimed multi-genre musician and composer Dan Tepfer, also a talented computer programmer, in collaboration with VoIP veteran Anton Runov. Suddenly cut off from in-person collaboration when Covid-19 struck, Dan was inspired to create a tool that could bring musicians from around the globe together at any time.  Innovation expert Dr. John Kao, whom The Economist called “Mr. Creativity,” is also a member of the founding team.

FarPlay uses advanced, efficient coding and peer-to-peer architecture to transmit audio and video with the lowest latency of any online music collaboration solution ever—allowing for true real-time interaction without musical timing errors. For more information, visit www.farplay.io.

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