Elk Live no longer needs the Elk Bridge hardware and lets you jam with low latency over the internet from any browser for free – provided it’s on macOS.
Yay, I played with this! Me and Gaz Williams did a whole jam and a video of the jam and got really into the whole deal. At the time it was an expensive proposition because you needed to invest in the Elk Bridge hardware, which was essentially an audio interface running Elk OS with a dedicated network adapter. On top of that you needed to subscribe to the Elk Live online service which hosts the online studio connection. It all ended up being a lot of money and quite a bit of faff to get it all working. See our video below.
Anyway, it looks like Elk has seen the light, ditched the box and reduced the subscription fee to zero – happy days! Although it should be noted that it’s only free at the moment because it is in beta and Elk wants us to test it out for them. So if it becomes indispensable you might find you have to pay for it in the future.
So how well does it work without the Bridge? The point of the hardware box is that it bypassed the computer and ensured that the latency was a crazy low levels. The latency aspect was very impressive. It genuinely felt that you were in the same room as each other, and that made jamming easy and possible. Any sort of noticeable latency is going to kill that vibe.
However, the new free version can, apparently, handle it via any audio interface and even over wi-fi. How well is that going to work?
Myself and Gaz were quite critical of the pricing structure but found that the technology, once working, was excellent. With the pricing element removed, this could be quite something. It has to work though. Unfortunately, it’s only available on macOS, which is crap for me as I’m a Windows person. I can still keep using it via the Elk Bridge, but that won’t let me test how poor the latency is via my computer.
So, it’s an interesting development. My only other thought is that our video, which we spent a huge amount of time on, didn’t exactly set the internet alight. This makes us think that perhaps jamming online is not something people are particularly interested in. Or maybe it just needs the right audience. We shall see.
- Sign up for Elk Live here.