Setting up a session on Zoom is super simple. All you have to do is start a Zoom meeting, share your screen, and before you dismiss the screen share pop-up, click the "Share Computer Audio" at the bottom left. Once you've done this, ensure that the Output Device on your DAW is set to ZoomAudioDevice, and you're ready to roll.
Pros of Zoom:
- Zoom is free for personal meetings. Depending on your needs, the next step up is only $15.99, so still relatively inexpensive.
Cons of Zoom:
- If you want to record into your session and not just edit in the box, the latency is almost unusable. You also can’t use analog gear with Zoom due to the I/O limitations.
- The audio is much higher quality than a lot of alternatives, but I wouldn’t make final mix decisions over zoom.
- It would be a little troublesome to have a Zoom session with more than 2-3 people involved.
Avid Cloud Collaboration
Working with others on a session via Avid Cloud Collaboration is simple to set-up. Just head to the File drop-down menu, select Start Collaboration, and reopen your file as a project in the cloud. The tracks for the session will be converted and ready to share with your collaborators.
Pros of Avid Cloud Collaboration:
- It's pretty inexpensive. Avid Cloud Collaboration starts at only $4.99/month, which gets you 100GB of space. The costs go up as you need more space.
- It’s easy to use and can be learned in a few minutes by someone who is Pro Tools proficient.
- Avid backs up your sessions and revisions in the cloud.
Cons of Avid Cloud Collaboration:
- All users must be Pro Tools proficient. This probably isn’t the right option for someone who is way more comfortable with their instrument than their DAW.
- It can be a touch slow having to deal with uploading and downloading a track every time something is added to the session.
- No video communication between users. Only a text interface. You may need to use Zoom in conjunction with this option, and that would further slow your upload/download times.
Source Elements Source Connect
There are three different levels of software, including Standard, Pro, and Pro X. While not all features are included in each version, Source-Connect Pro offers 24kbps to 192kbps crystal-clear audio, support for multi-channel surround monitoring, overdub and ADR sync mode, and a handy contact system that pulls together all of your regular collaborators.
Pros of Source-Connect:
- High-quality audio. Almost no signal loss over the internet.
- An engineer can still run the session for the musicians who are more comfortable with just playing their instruments.
- Users can use most DAWs if they set it up correctly.
- Since you're using your own servers it’s more secure both from hackers and a faulty internet connection.
Cons of Source-Connect:
- Only one artist can record at a time.
- It can be a little daunting for users who are not tech-savvy.
A few years back, the Vintage King staff tracked a live band at The 45 Factory in Detroit, Michigan, and used Source Connect to cut direct to vinyl at Welcome To 1979 in Nashville, Tennessee. Watch the video below to learn a little more about how we did it.
Digigram IQOYA Pros:
- Many users can tune in for free.
- High quality audio that accepts multiple analog and digital input sources.
- With IQOYA Guest you only need a couple devices to run many users on the same hardware.
Digigram IQOYA Cons:
- It doesn’t do video and audio in a stream together. You have to use Facebook/Zoom for your video and something like Caster.FM for your audio.