What equipment do you need?

The PC

When using the Solocontutti app on a PC or Mac the computer should conform to the following minimum specifications:

  • Intel (or AMD equivalent) minimum 1.5 GHz processor
  • 4Gb internal memory
  • 100Mb free disc space (excluding recordings)
  • Windows 10 or Mac OSX 10.11 or higher.
  • Suitable sound device (see above)

Tablet or Phone

Solocontutti works on most tablets or phones running a recent version of iOS, Android or Windows. Some devices (particularly Android) may have a very large audio latency which makes them less suitable for Solocontutti.

The Solocontutti app does not use a lot of resources in terms of memory or disc, but can use quite a lot of processor power when dealing with small buffer sizes coming from the sound card or from one of the other members of your ensemble. And since smaller buffers = lower latency, the faster your PC is the lower the latency and the larger the ensemble you can achieve.

The Solocontutti app has been tested on a vintage 2003 1GHz Pentium and works happily at a buffersize of 512 with two players, but becomes overloaded with buffer size 256. For an ensemble of 6 people running at buffer size of 256 you will need something like a dual core 2GHz (sub entry level at the time of writing). Basically the Solocontutti app is not a great resource hog and will run happily on modern PCs, but take care on older computers.

The network

In order to connect to other players you need a broadband connection. The amount of incoming bandwidth needed depends on the compression levels of the other players and the outgoing bandwidth depends on your own compression levels and the number of players.

Each player can select a bandwidth in the Settings dialogue, and so the sum of the bandwidths of all the other players is the required incoming bandwidth, The outgoing bandwidth is your own bandwidth times the number of other players, since you need a channel per player.

Since a bandwidth of about 50kbps (small b means bits, 8 bit is a byte) is the minimum acceptable sound quality, that means that you need a minimum outgoing bandwidth of 50kbps * number of other players which means a maximum of 250kbps. The incoming bandwidth is less of an issue because you usually have much more available than outgoing. 250kbps is well within the bounds of a normal modern ADSL or cable connection.

The best way to connect to your network is with a standard UTP cable. This will give the least dropouts and virtually no additional latency. 10Mbps is adequate and most new devices will support 100mbps or higher. (Note: tha actual speed on internet is dependent on your internet connection and the contract with your internet provider).

Powerline connections (network via electricity cables) are usually equivalent to UTP cables, and are certainly a good deal better than wireless connections.

A WiFi connection will work but has a number of problems which lead to reduction in quality. Wifi is a wireless network which is susceptible to radio interference and bad connections. This tends to lead to higher latency and bursts of very high latency (greater than 100ms). The general high latency depends on your WiFi setup. The latency due to WiFi can be viewed by Pinging your network gateway. Bursts of high latency are automatically compensated by the program, but this will lead to an average lower sound quality and occasionally some strange artefacts in the sound, such as crackles and buzzing noises.

In general the use of WiFi will result in a lower sound quality and bursts of interference and we do not recommend it.

Don't even think about a GPRS, UMTS or HDSPA network - it just won't work. 4G is looking like being very suitable for the Solocontutti app, but the program consumes large amounts of data and may be prohibitively expensive. Currently we have been unable to test a 4G link.

Internet Provider

Your internet provider should not make a great deal of difference to the performance of the Solocontutti app, provided they are reliable and can provide the bandwidth and latency necessary. If you divide the advertised outbound bandwidth by 2 then you have a reasonable rough guess of how much bandwidth is really available for the Solocontutti app. There are several sites available for you to test the real bandwidth. If you enter your bandwidth into the wizard or the the Solocontutti app settings, the program will take account of this.

There are also two features that are useful if your network provider offers them:

  • Ping times and stability: the most common problem is that, irrespective of the speed of the network link, the latency is long or unpredictable. Latency can be approximated by Pinging your network provider on different times of day and looking at the results. Anything under 10ms is good, anything under 20ms is reasonable, any higher values are bad to atrocious (at least for the Solocontutti app purposes).
  • Multicast : the Solocontutti app is "multicast ready" and will in future versions provide full support for multicast networks. When in an the Solocontutti app session all players need to send their sound data to all other players. This means that the number of players is limited by the upload speed of your network connection. If the provider has multicast, then the Solocontutti app can ask the network to take over the task of distributing the data hence allowing larger ensembles and other applications such as online concerts.

IPv6 is currently not supported. There are two reasons for this The protocol is not very widely used in consumer networks at the moment. IPv6 has more overhead in UDP (low latency internet protocol used by the Solocontutti app) which greatly increases the amount of bandwidth required in very low latency communications.