FarPlay 1.2.3 out today, featuring screen sharing and automatic adjustment of video layout + our new support forum

We’re thrilled to release FarPlay 1.2.3 today, which provides two new important features—screen sharing and automatic adjustment of video layout. Upgrade here. Upgrading is always free! Today, we’re also formally announcing our tech support forum.

Screen sharing

This release provides a feature many of our users have asked for: built-in screen sharing, which is available for all users. Screen sharing is useful for sharing sheet music and walking friends through FarPlay features.

To get started, click the Camera icon in a video chat and choose Share desktop screen. For details, see our step-by-step instructions!

Automatic adjustment of video layout

Version 1.2.3 automatically readjusts the layout of participant videos as the video chat window is resized. It’s no longer necessary to click the Cycle layouts button to switch between layouts manually, so we’ve removed this button, cleaning up the video session interface.

Support forum

One of the things that makes working at FarPlay a joy is our enthusiastic user community. We’re delighted to unveil our new support forum, which you can always visit by clicking the Forum button in the navigation menu at farplay.io.

Use the Search feature to find answers to your questions—we’ve pre-populated the forum with an extended FAQ with nearly 100 answered questions so you can find answers to many of your questions right away!

To sign in to ask tech questions, click the Log in button. We — or other FarPlay users — will answer as soon as we can.

We are still here to answer your questions. We’re moving tech support to the forum as much as we can to create a public record so that an answer that helps one user helps other users with the same question.

Get in touch

If you’d like to be featured and share how you use FarPlay — whether it be for lessons, rehearsals, jam sessions, or conversations — we’d love to talk to you. You can let us know by emailing us at contact@farplay.io. For tech support questions, our forum, announced above, is the fastest way to reach us. If you need to reach us privately, email us at support@farplay.io — we’re happy to help!

We hope you enjoy FarPlay 1.2.3 and the forum!

 —David Liao & the FarPlay team

FarPlay 1.2.1 out today, featuring combined video recording and cleaner audio from users with limited upload performance

We’re excited to release FarPlay 1.2.1 today, which provides two new important features—combined video recording for Standard and Standard+ subscribers and cleaner audio from users with limited upload capacity. Upgrade here. Upgrading is always free.

Combined video recordings for Standard and Standard+ subscribers

This release provides combined video recording for Standard and Standard+ subscribers. Combined video displays individual video feeds from multiple participants in a single view. Available export resolutions for combined video include resolutions ideal for social media—be sure to mention us @farplayapp when you post your recordings! Standard+ subscribers also get a separate video recording for each participant in a recorded video chat, maximizing flexibility for video editing.

To get started, go to the Tools section and click Start Recording. Choose record multitrack video (for Standard+ subscribers) or record mix video (for Standard subscribers). Learn more about video recording using our step-by-step instructions.

Video recording is just one of the benefits of our upgrade from legacy video to our current video engine, which we introduced with FarPlay 1.0.7. Support for legacy video is ending soon—another good reason to upgrade (for free!).

Audio sent by users with poor upload performance is cleaner

Version 1.2.1 makes it possible to enjoy clean audio under some network conditions that produced particularly crackly audio when using previous versions. This should reduce some of the crackling that is noticeable in audio received from users with limited upload capacity. This improvement is accomplished by automatically adjusting the size of the audio packets that each participant transmits. We remain committed to supporting a wider range of network conditions.

For details, visit our updated tutorial on latency.

Getting in touch

You can still sign up for the first of our monthly tech support sessions, which takes place Sunday, September 17 2pm–3:30pm New York time (8pm–9:30pm Central Europe time). If you’d like to be featured and share how you use FarPlay — whether it be for lessons, rehearsals, jam sessions, or conversations — we’d love to talk to you. You can let us know by simply answering this email. If there’s any question we can help you with, please email us at support@farplay.io — we’re happy to help!

We hope you enjoy FarPlay 1.2.1!

 —David Liao (FarPlay’s director of communications)

FarPlay 1.2 out today, featuring improved latency management and multitrack video recording

We’re thrilled to release FarPlay 1.2, a major update that works over a wider range of connections, makes it easier to manage latency, and lets Standard+ subscribers record multitrack video.

Works with a wider range of connections

From the very beginning, FarPlay has been great for making music with the best latencies possible over Ethernet connections. This isn’t changing, but now, with version 1.2, FarPlay also gives you the best latency that a connection can give you even when you’re using a less stable connection. This is great for having natural conversations over Wi-Fi! This new flexibility is thanks to major improvements under the hood to the way FarPlay manages latency.

Improved user interface for managing latency

One of the features that has made FarPlay so easy to use is the latency slider, which lets you find the balance between latency and audio glitching (or static) that sounds best to your ears. Version 1.2 makes the latency slider even easier to use: in Auto latency mode, the green bar that shows you the recommended range of slider settings now zooms in to fill the slider. This is more intuitive, and guarantees that any slider position you select in Auto mode gives you a recommended balance between latency and static.

According to the balance between latency and audio glitching you choose, FarPlay now also tunes the Auto latency adjustment parameters that are used to provide a consistent experience while network conditions change. In Auto latency mode, drag the latency slider to the right to prioritize clean audio (FarPlay tries to keep buffering latency high for a longer amount of time after a burst of network instability), and drag the latency slider to the left to prioritize the lowest possible latency (FarPlay tries to reduce buffering latency quickly after a burst of network instability).

It’s easy to learn what you can do with the latency slider: just click the latency slider information button ⓘ to open FarPlay’s new built-in illustrated instructions! To learn more about what causes latency and how FarPlay helps you manage it, visit our expanded tutorial on latency.

Record multitrack video (beta)

Standard+ subscribers can use multitrack video recording, a major feature that we’re introducing in beta. This feature exports a separate .mp4 video file for each video channel (convenient for video editing!). Use this feature by clicking Start Recording in the Tools section of the main FarPlay window and then choosing “record multitrack video (beta).” For more details, go to our step-by-step instructions.

We hope you enjoy this update. If there’s any question we can help you with, please email us at support@farplay.io—we’re excited to help!


FarPlay 1.1 out today, featuring Session Chat & improved design

We’re proud to be releasing FarPlay 1.1, with an important new feature we’ve been wanting to add for a while: session chat.

Chat functionality is only available in sessions initiated by a subscribed user. Chat history, though, is always available for all users who participated in the chat. So, if you’re a teacher for example, and you have a subscription, and you teach a lesson to a student who doesn’t have a subscription, they will be able to chat with you during the session you initiated, and they will also be able to refer to the chat history even after the session is over. Chat history is saved locally on the user’s device.

Chat is useful during setup, particularly if a participant has not yet connected their audio; it’s also useful for behind-the-scenes communication during a live performance. To open the Chat window, click the 💬 Chat button in the main FarPlay window, or the 💬 icon in the Video window. By default, FarPlay opens the Chat window automatically when a new message is received, but this behavior can be disabled if preferred by unchecking the “Open this window when chat is received” checkbox.

Improved design

This version also features an improved design. On the welcome screen, we’ve added icons for ethernet and headphones, to remind users of the importance of these elements when using FarPlay:

And we’ve reorganized the FarPlay session window, grouping buttons that open specialized FarPlay windows (Video, Chat and Preferences) together into one row:

We hope you enjoy using this version. If you have questions, please email us at support@farplay.io and we’ll be happy to help.


FarPlay 1.0.7 Released!

Today, we’re introducing FarPlay 1.0.7, an important update. We’ve worked hard on this one — for many months, in fact — and we’re excited to put it in your hands.

Personal Meeting Rooms

This version adds Personal Meeting Rooms, allowing you to use a permanent, dedicated session ID for all your sessions. You still have the option, of course, of creating a one-time session ID if you prefer. This feature is particularly useful for teachers, who no longer have to send individual session IDs to their students: you can give them your Personal Meeting Room ID once and keep using it for as many sessions as you’d like.

To use Personal Meeting Rooms, first go to farplay.io/myAccount, then click Account Preferences:

This will bring you to the Account Preferences page. If you’re subscribed to either Standard or Standard+, you’ll find a new option there:

Click “Create my Personal Meeting Room”, and you’ll be given a session ID that is permanent and unique to you. If, for whatever reason, you wish to change it, you can simply delete it and create a new one. Once you’ve created a Personal Meeting Room, you’ll notice that a menu now appears when you click New Session in the FarPlay app, allowing you to choose between using your Personal Meeting Room or a one-time session ID:

Brand-new video engine

FarPlay 1.0.7 also introduces a complete re-implementation of our video engine, offering lower latency, better connectivity, and greatly improved performance, particularly for multi-user sessions. This is a behind-the-scenes upgrade that we believe will have a profound impact. The new video engine is used by default in this version, but if someone joins the session using an older version of FarPlay, the entire session is automatically transitioned to the legacy video engine. You can switch between the two engines manually, if you wish, in the Video Options menu:

We hope you enjoy this update, and please let us know at support@farplay.io if we can help in any way.

—Dan and the team

DownBeat Magazine gives FarPlay a rave review

We’re proud to be featured in the December issue of the legendary jazz periodical DownBeat, in print since 1934. Writer Ed Enright, an accomplished saxophonist living in Chicago, tested FarPlay out in real-world circumstances by playing a session with bassist Massimo Biolcati in New York City and pianist Dan Tepfer in Paris, France. He gave FarPlay a rave review, remarking on how easy it was to get the session going, and how natural the musical interaction felt once they started playing together, despite the great distances involved. The complete text of the review follows.

Continue reading “DownBeat Magazine gives FarPlay a rave review”

FarPlay 1.0.5 released!

FarPlay 1.0.5 is now out, with an updated design and improved usability, including efficient audio sample rate handling. Upgrade now at farplay.io/download.

Ever since we started making FarPlay, one of our most persistent challenges has been how to manage different sample rates between users. FarPlay operates natively at 48 kHz, which enables us to offer studio-quality audio without excessive bandwidth use. However, in some situations, for example when a user had another audio app running on their machine at a different sample rate, FarPlay would be unable to set the sample rate of the audio device to 48 kHz. In the past, this could result in audio being audibly shifted — for example, if a user’s audio device was set to 44.1 kHz, their output would be transposed by about a half-step. Not ideal when trying to make music together!

In this new version, we solve this problem by integrating an extremely efficient audio resampler, which is able to convert the incoming audio to 48 kHz on the fly, with functionally no added latency.

We also have integrated FarPlay’s new look, including new icon, color scheme and logo.

We’re proud of this release and hope you’ll enjoy it. Happy New Year and happy music making!

FarPlay 1.0.4 out today

Version 1.0.4 features a lovely new MUTE button, allowing you to temporarily mute your own audio without having to change your audio device to “no audio”, as you did previously.

This version also adds an advanced port forwarding setting that allows users to choose specific ports for FarPlay to use for its communications. This is useful in situations where a user is behind a particularly restrictive firewall.

Lastly, this version fixes an issue that affected FarPlay video on Fedora Linux.


FarPlay 1.0.3 out today

This intermediate update brings important improvements both in front of and behind the scenes:

  • Audio and video connectivity improvements
    We’ve increased the robustness of our peer-to-peer connection mechanism.
  • Customizable mix recording
    When recording a mix of your session, every participant used to be recorded at the same nominal volume and panning. Now, you can use the levels and panning you’ve chosen for your monitoring in the recording. Just go to Preferences -> Recording to enable this option.
  • Custom video quality settings
    FarPlay now allows you to set your video frame rate, resolution and outgoing bandwidth manually. First, Start Video, then go to the Video Options menu and select Video Preferences to access the settings.
  • Audio device switching improved
    FarPlay now detects when an audio device is disconnected and reacts appropriately, among other improvements.
  • Signed Windows installer
    No more warning messages when installing FarPlay on Windows! Our installer is now properly signed.