For about 20 years, recording studios have exchanged full duplex, stereo, CD-qualty audio in real time using ISDN lines (see the “About ISDN” page on this site). But, with telephone companies being forced to phase out this now “antiquated” service, the audio production industry began searching for an alternative… something to take the place of ISDN. Something to tie the audio studios of planet Earth to each other!
Around 2005, a glimmer of hope popped up on the internet in the form of Source Connect from Source Elements.com., a web-based interface that could link computers from two remote locations in a full duplex audio connection (like a telephone) with very high quality signals, in stereo if desired!
It started out a bit buggy, with frequent software crashes, data transfer freezes, and other problems of unreliability. Plus, it was a real challenge to set up properly, even with the ready-made templates provided by the parent company, Source Elements.
At first it relied on existing digital editing software, such as ProTools, to do the heavy lifting. But eventually the software improved, problems became fewer, installations became a little easier, and Source Elements developed a stand-alone version that could be operated without the need for separate digital editing software.
Joe’s studio has been Source Connect equipped since 2008. This resource has proven itself to be a life saver on several occasions when ISDN lines failed. It has become the #1 choice for real time remote recording in Joe’s studio, now that ISDN has become either unavailable or unaffordable in his area. Thankfully, Source Connect is becoming the next generation “standard” for real-time remote recording.
When Google Chrome arrived on the Internet, its software included an open-source codec called “Opus” which allows real-time transmission of audio at broadcast quality. Two primary users of this technology are “ipDTL“, created by a former BBC engineer, and “Source Connect Now” from Source Elements. Originally, ipDTL was a free service but has, since leaving beta phase, moved to a payment system that can get expensive. Source Connect Now is still in beta (at last check) and is still free.