Getting started with Elk LIVE is smooth as jazz. Just register, download the Elk LIVE Studio, and get going. We recommend using an external audio interface and a wired internet connection (ethernet) for optimal performance. But for many uses, Elk LIVE works great with only your computer’s built-in mic and WIFI!
External Audio Interface
An external audio interface boosts your Elk LIVE experience quite a bit, both in terms of workflow and also from a sound quality perspective.
That said, you can have a great Elk LIVE experience using just the built-in audio interface on your computer. For some uses, that’s more than enough. The simplest way to find out what works for you is to try it!
If you are using an external audio interface, please make sure to use only channels 1 & 2.
One thing to keep in mind is to turn off the Direct Monitoring on your audio interface when using Elk LIVE. If not, you'll get your own audio doubled which will create a flanged effect.
Elk LIVE at the moment requires the sample rate to be set at 48kHz. In case you need to run another audio application at the same time make sure to set the sample rate at 48kHz.
If you're using an open microphone, like your computer’s built-in mic or a vocal mic of any kind, you'll need headphones to avoid feedback. Bluetooth headphones have a lot of added latency, so wired headphones are preferable.
Wired Internet (Ethernet)
For the best possible performance when jamming online with Elk LIVE, please use a wired internet connection (ethernet). It’s much faster and more reliable than WiFi.
To set up a wired internet connection, you'll need an ethernet cable and most likely a USB-C, or USB-B to ethernet adapter. One end of the cable goes into your computer (using the ethernet adapter) and the other goes into your internet router. Simple as that! Your internet connection is now wired.
If you don't have the stuff needed to set up a wired connection, please go ahead and give it a try on WIFI. Depending on the distance between players, what you aim to do with Elk LIVE, and how much traffic there is on your WIFI connection, you might still have a great experience!
Good Internet Connection
The quality of your internet connection has a direct impact on the quality of your session. For optimal performance, your up & download speed should be at around 10 Mbps, and your ping should ideally be lower than 10 milliseconds.
This is however just a recommendation. We have many players using Elk LIVE with lower up & download speeds and higher ping than that. Once again, the best way to find out what works for you is to try it!
You can use Elk LIVE regardless of the type of computer you're using. But if you want to use the native Elk LIVE Studio, you'll need a Mac computer running Big Sur, Monterey, or Ventura.
You can still use Elk LIVE if you have a Mac with an older OS, but you'll need an Elk Bridge to do so. Since the Elk Bridge runs all the audio processing internally, you can use it with any computer.
Mac & Rosetta
If you have a brand Mac but are still not able to start the Elk LIVE app, then in some cases you might need to install Rosetta. If so, please follow these steps.
A native Elk LIVE Studio for Windows is in the making and will be released sometime end of 2023. Until then Windows users can use Elk LIVE with an Elk Bridge.
Performance & Distance
The question we get the most is what latency can I expect with Elk LIVE.
Before trying to answer it's important to point out that we are now only referring to latency on the incoming sounds from your bandmates. Elk LIVE adds no latency to the sound you produce.
This is important because your ears are much better at compensation for latency on sounds you're not producing yourself.
A good reference point is that it takes sound 3m to travel 1 meter in air. That means standing 3 meters from each other in the same room gives you 9 ms of latency.
The latency you will experience with Elk LIVE is a question that is impossible to give more than an estimation on, as it depends on distance and your specific internet connection.
But here goes...
In general, you get about 15-20ms of latency over 1000km (621 miles) on a fiber connection.
This means that playing with someone 1000 km away will give you about the same latency, as you will get from being 5-6 meters apart in the same room.