Cleanfeed: A Virtual Studio Tool for Remote Music Instruction
Published online: 1 March 2022
- Issue: Volume 62, No.1
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18177/sym.2022.62.rev.11550
Cleanfeed: A virtual studio tool for remote music instruction
First released in 2015. Two subscription options: 1) Free subscription with limited features, 2) Cleanfeed Pro subscription with full features ($22 per month). https://cleanfeed.net/
Cleanfeed is an online audio studio ideal for synchronous virtual recording and audio calls. Regularly utilized in radio and podcast production, the platform provides opportunities for musicians and educators to create high-quality audio calls in synchronous virtual environments. In our own work as musicians and educators, we have used Cleanfeed for remote lessons, recruitment activities, masterclasses, and virtual audio production.
As an audio-only program, Cleanfeed specializes in providing a very low-latency, bi-directional HD audio transmission. We find the quality far superior to the other commercial call platforms on the market. Cleanfeed also has less restrictions: only one person needs to be a registered user, the calls are unlimited in length, and no downloadable application is needed to operate the program because it runs through a web browser (Google Chrome is preferred). The account holder conducts each session and can invite a guest either through an email or direct link. The Pro account offers several upgrades, however, only one user registration is required for all participants to get Pro access.
Cleanfeed offers several audio features that maximize the remote listening and recording experience. Users can balance levels for each call participant, record multiple tracks simultaneously (and edit in post-production), play audio files, sequence a multi-track session with various playback features including looping, and numerous other live audio sound quality adjustments. It also works well with video call platforms such as Zoom and Skype. When used in tandem with video platforms, it is recommended to mute sound in the secondary program to avoid feedback in Cleanfeed.
Figure 1: Cleanfeed Pro User Interface
There are many benefits to using Cleanfeed as an educational tool. While studio teachers may bemoan the sound quality of commercial video call programs, we find Cleanfeed to provide a superior clarity of tone and pitch, minimal latency, and dynamic perception. This makes remote lessons and virtual auditions a viable venture as educators can get a better understanding of the students’ sound production and control in comparison with video instruction or prerecorded auditions. Another benefit of using Cleanfeed is that it allows multiple sounds to overlap without disruption to the sound stream. Because of this, it is possible to play duets with a student and also talk while they are playing without the breaks in the sound. Finally, as virtual guest artists become more of a norm at academic institutions and community organizations, we feel Cleanfeed exponentially improves the experience.
There are some hurdles to consider when using Cleanfeed. All participants must use headphones to avoid delayed echoes and feedback. We recommend that headphones have a long cord, or function via Bluetooth, to ensure more maneuverability for the musicians. While Cleanfeed significantly improves the quality of the voice and treble instruments, bass instruments may not always yield the same results. Finally, since Cleanfeed is reliant on internet speed, each user is recommended to secure high bandwidth to prevent interruptions. Operating Cleanfeed and other programs simultaneously can cause delays, and this issue may be magnified when multiple participants experience internet lagging.
Overall, Cleanfeed’s audio transmission and production capabilities make it an ideal tool for virtual instruction, presentations, and remote projects. Its user-friendly platform supports both novice and expert users without sacrificing sound quality. We enthusiastically recommend it to musicians, educators, and media artists looking for high-quality solutions to synchronous and asynchronous virtual audio media projects.
Jason Fick is Coordinator of Music Technology and Production at Oregon State University, where he teaches courses in composition, audio technologies, and music production. His research explores relationships between commercial and experimental media and has been published by Audio Engineering Society (AES), International Community on Auditory Display (ICAD), Journal of General Music Education (JGME), International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing (IJIDM), and Journal of Media Education (JoME). Fick currently serves as the President of the College Music Society Northwest Chapter. www.jasonfick.com.
Sophia Tegart is Assistant Professor of Flute (Career Track) at Washington State University where she teaches flute, music history, and women in music. Tegart performs with the Pan Pacific Ensemble, a wind quintet dedicated to performing works with ties to Asia. She has performed at the Thailand International Composers Festival, National Flute Association Conventions, regional and national College Music Society Conferences, and the International Women’s Work in Music Conference in Bangor, Wales among others. Her albums have been released on Albany and Centaur Records and she is a Yamaha Performing Artist. www.sophiategart.com