CloudOrch: A Portable SoundCard in the Cloud

Hindle, Abram

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

One problem with live computer music performance is the transport of computers to a venue and the following setup of the computers used in playing and rendering music. The more computers involved the longer the setup and tear-down of a performance. Each computer adds power and cabling requirements that the venue must accommodate. Cloud computing can change of all this by simplifying the setup of many (10s, 100s) of machines at the click of a button. But there’s a catch, the cloud is not physically near you, you cannot run an audio cable to the cloud. The audio from a computer music instrument in the cloud needs to streamed back to the performer and listeners. There are many solutions for streaming audio over networks and the internet, most of them suffer from high latency, heavy buffering, or proprietary/non-portable clients. In this paper we propose a portable cloud-friendly method of streaming, almost a cloud soundcard, whereby performers can use mobile devices (Android, iOS, laptops) to stream audio from the cloud with far lower latency than technologies like icecast. This technology enables near-realtime control over power computer music networks enabling performers to travel light and perform live with more computers than ever before.