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Using the Setup Wizard – Step 5 – Turn Off Direct Monitoring

Last Updated: Apr 17, 2016 12:03PM CDT
In this step of the setup wizard, you will make sure that direct monitoring is turned off on your audio interface, and then double check that you are getting clean audio back from your interface. This step of the wizard is pictured below.

If you are using the built-in microphone on your Windows or Mac computer to capture your instrumental and vocal audio, you don't need to worry about direct monitoring features. Just click the Play button, and listen to the tone that is played in your headphones. If the audio sounds clear, you can click the NEXT button to move forward. If the audio is not clean, then click this link to jump down to the troubleshooting guide later in this help article. 

Turn Off Direct Monitoring

If you are using an external audio interface, you need to check it to see if it has a direct monitoring feature.
  • Direct monitoring is a feature on interfaces that basically takes the analog audio from your instrument and/or voice that is coming into the interface, and bounces that analog audio straight back into your headphones, without processing it at all.
  • In other words, for the JamKazam app (or a recording app like GarageBand or ProTools) to process your audio on your computer, the audio interface needs to take the analog audio of your instrument or voice, convert it to digital audio, pass it to the computer where the app processes it, and then the app passes the processed digital audio back to the audio interface, which converts it from digital audio back to analog audio, and plays that analog audio into your headphones.
  • Direct monitoring skips all this processing completely, and just bounces your analog audio straight back to you. This is a feature that can be useful to hear what you are playing with literally zero latency when you are laying down a track when recording music.
  • But direct monitoring will mess up playing in online sessions on JamKazam. You need all the audio you are hearing to come from our app running on your computer. You do NOT want to bounce your own audio back to yourself, for a number of reasons that we will not take the time to explain here, because it gets complicated.

So you want to turn off direct monitoring. How do you do this? First, be aware that not all interfaces have a direct monitoring feature. But if they do, it usually looks like one of two things.

Either it is a button or switch labeled "direct monitoring" that you can turn on or off. This makes it very simple to identify and control. Below are a couple of audio interfaces with an arrow pointing to the direct monitoring control.

As you can see from these pictures, it's very easy to identify the direct monitoring control, and turn it off. On many interfaces, however, it's a bit less obvious. Many interfaces present a knob that is often labeled "Mix", and you can turn this knob to adjust your mix between two labels. In this case, you want to turn the knob on the Mix all the way to "USB" or "Computer" or "DAW" (or sometimes some other label that indicates the audio will come from your computer. You want to turn the knob all the way away from "Input" or "Direct" (or sometimes some other label that indicates the audio will come directly back from the input). See a couple of images of interfaces below for examples.

Again, be sure to turn the knob ALL THE WAY to the side where you will get 100% of your audio back from the computer and application. 

Check Your Audio Quality

Now that you are certain you are going to hear your audio after it has actually been processed all the way through the computer and through the JamKazam application, you need to check to make sure your audio sounds clean. To do this click the Play button on the screen (pictured below with arrow).

If you hear the audio tone played cleanly in your headphones, then you are good to go, and you can click the NEXT button to move forward. 

If you do not hear any audio at all, then something very basic is wrong. Here are some things you can check:
  • Check that your headphones are plugged into your audio interface, or your computer if you are using the built-in sound system on your computer.
  • Check that the volume is turned up on your headphone jack on your audio interface, or on your computer.
  • Check that direct monitoring really is turned completely off. It's possible you have the button, switch, or knob backward. It can be a bit confusing.

If you do hear audio, but the audio sounds distorted, not clean, then you will need to troubleshoot your audio quality problem. Please use this linked help article to get instructions on audio quality troubleshooting.
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