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LANDR Sessions Review (Big Promises, But Does It Deliver?)
With LANDR Sessions you can stream high-quality audio directly to your listener, while they are on video, listening in real-time, and even making comments.
Best of all, you can try LANDR Sessions completely free before deciding whether to opt in.
Ability to video stream from your DAW
Works as a plugin - just put it on your master bus
LANDR Sessions is a video chat app and streaming plug-in for your DAW. It is the closest thing so far to having a collaborator working right next to you, with clear sound and vision from your DAW.
Yes, you might be thinking of Zoom, Meet, Skype, etc. However, none of those applications can open as a plugin in your DAW’s master bus.
And in general, the sound quality of these apps is pretty dreadful and not at all suitable for music production. With LANDR Sessions you can remotely play your music to your collaborator directly from your DAW with high-quality audio, so everyone else can hear it just as you do. Have I got your attention now?
That aside, we see LANDR Sessions becoming a hot contender for writing and producing songs remotely, teaching online lessons, and previewing tracks for clients to get their immediate feedback. Best of all, you can try LANDR Sessions completely free before deciding whether to opt-in.
The pandemic made remote working a necessity, and one year in, most of the world is still severely limited when it comes to working in person and close proximity with a group of people. It seems as though the industry has struggled to find a way to collaborate remotely without latency and sound quality issues.
Needless to say, musicians had to adapt to find sources of income that did not involve playing live or giving in-person music lessons. And we quickly found out that the tools available (Zoom, Meet, Skype, WhatsApp, etc) were not made with musicians in mind. Issues like latency, bad audio, and overall lackluster sound functionality made working remotely a challenge at best and infuriating at worse.
LANDR Sessions has a relatively simple concept for a better user experience. All you have to do is load the plug-in onto your DAW’s master bus to start an online session with your collaborator. This can be your student, your producer, a singer you’re working with, etc.
The people you are collaborating with will get to see your DAW and hear what comes out of it in a much higher quality than any of the “mainstream” options that are designed with videoconferencing in mind. You can have voice and video chat at the same time, which enables direct communication and immediate feedback on your tracks.
Unfortunately, LANDR Sessions does not have a feature that lets you record musicians remotely or have them engage inside your DAW. Some DAWs already offer that kind of functionality which is incredibly helpful, especially for hands-on record making.
For instance, with ProTools, you can open a session and invite a remote collaborator to manipulate it as if they were right next to you. Truth be told, creating a plug-in that lets you record remotely in an online session across all DAWs on all platforms is still a pipe dream and probably a daunting task.
However, even in its present form, this plug-in is quite useful.
For example, you can listen to your guitar student clearly playing and you can give them directions as they play without audio being cut off due to noise filters that other apps have.
You can have a singer record themselves over a track and give them immediate feedback via video, or you could simply share new ideas you were working on overnight with your bandmates, and have them comment on the spot.
Free or paid subscription?
As of now, LANDR Sessions comes in two forms: free and paid subscription. The free version allows you and up to five other collaborators to join a call together and share 15 minutes of DAW audio.
The Premium subscription has unlimited minutes of DAW audio playback and allows you to video chat with up to 16 other people. You can choose to pay either $8 per month or $50 annually. Needless to say, 15 minutes of DAW playback is quite limiting, but it is up to you to decide whether you use the free version or pay a subscription.
Producers and Engineers
Imagine you’ve started recording an album for yourself as an artist. With LANDR Sessions, you can make the process much more personal through constant video sessions.
Instead of recording yourself and sending tracks to then get feedback from your producer or engineer, you can now have them at your session via video. Provided that they are able to iron out the latency issues, the tool is set to become a fantastic tool to showcase ideas to your collaborators and have them assess it on the spot.
You can have a back and forth dialogue about ideas and execute them while in session. This speeds up the process significantly and is really the best alternative if in-person sessions are not possible. Once the pandemic is over, you can still take advantage of Sessions and hook up with musicians or producers from any part of the world, and have them work with you closer than ever before.
Or if you are a producer/engineer, you can have the artist log in session to exchange ideas as they are happening. You could even play something on an instrument and discuss ideas in real-time. This can work wonders for arranging a song, for artists, producers, and teams working on preproduction, for tracking, etc.
If you have the LANDR’s Sessions paid version, you can have unlimited minutes of high-quality audio streaming directly from your DAW and a team of up to 17 people collaborating at the same time. In other words, you can do most of your production with your team using LANDR Sessions.
Have you ever tried to teach a guitar lesson to a group of 10-year olds on Zoom? I have. And even though I’m grateful for being able to teach remotely, the sound quality and overall features of Zoom, Meet (nevermind Skype) are quite limited.
With LANDR Sessions, I now have the ability to play the part and then ask the student to play it along with me. I can also play them a track from my DAW and have them play along to illustrate a technique or issue.
As a songwriter, you should try to write a lot with as many people as possible. Unfortunately, that goes right against social distancing. Once again, LANDR Sessions is the perfect solution for this.
Songwriters can now work on songs in real-time, with a handy and intuitive video app. You can sing in harmony with your cowriter, play progressions together, and share any ideas that you have recorded on your Digital Audio Workstation.
You can also share reference songs, talk about moods and, if you pay for a LANDR Sessions subscription, play an unlimited amount of source material to get the flow going.
What LANDR Sessions promises to musicians is quite simple: work remotely with video, high-quality DAW playback, screen sharing, and no latency issues. The only point of contention here? The latency, though your experience with the service may differ wildly from mine.
Regardless, you can try it for free, and keep using it for as long as you want.
So go ahead and try it out to see if it’s for you. You’ve got nothing to lose, right?