SonoBus is a free and open source application for high quality, low latency peer-to-peer audio streaming over the Internet or a local network. It’s available for Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows and iOS (with an Android app being under development).
The application is relatively new, having its first public release back in August 2020, but it’s already working great and has a good set of features. Use this real-time audio streaming collaboration tool to create podcasts, remotely jam with band members, and much more.
- stream high-quality, low-latency peer-to-peer audio between devices over the internet or a local network, with fine-grained control over latency, quality and overall mix
- record the audio from everyone in the group, as well as playback any audio content to the whole group
- supports connecting to public or private groups, and it can also connect directly to other instances of SonoBus on your local network
- optional input compression, noise gate, EQ effects and master reverb, with all settings being dynamic
- audio quality can be instantly adjusted from full uncompressed PCM (16, 24, or 32 bit) or with various compressed bitrates (16-256 kbps per channel) using the low-latency Opus codec (you can do this independently for any of the users you are connected with in a group)
- works as a standalone application on macOS, Windows, iOS, and Linux, and as an audio plugin (AU, VST, and AAX) on macOS and Windows.
SonoBus does not currently use any encryption for data communication. The audio is sent directly between users, while the server connection is only needed so that users in a group can find each other.
It’s also worth noting that for loading audio files, SonoBus supports OGG and WAV, but it does not support MP3 and OPUS files. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a complete list of supported audio formats.
Besides this, there are some features SonoBus lacks, which would make the application even better, like support for multi-channel routing and a headless interface. Support for regulating levels for each received channel individually (useful if each peer plays a different instrument) is also lacking, but according to the developer, this is “near the top of the list for a future update”.
I’d also like to add that while there’s no SonoBus Android application available for download on its website, there is an early access app available. However, the Android application still needs some work – at least for me, it didn’t work properly.
The application is available for Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows and iOS.
For Linux (unless you use Arch / Manjaro, for which there’s an AUR package), you’ll need to build SonoBus from source. To make this easier, some scripts are available in the source repository. See the instructions available here for building SonoBus on Linux.
Note that for the latest release available at the time I’m writing this article (1.3.2), the SonoBus Linux install script copies the application icon to the wrong directory. To fix this, after you’ve finished building and installing the application, copy the icon to the correct directory using:
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/share/pixmaps && sudo cp /usr/local/pixmaps/sonobus.png /usr/local/share/pixmaps/.