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March 2010, 2010  |  Reviewer: Allan Leibowitz
Distributor: INTELLIWARE

jamhub_greenroomAny amateur band will know the dread of facing neighbours after rehearsals. No matter how much you try to soundproof the garage or lounge room, those who live nearby inevitably find themselves part of an impromptu audience – and not always with good grace.
The options for practice outside the studio have been limited, ranging from acoustic rehearsals to attempting to route everything through an amp and somehow share the experience with headphones.
The market, it seems, was screaming out for a quiet solution that didn’t mute the music – and American company BreezSong answered the call with a range of JamHub electronic “silent rehearsal studios”.
Perhaps “silent” is a bit of an exaggeration unless you’re a purely instrumental band, because the vocals are also fed through the hub via microphones.

What’s in the box?
The GreenRoom is JamHub’s mid-range offering, sitting between the BedRoom and the TourBus. The main differences are the number of band members who can use the hub: five in the case of the BedRoom and seven for the GreenRoom and TourBus; and recording options, which increase up the range.
The GreenRoom, which is packed in a very large thin box, consists of a mixing hub, a power supply and a SoleMix remote unit.

How does it work?
The GreenRoom is essentially a collection of personalised mixing desks joined together in a single unit. Each player gets a dedicated section of the hub – colour-coded and numbered. This model can accommodate up to seven players.
Each personal hub has an instrument input where you plug in your guitar, keyboard, electronic drums or microphone. There’s also a headphone socket to listen to the mix. The volume is controlled on the panel, where you can also adjust the input levels and panning. But not only can each player control their own volume, they can also control the volume of all the other players in their own personal mix. So, if you’re a bass player and you want to turn up the drums and turn down the lead the guitar, you can adjust each of those – without affecting the levels anyone else hears.

And that’s the real beauty of the JamHub system. It would be almost impossible using any other solution to gain that level of personal control over the mix you hear without affecting what everyone else hears.
The direct feeds are reproduced with excellent quality and in its default setting, the sound may in fact be too clean. So the JamHub master control includes a range of effects – delays, reverbs, flangers, etc – to recreate different environments and enhance the feel. These effects only apply to the microphone inputs since most electronic instruments already have access to FX (either inbuilt or via external boxes), and again, each player can control the effects levels from their individual “panels”.
Clearly, some instruments are perfect for the JamHub devices. Electric guitars, electric bass, keyboards and synths already send out electronic signals, so they can be used straight out the box. Drums are a different story. Electronic drums also plug straight in, but acoustic drums will need to be “miked” up. In essence, this defeats one of the aims of the device since the jam will no longer be silent. But the JamHub is not a one-trick pony, and it’s not only about reducing noise. It’s also about control, and even with drums thrashing in the background, other players can still control the mix in their headphones – and can still concentrate on perfecting their performance.

Another powerful application is recording, and here the GreenRoom works like a classic mixing desk, combining the individual inputs into a single output. The GreenRoom version of the hub has two output options – analogue via a 1/4” jack or digital via USB. The first allows you to record a stereo mix through the line-in on any recording device, while the latter allows for digital recordings direct to computer. And another great feature is that the final output mix can be different from all the individual player mixes – and is not affected by the settings chosen by each musician.

The verdict
The JamHub GreenRoom is a convenient and powerful practice aid which helps keep the noise down without compromising on performance energy. It is versatile, allowing each player to personalise what they hear without affecting anyone else’s sound experience. The system works best with electric and electronic instruments, although microphones can be used for acoustic guitars, drums and, of course, vocals. And to get the most out of the JamHub, all players will need a decent set of headphones.
Players should love the JamHub – but probably not as much as the neighbours!

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