FaceTime vs Zoom for online music lessons.

FaceTime vs Zoom for online music lessons. - image on https://musicmasterlab.com

I have been teaching online music lessons for several months now. It has been a challenge to have consistently good audio and video quality over various platforms.  It becomes a real struggle to teach students who are difficult to hear or see.

Currently for teaching my students I am using an over the piano mounted iPhone 11. It is sending video and audio via Reflector 3 to my MacBook. If you have an older apple device running iOS 12 you can connect it directly to your Mac with USB cable and use QuickTime player for mirroring. iOS 13 does not allow this option for mirroring FaceTime calls.

Recently Zoom made available “original sound” setting on mobile platforms and I decided to do a comparison test between Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Duo to find out what is the best online music lessons software and hardware to use. In my own teaching I was avoiding using zoom for online music lessons because of lack of “original sound” option for the mobile devices.

For this comparison test I used an iPhone 11, an iPad 5th generation, a Mac Book Pro 2012 with an external Rode Camcorder microphone, and a Pixel 3. Initially I also included an iPhone 6 and a Mac Book Pro 2012 with the built in microphone but they produced much lower sound quality. This should help picking the best online music lessons software and hardware for you. After this test I will definitely use Zoom with all my students who don’t have Apple devices. Using zoom for online music lessons with Android devices produced much more superior sound than Skype or Google Duo.

Here is a blind test of  Zoom, Google Duo, Hangouts, and Skype using Pixel 3.

If you use an apple device – an iPad ,an iPhone or a Mac Book the decision is harder to make. Online music lessons via FaceTime work well. It produces a superior video quality and a good audio sound.  I am still planing to do online music lessons via FaceTime with many of my students, especially the less experienced students. High quality video might be more important in helping beginner piano students than high quality audio. 

Here is a comparison test of  Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime using iPhone11.

Here is a blind test of  Zoom, Google Duo, FaceTime, and Skype using Mac Book Pro 2012 with an external Rode Camcorder microphone.

Here is a blind test of  Zoom, Google Duo, FaceTime, and Skype using iPad 5th generation.

If you are undecided between which Apple device to use with your favorite software, watch these videos. Here is a comparison test of  ZOOM by an iPhone 11, an iPad 5th generation, a Mac Book Pro 2012 with an external Rode Camcorder microphone, and a Pixel 3.

I ran the Zoom test three times and I noticed that the sound quality was different every time. I did the sound test at exactly same location and same gear. Most likely internet speed affected the outcome. You can hear the variations in quality from the iPhone 11 and the MacBook.

Here is a comparison test of  FaceTime by iPhone 11, an iPad 5th generation, a Mac Book Pro 2012 with an external Rode Camcorder microphone.

If you are interested in Skype, you can listen to this comparison test by iPhone 11, an iPad 5th generation, a Mac Book Pro 2012 with an external Rode Camcorder microphone, and a Pixel 3.

Let me know what sounds best in the comments below.