Many of us are now using desktop Video Conferencing, so we thought we’d put together a few of our tips on the best desktop Video Conferencing equipment to use – Audio Headsets and Video Cameras.
Desktop Video Conferencing Equipment
Get the most from your desktop Video Conferencing
Many of us are now using desktop Video Conferencing, so we thought we’d put together a few of our tips on the best desktop Video Conferencing equipment to use – Audio Headsets and Video Cameras. These tips apply to any software Video Conferencing client.
Audio is the most important part of any meeting, so get it right. Most laptops have very poor audio facilities, in some cases the speakers are OK but the microphone is generally very poor and will pick-up many unwanted sounds including key taps, CPU fan noise and other background noises.
Simple common sense rules about audio need to be understood:
- Sound levels drop by half as the distance from source to, in this case, microphone doubles and so the best possible place for a microphone is close to the mouth.
- Any sounds will be detected by the microphone by varying degrees, so if you have speakers playing a sound then the microphone will pick that up. If that sound from the speakers are the voice of someone you are talking to then the microphone will pick that up and send it straight back to the person speaking to you, this is undesirable and so something called Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) comes into play.
- AEC will attempt to invert the signal sent to the speakers and mix it with the microphone pickup thus cancelling out that sound. If you hear yourself back, the cause is usually generated at the other end of the call. AEC can be ‘broken’ by incorrect level settings, especially where a signal is amplified.
- PC’s usually don’t have AEC circuitry and software apps that have AEC capabilities aren’t always very good!
So, what can you do?
The single best thing you can do is cover both bases in one go, use a headset (headphones and mic), so there is no possible audio path from the speaker to the microphone whilst also positioning the microphone directly in front of the mouth. This also helps ensure the listener can only hear your voice and not those of others around you, at least it makes a significant difference and some headsets are considerably better than others in that respect.
So you don’t like to wear a head set?
Then consider purchasing an external add on component that takes over the mic and speaker job from the PC and includes AEC. This will give you better sound quality as well as very much better microphone with the addition of hardware AEC. Again, the more you spend the better you get in general.
Don’t like headsets and can’t justify the purchase of hardware?
Then at least consider using earbuds, that at least gives your colleagues some degree of peace.
Laptops usually have a camera now, but they can be pretty poor. For a desktop computer we can’t recommend the Logitech C920 highly enough and it is sensibly priced. Microsoft have a model that’s as good or better depending on the lighting conditions.
Contact us for help and advice about your desktop Video Conferencing equipment. AuDeo are able to provide a wide range of desktop Video Conferencing equipment to improve your conferencing experience.