Getting the Best Quality Sound
Since we are playing music and singing songs rather than just speaking, we'd all like to be heard at our best. There are a number of factors that will affect your audio quality on zoom. The more of them you can apply, the better your sound will be.
- The vast majority of our participants just use their built-in microphone on their computer or mobile device and that will work fine. However, if you have a good quality USB microphone or an audio interface and stage mic, those will give you better sound.
- Try to get as close to your microphone as you reasonably can. Most built-in microphones are not all that sensitive and you will sound worse, and softer, the farther away you are. Be aware of the location of your microphone on your device. If it is sitting on a table and the microphone is low, it may pick up your instrument much louder than your voice. If possible, try to position your microphone closer to your mouth, or at least aim it up and above your instrument so you don't drown out your voice.
- When you are far away from your wifi router, the wifi signal will be weaker and the bandwidth will decrease. This means that zoom will have to compress your audio much more than usual and degrade the quality. If you can move your laptop or mobile device closer to your router, you can eliminate this problem.
Audio Setup in the zoom Application
IMPORTANT - You should check these settings EVERY time you join a zoom meeting. Some of them get reset each time.
hese settings will have a big effect on your sound quality. Zoom is normally expecting a meeting where people are just speaking. So it optimizes the sound for the voice but not for musical instruments. The following settings will give you the best quality sound with any instrument and with singing.
To start with, go to the audio settings in zoom. The easiest way to do this is to click on the up arrow ^ next to the Microphone icon
in the lower left, and select Audio Settings
from the popup menu as shown at left.
- Start by making sure the "Automatically adjust microphone volume" checkbox is NOT checked. You don't want zoom to be changing your volume while you're playing your song.
- Adjust your microphone volume manually by using the "Input Volume" slider. Check your microphone volume by playing and singing, and watching the "Input Level" indicator. If the volume is set too loud, your audio will be "clipped" and sound distorted. If it is too soft it will be hard for people to hear. Adjust the slider till the volume shown in the Input Level meter is somewhere in the middle, and never reaches the top.
Enable Original Sound
- Now, click on the Advanced
button in the lower right of the settings window. In the next window, check this checkbox:
This is the option that tells zoom NOT to optimize the audio for speaking, but instead to try to conserve the full spectrum original sound that the microphone picks up. Note that setting this option does NOT turn on the option. It just makes the option show up during the meeting. When you return to the meeting screen, there will be a new control in the upper left that you can now click to turn Original Sound
on or off:
If the control says "Turn off Original Sound" as shown above, then the setting is already turned on and you're good to go! If it says "Turn on Original Sound" then you should click it to turn it on.
Background Noise Options
- On the Advanced audio settings page, it is also helpful to set the Suppress Persistent Background Noise
and Suppress Intermittent Background Noise
Options to Disable:
The third control, "Echo Cancellation" should be left in the default "Auto" setting.