Many members asked us today about the microphones that some of the members are using along with their laptops or computers.
By adding a USB microphone to your computer, you will notice a great difference in the quality of sound that you transmit by way of ZOOM. THe USB dynamic microphones are designed for Streaming and Podcasting or playing and singing as we do at LUKES. The main advantage of a USB mic is that there is no competition between the singing and intrumental music. They are both transmitted in equal amounts rather than the loudest winning out. or the voice.
Some of us have purchased from OfficeWorks an Audio-Technica USB Microphone.
Ours is the ATR2100x-USB. It is listed as a Handheld Dynamic Microphone but comes with a stand for stting up on a desk. We bought it early last year for about $150 and i notice that the same one is listed currently for $149.
Other types are also for sale these include the Blue Snoball iCE Versatile USB mic for $68, Samson Metori USB Studio Microphone for $89. Have a look and read the reviews on line and see what you think.
Just google OfficeWorks - USB Microphones. and a full range will appear.
You can order on line and do a click and collect or pay for delivery.
They are simple to use but there are a few tricks to be aware of:
- When you plug in the USB microphone, you need to check that it is turned on (on ours the blue light appears when it is plugged in but you also have to turn the switch to ON.
- In ZOOM click on the arrow immediately to the right of the Mute button - this brings up a range of options. Make sure that you click on the USB Microphone.
- On the same button is the option to test it - click on that - it will firstly ask you to test your speakers and then it enables you to speak and test the microphone
- In order to save bandwidth and increase intelligibility, Zoom does various tricks with sound. The main one is that it decides who is speaking at any given moment and concentrates on their sound and quietens down everyone else's. There's not much you can do about this apart from mute your mic when someone else is singing or playing. It also prioritises speech over other sounds such as music, which it can regard as extraneous noise. However, there is a way to minimise some of the effects of this by using what they are pleased to call 'Original Sound', ie. the sound captured by your computer's microphone before Zoom get their mitts on it.
- To make this work there are things both the meeting host and the participants have to do, but almost all of it needs to be done once only.. Once the host has enabled the "Show in-meeting option to Enable Original Sound from microphone"
- The participant(s) also have a job to do. Again, you'll only ever need to this once but it has to be done while you're in a meeting, because the audio settings aren't available outside of meetings on some platforms. At the bottom left-hand corner of your screen you'll see a picture of a mic and an upward–pointing arrow ('^'). Click on the arrow and a menu of options will appear. The one you want is the bottom one: 'Audio Settings...'. Click on this and you'll get a screen full of settings. Clear the setting that says 'Automatically adjust microphone volume'.. If you need to you can set the mic level here yourself.
- At the bottom right-hand corner you'll see a button labelled 'Advanced', which takes you to another screen full of settings. Towards the top of this you'll see 'Show in–meeting option to Enable Original Sound from microphone'. Make sure it has a tick next to it. You should also set both 'Suppress Persistent Background Noise' and 'Suppress Intermittent Background Noise' to Disable.
Having done that you can now close the settings screens and return to the main screen. You should never need to do that again.
Back at the main screen (if the meeting host has done their job) you'll now see a new box at the top left-hand corner saying 'Turn on Original Sound'. Click on this and it will change to 'Turn off Original Sound'. Once you've done that you're using original sound. You may need to do this last bit at the start of most Zoom meetings.
If you purchase a USB microphone and would like to have a practise run, give Alison a call and we can set up a ZOOM meeting to make sure you're on the right track and that it works for you.. You can only test these by way of ZOOM we've found.
NOTE: Original Sound - allows you to preserve the sound from your microphone without using ZOOM's echo cancellation and audio-enhancing features.
Technical infromation thanks to https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/how-make-zoom-work-music
I hope this is helpful.