What’s That You Hear? Weeding Out Audio Problems for a Perfectly Sound Conference
“ISeead” – crshhh-crshhh –“chdsia!”
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“FOR goodness SAKE. I saID” – honk, crsh, “I”—crsh—“SAid.”—crsh—“Right!?!”
In your line of work, being able to hear, understand, and in some cases record what your clients are saying is an absolute necessity. But what happens when you can’t? What do you do when your videoconference turns out to be a mess of garbled noises and volume spikes?
The only answer is to stop and fix the problem before you go any further. You absolutely have to have clean, crisp audio in order to effectively do your job—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Unfortunately, when it comes to audio, the “problem” could be one of many.
Sound Disruptions Often Heard in Videoconferencing
Tell the truth, now. You have experienced every one of these problems before:
- Volume control out of control. From too quiet to too loud, having an inappropriate volume level can wreak havoc on a meeting, deposition, or conference. You may wind up popping an eardrum as your clients’ voices come screaming out at you, while the other end of the conference can barely make out what you’re saying—all because the volume controls are improperly set. Poor volume can cost you vital information as well as sincere communication.
- Audio delays. Have you ever watched a movie or TV show that was out of sync? You can see the actors’ mouths moving, but the sound doesn’t match their lips. After about 20 seconds of amusement, the audio delay gets rather annoying—and rightfully so. Now imagine this same scenario during a deposition or important meeting. Not only is it distracting, but it can have dangerous implications. For example, let’s say the opposing counsel asked your client if he is innocent. Your client responded in the affirmative, but since there is an audio delay it appears as though your client said nothing. So, then the opposing counsel asked him if he were guilty, and the previous response finally caught up with “yes.” As a result of the delay it sounds as though your client just confessed to being guilty. Needless to say, audio delays are not conducive to a smooth conference, whether it be a crucial deposition or simple business meeting.
- Background noise and feedback. Although you may not notice it while you’re speaking, background noises such as traffic, construction, telephones, gossipy employees, office machines, ventilation systems, and so much more can all be highly distracting during a videoconference. Microphones are built to be highly sensitive in order to pick up as much audio as possible. However, when you’re unable to filter background noise, the inconsequential honking, ringing, and murmuring could wind up overwhelming your audio. Likewise, electronic feedback can come across as annoying cracking or buzzing noises if your equipment or software can’t properly block electronic device transmissions.
- Cavernous or echoing noises. When you have multiple microphones picking up the same audio at the same time, it’s easy for them to pick up echoes from each other. Not only is the resulting hollow noise distracting, but it can cause the speaker to seem far away, uninterested, and unprofessional.
- Mute issues. Mute capabilities are helpful in avoiding echoes and hollow noise by limiting a microphone’s ability to pick up noise. However, when this function is abused or neglected, it can have serious consequences. For example, selective muting can cause information to be taken out of context, while failing to mute can allow important information to be leaked or overheard.
Clearing the Air
Now that you know the problems that are causing disruptions in your audio, how can you fix them? Maintaining clear and crisp audio throughout your videoconference isn’t as hard as you may imagine. Although there are always occasional surprises, unforeseen audio interruptions, unsilenced cellphones, etc., to contend with, the proper tools and skills can make your next videoconference as clear as a bell.
Don’t put up with ambient noise or auditory disturbances. Allow us to clean the airways so you and your clients can be heard. Contact us today at our Alexandria office or come visit our new Fairfax location to secure your next crisp, clean, and successful videoconference.