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Version 3.

Audio Settings Tutorial


February 15, 2005

Table of Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. Equipment Requirements and Tips ...................................................................................................... 1 Setting Your Audio Output.................................................................................................................... 2 Setting Your Microphone ...................................................................................................................... 4 Multi-media Settings ............................................................................................................................. 6

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Audio Settings Tutorial

1.

Equipment Requirements and Tips

To use the audio capabilities of the virtual meeting software, your computer must be equipped with a fullduplex sound card. This is a standard accessory on most newer desktop computers and laptops. Your sound card will have at least two audio plug sockets one for Speakers (which might be labeled Line Out) and one for a Microphone. These will generally be marked with icons stamped into the metal or plastic beside the sockets. Usually, the sockets take stereo plugs. There may also be a Line In socket, but you wont need this for virtual meeting audio. You will also need a headset, or speakers and a microphone. The plugs on these accessories should be stereo plugs (two black bands on the metal part of the plug), unless you have a mono sound card. If you have a mono microphone you want to use, you can get a mono-to-stereo adapter at an audio store. Some headsets use a USB plug, which you simply plug into a USB port on your computer. A headset with an attached microphone is preferable when using one-to-one full-duplex VoiceChat, so that the audio being received and played on your speakers is not picked up and echoed by your microphone. In general, if you plan on holding mainly one-to-one virtual meetings, get a headset. For group meetings, where the audio is predominantly uni-directional, from presenter to listeners, speakers and a microphone will work fine. If you are in the meeting to listen only, you can get by with just speakers and dont need a microphone. The cost and quality of your audio accessories is not as important as the compatibility to your computers sound card. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine compatibility ahead of time, since there are no standards for sound cards or the audio equipment made for them. Sound cards vary in their sensitivity to microphone output, the range of frequencies they accept, and the power of their output. Microphones vary in the frequency range they pick up, their sensitivity and the signal strength sent to the card. Speakers vary in the power they require and the quality of their sound. For these reasons, when you are choosing audio accessories, you are advised to consider the following: Low-priced headsets may provide sound quality that is just as good as higher-priced ones, but they tend to be less durable. It makes sense to try the less expensive headsets first. Make sure the headset is comfortable, in addition to providing acceptable sound. The sound quality may be different on your own computer, so check if the store will accept a return if you are not satisfied. If you are using a laptop, consider taking it to the store for testing purposes when you buy your headset. Speakers with a built-in amplifier and volume / tone controls will work with all systems. Without the built-in amplifier, you may not be able to get enough volume from your speakers. For testing purposes, use Microsoft Sound Recorder, accessible from Start | Programs | Accessories | Entertainment | Sound Recorder. Position the microphone near your mouth, Click on the Record button (red circle) and speak normally for several seconds. Click on the Stop button and then the Play button to check the sound quality of your recording.

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Audio Settings Tutorial

2.

Setting Your Audio Output

Audio settings for your computer can be configured from within the meeting, if required, by clicking on the speaker control icon on the upper menu bar to open the control window.

Volume Control The upper section of the Audio Settings window contains the volume controls for your output device, whether it is a headset, desktop speakers or another type of hardware. The Device window in Volume Control displays all of your possible choices for output device, so you can easily switch from one to another, such as between speakers and a headset by selecting the appropriate device driver. The Volume slider bar is used to adjust the volume level of your output device and the level shows numerically from 0 to 100 in the box to the right of the control. There is also a check box labeled OFF, which, when checked, turns off the output from the device. The Audio Delay, by default, is set for .25 second to provide smoother sound. This means that when a sound packet arrives at your computer it is held in a buffer for one-quarter second before it begins to play. This will compensate for any microsecond delays in receiving audio packets that would cause breaks in the flow of speech. If your connection to the Internet is choppy or subject to fluctuations of more than a fraction of a second, then you may need to increase the delay to as much as 3 seconds to maintain smooth-sounding speech. Alternatively, if you have a fast and consistent Internet connection you may be able to decrease the delay to none. For most connections you should be able to leave the setting at the default. When you exit the meeting and join another meeting any previous changes to the audio delay setting will revert back to the default of .25 second. The Speaker icon in Volume Control, when clicked, will open the Master Volume Control for your computer operating system, to allow you to make adjustments. These will seldom be required because the conferencing program will make the required settings when you first join the meeting. In subsequent

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Audio Settings Tutorial

meetings any changes you have made to the settings for that computer will be retained and automatically set.

Please note that the Microphone should be muted and Master Volume and Wave Balance un-muted in the Master Volume Controls. Other output devices, such as CD Player, may cause interference noise, so muting them could improve your sound quality. On systems using S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) for digital audio equipment, if background noise is evident, muting or unselecting the S/PDIF feature may help. To set your change you will need to stop and restart your output device by checking and un-checking the OFF checkbox in Volume Control.

WebTrain Communications 2005

Audio Settings Tutorial

3.

Setting Your Microphone

The lower section of the Audio Settings window contains the controls for your input device, whether it is a microphone, a handset or another type of hardware. The Device window in Microphone Control displays all of your input devices available so that you can easily switch between them by selecting the appropriate device driver. The Volume slider control is used to set the volume level of your input to the meeting. When you speak in a normal voice a graph should show above the volume control. You should adjust your volume level such that the graph shows in the green and yellow bars but does not extend up into the red section. The volume level shows numerically in a box to the right of the control, on a scale from 0 to 100. If you wish to turn off your microphone, click on the OFF check box beside the volume control. To turn it back on, click on the check mark to remove it. The Source box, by default, will be set to microphone. However, if you are using another sound source you can select it here from a drop-down list. Please note that the current version does not automatically configure your operating system settings for the sound device, so you must open the recording control by clicking on the microphone icon and then make sure that your correct input device is selected (e.g. microphone). See the Recording Control image below. The Boost check box shows the setting for your microphone boost, which is configured in the Recording Control settings. This check box allows you to quickly enable or disable microphone boost, and the setting is saved and reset the next time you join a meeting with this computer. You will only need to enable Boost if your microphone volume is still too low after turning up to 100. Note that this checkbox is not enabled if the source line does not support a BOOST option. Microphone Test allows you to do a quick check that your microphone is working correctly. Click on the button and speak for 5 to 10 seconds into your microphone in a normal voice. Click on the button again to stop the recording, and the system will play back what was recorded.

The box labeled I am using a head-set should be checked only if you are using a head-set in the meeting. This will allow you to have full duplex speech. Participants who are using speakers and a microphone cannot receive output while they are speaking because the speakers would produce an echo effect for others in the meeting. Participants using speakers should be passed the microphone to speak or else they must hold down the Talk Button (with their mouse button) while they speak. If a participant is experiencing audio problems in the meeting room, the host or co-host has the ability to modify the settings for their headset, as well as adjust the playback buffering setting and microphone volume.

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Audio Settings Tutorial

Clicking on the Microphone icon in Audio Settings will launch the Recording Control for your computer operating system, to allow you to fine-tune the adjustments for your microphone, phone line or other input device you are using. Please note that the program automatically selects microphone for your input device, so if you are using a different device you must make sure that there is a check mark to select that device. When you are finished making changes in the Audio Settings window, click on the Done button to save your settings and close the window, or Cancel to discard any changes and close the window.

WebTrain Communications 2005

Audio Settings Tutorial

Multimedia Settings

Clicking on the Multimedia Settings link at the bottom of the Audio Settings window opens the Multimedia Properties window for your computer operating system. Here you can make advanced settings to fine tune the performance of your input and output devices. Please refer to the documentation for your particular hardware to optimize its performance.

WebTrain Communications 2005

Audio Settings Tutorial