Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
How to Fix Frustrating Video, Microphone, & Headset Issues on Your Computer, Smartphone & Tablet
I'm sure over the past 10 months you've experienced some issues with your video, sound, and microphone during a webinar. There's nothing more annoying when participating in or hosting a Zoom or Skype meeting you have to deal with distorted video, choppy sound, crackling from your speakers, and viewers that can see you, but not hear you. As many of you might know, I host quite a few video meetings and conduct tech segments via video chat with local and national stations, which means I can't experience problems. If you don't know what to look for, troubleshooting these issues can cause you a significant headache which is why I'm going to help you tackle some of the most common microphone and headset issues during important meetings and family calls.
Before tackling any problems you're having streaming, it would be wise to make sure that you've rebooted your devices first. This simple step can correct many of the issues you're experiencing.
1. Check Your Internet Connection. Sometimes you might get 'lost in the forest because of the trees' when it comes to looking at audio and microphone problems during your video call. The first thing you should always check before you do video chat is to check your Internet to make sure your Internet is working correctly. Slow or spotty Internet can cause a variety of issues with your video, sound, and your mic. I know I always suggest this, but go to my favorite website www.speedtest.net and test out your speeds. For good quality audio, you should be getting speeds of a minimum of 25Mbps (Megabits Per Second) download and 5Mbps upload. Also if you have an older router, might be time to switch it out.
2. Check Out Your Wireless Adapter. Have you been having spotty internet on the device you stream on, but your other wireless devices seem fine? It could be the wireless adapter on your computer, smartphone, or tablet that's causing the issue. I had to replace my wireless adapted on my desktop computer after it failed during a live TV segment. You will have excellent results if you run a cable to your desktop or laptop computer when streaming, but for most of you, this isn't an option ... especially if the location from where you stream isn't near your router or if you stream from your smartphone. Wireless adapters are built into most devices, which makes replacing them virtually impossible. If you have an Apple or Windows desktop or laptop, an inexpensive fix is to purchase a USB wireless adapter from Linksys (www.linksys.com) or Netgear (www.netgear.com). These devices plug into an open USB slot and allow you to connect to your wifi connection. If you stream from a smartphone or tablet and are experiencing wireless issues, it's time to replace your device.
3. Test Out Your Settings in your Streaming Software. Whenever I do video webinars or TV Interviews, I always go into the settings of my streaming software to do an audio and microphone test. This allows me to preempt any problems that can occur. From your settings, you can verify that the right devices are selected for your webcam, speakers, and microphone. You can also run a test to make sure you can hear what's going on and test your microphone levels as well. I failed to do this with my first COVID-19 interview last year which resulted to me grinning at my webcam live on air not aware the reporters were talking to me.
4. Microphone Check, One Two, One Two. Can you hear me? If your streaming software is having If you have an iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, or Pro, troubleshooting your webcam, speakers and microphone should be a simple process as these items are built-in. You can quickly test out these items by clicking on Facetime. You can get a quick look at your camera, test out your mic and speakers. If your camera is working fine, but you need to make adjustments to your mic and speakers, just go to System Settings, then Sound where you can adjust the volume controls for each device. If you have a Windows computer, just open the Camera app to verify your webcam, mic, and speakers are working. If you need to make adjustments aren't head to Control Panel, then Sound to check and adjust your audio settings. Smartphone and tablet users need to just go into the settings of the app you are using to stream and adjust your settings there.
5. It's Time to Get New Devices. If you're working with old equipment, it might be time to replace some of it. If you stream from your laptop, smartphone, and tablet, you can fix sound issues by purchasing a new cord or Bluetooth headphones with a mic. This is a cheaper option than buying a new device. If your camera is experiencing issues on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet, there are a bunch of webcams that you can connect to your device. Logitech owns the market with webcams and one of the best is the Logitech C920 (www.logitech.com) that will connect to any device via a USB cable. For your Android and Apple device, you may have to get a special cable to get an external camera to connect to it.
It's a frustrating process trying to troubleshoot video streaming issues, but I hope these tips will help take the stress out of finding out what is causing problems with your live stream. Feel free to reach out to me if you can't find the answers to the problems you're having.
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