Patrick (@mentormullarkey) asks a question via Twitter:
Hey @VirtualPreso, random question, but do you use a headset when presenting webinars? If not, how do you avoid having an ‘echo’ effect?
The first question is simple: I always wear a headset (VoIP or phone), and I always recommend others do the same. This avoids echo, and I’ll come back to what I recommend at the end of this post.
Feedback is almost always comes from the output of a computer’s speakers feeding into the computer’s microphone (just as if the lead singer of a band held the microphone up to the PA speaker).
Better quality computers avoid this with better technology (Macs, some PCs), and a couple conferencing vendors try to tackle this.
The challenge, however, is universal: Computer microphones are like speaker phones…they’re omnidirectional. This means they’re designed to pick up audio signal from any direction. They not only have a tendency to feed back, they pick up every other ambient sound in the neighborhood, too. It makes it harder for your audience to hear you and your recordings poorer.
Telephone or computer headset?
I now prefer VoIP to the telephone. I’ll spare you the sound engineer geekspeak, but the quality is almost always better than what you’ll get out of a telephone.
Two things you absolutely should spend a few extra dollars for
Use a USB headset
Those that convert signal to analog are as strong nor clear. (Analog adapters are those that plug into the 1/8th inch microphone and speaker ins/outs on your computer or plug those same 1/8th inch plugs into a USB adapter).
Get one with an in-line mute button
This won’t replace all the mute/unmute options in your web conferencing solution (those are very useful!), but if you need to cough or sneeze, nothing is faster than grabbing the cord hanging in front of you to mute.