During the coronavirus self-quarantine, my kids have been taking advantage of video conferencing for many of their classes. In the very brief video below, I go through a few of the settings I select in Zoom to optimize the audio quality for my daughters’ piano lessons.
If you’re a music teacher or student, the most important thing you can do to improve your audio is to invest in a relatively inexpensive external microphone. The built-in microphone in your laptop or desktop computer has very poor audio quality, especially for playing music live over the internet.
Built into Zoom is an audio enhancement feature that reduces background noise, cancels echo, and utilizes a particular audio codec meant more for spoken voice rather than the dynamic nature of music. This feature is on by default, and though it’s excellent for regular conference calls, it adversely affects the quality of the sound of a musical instrument over the Zoom call.
The two main setting we need to change are:
1) disable the audio enhancements and preserve the true original sound of the microphone.
2) disable automatic volume control so that the dynamics changes in a piece of music come through.
Keep in mind that if you enable original sound, you lose the benefits of Zoom’s built-in audio enhancements, so if you’re in a music class in which you’re both speaking and playing your musical instrument (or singing), you should toggle the on/off switch for original audio located in the upper left of the Zoom meeting.
I hope this helps you have better remote music lessons and an easier time keeping up your school routine during this time.