Online Music Teaching – Sound Settings for Video Conference

Here is my most recent solution to the problem to get a mostly pure and unprocessed sound through the messenger services. Unfortunately, most clients like “WhatsApp”, “Signal”, “Skype” and others do not support native sound, but this we need for transmitting music on instruments.

For teaching music online, the choices I made so far are “Zoom”, but maybe even better “Discord”:

Zoom

Most famous, the Zoom client with the possibility to minimize some of those functions and to turn on “original sound”. I used it now since a while, but frankly speaking, what they offer is still not very sufficient: the noise gate cannot be switched off completely, and the sound settings are not available on all of the major operation systems (Windows, Apple, Android & Linux).

Quite better, as far as I experienced now, is:

Discord

Surprising, as this service was targeted much more to gamers, esp. very young ones … 😉
But they have the maximum of audio controls, you can find the app on all systems (Android, Apple, Windows, Linux), and it runs also via web-browser, but with limited sound settings and also a different sound quality.

It is free for use, all you need is to register with an email.

And most of all: this was the best so far in terms of switching off the noise gate. At least one can set it very very low, so that you can hear whisper sounds on the other end!

Sound Settings

Here some screenshots to show some settings to enhance a pure audio transmission.
This is the menu for all settings. Go to “Voice & Video” (yellow dot):

First thing to do is uncheck “Automatically determine input sensitivity”. After that you adjust the sensitivity manually by moving the controller to the very left. So the yellow part of the bar will completely disappear. As far as I can tell, this will shut down the noise gate:

Now disable “Echo Cancellation”, “Noise Reduction” and “Automatic Gain Control” (see yellow dots):

About the other options I am not 100% sure, but for our purpose I guess it is good to switch off all of them as well:

On other platforms the appearance might be slightly different, and on Android for instance the options are also a bit limited. This is what it looks there:

You need to click on “Test my Microphone”, the you can adjust the sensitivity in the same way (see above):

Discord - Android 3

 

So far this is the best solution I found for teaching Bansuri lessons online. Any comments and suggestions for further improvements are highly welcomed!

 

Kind regards,
Michael

 

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