At the start of 2020 I'm sure most of us never envisioned that the world's population would be confined to their homes for several months, waiting out a virus that has spread across the globe.
Because of that there are a lot of people communicating with friends, family, and co-workers from the comfort of their own living rooms. Each of us using our phones, tablets, and computers to do what we would love to have the ability to do in person...talk and see each other.
Most people think that the quality of the video you see or broadcast is what makes for great communication, but while it helps, your video really only amounts to a fraction of what makes this type of interaction great. The biggest factor that makes for great video communication, is the audio.
It's simple... better audio means better communication. If you have good audio and a bad video, you can still communicate. But no audio? May as well just hang up that Facetime or Zoom call now.
One of the easiest ways to improve your audio is often overlooked. Simply plug in or use a pair of wireless headphones. By doing so, the audio of the people you are talking with is going directly into your ears and no longer back into the microphone you are talking into. The call will be better for everyone. A pair of headphones with a microphone are the best because it positions the microphone directly in front of your mouth preventing picking up the echo from your room. Here at Six59 Media, we use a simple $40 headset for all of our phone calls.
Don't like using headphones, or need to move around your home office a little more? The next best thing would be to use an external microphone that you can move away from your phone or computers speakers closer to your mouth. There are so many external microphones we couldn't possibly list them all, but here are a few we would recommend:
$20 USB Desktop Microphone - With a 360° flexible design, you can adjust this microphone away from your speakers exactly where you want it. It's plug-and-play ready and has a mute button for when you are not speaking.
Best Mid-Range Quality:
Blue Yeti Nano - The Blue Yeti Nano Premium is one of the most widely used USB microphones for recording and streaming. It is perfect for the average user taking Skype calls, making YouTube Videos, or a Podcast. It's another plug-and-play capable device that you can have running in minutes.
Best Premium Microphone:
Shure SM7B - This was an easy one for us here at Six59 Media. It's what we use every day, and what is considered in the industry as the very best. Is it pricey? Definitely. Is it worth it? Absolutely. If you are someone who consistently works remotely, or produces audio driven content, this is the mic for you. The Shure SM7B is a Cardioid Dynamic Microphone which gives a smooth, wide ranging, frequency appropriate for all speech in a professional setting. It's built like a tank and produces the crispest audio even in less than ideal conditions. Before buying a microphone like this, make sure to do your research. Understand your needs, and even reach out to us here if you have any questions.
Shure MV88+ - The Shure MV88 is a terrific all-around option for someone who wants to use their iPhone, iPad, or other IOS device. You can plug it directly into your lightning port and it will work with all native IOS apps. There is also an available adapter you can purchase for this microphone to work with your PC as well.
Not knowing how long all of our isolation is going to last, it may be worth investing a few dollars to improve your quality of life. Whether that's for work or personal use, understanding your audio setup and perhaps upgrading to a better microphone can go a long way in improving your video communication.