TECHNICAL TIPS

1.

Put your laptop on mains power. You need as much power as you can when you work with audio and video.

2.

Use an ethernet (network) cable to plug directly into your router. This can increase your internet speed by about 20%. Speedtest.net will tell you the speed you're currently getting. UK specific advice: Argos sell these for about £10.

3.

ZOOM
There are two ways to use Zoom: in the browser (i.e. type in zoom.us and join a meeting), or by using the Zoom software that you've downloaded to your machine. Using Zoom via the browser is fine for basic usage, but doesn't include all the features: for example, only meetings and webinars on the Zoom desktop software support stereo audio. And another gotcha: recordings and the Zoom mobile app don't support stereo audio.

Disable 'automatically adjust microphone volume' -  if you don't, loud instrument sounds like trumpets can reduce the audio to low levels. Enable Original sound in Settings, which ensures the highest possible quality. 
UPDATE Sept 2020: Zoom have added a "music mode" to the settings to accommodate musicians needing the best sound. For details on how to set this up see the excellent blog from MusicRepo.

4.

Use a digital audio interface rather than the built-in sound processor in your laptop or PC. A lot of musicians have these. Can improve audio quality by 50% IMHO.

5.

Use the best microphone you can afford. Good quality headset mics start at £25. Lapel (lavalier) mics are used by most TV broadcasters for interviews because they pick up less background noise. Wireless versions are expensive but wired lapel mics start at around £60.

6

Be careful of using HD video in Zoom - enabling this could seriously slow down your call!

©2020 by Teaching Music Online.