In VoIP, network problems are directly audible to the users. To decrease network problems, do not use WIFI; a wired connection is always best.
If you are a single participant at your location, using a headset minimizes the risk of echo and noise for the other participants.
You can also communicate using the built-in microphone and speaker of a laptop if a headset does not suit your needs. This will work most of the time, on the premise that you do not have problematic hardware or a bad audio driver. However, make sure that in Blizz you have selected the built-in devices and not, for example, a plugged in WebCam.
If Blizz tells you that there is no device available, try unplugging and plugging in the device. It is also a good idea to make sure the device is not disabled in your operating system.
During the meeting, it is also a good idea to mute your microphone if you are not speaking for a long period to avoid background noise.
If you experience audio drops or high delay, this is most commonly caused by network issues. You cannot do much about that, except avoiding WIFI. Remember: even if your internet is high speed (Mbps) you may have a long delay that can affect your connection (ping).
If you are told by your partners that you are producing echo or noise (for explanations, see below), please mute your microphone. After the meeting try updating your audio driver first and test it in a meeting. In case of noise, also check your audio cables and connectors.
If you still produce echo but do not want to use a headset, you should consider purchasing a “speakerphone”, which is a combination speaker and microphone. If you want to use this in Blizz, make sure that you have selected the speakerphone’s microphone and speaker in Blizz (and not the built in devices or a combination of speakerphone and built-in devices).
If you want to talk freely with larger distance to the microphone – such as in a huddle room or meeting room - you will need dedicated hardware. This can be something like a special speakerphone that is targeted at larger rooms, possibly with several microphones attached.
In every meeting with audio activated there is the risk of echo. Without special measures the following will happen: If you (A) are in a meeting and listen to participant B talking your microphone will of course pick up your voice, however, it will also pick up B’s voice coming from your speaker. You yourself do not notice anything, but B will hear an echo of his/her own voice because B hears what your microphone picks up. Now switch sides: If you (B) hear an echo of your own voice, your partner (A) is likely to produce the echo. In this case the problem is not caused on your side. In this case, the issue is with your partner (A) and will need to be fixed on their side.
Usually, echoes should be automatically filtered out by Blizz (called “Echo cancellation”), even if you are not using a headset.
There are some situations where this does not work perfectly:
Noise can be generated by a lot of sources. Besides ambient noise and echo¬, typical sources of noise are:
If you suspect that you are producing noise, it is best to do a test recording and play this back to yourself to check this.
Audio delays and drop outs are usually due to bad network conditions. Blizz tries to compensate for this in a few ways such as waiting longer for missing audio packets, but there are limits. In a bad network there is often a conflict between the two desires:
Poor connections will cause one or both of these to be sacrificed to maintain the connection.
Whenever possible, you should prefer cable connections over wireless connections; e.g. do not use WIFI or Bluetooth.
If you have a meeting and the other side is located in a larger room, then sometimes the sound you hear is dull and overlaid with reverberation. This is usually due to the room itself or inappropriate hardware for the rooms size.
If the room is large and has lots of smooth surfaces (like windows and plain walls), it is inevitable that a lot of reverberation is produced. If the person speaking is also far away from the microphone, the voice may be very hard to understand. One solution is to position the microphone as close to the person speaking as possible; of course sometimes this isn’t feasible. In that case you may want to consider:
If you hear noise or echo, you first need to find out which of you partners is causing the problem. This is easy in a one-to-one meeting However in a larger meeting, find the speaking indicators in the participant list. These show how loud each partner’s audio signal is. If you see amplitudes even though that partner isn’t talking there is something wrong with the audio in their system.
If you see a constant amplitude, your partner will probably produce constant noise. However if you see an amplitude in B’s indicator right after some other partner (C) has stopped talking, this probably indicates an echo coming from partner B. Tell B to mute their microphone and check if the echo/noise is gone.
Unfortunately, there are two places this needs to be done: One that is managed by Windows, and the other that is managed by the audio driver. The first place is the Windows audio device management titled “Sound”. Open the properties dialog of the microphone, and look for a tab containing effects. This will look different on every system however it may look like this:
Here, turn off all effects.
The second place where audio effects are hidden is the audio driver’s device manager. You can find this via the System Control under “Hardware”. This device manager usually contains the name of driver manufacturer or the system OEM; this may be Realtek Audio Manager or Dell Audio etc.
Open the manager and look for microphone effects. It may look like this:
Here, turn off all effects.