Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Getting the Most out of Asterisk

I realized from a few emails that we webmasters have gotten over the last few days that I need to update the Asterisk howto for conferencing with some better information on how to make the audio quality the best possible for your call. I will be putting some more notes there over the next few days. But I wanted to take a little space here to let everyone who is trying out the Foundation's new Asterisk server know the number one thing you can do to make sure the audio quality is good:

Everyone on the call needs to be using a headset or an external microphone!

That's not necessarily an obvious fact, after all, most laptops and many integrated desktops include a built-in microphone and a nice set of speakers. The problem seems to be that the internal microphones pick up a lot of electronic noise from the hard drive and fan, overboost noise on the mic which sounds like white noise. You can even get audio echo and at worst feedback from the mic and speakers on the laptop. If you get a bunch of people on the call and even a couple are using built-in mics the quality of the whole call suffers.

As it turns out in our testing, even if you have a bunch of people in the room, just hook up a headset microphone, use the built-in speakers on the laptop, and the audio quality is good for everyone and it can pick up all the voices in the room (at least with our Logitech headsets).

So hopefully that will help some of you get a better experience with Asterisk. As always we'd like to know how it's working for you.


Anonymous Ed Merks said...

We used it for the Modeling PMC call yesterday and it was so bad that I'm still suffering from partial hearing loss. I can imagine that using headsets would eliminate the feedback and horrible fading echoes. There are few things more disturbing than hearing our own voice talking back at you with a two second delay! Now we just need to get all our employers to fund the headsets we need, although I already have a Logitech one and it's excellent and highly recommended.

5:50 AM  

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