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  • Video conferencing music sound quality

    My wife teaches piano in our home, private lessons for pre-college age students. She teaches at a high level, some of the best students in the area. With the current virus hysteria, she's trying to maintain her teaching schedule with students who no longer come to our home. She just started trying Zoom video conferencing. The biggest disappointment so far is sound quality. It's muddled and doesn't allow her or her students to hear the musical nuances as clearly as they need to.
    Over many years she's been having students put their at-home practicing videos on YouTube so she could critique. These have typically been recorded using either a smart phone or a tablet with the built in camera and microphones. The sound quality has been fine. But using those same recording techniques with the video conferencing yields sound quality much much worse. She and one of her students each purchased quality external microphones in an experiment but that improved the sound quality only marginally.
    Internet speeds don't seem to be the problem. Ours is typically 100 mbps download and 10 mbps upload. The student in the microphone experiment had about the same.
    Is there something we can do to improve this? Or is this just the best we can expect using a free video conferencing service targeted for voice meetings?

  • #2
    Originally posted by endo_aftermath View Post
    My wife teaches piano in our home, private lessons for pre-college age students. She teaches at a high level, some of the best students in the area. With the current virus hysteria, she's trying to maintain her teaching schedule with students who no longer come to our home. She just started trying Zoom video conferencing. The biggest disappointment so far is sound quality. It's muddled and doesn't allow her or her students to hear the musical nuances as clearly as they need to.
    Over many years she's been having students put their at-home practicing videos on YouTube so she could critique. These have typically been recorded using either a smart phone or a tablet with the built in camera and microphones. The sound quality has been fine. But using those same recording techniques with the video conferencing yields sound quality much much worse. She and one of her students each purchased quality external microphones in an experiment but that improved the sound quality only marginally.
    Internet speeds don't seem to be the problem. Ours is typically 100 mbps download and 10 mbps upload. The student in the microphone experiment had about the same.
    Is there something we can do to improve this? Or is this just the best we can expect using a free video conferencing service targeted for voice meetings?
    My guess is your going to get better performance from a smart phone because most newer phones are better quality with 4k video and Dolby audio.

    I would try even Facebook messenger video call, maybe try Face time on a iPad or Phone.

    Most video chat systems are compressed to not use a lot of bandwidth.

    Even try and use external mics you can get them at Best Buy I am sure its going to be trial and error.

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    • #3
      You can try with few other video conferencing services like Skype and GoToMeeting and check if there are any improvements in sound quality or not. Second thing you can do is, try Blue Yeti microphone. You have to for sure do trial and error as @RollinPositive said. Thanks.

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      • #4
        A program to try is Jammr. It's designed for playing music online. There's also JamKazam. Both have free trials.

        There is another one called Sofasession. Here's also an article on Reverb Magazine - https://reverb.com/news/ways-to-coll...music-remotely.

        Last edited by PN; 03-30-2020, 10:38 AM.
        The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
        --General George Patton

        Complex problems need to be solved collectively.
        ––Paul Nussbaum
        usc87.blogspot.com

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        • #5
          One last thing, Skype and Zoom are notorious for latency issues. Ideally what you want is low latency. Things to try, turn off video, don't use Wi-Fi, be hardwired to the router when you use it. IOS has lower latency than android. You could try FaceTime.
          The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
          --General George Patton

          Complex problems need to be solved collectively.
          ––Paul Nussbaum
          usc87.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            PN, thank you. I been holding off responding until I actually had this working successfully. Though I'm not there yet, Jamkazam looks very promising. I have it running on one Win 10 notebook and almost going on a second one. The plan is to prove it out between those 2 computers before going outside the house. One neat trick of Jamkazam is that it measures the hardware latency so the user can experiment with different devices to get the best performance.
            We had pretty well exhausted things to try with Zoom-- fairly fast computers hardwired with Ethernet cables, using good quality external microphones and turning off everything we could. At its best, it was barely usable, and that wasn't much of the time.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by endo_aftermath View Post
              My wife teaches piano in our home, private lessons for pre-college age students. She teaches at a high level, some of the best students in the area. With the current virus hysteria, she's trying to maintain her teaching schedule with students who no longer come to our home. She just started trying Zoom video conferencing. The biggest disappointment so far is sound quality. It's muddled and doesn't allow her or her students to hear the musical nuances as clearly as they need to.
              Over many years she's been having students put their at-home practicing videos on YouTube so she could critique. These have typically been recorded using either a smart phone or a tablet with the built in camera and microphones. The sound quality has been fine. But using those same recording techniques with the video conferencing yields sound quality much much worse. She and one of her students each purchased quality external microphones in an experiment but that improved the sound quality only marginally.
              Internet speeds don't seem to be the problem. Ours is typically 100 mbps download and 10 mbps upload. The student in the microphone experiment had about the same.
              Is there something we can do to improve this? Or is this just the best we can expect using a free video conferencing service targeted for voice meetings?
              Limiting the the bandwidth and compressing the data is how they save money in order to provide a cheap/free service.There is nothing that you can do to compensate for that. I would try a good quality microphone over a plain old telephone on both ends as a starting point. That way the signal remains analog until it reaches your carrier. Their analog-to-digital conversion and digital signal processing will be higher quality than free services, cell phones, and most computer devices.

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