Webex Sound Settings and Microphone Comparison
Here at T.E.A., we’re pretty convinced that as off-the-shelf video conferencing platforms go, Zoom is the best available for multilingual events. It has sophisticated sound filtering technology, a stable, intuitive interface, and most of all, allows for separate audio channels for simultaneous interpreting. However, many organizations and government institutions have continued to use Webex for all of their meetings. Webex is undergoing rapid improvements and may soon compete with Zoom for the hearts of interpreters and virtual event planners the world over by offering a simultaneous interpreting feature, so I thought I’d dig into some of its audio features for you all.
In this video, I compare the three Webex sound configurations available (default, music mode, and remove background noise), on each of an external mic, a laptop mic, and a headset. My most startling discovery was that the default setting produces pretty bad sound when using a laptop mic, removing at least one word and distorting the frequencies to the point that the sound would interfere with comprehension, especially in simultaneous mode.
Takeaways: 1) Always use a separate mic or a headset, avoiding use of your laptop mic, and 2) if you must use a laptop mic, try using the “remove background noise” feature shown in this video. I include a separate YouTube video below from Cisco Sal to offer a more in-depth look at what this feature does.
Separately, we have noticed that in Webex (but rarely in Zoom), there is occasionally an unpleasant echo produced by one or more laptop microphones picking up incoming sound from other participants and sending it back out to the meeting. The person who is not hearing the echo is the problem, and that person must mute after they finish speaking in order to remove the echo.