I know some people spend half their lives with headphones on, but I find even my cushioned, noise-cancelling kit from Bose gets tiring after a while. For Skype and web conferencing I’d love to free myself from using a headset if I could, without losing audio quality or suffering from echoes.
So I was keen to have a play with this equipment from Phoenix Audio Technologies, designed to allow one or more participants to communicate clearly online without having to be up-close to a microphone. It does some whizzy echo cancellation and noise reduction, so even in a busy environment you should be able to come over clearly.
So what applications do these devices have for online learning and communications?
- Use the Duet instead of a headset when you’re on Skype or web conferencing.
- Use the Quattro when you want to include a whole room full of people in a web conferencing session.
- Use the Duet or Quattro as a way to record interviews and discussions for podcasts and videos. Although the Quattro has four microphones, it only provides a mono signal, but that may not matter to you. The sampling rate is a maximum of 16 KHz, which is not brilliant, but this is likely to be fine for everyday online playback. For recording an individual voice, perhaps to narrate a slide show or screencast, you will definitely get better results from a specialist USB condenser microphone such as the Yeti.