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TOP tips to help IT get the basics right

“We’re constantly having to repeat ourselves on conference calls.”

“The client complained about background noise.”

“I listened to the recording and all I could hear was the sound of shuffling paper.”

Sound familiar? The IT department is often the first to hear when users feel that the conference system isn’t up to scratch. Sometimes a new A/V system is the answer. But it isn’t always.  

The right audio technology will improve the quality of conference calls. But only when the technology is used correctly will conferencing become less of a resource drain on IT, and more of a strategic business enabler.

Here are some tips for improving the audio quality of conference calls.


1. Keep the ambient noise level low

Keeping noise levels to a minimum requires two things: quiet rooms and sensible employees. So, start by putting your meeting rooms to the test. Inspect all rooms, during different times of the day, to hear potential distractions. For example, that room next to the canteen probably isn’t ideal during lunch hours. Maybe that seemingly soundproofed room has a particularly noisy air conditioning system? Or roadworks outside? Once completed, you’ll be able to provide employees with the right environment for noiseless conference calls.


2. Make sure you have enough microphone channels for everyone

Sharing microphones may seem like an easy way of cutting costs. But it notably decreases sound quality. Historically the rule used to be one microphone per person. Now with array technology the rule is one microphone lobe for every one to two participants.

So, don’t cut costs this way. Invest in enough microphones channels for everyone, in every room.


3. Make sure mics are positioned correctly

People assume that if there’s a microphone anywhere in the room, it will pick up their voices. However, microphones designed to pick up speech are directional. That means that they pick up sound best from one direction: the front.

If an employee speaks into the side of the microphone, near the microphone, or next to their neighbor’s microphone, their voice will be hard to hear. Make employees aware that they must position the microphone directly in front of them.

Unless you invest in array technology which allows users to walk around the room and be heard.


4. Don’t focus so much on video that you forget about audio

When it comes to A/V technology, organizations often put a large part of their IT comms budget into video technology and don’t leave enough for high-quality audio.

Here’s a big problem with that approach: while you can have a conference call without video, as soon as the sound goes out—unless everyone involved speaks sign language—the conference call is over. If you need to ensure one element of your A/V conference call technology will work reliably, choose the more essential part: the audio.

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