There are several factors for achieving the best audio experience using Voice Over IP (VoIP) in Adobe Connect.
High-quality voice capturing and audio fidelity
Invest in a good quality microphone or headset to get optimum volume levels into Adobe Connect. Don’t use a speakerphone or devices that can degrade the capture and rendering of your voice.
Generally speaking, position the microphone close to the speaking source. But make sure that it's not so close as to overload the microphone or positioned such that plosives affect the audio. A good headset microphone placement is at the corner of the mouth or tip of the nose.
A headset is a good choice since the fixed microphone position affords the users any degree of movement and the earphones provide good acoustic isolation.
Other considerations are optimizing acoustic isolation between microphone and speakers to avoid feedback that, when coupled with inherent Internet latencies, results in echoes.
Enhanced audio controls with Meeting Add-In
When a Participant joins an Adobe Connect Meeting, the meeting is launched from, and rendered in, the Adobe Flash Player. This plug-in is installed on 98% of computers. This ubiquitous plug-in offers basic audio controls.
For more advanced audio enhancement functions, Adobe recommends that you use the Adobe Connect Meeting Add-In. It is a lightweight, Flash-based add-on. Install when you are promoted to the role of Host or Presenter and intend to share a document or your screen with meeting participants. Among other things, the Meeting Add-In provides enhanced audio features and controls, such as echo cancelation and automatic microphone gain control.
All Adobe Connect VoIP users, regardless of role, can benefit by installing the Meeting Add-in and using the Audio wizard to set optimum audio levels. To download and install the Meeting Add-in from an Adobe Connect room, go to Help > Check for Updates. A Downloads page opens in your browser and you can install the Adobe Connect Add-in. Otherwise, Presenters can temporarily promote Participants to Presenter role where they are prompted to install the Meeting Add-in.
Optimize your settings by using the Audio Setup wizard
Once installed, use the Audio Setup wizard to configure your individual microphone levels. It's important because improperly configured audio settings can result in too low or too high levels. And, they can cause spoken phrases being truncated due to incorrect silence levels, and excessive echoes due to incorrectly configured enhanced audio.
Go to Meeting > Audio Setup Wizard. The Audio Setup wizard is straightforward and walks users through each setting to determine optimum volume levels and background silence detection. For best results, all VoIP users are recommended to do the following steps from within an Adobe Connect Meeting:
- Click Next and follow the instructions onscreen.
- When done, click Finish. Each time you are in a new setting, run through the Audio Setup wizard as it configures your audio setup based on location it is run. So for example, if you run the Audio Setup wizard in a noisy environment, the Connect Add-In accounts for it. But using these same settings in a quiet environment can result in a different experience. View a tutorial on how to setup your computer VoIP audio
- You can optionally configure additional settings in the menu by selecting Meeting > Preferences… then select the Audio tab to see the Advanced Audio Settings panel. Here is an example of commonly used settings:
Use the Voice Controls in the Voice Toolbar
To broadcast audio, first enable audio in the meeting room. In the menu, select Audio > Start Meeting Audio... Then, in the Start Meeting Audio dialog, select how you want to enable Audio in your room.
- Select only Using Computers to use VoIP.
- Normally with VoIP, only the hosts and presenters have microphone rights automatically. Grant participants microphone rights before their audio can be heard in the meeting room.
- When starting audio in the meeting, you can optionally select Enable microphone rights for participants. This optoin alows all participants to speak without granting them microphone rights individually.
- Sound levels of individual microphones can vary greatly. So, adjust the volume of your microphone by clicking the green Microphone icon and select Adjust Microphone Volume, then select a microphone volume level. Adjusting the volume is useful if others in the meeting or training session tell you your voice is too loud or that you cannot be heard.
Be Judicious When Allowing Attendees to Speak
While it could seem undemocratic to control who can speak in your meeting, having a good handle on who is allowed to speak, and when, is an essential part of ensuring a good VoIP experience. As the meeting host, it is your responsibility to control the audience. Here are some tips and tricks to use when allowing meeting participants to use VoIP:
- Take your time and don’t give everyone Microphone Rights.
- If headsets are not an option with the attendees, instruct them to turn down their computer volume before granting VoIP access.
- Always use a high-quality headset/microphone.
Set Meeting Room Bandwidth Accordingly
As the meeting host, you can set Meeting Room Bandwidth to determine the speed (kilobits/second) at which data from the meeting is sent to attendees. Choose a room bandwidth that matches the connection speed the attendees use. If attendees are using variuos connection speeds, choose the lowest speed that attendees can be using. For example, if some attendees are using modems, choose Modem for room bandwidth to ensure that all attendees have a good connection and client computers are not overloaded. Adobe Connect automatically sacrifices audio quality to minimize audio drops or latency for attendees on low-bandwidth connections. Properly setting room bandwidth helps Adobe Connect understand how to best balance performance and quality with bandwidth. Improperly setting room bandwidth often times results in dropped audio because the meeting is sending over more information than an attendee's computer can handle.
To configure meeting bandwidth, select Meeting > Preferences... from the menu, then select the Room Bandwidth category.
The following general guidelines are recommended for room bandwidth settings. Actual speeds can vary according with each network environment:
Modem: One presenter can generate around 26 kilobits per second (kb/s) of data. Attendees need around 29 kb/s for a good connection. Having more than one presenter with the Modem setting is not recommended. Screen sharing with the Modem setting is not recommended.
DSL: One presenter can generate around 125 kb/s of data. Attendees need around 128 kb/s for a good connection, and 200 kb/s for screen sharing.
LAN: One presenter can generate around 250 kb/s of data. Attendees need around 255 kb/s, and 400 kb/s for screen sharing.