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Best Practices for a Great Audio Experience

We recommend the following practices to maximize your audio experience using VRI Direct.

Speakers/Headset

  1. Headsets with traditional 3.5mm (1/8") headphone and mic connectors are preferred over USB headsets as they are more reliably auto-discovered when plugging/unplugging. However, USB headsets are also supported and used by many interpreters.

  2. When speakers are needed, external are always preferred over internal (built-in) speakers.

Microphones

Selection
  1. Use your laptop's built-in microphone, your headset's boom mic, an external mic with a 3.5mm (1/8") connector (search Amazon for "3.5mm microphone"), an external USB microphone, or your external webcam's built-in microphone.

  2. Interpreters should always use a headset with built-in microphone.

  3. If you want to use the boom mic on your headset and your headset uses 3.5mm connectors, you might need a 3.5mm stereo extension cable to reach your computer's microphone jack, especially if you like to plug your headset's headphone connector into your external speaker headphone jack. Search Amazon.com for "3.5mm male to female extension". A six-foot cable is all that is usually needed.
Setup
  1. Make sure your operating system's mic level is not too high. It should be at about 50%. Windows users, go to Start > Control Panel > Sounds, then select the Recording tab, double-click your mic to access its properties, and then adjust the level from the "Levels" property tab. Mac users can access similar controls from System Preferences > Sound.

  2. Position the microphone away from white noise sources. Sometimes, the microphone has a difficult time when there is ambient white noise in the room (the loud humming of medical equipment, for example) or when there is air blowing across the microphone (air registers and fans). Try moving the microphone away from these noise sources, or try reducing or eliminating the noise if possible.

Extra Tips and Tricks

  1. Great for Agents: Make the incoming call ringer easier to hear! Easily switch between speakers and a headset with an audio switching hub. You'll also need to use an analog speaker set and an analog headset; both will have the 3.5mm mini-jack plugs rather than USB plugs. There are several quality analog headsets available from Logitech and Sennheiser.

    Plug your speakers, headphones and mic into the audio switching hub, then plug the hub into your computer's headphone and mic ports. Use the hub's built-in volume and speaker/headset switch to switch between the speakers (for hearing the ringer from another room) and headset (for taking the call). Read this link for more information: http://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Headset-Switching-Manhattan-172851/dp/B000K8PH8C/ref=pd_cp_cps_0

    You can also use external speakers and an analog headset simultaneously using a Y adapter (see item 2, below); just make sure your external speaker set has a volume control on it so that you can easily turn up/down the external speakers depending on whether you need to hear the ringer or not.

  2. Use Speakers and Headset Simultaneously, Or Use Two Headphones Simultaneously (great for doctor/patient privacy in crowded areas): You'll need to use analog headphones (they have the 3.5mm mini-jack rather than USB plug). Purchase a 3.5mm Y adapter, also known as a headphone splitter (search Amazon for "3.5mm headphone splitter"). Plug the splitter into your computer's speaker or headphone jack, then plug the two headphones (or your speakers and your headphones) into the splitter. Use a common microphone, such as a built-in laptop mic, a webcam mic, or an external 3.5mm (1/8") boom mic.

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