Spending a good amount of my days in calls nowadays, audio quality is quite important. I have a plethora of headphones so I can comfortably listen to others on calls, but figuring out how to sound my own best is a bit more tricky and pretty much an ongoing process. Currently I settled on the microphone of the external webcam together with krisp.ai.
I have been content with the quality of using either the Bose QC35 or the AirPods via Bluetooth for calls so far. But when we as a team at work decided to gather in a permanently open Mumble room1 things got a bit more tricky: Having the microphone channel open, everything switches to the low-quality low-latency SCO codec. This makes listening to music and any other media rather unpleasant.
So I started fiddling with other options to split microphone input and audio output. The microphone on the MacBook quickly showed that it’s too much dependent on my relative position to it and even worse that you could hear the fans spinning up. So I was left with the external webcam I use, a Logitech c920. While I would say the sound itself is okayish it had a pretty bad echo. A colleague described it as preaching in a church. Having read about krisp.ai2 earlier I gave it a shot, and lo and behold I’m impressed: It completely removes the echo and also filters out much of the ambient noise from traffic, most typing, and similar things. So I don’t have to do the mute-unmute-dance after every sentence anymore.
Here are two audio samples:
- Without krisp.ai
- With krisp.ai active
For now I’m quite happy that I can listen to music and chime in on Mumble (and Zooms) without having to reconfigure everything all the time. Nonetheless I’m already prying on a dedicated microphone as it looks like the work-from-home situation will continue for months to come.