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Mono, or stereo for teleconferencing?
Old 26th October 2020
  #1
Mono, or stereo for teleconferencing?

We're running regular Zoom sessions involving singing and playing during the pandemic, in untreated rooms in our home. There are two of us and we sing and play together and separately.

We have experimented using various mics and rooms, and have settled on a cardioid LDC running into an ART preamp-compressor and then into a USB interface. The room is fairly dead for an untreated room, but not nearly at treated studio standard.

We're not really close micing; I'd guess the mic is 18in to 2ft away in front of us and up above, just off camera.

Here's my question: should we be using two mics, say in ORTF or xy? I guess the reason not to do so would be if it increased pickup of room sound reverberation, but would that actually be the outcome in practice, given the room and the way Zoom works?

Thanks, Gavin
Old 27th October 2020
  #2
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a stereo signal is double the bandwidth of mono. but if bandwidth is a concern, you can capture the sound in stereo, the mix it to mono and send it over the network as a mono signal. that way you have more capability of capturing the soundspace, but still stay at a low bandwidth.
Old 27th October 2020
  #3
I wasn't thinking of switching to full stereo, although I know that's an option in Zoom and might be nice to play with. My idea was to set two mics up in a stereo configuration so there's no interference issue so that both voices would be on mic. If doing so increases room sound, it might not be worthwhile, but if not it may by the way to go. That's what's in my mind.

Gavin
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #4
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jaddie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
a stereo signal is double the bandwidth of mono.
Not if it's "joint stereo". Far less than double.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
but if bandwidth is a concern, you can capture the sound in stereo, the mix it to mono and send it over the network as a mono signal. that way you have more capability of capturing the soundspace, but still stay at a low bandwidth.
You probably won't have nearly that kind of control. Zoom includes it's own audio codec running in the background, and you really don't get any option to deal with anything that directly affects bandwidth. The audio settings are all geared toward processing speech, but the trick is, those settings get bypassed when you "share your screen" and audio is played to Zoom that way. In fact, they've improved their ability to handle music substantially with the latest release, and removed a lot of audio bugs.

To get audio into Zoom by sharing your screen, you have to set your system so that the audio you want is played out of your local speakers. So, if you're using an external mixer running into a line input, look for mixer settings that let you select that input as a "play through" source. I'm assuming Windows with that. Mac is a different issue, let me know if that's what you have.

But assuming you're running just your mic or mixer directly into your PC input, Zoom treats it as a mic meant for speech. To improve the quality, take a trip through the Zoom Audio settings and turn off auto level and noise reduction. Carefully set your level manually. I'm not positive, but I think you will only get mono audio into Zoom that way, stereo only via screen share.

Zoom bandwidth is mostly about video. Video is a bandwidth hog, and Zoom is constantly trying to prioritize video and audio, usually audio looses. If audio is all that's important, turn off your camera. Zoom will then permit less restricted audio bandwidth, and it really does make a difference if bandwidth is a problem.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #5
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