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PC Tip of the Month

Test Your Audio Before the Call

September 2021 – by Per Christensson

Have an important phone call or Zoom meeting coming up? It's wise to test your audio first.

Testing your speakers is simple — just play an audio or video clip on your phone or computer. If the sound is clear and the volume is right, you're good to go.

Testing your microphone requires a little more effort. While some apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow you to see your audio levels, a visual meter doesn't let you know how you sound. The best way to test your mic is to record something simple and play it back. I can't promise you'll like the sound of your own voice (I certainly don't), but at least you'll know if your mic is working and if the audio is clear.

Before I start an important phone call coming up, I'll record a quick audio clip using the Voice Memos app on my iPhone, then play it back to make sure it sounds OK. I've learned to do this since my wired Apple headset occasionally has an issue where the headphones work, but the mic doesn't. I can only verify the mic is working by recording something. It's especially important to test out the mic if you're using AirPods or another Bluetooth headset.

Playing back voice memos is another way to test your speakers or headphones, so you can check your audio input and output with one app. By running a quick test before your call or videoconference, you'll avoid annoying technical issues that can distract from the purpose of the call.

▶ I've learned that the mic/speaker setup in my office creates a resonant frequency that causes feedback, or echo, for others. So I often use a headset like my Bose QC 35 headphones for Zoom meetings. Switching from speakers to headphones allows other people to hear my voice more clearly.

Important: If you're testing your computer audio, you can use Voice Memos (the macOS version of the iOS app) or Windows Voice Recorder (a free Microsoft app for Windows).

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