HomeHome : Monthly Tips : Apr 2023

Use an External Microphone

April 2023 — Tip of the Month

The 2020 work-from-home trend led to a boom in video conferencing. Companies scrambled to outfit their employees with high-quality webcams to improve their professionalism over Zoom. Now, many of us are equipped with external webcams that provide clear, high-definition video.

But what about the audio? Some external webcams have decent mics, but many don't. Audio is often overlooked in favor of video, so just because you look good doesn't mean you sound good. That's why you might want to try an external microphone.

Blue Yeti Nano Microphone

A good external mic will make your voice fuller and more natural-sounding. The larger diaphragm enables more movement within the mic, providing deeper bass. Some mics also have built-in noise canceling and allow you to choose different pickup pattern settings, such as cardioid and omnidirectional — features you won't find on most webcams.

▶ Most external computer mics are digital, plug-and-play peripherals that you can connect to a standard USB port. In most cases, your system (Mac or Windows) will recognize the mic as a "sound input" device when attached. You can select it as the default microphone in your system settings or within specific apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and your web browser.

One more reason to try an external mic, from personal experience: The Blue Yeti Nano, which I use, has a mute button on the front. I can physically mute the device, similar to covering the video camera on a webcam. When the light is red, I know it's not capturing audio. The mute button is a great feature — just remember to unmute the mic before joining the Zoom call.

- Per Christensson