Is mic echo turning your virtual meetings into a cacophony?
We’ve all been there and know the frustration of hearing voices reverberating during a conversation. The symphonic mic echo hurts your ears and makes both sides want to mute the call. This can happen whether you’re using a desktop computer or your mobile phone.
But don’t let mic echo disrupt your meetings. It’s relatively straightforward to troubleshoot this problem, so you can keep your virtual meetings clear and hassle-free.
And here’s a quick hint to get you started: If you’re not yet using a VoIP and a good headset, you may be missing out on one of the surest ways to avoid mic echo on business calls.
7 Quick Fixes for Mic Echo
Mic echo is annoying, but luckily it’s pretty easy to fix and/or avoid altogether—especially if it’s you who is causing the problem. To find out, you may have to pause your meeting and ask the other participants on the call if they’re also experiencing an echo.
If it’s indeed you, follow these steps to get rid of your mic echo.
1. Lower Your Speaker Volume
This one is the easiest fix. If the sound from your speakers is too loud, your microphone may pick it up, creating an echo effect. Lower your speaker volume to a comfortable level to reduce the possibility of an echo.
You can either do this manually with the volume knob on your external speakers or by adjusting the sound settings of your computer.
To adjust the volume on a Mac, you have several options. First, you can use the keyboard shortcut F11 to decrease the volume. Alternatively, you can use the volume slider under Sound Control in the menu bar or in the Control Center.
To lower speaker volume on a PC, locate the speaker icon near the system clock on your taskbar. Click on this icon, and a volume control slider will appear. Simply drag the slider to the left or down to decrease the volume. You can click the icon to the right of the soundbar or press CTRL + Windows Key + V (on Windows 11) to further adjust sound settings.
You may also have physical buttons for volume control.
2. Move The Mic Away From Your Speakers
Microphones are incredibly sensitive. Even with the volume turned down, they can pick up sound from your speakers. If you’re using an external microphone, move it further away from the speakers to prevent this interference.
This is also a good step to take during meetings to ensure your clients or other attendees don’t hear themselves talking.
3. Use a Headset/Mic Combo
Using a quality headset with an integrated microphone can quickly cut out the noise. Headsets physically separate the microphone from the speakers, which prevents the audio loop that leads to an echo. This design is particularly effective in environments where multiple people are on the same call, and the risk of feedback is high.
While normal headsets work, you can also opt for high-quality wireless or Bluetooth headsets. For an even quieter experience, you can try headsets with noise-canceling features.
4. Restart Your Devices
Sometimes a quick restart will do wonders to resolve a mic echo issue.
- Computer restart: Power down and then reboot your computer. This simple action can clear any temporary glitches affecting your audio settings.
- Microphone restart: If the issue persists, disconnect and reconnect your microphone. This can refresh the microphone’s settings.
- Software restart: Make sure the communication app you’re using, such as Zoom, Skype, or Teams, is up to date. Close the application and reopen it to reset the audio settings.
By restarting these devices and components, you can potentially eliminate any audio hiccups causing mic echo.
5. Mute Everyone But the Speaker
In group calls, a simple solution to prevent mic echo is to have everyone mute their microphones when not speaking. This reduces the chances of multiple microphones picking up unwanted interference and causing an echo.
When leading a meeting, you may be able to control participant microphones yourself—or you can kindly ask team members to mute their microphones when they’re not speaking. This not only minimizes mic echo but also promotes a more respectful and productive meeting environment.
Most meeting software offers options to mute yourself and others. The process may vary by platform, and some platforms allow you to decide whether new participant microphones are active when they join. To prevent this issue, consider setting participants to join with their microphones muted by default.
6. Adjust Computer Audio Settings
Sometimes you can fix mic echo by adjusting audio and device settings. On most operating systems, this can be done through the Control Panel or System Preferences.
Often, mic echo occurs when the wrong audio input or output is chosen, so the first step is to confirm that you’ve selected the correct microphone and speaker that you want to use.
Next, pay close attention to audio levels. A well-balanced audio level helps prevent feedback loops. Ensure that the volume is neither too low nor too high, and test audio levels to find the sweet spot for your setup.
7. Adjust Platform Audio Settings
You can further tweak audio settings within specific apps. The directions will differ based on the platform that you’re using.
For example, you can adjust audio settings on the desktop version of Zoom by clicking the carrot next to the Audio button in the bottom-left corner and choosing Audio Settings. Go through the preferences to make sure that the correct audio input and output are selected and that the audio is well-balanced.
If using a business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, your provider should allow you to review audio settings and check your VoIP call quality to troubleshoot potential issues.
Taking a few moments to adjust these settings can significantly improve your virtual meetings. However, if an echo problem still persists, try restarting or updating your app to see if that helps.
What Causes Mic Echo?
Mic echo usually occurs when the microphone picks up sound from the speakers, creating a feedback loop. It’s most common when the microphone is too close to the speakers, but sometimes software glitches or incorrect settings can lead to this problem.
We often hear mic echo during online meetings, video calls, and conferences. It can be even more distracting in settings with open microphones, such as call centers or other locations with ambient noise.
To get an even clearer sound and avoid mic feedback, consider buying noise-canceling headsets, directional microphones, and speakers with good sound isolation. These can reduce interference so that your calls are clearer and more professional.
And if you’re not yet using a business VoIP service, consider looking into one. A VoIP gives you a virtual phone number and more control over call settings. When used with a good headset/mic combo, it’s one of the most effective ways to get reliable, crystal-clear audio on your calls.