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How to Fix an Echoing Microphone While Video Conferencing

Robert Strobl
June 2, 2022

How many video conference calls have you attended that got derailed by an echoing microphone? More than just a few, we would wager. 49% of US employees say they attend at least two weekly meetings disrupted by technical issues.

Table of contents

  1. Echo or Reverb?
  2. Use headphones with a built-in microphone
  3. Mute microphones when not speaking
  4. Make sure people aren’t bunched up
  5. Check your speakers or microphone aren’t too loud
  6. Make sure you are using the right microphone
  7. Upgrade your old hardware/software
  8. Test your microphone before the meeting
  9. Final Thought

“Who is that echoing?”, “Sorry, I think it’s me. How do I get my mic to stop echoing?” “why is the echo still there?”, “can anyone remember what we were talking about?”

We’ve all been there, and it’s one of the most annoying experiences during a video conference call. Technical issues are one of the biggest obstacles blocking successful remote collaboration and event hosting.

Over 58% of remote workers say that technical issues are one of the key challenges facing online meetings.

Attendees place audio disruption high on the list of things that ruin the video conference experience. 

An echoing microphone is extremely disruptive. Ignoring microphone echo during one of your meetings or events is a bad call. All that hard work you spent organising your webinar or video conference could be for nothing if you let a small issue irritate your attendees. 

We want to ensure that you can always deal with this issue when it happens in your video calls. 

Here are our top 8 tips for fixing an echoing microphone during a videoconference. Memorise these tips, and you will always have an answer for this irritating interruption.

Quick tip: If you can hear an echo during a video call, you aren’t causing it. Echo occurs because the sound is transmitted from their speakers back into their microphone. The person causing the echo is often unaware they are the cause.

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8 Tips on How to Fix an Echoing Microphone

  • Echo or Reverb? 

Echo and reverb are quite similar and easily mixed up. Learning how to tell them apart is useful for any video meeting organiser. 

Echo happens when sound comes out of a speaker and enters a nearby microphone. It can be particularly infuriating for the current speaker. No one wants to hear an echo of their own voice while presenting important materials. Our 8 tips will focus on how we can fix echo problems.

Reverb is essentially the same as an echo but slightly different. Reverb is caused when sound comes out of a speaker, bounces around the room, and then enters a microphone. Reverb can be harder to deal with because it is usually caused by the room environment.

Typically we see reverb occurring in rooms with many hard, flat surfaces. You can improve reverb by bringing the mic closer to the speaker or adding acoustic treatments to walls.

  • Use headphones with a built-in microphone

One of the simplest, tried-and-tested ways to prevent echo is to use headphones with a built-in microphone. Headphones can remove echo because they deliver sound directly into your ears rather than filling the room. They also place the mic close to your mouth, which reduces the chance of any reverb. 

Headphone users constantly wonder why they aren’t used by the entire video conferencing community. The pandemic saw video communication explode in popularity.

Lots of people started to attend video conferences for the first time in their lives. Most of these people weren’t used to wearing headphones for long periods or didn’t own them. You should never assume that everyone will have a headset. You need to be aware of other ways of tackling echo. 

  • Mute microphones when not speaking

Mute microphones when not speaking

Muting your microphone when not speaking and asking others to do the same is one of the quickest ways to fix echo. The more people there are in your video call, the more important this tip becomes. Many people regard keeping yourself muted when not talking as a basic matter of video conferencing etiquette. 

Most of us have experienced being in large calls with too many people unmuted. You can hear every cough, sneeze, dog bark and doorbell. It is very distracting and annoying. Here’s a tip you can use to find out who is causing the echo.

Ask your attendees to mute themselves and then ask them to unmute one by one. Once you have identified the culprit, you can quickly end that pesky echo. 

  • Make sure people aren’t bunched up 

If attendees physically attending a hybrid video meeting are too close together, this can cause an echo. The simplest way to deal with this is to check that everyone has some distance between themselves or their devices. Sitting too close together can cause someone else’s microphone to pick up sound from your device and vice versa. If your team is fully remote, this won’t apply to you.

  • Check your speakers or microphone aren’t too loud

If the volume on your external speakers is too high, this can cause an echo. If you have been identified as the echo culprit, try turning down your speakers and see if it solves the problem.

Alternatively, you can also try turning down the output level of your headset. Sometimes your microphone can cause an echo by being too sensitive or loud.

  • Make sure you are using the right microphone

Don’t overlook this tip because it’s a common mistake that many people make. If you work for a remote team, you probably use multiple devices during your working day. Before joining a video conference call, you should always double-check you are using the right one. 

Using the wrong device can cause an echo. For example, if you forgot to select your headset microphone, another device could be repeating what you are saying through your microphone, causing an annoying echo.

Top-end video conferencing platforms like Samba Live help you avoid this issue. You can easily adjust your audio settings and select and test your microphone from within the platform.

  • Upgrade your old hardware/software

If none of these tips work for you, and your hardware or software is outdated, they could be the problem. Sometimes there is no other alternative but to get yourself an upgrade. Newer headphones come with added features such as noise-cancelling and noise suppression.

If you are using an ancient, ineffective video conferencing software platform, this could be the cause of your woes. Older platforms often have limited audio settings and low call quality.

You can get around this problem by upgrading to a modern and effective video conferencing platform like Samba Live. Our platform offers attendees advanced audio and microphone settings to help you avoid the dreaded echo.

  • Test your microphone for problems before the meeting

One of the best ways to avoid echo is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You do this by checking our audio and microphone settings before the meeting. You could suggest that attendees also do this in your meeting invite. Here are the best ways you can make sure you are ready for the big meeting:

  1. Check you are using the correct device
  2. Check your speaker volume and microphone output
  3. Decide if you should be muted when joining the call or not
  4. Find a quiet spot with minimal background noise
  5. Check that there is adequate space between you and any colleagues
  6. Test your microphone before the meeting
  7. If the meeting is particularly important, set up a dummy meeting with just yourself to guarantee everything is working as it should before joining.

If all else fails and you still have issues, perform a hard reset and restart everything. It might seem simple, but we all know how well this can work!

Final Thought

Audio problems can quickly ruin any meeting. In a worst-case scenario, attendees could leave frustrated and even doubt the professionalism of your company. Knowing how to fix an echoing microphone during a video conference call is essential for any organiser. 

You should never let an echo problem in your conference call go unchecked. People will sometimes just grin and bear the problem while being secretly annoyed. As the organiser, you must ensure that the meeting proceeds smoothly and professionally. 

You will be much better off if you just delay the meeting for a minute or two and fix the issue. If you always remember these 8 tips, you will be in a good position to deal with any echoing microphones.

Digital Samba's video conferencing software makes it easy to solve an echoing microphone. Click here to start your 14-day free trial.

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