• Bern Tan

Zoom audio settings for voice lessons

Updated: Apr 10, 2020



This newly published finding out of the New England Conservatory shows Zoom outstrips three other platforms (including FaceTime) in fidelity of sound for voice lessons. This includes preserving dynamic ranges as well as the fuller spectral envelope of the singer.


https://www.ianhowellcountertenor.com/preliminary-report-testing-video-conferencing-platforms

However, for Zoom to work well, it says these 4 settings were in play in their study:

  • turn off 'automatically adjust volume' (this is on by default)

  • turn on 'original sound' (this is off by default)

  • disable suppression of persistent background noise (enabled by default)

  • disable suppression of intermittent background noise (enabled by default)

4/1/2020 Update: I reached out to Zoom tech support, and they say that the above 4 settings will all be taken care of if on the student's end, they turn on 'original sound.' This allows the raw sound from the student to come through on the platform, which means that any codecs would be disabled, including automatic dynamics adjustments, and the suppression of background noise. As of the week of 4/7/2020, Zoom mobile apps have also begun to support 'original sound,' which means any user of Zoom can now use this feature, regardless of their operating platform. Also, it's not sufficient if the voice teacher turns this feature on; what's important is that the singer enables this on their end.


Caveat: note that certain external microphones can have codecs of their own running in the background, that can still automatically adjust the student's voice, even if the Zoom platform itself is sending just raw sound over. If you're still witnessing the singer's voice cutting out or getting compressed/modified, you may want to look into external microphone settings.