Summary. One of the challenges of using Skype for conferences, presentations, and other video conferencing applications is that there is typically feedback created if a headset is not used by at least one of the parties at either end of the Skype session.

Using a quality microphone, like the Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone – Plug n’ Play pictured here can help. The Samson Go Mic performs well in group settings.

“I was helping with a workshop where the presenter was overseas teaching a group of attendees all sharing the same webcam. Microphones on webcams are more suited for one or two people sitting closely, so that didn’t work well in a larger group setting. I didn’t want to disrupt the workshop, but during a break of a few minutes, tried plugging in the Samson Go Mic. I was surprised that Windows 7 and Skype immediately recognized the microphone. Skype asked if the new device should be used as the primary microphone. In one click to confirm, the microphone was working. The speakers needed to be plugged into the device as well since it functions like a headset that combines speakers and microphone in one USB connection. Overall, I was really impressed with the ease of installation and performance.” Greg Johnson

Here are additional suggestions for optimizing audio with Skype for situations where a person is remotely presenting to a group:

  • Mute the microphone being used by the group listening to the presenter. In this way, the presenter’s computer won’t amplify remote sounds — causing feedback. This only works if there is no group participation or questions for the presenter.
  • When a remote presenter is speaking to a group, it’s best for the presenter to use a headset (microphone and headphone) or at least wear headphones (and use the internal microphone on their computer). If this is not done, there will likely be excessive feedback and noise.
  • Microphone. Events where a group is involved, it’s best to use a microphone like the Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone – Plug n’ Playpictured above. using a USB extension cable makes it possible to get the microphone as far away from the speakers as possible.
  • Webcam. The webcam can be connected to the Skype computer using a USB extension cable. This allows the camera to be placed far enough away from the group to include everyone in the video. A longer cable is also useful if passing the camera around.
  • Speakers. Depending on the size of the room and the group participating, most smaller events and venues will be well served by the Philips SPA7210 Multimedia Speakers shown below. It’s important to have the speakers as far away from the microphone as possible. This can be done using an audio extension cable.