Hear and Be Heard

Listen up!  Recently, I shared tips with you about the importance of flattering lighting in order to look your best on video conference calls.  Today, I want to continue this line of thought by moving on to another important feature of video calls – that is, audio.  Who among us has not struggled to hear or be heard on at least one video call over the past year?  There is nothing more distracting or discouraging on a call than sounds that is inaudible, crackly, fuzzy, muffled, or broken up.  It is critical that we can hear those we are interacting with and for them to hear us clearly in return.

While I have been working from home, I have tried several different earphone and earbud options with and without microphones.  I have finally landed on a few that I like.  Once, again, let me state for the record, this is NOT a money-making venture for me!  I am recommending products to you that I have either tried or that have come highly recommended to me.

  • Wired Earbuds.  The wired earbuds I like best are those from AKG.  There are several models – you know your own ears best and will be able to determine which version is right for you.  I find that they are comfortable, clear sounding and that my listener can hear me just fine so long as the microphone is positioned very close to my mouth.  However, a word of caution:  If you go this route, I suggest purchasing them directly from the AKG website (prices vary widely – from $59.99 to $999.99, no kidding!).  I ordered a couple of sets of “OEM” AKG earbuds from Amazon at a price that really was too good to be true… while I could hear just fine, consistently, my listeners told me there was a horrible buzzing sound and not only could they not hear me… they could only hear themselves!  I sent them back.
  • Wireless Earbuds.  For those of you who are Apple iPhone users, my husband and son tell me there is nothing finer than Apple Airpods (range in price from $159 to $249) for listening and speaking on an iPhone and a MacBook.  Personally, I am a Samsung Galaxy phone user and have a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop.  Recently, I purchased for myself a set of Galaxy Buds Live (range in price from $129.99 to $169.99).  I love them!  They work great with both my phone and laptop, are relatively comfortable (especially now that I have figured out how to get them in and out of my ears!), have outstanding sound quality, and, for the most part, my listeners can hear me.  Like the Airpods, the Galaxy Buds allow for either “transparent” or noise-canceling sound which provides useful options for a variety of situations.  I have noticed that the battery life is somewhat limited, but I keep tabs on it and keep them in the charging case when not in use to keep them as charged up as possible.
  • Noise Canceling Headset.  Though I don’t have one, I noticed my friend, Bruce, wearing a nice-looking noise-canceling headset recently.  He told me that everyone in his company has the Logitech H390 USB Computer Headset which sells at a reasonable $39.95 on the Logitech website.  Bruce mentioned that they can fit a little tight at times, but that he really likes the sound quality.  Of course, these won’t work with your phone unless you have an adapter, but it will work very well with your laptop.

Wishing you crystal clear conversations and, as ever, Happy Networking!

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