Re: Audio with a Headphones and microphone set up

K. Starr (
Thu, 27 Feb 1997 13:35:14 -0500

>Hi CU-SeeMe List,
>Ive been noticing and hearing some very good audio over CU-SeeMe from
>people using headphone/microphone devices - like a radio commentary headset
>thing, are they a great help or is audio still a question of system - i.e.

Actually, I believe audio quality is ultimately a question of bandwidth and
transmission speed. How fast are you sending/receiving. Next is the codec
used to decompress the audio stream; some are better/clearer than others.
The differences between WP and Cornell in this regard relate to the audio
codecs used by each. Thirdly, the faster your processor (whether Mac or PC)
the better your audio.

But the fastest processor, best codec won't improve things much if your
transmission/reception speed over the net is slow. Some of this is under
your control (modem, ISDN, T1 elections, etc.) others not (the same
elections made by the reflector, current traffic on the net, etc.)

Lastly, the headset/mic combo is a help, as the microphone is placed in the
optimal position for noise-free pickup. Of course, a hand-held mic placed
in the same position would do just as well (perhaps better if an expensive,
pro-level mic were used) but keeping it there while trying to type, mouse,
watch the screen, etc. is a real PITA! <G>

>of Headset-Audio with a Mac ? Can you recommend a good headphone/microphone

The best are the pro units used by radio DJs, talk show hosts, etc. which
are very expensive and also overkill for CU-SeeMe applications. Also, they
most probably use DIN connections, in which case an adaptor for your
mini-plug connections on your computer would be required, cancelling out the
noise reduction features that make these units the best.

The US$10 to US$20 headsets sold in computer and office supply stores aren't
very good. About their only asset over a hand-held is convenience and mic
positioning, the value of the latter reduced relevant to a desk top mic as
the quality of the desk top mic increases.

The best compromise appears to be the units sold for video cameras, which
are of reasonable quality and have the same mini-plug connectors used by
computers. These range in price from around US$80 to US$120.

However, do remember, the mic is the least significant varibale in the
chain, as noted above.

Warm regards,

Kent Starr
aka Wizzard=A9