Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday and today's tryouts, it was very useful just getting the gremlins ironed out of the audio. Or at least many of them - still some to be some weird random issues.
Headphones definitely seems to a help. I'll work on things from this end regarding microphone and (now) compression settings.
Thanks Pete and it was good to see everyone, especially those I haven't encountered before.
This video seems quite good on choosing the best audio settings for music (e.g. lessons) over Zoom (from 02:05 to 07:28).
To summarise what she says:
Good idea to wear headphones to cut down the risk of echoing
Change default settings for audio which are not ideal for music lessons etc. In Zoom Audio settings:
Uncheck box for "automatically adjust microphone volume" and adjust manually in Zoom audio settings or in your own audio interface
Go into ADVANCED audio settings and:
Check "Show in-meeting option to "Enable original sound" from microphone" [turns off audio enhancements such as echo cancellation and noise suppression]
Check "disable echo cancellation"
[only if using good quality hardware (e.g external microphone with audio interface AND if you are using a wired Ethernet connect rather than WiFi] Check "High Fidelity Music Mode" although this will use extra bandwidth which might be a problem
Then each time you go into a Zoom meeting "Turn on Original Sound" with these optimised audio settings
It was good to see and hear some people, and to make some gender corrections....
My experience on Zoom calls which have 30 - 50 people on them is that bandwidth can be an issue. For example, if you've got a guest speaker giving a talk/presentation, it helps if all participants are both muted and turn off their video - just having them open for the plenary session.
Latency seems to be a moveable feast which is very unpredictable.
When our NHB has practice sessions, we generally use our cell phones with headphones or earbuds instead of desktops or laptop computers. I guess it allows our director to hear us in real time rather than with a slight delay. I missed today but hope it went well.
As we agreed during the Zoom meeting, I contacted Alastair Penman to ask about the echo problem that he had in the Zoom course he ran earlier this year. It turned out to be due to the specific software that the two tutors were using, so it wasn’t the same with us.
His suggestion was that it could be feedback from the speaker to the microphone of any of the participants. If so, it would be possible to discover the culprit by muting participants in turn, but that could take a while. A simpler solution might be for everyone to use headphones.
I learned something today.
I hade a student via Zoom, and I allowed him to share his Desktop (I am the meeting's host).
Doing so, he could stream computer audio along with his playing.
This was new to me, as I thought this would only be possible with a thing called "loopback".
So the host has to click on the second option to allow the participants to share their desktops.
Here's my contribution to the old "run it up the flagpole"
I was thinking about how to have an activity for mixed abilities, from which everyone could get something. My thought is to have a short bit of music - 8-12 bars from an etude or song or whatever, at about intermediate level. People could learn / play it anything from slowly, aiming for good sound, at speed adding some decoration, riff off it with some improvisation. etc.
Maybe kick it off a couple of weeks ahead with a thread where folks could put their takes. Then the discussion might be about "how did you do that" "how could I improve this" "what was your thinking".
My thinking is that, as everyone will have had a go, even just listening to the discussion will be more engaging, but everyone would be able to contribute.