Skype settings for best violin performance?
I will be giving a violin performance to a hospital patient (a friend of a friend) this week. The performance will be over Skype, which is the only platform that the hospital allows.
I've never given a remote performance before, so I'm looking to V.com for advice on how to setup my Skype. I have a 2017 MacBook Pro with the latest version of Skype installed. My internet connection will be via wifi in my home. I don't have an option to hardwire and I don't plan on buying any additional equipment like external mic or camera. I will just be using my MacBook's mic and camera. Given my situation, what are the settings in Skype that I should use to ensure optimal audio & video quality? Thanks in advance for your advice!
It doesn't look like there is much you can do in Skype itself. I found one hack that changes the frames per second.
Honestly I don't think you need to do anything special. That's kind of the whole point of Skype is that it's a user-friendly way to do video communication without having to tweak a bunch of techie parameters. Your wifi router will have no problem handling a Skype session. Even if you are using a 5-year-old 802.11n router, that's still going to handle data at 100 Mbps easily. Your internet provider is another matter but beyond your control. The one thing you don't want is to have members of your family doing massive downloads, software updates, multi-user gaming, Netflix, Zoom conferencing, and other stuff that might consume a lot of local bandwidth. Try it with a friend ahead of time and make sure you like what you see and hear, that's what I would do.
Stewie & Paul -- Thanks for your responses. I have tested out both Skype and Zoom with my brother on the other end. He said the audio on Zoom was far better, but unfortunately I can only use Skype for this performance.
You're right that these platforms are aimed at spoken word meetings, not music. Zoom does sound better, and has the option to "enable original sound" so whatever sound your computer will make (with whatever mic it's using) gets through to the other person. You can also "share" your computer's sound, so it comes through nicely.
The Mac's built-in microphone is definitely not great, and having anything else running on your laptop while broadcasting is going to be a problem.
I take violin lessons via Skype using my Windows laptop. This may be obvious to people who are more audio-savvy than I, but make sure that the microphone's input level is not set so high that the signal "pegs" when you play violin (you can check this in Skype's setting). Also, don't stand right next to the laptop while you are playing. With all the microphone's enhancements turned off, my teacher is able to criticize my use of dynamics and can tell when my octave harmonics are not actually harmonics. Also, if you have use wireless headphones, this will prevent sounds coming from you speakers from feeding back and while permitting your audience to make comments that you can hear while you are playing. Hope this helps.
Yes ... sustained notes are a problem with both Skype and Zoom. YouTube might be better, but you're already committed to Skype.
Not sure why you can only use Skype? The person at the other end doesn' need a Zoom account, only you need one. They automatically download a piece of software
Thanks, everyone, for your advice! I do have a camcorder that I can connect to my laptop and change the Skype audio settings to use the camcorder mic. I will test it out tonight.
I tried connecting my camcorder to my laptop and changing the Skype audio setting to use the camcorder mic. My brother said it improves the sound quality significantly. I think this setup is good enough for now. Thanks again, everyone, for your suggestions!
The sound changes depending on the device you use and the device settings in Windows, there's nothing you can do on Skype.