New Zoom high fidelity audio mode

Edited: September 9, 2020, 2:00 PM · This just went out to my kids' chamber music organization - there is a new "high fidelity audio" mode in the advanced audio settings in the v5.2.2 MacOS and Windows Zoom client, "for professional audio transmission in music education and performance applications". I am looking forward to trying this out, but I am still looking for details on what exactly it does (it mentions a higher quality audio codec).

https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360048388632-New-Updates-for-September-1-2020

Replies (14)

Edited: September 7, 2020, 12:34 PM · Won't matter for a lot of people, you need a good microphone to take advantage of it.
September 9, 2020, 4:39 AM · David is correct -- and higher quality audio codecs will require a bit more bandwidth so people's internet connection speeds will be very important. And that connection speed becomes a bigger issue if there is a person taking a music lesson while another person is doing online schoolwork and one or two others are working from home, all sharing that same internet connection.

That web-site link also includes the comment "Professional audio interface, microphone, and headphones required." So it won't affect many of us, who are using USB connection mics and the computer's speakers. Playing violin while wearing heaphones isn't exactly my ideal playing situation.

Stan -- thank you for making us aware of the Zoom upgrade!

September 9, 2020, 7:31 AM · They need to publish more details. With a better audio codec, there's a good chance that even a good quality USB mic will sound better. (I have both, will try.) Is it LPCM? That would suck bandwidth, others not as much especially relative to the video. Also, my seat of the pants observation with the standard setup is that there's some adaptive quality selection based on available bandwidth; if this new option prioritizes audio over video, that could help as well with my sortof-skinny 50 down / 5 up service.

Also FWIW I have heard that both sides have to have the update for this to have any benefit.

September 9, 2020, 7:37 AM · We tried it this week and other than it needing a ton of bandwith (had to plug in ethernet), didn't perceive much of a difference.
Edited: September 9, 2020, 12:34 PM · Our neighborhood is supposed to be getting gigabit fiber through a local non-profit. Hope we can do something with that.

By the way I've informed Laurie that someone wrecked the HTML on this page. Not sure who.

September 9, 2020, 12:34 PM · I've been using it with my Zoom Q4n and an Ethernet connection to FiOS. I'm told it sounds good, but it also sounded good before. I'll need to experiment. I turned on both stereo and high fidelity; this also turns off echo cancellation.

Zoom high fidelity is 192 kbps stereo, which the Q4n can support.

September 9, 2020, 12:53 PM · Paul, I was sloppy and added an unterminated html a href=... link to the zoom announcement in the first post...it hoses up the rest of the page, including the edit selection. I apologized and asked her to clean it up this weekend but once it's messed up, I am guessing you need to know the specific post id to do that. I can't even delete the post now to try again.
September 11, 2020, 2:36 AM · It is good that Zoom is addressing audio quality. However, the quality of the signal is not the main reason that the service is not well suited to musical collaboration. Zoom has a large amount of latency. This makes it all but impossible to accompany a student, or to interact with other musicians in real time.
September 11, 2020, 11:15 AM · Small commercial-- I got an e-mail from Yale taking credit for bringing all this to Zoom's attention. Supposedly the School of Music has been thinking hard about virtual teaching and performance requirements.
September 11, 2020, 1:27 PM · Good microphone or not, there was already a setting that used 'original audio' so that Zoom did not hear the music as background noise and squelch it out.
September 11, 2020, 1:27 PM · Good microphone or not, there was already a setting that used 'original audio' so that Zoom did not hear the music as background noise and squelch it out.
September 11, 2020, 6:57 PM · I've discovered that I still need to keep echo cancellation as "Auto" rather than "Off", with the new mode.
September 11, 2020, 7:25 PM · Found that in chamber coaching today too, Lydia. I expect if everyone is using headphones, it could be turned off.

Christopher, unlike original audio, I'm thinking this is more about increasing the audio sampling rate, and reducing compression on the audio data (increasing accuracy, for lack of a better word).

September 12, 2020, 1:31 PM · if it requires a seperate headphone and mike, it may be more of a full duplex type audio. Most speakerphones, (would include anything acting as a speakerphone), mute the mic while the speaker is playing, and vice versa. This is to prevent feedback which escalates in amplitude in the digital world. With seperate mic and speaker you get some isolation, and therefore no auto muting is necessary


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