- On June 2, 2022
- AGC, Noise Cancellation
In this post we would like to discuss a disturbance in phone calls that might happen from time to time: you are in a phone call but the voice of the other party is too weak making it had to understand. In this case you will initially try and increase the volume on your side or ask your party to speak louder and get closer to the microphone. These techniques usually help but not all the time. More frustrating and complicated scenarios are when there is also ambient noise that masks the voice or when your party is in a conference room and some of the people are sitting far away from the microphone. In these scenarios the simple solutions discussed above will usually not work.
If you experience these cases more often recently it is because of the COVID pandemic. Due to the COVID pandemic people combine work outside of the office with work from the office and therefore a lot of the daily meetings occur while some of the people are connecting remotely while others are co-located in a conference room.
The above problem have two technological solutions: a hardware-based solution and a software-based solution. The hardware-based solution is good for conference calls from rooms that are regularly used for conferencing. In these rooms you can place a special sound-station that is equipped with multiple microphones. The multiple microphones are placed along the table allowing them to pick almost any voice in the room. Below is picture of common hardware-based sound-station, from Poly, for conference rooms that is equipped with multiple microphones that can be placed at a distance from each other.
The hardware-based solution works very well but it has two major disadvantageous: it is expensive and due to its nature it is good for dedicated conference rooms and not for all the above mentioned scenarios.
A more economic and flexible solution is a software-based solution. The software solutions needs to have two capabilities in order to be useful:
- It should be equipped with an Automatic Gain Control (AGC). This capability can make sure that the volume of the voice will always be adjusted to a comfortable level regardless the distance from the microphone or how loud someone talks.
- It should be equipped with a simple method to connect to the audio stream.
An example of such a software is SoliCall that supports AGC and can be connected to the audio on any PC and any VoIP network. In addition, SoliCall offers a noise cancelling software which can get rid of the ambient noise and therefore making the speech more intelligible.