How to use

Note: These directions apply to the 2.0 version of the program.

Once Skype Sidetone is running, there will be a microphone icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. (The icon is circled in red below):
NotificationTrayIcon.jpg

Clicking on it, will get the application control window, with the sections of controls circled in red:
App Controls.jpg

Side tone controls

The “Side Tones” check box enables or disables the side tone. If you have headphones, you'll want this on; if you have loud speakers, you'll want it off.

The slider controls the volume of the microphone in the headset. You can change it while talking. The volume will vary with microphone and headset.

You can do a “sound check” to see if the feedback is working by clicking on the Sound Check button, and adjusting the volume. I found that the volume setting that works best in a conversation is much, much lower than what works in a sound check.
Next, let’s look at the AGC (“Automatic Gain Control”) section. When making a call, the software can automatically adjust how loud you sound to the other party:

Skype / Automatic Gain Controls

When “Low Pass” is checked, the headphone feedback is at 44100 samples/sec. The microphone sound is filtered to keep only the sounds below 8 Khz, converted to 16000/samples per second and sent to Skype. When it is not checked, headphone feedback is at 16000 samples/sec, and sent to Skype without the low pass filter.

When "Skype AutoGain" is checked, it signals to Skype that Skype can use its own algorithm. When clear, Skype is told not to apply any adjustments.

When "AutoGain" is checked, the custom Automatic Gain Control algorithm is used.

The Automatic Gain Control has three sliders:
  • The “Cutoff” slider controls the distinction between background noise and conversation. Sound below this level is cutoff and silence is sent to Skype. This will vary with microphone – more sensitive (expensive) microphones will pick more noise and be better with a higher setting.
  • The “Normal” slider controls the volume when you are talking normally. The Gain Control tries to raise the volume to this level.
  • The “Loud” slider controls the volume when you talk exceptionally loud. This rarely happens, but when you do talk louder than the Normal level, the Gain Control tries to adjust the volume to this level.

I believe the defaults for the Gain Control are "right" but I would like to hear what others use for settings. I think the "best" settings are the ones where you and the other party of your call think the conversation sounds good, but don't realize you're using any tools.... until you stop using it.

Last edited Mar 31, 2009 at 12:32 AM by randym, version 6

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