Skype 3.0 sound settings wizard
One of the concerns we hear from more active Skypers is that it is really difficult to get the sound devices in Skype right, especially if you have more than one device connected and keep switching between them. It’s not really difficult to switch sound devices in Skype, you just need to go to Tools, Options, Sound Devices and select the devices you want to use. And other software does it the same way so it’s what you could call an “industry standard” way to manage the devices.
However, it wasn’t good enough and it often destroyed the call experience. Suppose someone calls you and you don’t have your headset plugged in. Now you need to quickly grab your headset, plug it in and click your way through the menus to find the sound settings hopefully before the other party gives up through sheer frustration of not hearing you speaking. Plus there’s the uncertainty of if the device switch really works mid-call or will it hang up your call.
This is why we made what we call the Sound Settings Wizard that is now available in the place where it belongs – the call tab itself. So when you get a call, there’s no longer the hassle of navigating menus and obscure options. Just click on the little headset picture and the wizard slides open, showing you the active devices and letting you change them through friendly dropdowns.
]]>The wizard also solves another common problem: people speaking too loudly or quietly in regular and conference calls, be they Skype, SkypeIn or SkypeOut. Different people may have very different microphone capture and playback volume levels. Until now, the only way to change them was to go to Windows sound settings and use the Windows Mixer. Which is a fine tool, but again, a hassle to navigate to during a call. So what you can do now is also see the visual indicators for capture and playback, and change the capture and volume levels. To change the levels, just grab the blue blob and drag it in the desired direction.
It may happen that you have a blue blob to set the playback volume, but not for microphone capture level. Where is the blob? To uncover the blob also means to uncover one of remaining large mysteries in Skype options – the great mystery of “What the hell does the “Let Skype adjust my sound device settings” option do???” If you have turned this on in Options, Sound devices, it means that you trust Skype to automatically set the appropriate capture level for your microphone. In most cases, it works just fine, and since it’s automatic, there’s no need for you to set it. But sometimes it may not work or for some reason you may want a more precise control over your microphone. This is where the capture level control comes in. Turn off the “Let Skype adjust…” setting in sound devices, and the next time you’re in a call, you’ll get the blue blob to manually adjust your microphone capture level. You should experiment a few times with our call testing service which way works better for you, but most often, it’s OK to stay with the default automated setting.