What Equipment do I Need?

Although modern laptops and PCs have built-in speakers, microphone and webcam, there are a number of good reasons why you might want to invest in a quality headset in particular (you only need a webcam if you want to add video to your calls).

Headsets generally dramatically improve the quality of conference calls. Apart from the fact that using the computer's built-in speakers and microphone can lead to feedback and distortion at high volume, a headset offers clearer reproduction and filters out ambient noises. Moreover it prevents your conversation (at least the part coming from the person at the other end) from being heard by others, which makes it easier to use if you are in a shared office. It is also worth making sure that your webcam is HD (high definition) to ensure a clear and sharp image, this is especially important if you are intending to use the camera to connect to multiple sites or to be projected on a large screen.

Purchase any required items here :  Purchasing Conference Equipment

Headset advice

A headset includes a pair of headphones and a microphone. There are different types of headsets to choose from, both in terms of fit (over-the-head, in-ear or behind-the-neck) and connectivity (i.e. mini-jacks, USB plug-in or wireless).  

USB headsets represent the best value because they are easy to use (plug-and-play) and affordable. Mini-jacks headsets are cheaper but need a built-in soundcard of decent quality and tend to be more fiddly to get working well. Wireless headsets are quite costly;  the only real advantage is if you need to walk around the room when you are on a conference call.

Webcam advice

There are a host of webcams to choose from, but we recommend that you choose one that supports UVC (Universal Video Class), i.e. one that is plug-and-play and does not require software installation.

Using Skype in a group meeting

If you are using Skype as a small group gathered round a single computer then you will need to use an omni-directional microphone in order to effectively pick up the voices of all the group.