Setting up your microphone input with spf.io

Apr 5, 2018 | Documentation, How-to, spf.io tips

In this post we are going in-depth on the spf.io microphone setup. Each venue is a little different so you may have a slightly different setup. This post is just focused on the essentials here. If you aren’t sure how to set up the laptop and the audio connection for spf.io, follow along with us! Please note, some links provided are affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission if you purchase through them.What you will need:

  1. Reliable internet (wired connection is HIGHLY recommended)
  2. Laptop with Google Chrome
  3. Audio connection with soundboard

 

The spf.io microphone setup

Plug the microphone audio to the microphone input of your computer. Work with your venue A/V tech person to get the microphone output from the soundboard into your laptop. There are two potential setups to make this work.

Frugal Option: From the soundboard, get audio out with a 3.5mm male-to-male TRRS cable. Plug the cable into the soundboard and then plug the other end of the cable into the laptop microphone input.*

* Find your laptop’s microphone jack. To check if your laptop has a separate microphone jack, first locate your headphone jack. If you see another similar input with a microphone icon next to it, that indicates you have a dedicated microphone jack.

Example of a laptop that does not have a separate microphone jack. - spf.io microphone setup

If you have only one input, that means you do not have a dedicated microphone jack and you will need a USB converter.

On the USB converter, you will see two inputs: one headphone and one microphone (typically pink).

Image of a USB converter indicating the microphone input

Plug in the USB converter to the laptop and allow a few moments for the device driver to install itself.

 

Premium Option: Alternatively, use a USB audio interface device to accept audio out from the soundboard with an XLR cable. The device will plug in directly to the computer via the USB port: http://amzn.to/2DB0bul

Example USB audio interface

 

Laptop physical setup

There are two simple but important parts to setting up the laptop in the venue. First, get connected to the internet–we highly recommend a wired ethernet connection because it is the most reliable. If your computer does not have an ethernet input, you will need a USB ethernet adapter

If you need to rely on wifi, have a backup plan in place. One potential backup solution is to use a cellphone as a mobile hotspot.

 

And second, don’t forget to plug into a power outlet! If your event goes beyond an hour, this will ensure you can keep going for the entire event.

 

Next step is to set up the microphone audio with spf.io.

 

Selecting the right microphone input in spf.io

First, open the session’s interpreter view in spf.io.

Ensure the channel the interpreter/operator view is opened in the same language as the one that will be spoken the majority of the time. So for example, if the event is conducted in English, choose the English channel.

Screenshot indicating the selected channel

 

When you first enable the captioner, it will ask you to allow access to the microphone. Click “Allow”.

Screenshot with the window for allowing microphone access

 

In the right-hand side of the browser’s URL bar, click on the Camera icon and select the correct input as the microphone input.

Screenshot showing the microphone input selection.

 

Open the audio visualizer to see the sound as it is coming through the microphone. Speak into the microphone to test and confirm the setup is working as expected. If the captioner is enabled, you should see it generating the text it is hearing.

Screenshot of the audio visualizer

 

Disable the captioner once your testing is complete until your event begins.

 

Common Setup Mistakes

We see a few mistakes that can cause issues in the microphone setup. If you’re experiencing some problems, try going through the steps outlined below.

  1. The wrong microphone is selected – be sure to select the correct input as the Microphone input. It should not be using the built-in microphone.
  2. The wrong language is selected – be sure the interpreter view is set to the correct language.
  3. Microphone audio is too loud or too soft – use the audio visualizer to ensure the audio coming through isn’t causing clipping, or isn’t so soft that the captioner is unable to pick up anything. Applying compression to the audio may help (work with the A/V tech person on this).
  4. Poor internet – as we have mentioned, it is extremely important to have reliable internet. The best way to guarantee this is to have a wired ethernet connection with your laptop. If that isn’t possible, then we recommend tethering with a mobile hotspot that has a strong connection within the venue.
  5. The incorrect locale is selected – for example, if the speaker is speaking English but their accent is British rather than American, selecting “United Kingdom” would be the better locale than “United States”.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it! We’ve gone over the requirements for the spf.io microphone setup and the various available options. We also discussed some of the common setup mistakes that you can double check to avoid issues. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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