Need Advice on Microphone/Webcam for use with Skype

By Route44
Jan 18, 2010
  1. This isn't really so much for me as it is for my wife and her sister who live over a 1000 miles apart and sister-in-law has a lousy minute plan with her cell phone.

    I'm clueless on these peripherals and I know nothing about Skype but said sister-in-law suggests it.

    Suggestions are really most appreciative. My OS is XP Pro with SP/3.

  2. IvanAwfulitch

    IvanAwfulitch TS Booster Posts: 218   +11

    Skype works with a very wide range of microphones and webcams. As long as you have the drivers for the webcam, then you should be able to select it in Skype.

    Get into Skype, look at the top and look for Tools. Click and go to Options. In the options on the left side, go to the Video Settings. It should automatically detect a webcam if you have one plugged in. Make sure you have the webcam set up how you would like.

    As for the microphone, it's plug and play as well in terms of how it works. But I wouldn't try using an old microphone though. The sound sampling quality is usually a bit lower than a more modern mic or headset. I would go out and buy a cheap 10 or 15 dollar mic or headset and use that.

    After you get your mic plugged in, go into Tools, Options, and Audio Settings. Choose the appropriate settings and you should be good to go. (Also make sure you don't forget to unmute the microphone. Sometimes Windows Sound mutes the mic because it doesn't detect it so you need to unmute it. And make sure there isn't a manual mute button on the mic that's switched on or you won't get sound regardless.)

    After that, you should be able to make video calls. Make sure you have decent lighting in your room or else the webcam image might appear to be a bit too dark to see yourself/the other person properly.

    Naturally, if you have any more specific questions, then don't hesitate to ask. I use skype on a moderate basis and I'm fairly familiar with it.

    Edit: This is the headset I use. It gives me good quality sound. The webcam I use is actually a 3 megapixel camera that offers a webcam option. This is my camera:
  3. sniper1371

    sniper1371 TS Rookie

    Ivan, can the person you're chatting with notice the difference between the 3.0 MP webcam you use vs. a 1.3 MP one? I use a 1.3 and so does the person I chat with and it has some pretty bad quality, but I'm not sure if that's the cam or skype.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 11,966   +70

    @ IvanAwfulitch - Great info. Thanks!

    @ sniper1371 - Good question. I'll be looking forward on reading the response.
  5. IvanAwfulitch

    IvanAwfulitch TS Booster Posts: 218   +11

    Yes, the quality of the camera does have an affect on your picture. It's the same as if you were video-taping in real life. It's just streaming it to another computer. It also depends a little bit on your internet connection. If the connection is lagging, then the quality will go down a little bit in terms of the frame rate. Movement will be a lot jerkier. If you can afford one, perhaps a better megapixel quality webcam would be best. If not, you might just have to settle for what you have. The picture I get from my webcam is actually pretty good quality and I can also use some of the functions of the camera to improve the picture. For instance, I have a distance setting on my camera for up-close versus far away pictures. If I want to focus on some text from a book, I can switch to close up and improve my picture.
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