Adjust Headset and Webcam Controls in Microsoft Teams

By default, Microsoft Teams will autodetect your headset and webcam that is connected to your PC. If there is no headset detected, Teams will revert to the built-in microphone and speakers on your machine.

It is very important that the right devices are selected for the best experience to you and your participants. Generally, it is not acceptable or good practice to use your built-in laptop mic and speakers. Whilst you may hear a coworker clearly through your speakers, your microphone will be picking up all kinds of background noises, including fan noise from your computer, keystrokes and other room noises. Dust also gets into the microphone port impacting pickup and it cannot focus it’s pickup to you, so you are not heard properly on the other end.

There are several ways in which you can check and make sure the right device is selected. The first is via the App Settings. Click on the ellipsis (…) next to your avatar and click Settings. Go to the Devices tab.

Make sure your headset is selected for the microphone and speaker.

Use Pre-Meeting Join Controls

Another way to check and set your device settings is via the pre-join experience in a Teams meeting. When you join any Teams meeting you are presented with this screen

Click on the slider icon next to the option in the computer audio to open the side window to make any changes you need.

Use the Calling App in Teams to Set Device

You can also quickly switch your device in the calling app in Teams. You’ll notice your selected one at the bottom left of the app screen. Simply click on it and choose from the available device options.

Noise Suppression & Mic Sensitivity

There is nothing more distracting in a conversation than hearing background noise. With hybrid work it is a common problem, babies crying, dogs barking etc.

Some Microsoft Teams headsets have built in technology to suppress these noises, but these are expensive and cannot be easily afforded. Fortunately, Teams has built-in technology to help reduce the effects of this background noise by using AI to clean the audio in-app.

This means that people with cheaper headsets can have a similar experience as the more expensive headsets.

To enable this, go back to Devices in the Settings menu. There are two settings, “Automatically Adjust Mic Sensitivity” and “Noise Suppression

Enable the Automatically Adjust Mic Sensitivity option as this will help reduce the pickup area of the microphone.

The next option is noise suppression. The default is set to Automatic. If left this way Teams will decide how best to use this feature. There can be delays and periods where noise is heard and not.

If you are in a noisy environment, choose the High setting, otherwise leave as Automatic.

This is not fool proof, it helps a lot, but it can only do so much. You also need to be mindful of your PC specification as this setting will use your CPU more than normal.

Secondary Ringer in Microsoft Teams

Picture the scenario, you are away from your desk and someone calls you on Teams. Out of the Box, Teams will play the ringtone through the default speaker device selected. This is typically your headset ear phones.

If you’re at your desk, you have a visual clue with a notification and you may even hear a faint ringtone coming from your headset if you’re not wearing it. But you’re not and you don’t hear it and the call is missed.

Secondary ringer helps to solve this problem by allowing Teams to use an additional speaker to play the ringtone through, perhaps laptop speakers or USB ones.

To set this up, go to the Devices tab in Settings and choose from the drop down under the Secondary Ringer section the device you want to use

Choosing Your Webcam

Video is important for great meetings. By default, Teams will use your default webcam device from your machine. If you want to change this to an external webcam, you can do so in the Devices tab in Settings by scrolling down to the Camera section and choosing the webcam device. You’ll notice a preview too so that you can setup your preferred angle and lighting.

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