As the coronavirus-inspired lockdown shows no sign of loosening its grip, remote communication tools are only going to become more and more important. We have already seen conferencing apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams become increasingly popular in the last few weeks. An old-timer like Skype isn’t left out either. Microsoft’s longstanding call and conferencing app has more than 2 billion users worldwide.
While the main Skype app remains a fantastic tool for making free calls, its commercial variant, Skype for Business, is where the money is at currently. More and more individuals and companies have been turning to it to organize video meetings.
The problem with the increased activity on collaborative platforms, in general, is the possible reduction in audio and video quality, not to mention connectivity issues. The recent struggles of Zoom are a case in point. Many people complained bitterly about various issues on that platform.
Though the Skype for Business team has to hold up their end of the quality control bargain by making sure the servers aren’t overloaded, you can still do some things at your end. As you know, sound and video quality are the most important components of online collaboration. You can make sure your digital meetings flow smoothly in Skype for Business by tweaking the sound and video options to achieve the best quality.
Why Can’t I Hear Anything on Skype for Business?
Sometimes, it happens that no voice comes through the selected speaker in Skype for Business. Obviously, this will be very bad if the meeting is scheduled for a few hours or minutes. If you can’t find a solution, you might have to pull out altogether, and that won’t look good.
If it is an issue with the speaker and you have a headset or external speakers, you can switch to that in the meantime and figure out the issue later.
But what happens if no sound comes out irrespective of the audio device selected? Assuming you didn’t unknowingly mute the speakers, the main reason for this would be issues with the sound card or sound driver.
Most desktop computers have a discrete sound card. For laptops, however, the sound device is integrated with the main processor. In either case, a sound input/output device should be present, otherwise it is impossible to produce sound.
You can check for the presence of a sound card in Device Manager. Press the Windows logo and X keys simultaneously and select Device Manager from the menu. On the Device Manager screen, expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” node. You should find the sound device here. Click it twice to open its properties. If you see “This device is working properly” in the description box, the issue you’re facing probably lies elsewhere.
If it is not the sound card, it could be the device driver. You can either update or reinstall it to fix the problem. In Device Manager, navigate to the “Sound, video and game controllers” node and right-click the sound device. Select Update Driver and choose the first option in the next window to let Windows search automatically for the driver software. If that doesn’t work, uninstall the driver instead, then click Action > Scan for hardware changes at the top of Device Manager. Windows will reinstall the device.
Reboot your PC after either action, and your sound card shouldn’t have any problems again.
How to Adjust Video and Audio Settings on Skype for Business
To get the best experience on Skype for Business, your audio and video devices must be working properly. Moreover, you need to choose the correct settings for the hardware, which will provide clear audio and video. For audio, you can use the inbuilt microphone and speakers on your PC as the primary or only voice device. If you have an external audio device, you need to select it so the system can use it. Beyond that, proper volume adjustment is necessary to attain the right pitch.
How to Change the Audio Settings on Skype for Business
Before you begin that all-important conference call through Skype for Business, check everything you need and test your devices to make sure they are all in working condition. Pay particular attention to your inbuilt speakers or external headset or other audio peripheral.
In the Skype for Business app, go to Options > Primary Device. Then select Audio Device Settings in the window that opens. In the right pane, you can choose the audio device you wish to use for your calls.
Another thing you can do is test your speaker to make sure it is at the right volume. It will be bad if you aren’t able to hear anything once the meeting begins. Better to test things while you still can.
You can, of course, easily see your speaker listed. In case you don’t, there might be an issue somewhere. You can use the Sound and Audio troubleshooter to see what’s up and fix things. Open the Start menu and search for “troubleshoot”. Click the top result, which will take you to the Troubleshoot section in Windows Settings. In the right pane, select Playing Audio and click the “Run the troubleshooter” button.
Of course, you don’t need to do that if you can see your speaker. Just select it and click the green play button to test the volume. Move the slider left or right to lower or increase the volume accordingly.
If nothing happens no matter how much you move the slider, check that the speaker isn’t under a system-wide mute.
How to Adjust Video Settings on Skype for Business
This is more a case of making sure the correct video source is selected. If you don’t want to use the default webcam and have connected another camera, ensure Skype is working with that before you begin the meeting.
Open the Skype for Business options and choose Video Device. Click “Select the camera you want to use for video calls” to expand the options and choose your camera. If you want it to always be focused on you, tick the “Crop and center my video in meetings” checkbox.
For granular adjustments to the camera, click the Camera Settings button and make whatever modifications you deem necessary. Once you’re done, test your video and everything should be fine.
Further Options to Troubleshoot Audio/Video Issues in Skype for Business
Most of the time, issues in Skype for Business lie with the audio, although the camera can also be affected. Here are a couple of further things you can do to ensure you have everything you need for your online collaboration.
Enable the Microphone for Skype for Business
- Open the Settings app and select the Privacy Option.
- Select Microphone from the Privacy menu.
- In the right pane, toggle the Microphone enabler icon to On.
- Under “Choose apps that can use your microphone” look for Skype for Business and ensure it is enabled to use the mic.
Adjust System-Wide Mic Settings
- Click the speaker icon on your taskbar and select Recording Devices.
- The System Sound dialog opens in the Recording tab. Double-click your microphone to open its properties.
- In the Microphone Properties window, you can adjust Noise Cancellation, DC Offset Cancellation, Echo, and other settings. Provided you know what you’re doing, of course.
- You should also untick the “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” checkbox if it is ticked. On the one hand, it makes your changes system-wide. On the other hand, it prevents another app from blocking Skype for Business from using the microphone.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that nothing interferes with your collaborations, meetings and conferences held on Skype for Business. To this end, not only sound issues but glitches in other parts of the system can have a knock-on effect, disturbing the stability and performance of certain apps. To get the most out of Skype for Business, your system should be fast, responsive and decluttered. Auslogics BoostSpeed can help you achieve this state by eliminating the causes of system and application glitches and crashes. It also cleans out junk files, ensuring your PC performs at an optimum level.