Do I Need a Headset if I Use a Webcam?

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Headsets sound great, but can look goofy.
Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Whether you are recording training presentations for your new hires or videoconferencing with clients from your desktop, webcams have established themselves as indispensable business tools. However, there is more to using a webcam than just capturing video. The accompanying audio is frequently even more important. While capturing good-quality audio is important, you don't need to wear a headset to do it.


Headset Benefits

If all that you're doing is talking, a headset can provide the best sound quality. Since the microphone is located close to your mouth, your voice will naturally be louder than most background sounds. Furthermore, since many headsets include noise cancellation technology, they can reduce some of the constant noises, like fan noise and hum, in the background. Having the headset close to your mouth also reduces the risk of any echo being picked up.


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Headset Drawbacks

Headsets are great for recording audio, but when you use them with a webcam, they have one key drawback -- people can see you wearing them. If you're looking for a natural appearance with a clear view of your entire face, a headset won't do the job. They can also only capture audio from the person that is wearing them, making a headset impractical if you need a single one to pick up what multiple people are saying, such as in a small group meeting.


Built-In Microphones

Most webcams have built-in microphones. However, the built-in microphone is rarely of very good quality. The microphones built into most notebook computers have the same problem. They work, but they aren't good enough for uses where sound quality is important. Even if you have a good microphone in your webcam, your positioning options are limited -- you can only point it where you point your webcam and, if that isn't the best place to pick up sound, you're out of luck.


Other Alternatives

Generally speaking, if you don't want to wear a headset, you have a few other options. If you need to move around, consider wearing a wireless lavalier microphone. These microphones typically attach to your jacket lapel and can capture your voice well without being as obtrusive as a headset. If you will be using your webcam at your desk, consider a desktop microphone. These microphones come in a range of styles, including omnidirectional units that can pick up sound from all directions and are good for groups. They usually have better quality audio circuitry than built-in microphone and can also be separately positioned from your webcam to provide the best sound quality without compromising your video recording angle.




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