Test Your Sound System and Camera

How to Test Your Sound System and Camera

How do you know your AV system is working? Sure, you can find out by joining an online meeting, but you don't want to wait until then to find out your mic, speakers, or camera isn't working or that only half of you is in your camera's field of view.

Here are some online resources that test your mic, speakers, and camera before you go online. Let us know if you find other good ones!

Mic Tests

  1. This is my current fave because it lets you hear how you'll sound to other participants. It also provides an RTA (real-time analyzer) that shows if your mic is hearing unintended sound like air conditioning. High hissy sounds affect the bars on the right, and low sounds affect the ones on the left. A human voice picked up through a good mic and well-adjusted sound system should make bars light up all over the graph. An absence of bars on the right indicates that high sounds aren't getting picked up. In that case, your voice will sound dull - not crisp - to others.

  1. Your mic might work but might not be putting out much volume. When this happens, you'll sound quieter and possibly even inaudible in meetings. Here's a test that shows you, using an oscilloscope-type display, how much level your microphone is sending.

A healthy sound level looks like this
If the graph looks like this when you speak,
your mic isn't sending enough sound and
its sensitivity needs to be increased:

Other Ways to Test Mics

Common collaboration software like Zoom and Teams include mic and speaker tests. They and the websites above are all good ways to ensure you start each meeting sounding good and hearing the rest of the group.


It's good to check your camera for a couple of reasons. First, you want to see how you'll look to others. Do you look like someone in witness protection? Consider turning on lights in front of you and dimming light from behind. Are you halfway out of the image frame? Reposition your camera, yourself, or both. Does the camera see your face from the front, or does it see you from a funny angle? That's eyeline.


The term eyeline refers to the effect of looking into someone's eyes while talking with them. In remote collaboration, perfect eyeline is hard to get.

When you talk with a person face to face and you're looking into each other's eyes (romantic, right?), that's perfect eyeline. In order to get perfect eyeline with video conferencing, you have to put the camera right where your collaborator's eyes appear on your display. That's not impossible, but it's hard to do. The closer your camera and the other person's eyes on your screen are, the better the eyeline. 

If your camera is on the tippytop of your glorious 8k 65" monitor, and the face of your collaborator is at the bottom, they'll see the top of your head. From their point of view (literally), you'll be looking down at their belly. In this case, try putting your camera below your display - you might get better eyeline. When we at BrookTrout and The Farm design conference rooms, we're careful about camera positioning so people using the room look good to people at the far end of calls.

What about us laptop users; we can't move our cameras, so how can we optimize eyeline? If you can't move the camera, consider moving the image of your collaborator near it. Try putting the Zoom/Teams/Meet window on your laptop screen. When you look at the team, they'll be looking at your face straight on.
  1. Here's a web site that lets you see how you look to others.

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