We’ve all experienced the dreaded echo. At the very least, echo can be incredibly distracting. At most, it can overtake the entire meeting or broadcast, resulting in quite a headache for everyone involved. Here’s how to fix it!
What Causes Echo?
Echo appears when a feedback loop is present somewhere in the audio “chain” of your setup. You probably know feedback as that loud, low or high pitched tone that appears at a concert when the singer steps a little too close to the speakers. Feedback is the root cause of echo and it can appear in your broadcast in several ways:
1. Guest Feedback
This is the type of echo that most people are familiar with. Guest feedback occurs when the audio signal coming from one participant reaches the microphone of the other participant. This is illustrated through the diagram below:
The arrows represent the signal moving down the audio chain. The signal starts with Participant A, as the blue arrow on the left entering the microphone. As we follow the path, we see that the signal is emanating out in all directions from the laptop speakers. Some of the arrows are reaching Participant B’s microphone and are being picked up. That signal is then sent by Participant B, represented now by the red arrows, which then is heard by Participant A. This is the dreaded echo.
- Enable “echo cancelation” in StreamYard’s audio settings, this will apply noise compression to the incoming audio signal and cancel out the sound from your device
- Wear headphones to remove the possibility of the sound reaching your microphone
- Turn down your speaker volume so that the microphone does not pick up the sound
2. Device/Speaker Feedback
This feedback occurs most often when two active audio devices are physically in the same room. Let’s use the example of someone utilizing their phone as a second camera angle in StreamYard:
Puddles has signed into his StreamYard account through both his laptop and his phone and joined the same studio for his upcoming broadcast. He adds both devices to his stream and says “Hello!” The moment he does, he hears his voice from his phone repeating over and over, slowly distorting and growing louder and louder until it is just one solid high pitch ring.
Let’s follow the audio path once again, starting with the blue arrow. Puddles says “hello” and the signal is sent into the computer and to all participants in the studio. Since the phone is technically a participant in the studio, it plays the incoming “hello” out over its speaker which emanates out in all directions. We see again that the sound is reaching the microphone, which is sent back through the computer, now represented by the red arrows. This pattern now repeats, the red signal emanates from the phone and reaches the microphone again, and again, and again.
- Turn the volume all the way down on your secondary device to stop the signal from playing over its speaker
3. Internal Feedback
Internal feedback can be a bit harder to diagnose. Internal feedback occurs when a loop happens inside the internal chain of your computer's audio:
- Having multiple tabs/windows of the broadcast studio open
- Having another tab with the stream open on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, etc…
- Internal feedback chain when using aggregate audio devices (Loopback/Voicemeeter)
There are many potential causes of echo when live streaming. A general rule of thumb to follow is start external, then move internal. Look at who/what is in the studio and check that audio from those devices is not causing the feedback loop. If those are accounted for, look into your system and see if any internal routes are causing the loop!
If you try these steps and still find you're hearing echo, reach out to us through our 24/7 Live Chat via https://streamyard.com/contact!