A frequent nuisance on Communicator Conference and VoIP calls is significant background noise from one or more participants.
Forget all the great technology around Acoustic Echo Cancellation, Automatic Gain Control, Noise Suppression, Forward Error Connection, RTPC metrics, and Mean Opinion Scores – many times Communicator just does not make a good default choice for which device to use for the microphone.
If a user has both a video camera and another device for their microphone, Communicator will frequently choose to use the microphone on the connected video camera device (as the default) instead of a more appropriate audio device – such as one on the users headset. The tell-tale signs of this are very noticeable background talking near one of the participants (e.g. office co-workers in the background), and the amplification of any noise associated with desk activity (such as keyboard typing).
If you suspect this is the case, have the participant open the Audio and Video tuning wizard in Communicator (Tools | Set Up Audio and Video…), and ensure that the best device for a microphone is selected. If the device used for a microphone is different from the one Communicator selected as a default, you need to choose “Custom” in the drop-down box as show below.