Background Noise in Online Music Lessons

Oct 11, 2021

Hunter McGranahan, Forte Co-founder and CPO

Forte

Over the past month, we’ve received reports of some users hearing excessive background noise during a lesson. The problem appears to be most common with certain laptops whose speakers and microphones are too close together, creating a feedback loop.

Video conferencing tools with audio optimized for business meetings use sound suppressors to eliminate this kind of background noise. To ensure that our teachers and students hear the most nuanced sound possible in their lessons, we do not use a sound suppressor.

If you’re experiencing a hissing noise or other excessive background noise in your lessons, here are a few solutions:

1. Muting yourself (even for a split second) breaks the audio feedback loop. This is a temporary solution, as the loop will start to slowly build back as the lesson goes on.
2. Use a USB microphone instead of the internal microphone in your laptop computer. Check out our blog on the case for external mics here.
3. Use an iPad or desktop computer. Read more about Forte for iPad here.
4. Use headphones.

Today we are adding another solution, the Noise Suppression toggle. If you’re unable to utilize any of the solutions listed above, you now have the option to turn off Forte Pure Audio by turning on Noise Suppression.

To access the Noise Suppression toggle, click the settings gear in the bottom right corner of your screen. Your lesson will always begin with Noise Suppression off, giving you the full experience of Forte Pure Audio. When Noise Suppression is off, the bubble next to it will be empty.

To turn Noise Suppression on, click the empty bubble. It will fill with blue.

You will notice less background noise once Noise Suppression is turned on. We anticipate this last-resort solution to work better for some instruments than others, but please let us know what you think.

Please keep in mind that when you enable this feature you and your student will no longer hear Forte Pure Audio. Long sustained notes will suffer adjustments, and the sound articulation will be less clear. Enabling this feature will also greatly affect your ability to hear resonance within the room. It could be helpful to play around with this feature to determine the pros and cons depending on your instrument and preferences.

If you have any questions or issues with Noise Suppression or with any of our features, please reach out to us at help@fortelessons.com.