Forte’s Microphone Overload Notification

Oct 11, 2021

Liam Day, Artistic and Education Director, Forte

Forte

My name is Liam Day. I am a trumpet player and teacher, as well as Forte’s Education and Artistic Director. Last year, when I needed to move my teaching online, a big problem I faced was my trumpet overloading my microphone to the point where the sound was distorted for my students.

Self-monitoring audio is challenging when conducting online lessons. You can never be entirely sure of what your student can hear unless you have tested your microphone and made sure that your input level is adjusted properly. It is also advisable to keep an eye on your mic levels as you are teaching. Factors like your distance from the mic and how much you are directly pointed at the mic can drastically impact your mic levels and subsequently the sound your student is receiving and emulating.

We have all been on a call with a friend or colleague who is speaking directly into their headset mic and it sounds like they are in a blender. They are way too close to the mic and their mic is overloading. This can also happen a lot in trumpet lessons, flute lessons, voice lessons and any other instrument with a loud directional sound production. In these instances, simply turning away from the mic will often bring the mic levels down to the appropriate level.

The biggest problem with this is that it requires feedback from your student to know when your sound is less than optimal. There are plenty of sensitive situations where you cannot rely on your student’s feedback. To help with this, we are excited to announce the new Mic Overload notification on Forte.

With this feature, if you are consistently overloading your mic in a lesson, a small pop-up notification will glow in the bottom right corner of your screen. This notification does not appear unless you overload your mic for more than four seconds. The notification looks like this:

The easiest adjustment to make is to move away from the mic or point your instrument away from the mic. You can also turn down your mic’s input level in the sound settings on your computer. Play notes near the top end of your dynamic range, and if your mic is still overloading, turn down the input until it is in a better range.

Consistent with our mission to have the Forte technology fade into the background once a lesson begins, this is not a feature you will notice until you need it.