I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

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Graeme Dollar, a Senior Product Manager for voice services at Yahoo!, has a fantastic trick for reducing annoying audio feedback during voice chats.

His tip is specific to MacBook Pro users with Skype, but it can be easily adapted to just about any laptop and audio conferencing service. The trick is to simply change the speaker balance so that the audio comes out as far away from the mic as possible:

To all you mac book pro users who use skype (and soon, Messenger) to make calls…

The microphone is located under the left speaker grille, and can contribute to horrible feedback during a call (the person on the other side hears himself coming out of the speaker on your machine, fedback into your mic).

I changed my speaker balance so that output was all to the right speaker, and the effect was fantastic. Conversations are in mono, but you can have a perfect conversation without requiring a headset.

Here’s how to change the speaker balance on both Mac and Windows:

Mac

1. In your Apple Menu, go to System Preferences and choose Sound.

System Preferences

2. Select the Output tab.

Audio 2

3. For Balance, move the slider all the way to the right if your mic is on the left. If your mic is on the right, move the slider to the left.

Speaker Balance

Windows

1. Double-click the speak icon on the bottom-right of the Windows Start Bar.

Windows Speaker Volume

2. In the window that appears, move the Master Volume slider all the way to the right if your mic is on the left. If your mic is on the right, move the slider to the left.

Speaker Balance

Once you’ve adjusted your speaker output, just start an audio chat with your favorite buddy and enjoy.

Thanks goes to Matt Rolandson at MetaDesign, for sending this my way.