How to Set Up Skype’s Active Noise Cancellation on Your Desktop

How to Set Up Skype’s Active Noise Cancellation on Your Desktop

“Zoom” may have overtaken “Skype” as the preferred shorthand for making video calls, but Microsoft’s chat service hasn’t gone anywhere. The newest Skype upgrade brings an active noise cancellation setting (ANC) to desktops and laptops, which filters out background sounds while keeping your voice audible.

The feature is built on the same machine learning-based, noise-cancellation technology that Microsoft uses for Teams calls. In other words, the AI is trained to recognise the difference between voice patterns and environmental sounds; that’s how the magic happens.

You can enable ANC in Skype’s audio and video settings on Windows and macOS apps. ANC is not available on the web-based desktop client, however, and it’s skipping Skype’s mobile apps on iOS and Android — which could arguably benefit even more from an ANC feature. But at least the new noise-cancelling tech will help keep your upstairs neighbour’s footsteps out of your weekly Skype sessions on PC.

How to enable active noise cancellation in Skype

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse
Screenshot: Brendan Hesse
  1. Open the Skype app on your Windows or Mac PC.
  2. Press Ctrl + , to open the settings menu, or click the three-dot button in the upper-left of the contacts column and click “Settings.”
  3. Select “Audio & Video.”
  4. Scroll down to the menu’s Audio section, then select the level of noise cancellation you want to apply to your call audio: “Low,” ‘High,” “Auto” or “Off.” Naturally, Low will filter out less noise, High filters out more. Auto is the default option and will dynamically switch between Low and High noise cancellation depending on the background sound level, but manually switching to Low or High may be helpful if you notice the ANC is too inconsistent.
  5. After making your selection, you can close the Settings window. The next time you’re in a call, Skype will automatically apply its noise cancellation magic to your mic audio.

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