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Bringing folk music and people together for over 45 years!
Golden Link Folk Singing Society


Using zoom On a Mobile Device

Mobile vs. Computer

Many people use zoom on their smart phone or tablet and it works reasonably well.  But if you have a Laptop or Computer available, that is a much better choice.  You will have more control over the sound quality, and the microphones are often better in those kinds of devices. 

Getting Started

Using zoom is fun and easy.  Start by visiting from your web browser.  Sign up for a free account, then download the free app from your device's App Store and install it

Launch the app, and click on the big, red New Meeting button.  That will start your own private meeting, with only yourself in it, and you can play around with the controls and see how things work.  Note that some controls may not be available unless you have other people in your meeting.

The information below refers to an iPad or iPhone.  Android controls or labels may be slightly different.
Meeting Basics

Before Joining - On mobile devices, there are some options that need to be set before you join the meeting.  Click on the Settings icon at the bottom of the screen.  Then click on the Meetings option to access the meeting settings.  Be sure to turn on the "Use Original Sound" option.  This does NOT turn it on, but makes the control accessible during the meeting.  You may also want to turn on the "Always Show Meeting Controls" option so you don't have to keep tapping the meeting screen for the controls to show up.

- The easiest way to join a meeting is to click on the URL link provided for the meeting.  Another way is to launch the zoom app, click on the big, blue Join button and then type in the provided Meeting ID number.  When the app connects to the meeting, select Call using Internet Audio so your device's microphone will be in use.

ZoomMobile Gallery SwitchYour view - (Not available on some devices) There's a control in the upper left for switching between Gallery and Speaker view. With an Android device, the control looks like several dots, side by side, at the bottom center of your screen.  Click on each dot to see the various view options.

Zoom Gallery ViewGallery View - in this view, all participants are shown the same size in a grid of rectangles.  If there are more people than can be seen in one screen, zoom puts an arrow on the right side that lets you see a second grid with additional people in it.  In Gallery View, zoom puts a green outline around the person it detects as the speaker.  Gallery View is a good choice if there are a lot of people talking back and forth and the speaker is changing frequently.
Zoom speaker viewSpeaker View - in this view, the speaker is in one large box, with a number of small boxes in a row above or below it showing other participants.  You can scroll left or right to see more participants.  This is a good choice when there is one person speaking, or in our case, singing.  You get a much better view of the person you want to focus on.  But if there are many people trying to speak at the same time, this view can be annoying because the large box is continually changing between speakers.

ZoomMobile AV controlsAudio and Video Control - In the upper right of your screen (lower left on Android and iPhone), you'll see icons for audio and video. Click on the Microphone icon to Mute or Unmute yourself.  Click on the Video Camera icon to stop or start your video.  For our sing-arounds, you should normally leave your video on unless you need to do something private.  Audio should normally be muted unless you need to say something or want to have your clapping heard.

Getting the Best Quality Sound

Since we are playing music and singing songs rather than just speaking, we'd all like to be heard at our best. There are a number of factors that will affect your audio quality on zoom.  The more of them you can apply, the better your sound will be.

Blue Snowball MicMicrophone - The vast majority of our participants just use their built-in microphone on their mobile device and that will work fine.  However, if you have a good quality external mic that will work with your mobile device that will give you better sound.

Position - Try to get as close to your microphone as you reasonably can.  Most built-in microphones are not all that sensitive and you will sound worse, and softer, the farther away you are. Be aware of the location of your microphone on your device.  If it is sitting on a table and the microphone is low, it may pick up your instrument much louder than your voice.  If possible, try to position your microphone closer to your mouth, or at least aim it up and above your instrument so you don't drown out your voice.

Wifi Connection - When you are far away from your wifi router, the wifi signal will be weaker and the bandwidth will decrease.  This means that zoom will have to compress your audio much more than usual and degrade the quality.  If you can move your laptop or mobile device closer to your router, you can eliminate this problem.  

ZoomMobile Original SoundAudio Setup in the zoom App
The mobile zoom app does not have control over all the various audio options that the computer application has. The one control available to you that will improve audio is the Enable Original Sound option. This tells zoom NOT to optimize the audio for speaking, but instead to try to conserve the full spectrum original sound that the microphone picks up.

To access this option, click on the More icon with the 3-dots.  This may be in the upper or lower part of the screen, depending on the device.  In the resulting popup menu, select Enable Original Sound if it is not already enabled. See image at right.

IMPORTANT - if you do not see this option in the menu, it means you did not enable it before joining the meeting.  Once in the meeting, you cannot enable it.  See "Before Joining" in the "Meeting Basics" section above for details.

Chatting on Zoom

If you want to communicate with the Leader or anyone else during the meeting use the Zoom Chat.  This is a good way to tell someone how much you liked their song, or ask questions about who wrote it or where they heard it.  

On mobile devices the chat window is accessed through the More icon with the 3-dots, which may be at the top or bottom of the screen on your device.  Use the "Send to" control to determine who you want to receive your chat message.  If you leave it set to "Everyone" then it will be a public message viewable by all the participants.

Note that on mobile devices, the Chat window will block some or all of the screen.  Using a computer makes chatting easier because the chat window can be off to the side of the video display.