Thursday, May 30, 2024

How to use spatial audio on Microsoft Teams

Do you ever lose track of who’s speaking during a Microsoft Teams meeting? Someone throws out a great idea, but they did so before you clocked who was speaking, and now it feels a little rude to ask.

Thankfully, this problem could soon be a thing of the past. Microsoft Teams now lets you use spatial audio in meetings so that you can get a clearer idea of who is speaking by the direction that the sound is coming from. Here’s how to use spatial audio in Microsoft Teams.

What is spatial audio?

Spatial audio is a three-dimensional listening experience that can make audio sound like it’s coming from different locations, without the need for multiple speakers. You can experience spatial audio on a pair of compatible headphones; the technology uses filters to trick your brain into experiencing the sound in 3D. You can also listen to spatial audio through built-in stereo speakers. A lot of companies have their own proprietary spatial audio tech, such as Apple Spatial Audio, but spatial audio refers to the technology as a whole rather than any single version of it.

How does spatial audio work on Microsoft Teams?

In Microsoft Teams, spatial audio is used to make the voices of the people in your meeting appear as if they’re coming from different locations. The location will match the speaker’s position on the screen. For example, if someone is positioned on the far left of your screen in Teams, you’ll hear their voice coming from the far left. The voice of the person to the right of them will appear to come from a position slightly closer to the centre.

The intent is to make following a conversation in Teams meeting easier; even if you can’t see who is speaking, you can hear where their voice is coming from, making it easier to work out who is speaking when.

In order to use spatial audio in a Microsoft Teams meeting, you’ll need to have more than two people in the meeting, and there’s a maximum limit of 100 participants before spatial audio stops being supported.

Do I need special equipment to use spatial audio on Microsoft Teams?

Spatial audio in Microsoft Teams won’t work without the right equipment. You’ll need to be using a device that has built-in stereo speakers or else use wired stereo headphones or speakers. Spatial audio doesn’t currently work over Bluetooth, so you won’t be able to use the feature with wireless Bluetooth headphones such as Apple AirPods.

How to use spatial audio on Microsoft Teams

You can enable spatial audio before you join a meeting on Teams, or you can turn on the feature during a meeting if you need it. The method is a little different in each case.

How to enable spatial audio before a Teams meeting

If you know that you’ll want to use spatial audio in a Teams meeting, you can enable the feature before the meeting starts. These settings will remain as the default settings for any subsequent Teams meetings.

  1. Launch the Teams desktop app on Windows or macOS.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Select Devices from the left-hand menu.
  4. In the Audio Devices section, select a compatible device as the Speaker.
  5. Scroll down and toggle Spatial audio on.

How to enable spatial audio during a Teams meeting

If you’re in the middle of a Teams meeting, and you feel like spatial audio could be useful, then you can enable the feature during the meeting.

  1. During your Teams meeting, click the Three Dots icon.
  2. Select Device settings.
  3. Choose a spatial audio-compatible device under Speaker.
  4. Turn on the Spatial audio toggle.
  5. You can turn off spatial audio by repeating the steps above, and turning the Spatial audio toggle off.


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