Saturday, December 17, 2011


A huge number of people is using Internet for voice communication, to talk about business or catch up with their dearest. And it sucks when the connection quality is not top-notch because cut-offs in conversation appear, distortions in voice, etc., missing on parts of conversation and so on.

Lately I experienced these problems when talking to multiple parties and it is really annoying. I monitored the network connection while the conversation was taking place and noticed that download was going OK for a few seconds and then dropped for a few. Most popular voice chat programs, like Skype or GoogleTalk, stream the voice continuously while connected. This is probably OK when the connection is good. The amount of data transmitted is pretty good. But the problem is that the channel between the two parties needs to be uninterrupted. 

This led me to look for a solution in line with my childhood experiences with radio-amateurs, where you need to push a button to talk. It made sense that, in conditions of poor connectivity, a better quality of voice communication would happen if we could control when to transmit. That way only the actual speech would get sent, rather than the silence periods, which take quite some time. Burst transfer versus continuous transfer. 

So I found Loudtalks ( They have application for Windows and Android. The first test went quite well. It seemed a bit annoying to have to push the talk button every time but the fact that no parts of the dialogue got lost was more important. Then I thought how good it would be to have the transmission voice-activated and looked through the options. And it was right there - voice activated transmission with threshold settings was built in but not activated by default. Now this seems like a decent chat solution. Will have to test this in the coming period and in the longer conversations.

A really good thing about LoudTalks is that it keeps a history of voice messages, something like text chat, so you can listen to previous messages sent or received.

If you decide to use LoudTalks, the shortcuts (easy to find in Options dialogue) are: F7 = speak, Ctrl+F7 = hands-free (voice activation), Shift+F7 = repeat last message.

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