Question: Our group is Gm + 4 players, three players are all in the same family. They only have one computer to play using Roll20, so all three are at the same table. What's the best audio solution for them? I've had two ideas, shared below, but am trying to see if there are others.
Cheapest = One webcam, video optional, just needs a decent microphone, but might have a lot of background noise.
Complicated Option = Get a pair of micro mixing boards, one with audio in, one with audio out, then get each a headset with split audio jacks. that way! they each have a headset, for ease of hearing, but am I making this too complicated for them? This would be a pretty extensive investment for gaming.
Have others had similar circumstances?
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The chief consideration for the 3-people who are all in the same room is that they aren't going to want to hear each other thru the conference call, and each of their voices should be transmitted only once. Rather than using individual mics and headsets for each person, you'll be better served with a speaker and mic that does not pick up that speaker. At my workplace, we use Polycom conference call units for this purpose, but that's probably overkill here.
Option 1: A more affordable solution would be something like one of these Logitech mobile speakerphones at each end. Dividing the price between several people would yield a cost comparable to each person buying a hard-cover rulebook.
Option 2: You could probably find an even less-expensive solution if you simply look for omni-directional microphones with noise and echo cancellation, and then simply attach a pair of powered computer speakers to whomever's laptop is running Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever. With either of those solutions, just make certain people put something soft on the table so that the mic doesn't pick up the dice rolling too much.
Option 3: Lastly, there's the more involved solution my GF and I use when we both play video games with mutual friends online. Each of us has our own mic, and we each listen to game sounds from our own speakers. However, we output the music and voice from only one computer's speakers. To facilitate this, I host a Murmur server, and all of us (GF, remote friends, myself), connect using our individual Mumble clients. Those who are in the same room as other people will each mute all sound output from their mumble client while leaving their input turned on. Then, whomever is playing back the Mumble output for their room will leave sound output on while manually muting everyone else in the same room as them. In this way, everyone in the same physical room can hear each other's live voices just fine without being repeated thru the speakers.
Mind you, that final method will still require each person to have a good-quality mic that will not pick-up other people sitting near them. Additionally, each person will also need their own laptop to connect to voice-comm unless you use a mixing board... at which point you'll have been better off using option 2. The only time option 3 is the ideal solution is if there is a high amount of background noise such a video games, and/or you already own sufficient hardware. If you're doing this from scratch, keep the design simple and buy the least amount of tech necessary to do the job. For a tabletop game though, I'd go with option 1 or 2.