Is this Zoom thing doable?
April 19, 2020 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Can I mute everyone on Zoom, including the presenter, without turning off my computer audio? Further details inside.

The situation: I attend a daily Zoom meeting that is simultaneously broadcast on Facebook. The quality of the audio & visuals is much better on Facebook, so that's how I want to watch it. But I also need to remain visible to the organizer via my camera & Zoom, and maybe even unmute myself to answer a question.

What I want to do:
-- Turn on Zoom and join the meeting so they see me.
-- Mute all of Zoom. All the participants are mostly self-muted except when they're answering a question. I want to mute the presenter.
-- Then minimize Zoom.
-- Watch it with audio on FB.
-- Zip back to Zoom if I need to talk.

I can't leave the audio for both Zoom and FB on -- there's a bit of a lag so they're not synced up.

All of the instructions I see for muting everyone on Zoom is about tools the presenter can use, not participants. I can manage the instructor's expectations re: how synced up my participation will be, so that's fine.

Can I do this?
posted by BlahLaLa to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you on Windows? Are you using the desktop client or the browser client?

In Firefox, at least (maybe also Chrome) you can right-click on a tab to mute it. This should work in the browser client.

If you're using the desktop client, you can independently control applications' volumes via the Volume Mixer, in Windows. Right-click on the volume icon in the taskbar, select "Volume Mixer," and scroll horizontally to find Zoom.
posted by Alterscape at 2:31 PM on April 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

If you are on Windows, the Sound Mixer Options allows you control audio levels per application. Go there and turn the volume for Zoom down to 0. I assume there's something similar for Macs.

Edit - too slow. :)
posted by hankscorpio83 at 2:31 PM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I should mention that this may have unexpected and unwanted effects with feedback cancellation when you unmute your mic.
posted by zamboni at 2:31 PM on April 19, 2020

If you're on a Mac you can use Rogue Amoeba's SoundSource to have per-application sound controls. In addition to muting the Zoom app audio, you will want to mute your Facebook audio (presumably in-browser) before unmuting the mic in Zoom.
posted by RichardP at 2:35 PM on April 19, 2020

Response by poster: I'm on a Mac.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:36 PM on April 19, 2020

Yes. You can do "Leave Computer Audio" in Zoom -- using Audio Options > Leave Computer Audio. Video will work without Audio.
posted by suedehead at 2:38 PM on April 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

It doesn't solve the problem of being able to unmute yourself when you want to, but when you first get into the meeting and zoom gives you the option of using computer audio or phone, you can select phone, and then not actually call in. It's standard practice at my company where all our meeting rooms have their own zoom accounts that remote people call into, but people actually in the room need to share their screen without messing up the room's built-in audio.
posted by LionIndex at 2:39 PM on April 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Could you use your computer to watch on FB live and prop up your phone on your desk/table to use Zoom on (or the other way around)? That way you could mute the device running Zoom and just unmute it if you need to speak.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:58 PM on April 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Or you could actually call in for audio and easily mute that/ turn down the volume and quickly mute your computer and unmute the phone when you need to respond.
posted by raccoon409 at 3:10 PM on April 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Zoom on the Mac lets you designate the audio output channel separately from the computer's own output - so you could set it to play Zoom audio via headphones while FB plays on your computer's speakers. Then you just don't put on the headphones!

Alternatively, the Zoom audio settings also let you adjust the volume level, so you could drop the audio output level to 0.
posted by Paragon at 3:26 PM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Zoom on Windows also lets you differentiate your audio output from what your computer normally uses, so Paragon's suggestion would work too - you just have to give it an audio outlet that you're not going to use. In my WFH setup, my work laptop is connected to my monitor via HDMI, and most computer sounds play through the speakers on my monitor, but I have zoom set to play audio through the speakers on my laptop. Typically, zoom seems to auto-detect what you have plugged into your computer, whether through HDMI, USB, or whatever.
posted by LionIndex at 4:36 PM on April 19, 2020

« Older Bike Helmet Recommendations   |   Safe, moderated online chatrooms or social... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.