I’ve been using Krisp for the last two months to reduce background noise on conference calls and it has drastically improved my work-from-home experience.
For the past 10 years or so, I’ve been working remotely full time. Remote work, for me at least, truly is the best way to be productive both personally and professionally. I believe it can work well for vast swaths of the workforce, technology workers and otherwise. But it requires an adjustment to new ways of working, new ways of thinking, self motivation, adherence to routine, and a curated home work environment designed for productivity.
It’s that home work environment that I’ve spent the most time tuning and improving incrementally. In addition to a great desk and chair, carefully honed workspace, and good noise cancelling headphones, I recently invested in a $60/year (recently reduced to $40/year) service called Krisp that has dramatically reduced background noise on all my daily stand-ups, pair programming sessions, and conference calls.
Krisp Installation and Usage
You install the Krisp application locally and it doesn’t send your audio anywhere else. It’s available for Mac, Windows, Chrome, and iOS, but I’ve only used the Mac application. When installed on Mac, it provides a virtual speaker and virtual microphone that can then be selected from just about any application. I’ve used it with Google Meet, Slack, Tuple, Zoom, and GoTo Meeting. You simply choose Krisp from the list of available input and output sources. Since most apps remember your last choice, I only had to do this once.
Then, inside a menu bar overlay, Krisp provides toggles to enable and disable noise cancellation and choose the hardware input and output device. The great thing about Krisp is that it handily mutes background noise not just from your environment for others on your call, but from the environment of the rest of the people on your call. You improve the call experience for yourself and for others at the same time.
A Changing Noise Landscape
The discovery of Krisp, which has been officially released for almost a year, could not have come at a more opportune time for me. I’ve generally always been noise sensitive and living on a major Manhattan thoroughfare has been a challenge. But the recent COVID-19 pandemic has meant many other people are forced to work from home, including my wife. This also includes the partners, roommates, and children of many of the other people on my conference calls.
A decrease in Manhattan car traffic has meant the general vehicle noise that I’ve dealt with for many years has reduced. But, grimly, traffic sounds have been replaced by the constant drone of ambulances, as New York City’s EMS system struggles under the weight of its largest surge in dispatches since 9/11. With Krisp enabled, my call participants cannot hear these invasive siren sounds, and my own ears are also spared should noise blast through their background. The difference is astonishing, which I was reminded of this morning on a sprint planning call after forgetting to use Krisp. The sirens just disappear when enabled.
Also gone are all kinds of ancillary background noises, including screaming children and the noise of coffee shops (remember those?). Perhaps the most annoying noise that Krisp handily defeats is that of keyboard typing. When people don’t use headsets, but rather an internal laptop mic, the sound can be deafening. But with Krisp, I can’t hear any of it.
Whether you’re a veteran to working from home, or the coronavirus has recently forced you to join our ranks, Krisp is an essential tool. It’s made my home work environment more productive. Their recent reduction in pricing in response to the large surge in interest makes it an even easier decision.
Krisp offers a referral program and I’ve affiliated all the links in this article to them. I will donate all the profits from this article to the Coalition for the Homeless in NYC. They are an essential organization that continues to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers during this harrowing time. I seeded that donation in advance with a $100 one of my own.