Beef up your video presence and your paired HomePod minis’ bass [Setups]

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A key light can be a webcam's best friend. And did you know your HomePod minis need a subwoofer?
A key light can be a webcam's best friend. And did you know your HomePod minis need a subwoofer?
Photo: Sammio247@Reddit.com

Sometimes when you’re trawling the interwebs for cool computer setups, you learn a lot not just from the person bragging about their gear in a social media post, but also from the folks admiring or lambasting it. Such is the case with today’s iPad Pro and Dell widescreen setup.

Its owner and other folks push the importance of adding a good webcam and good lighting for successful videoconferencing. And other folks make a compelling case for adding a subwoofer to paired HomePod minis if you want any bass at all in your music.

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Redditor Sammio247, who recently started working full-time from home, posted about his rig here: “New webcam and light make such a difference on video calls!”

Sam appears to rely mainly on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a keyboard for his computing needs. He’s got it hooked up to a big ol’ 38-inch Dell UltraWide curved monitor. But it’s really his videoconferencing gear we want to talk about.

Proper video presence via Streamcam, key light and speaker phone

Logitech StreamCam

Perched on the big Dell display is a Logitech StreamCam. It streams and records at full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second for sharp, natural video with smooth motion. The StreamCam features a smart auto-focus system, auto-framing to keep you centered even if you move, and intelligent exposure to deal with varying lighting conditions.

StreamCam is optimized for popular streaming software, so you can stream to places like Twitch and YouTube and more using the likes of Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), XSplit and Streamlabs OBS.

Elgato Key Light Air

Sam doesn’t just rely on the StreamCams’s light sensing to make sure he looks good, though. For proper lighting, he cable-tied an Elgato Key Light Air to his monitor arm because he didn’t like the stand the light came with. The 1,400-lumen, Wi-Fi-enabled desk light is made for streaming and videoconferencing, with temperature (warm or cool light) and brightness both adjustable via app for macOS, iOS, PC and Android devices.

“People don’t understand that a camera needs light,” said one appreciative commenter. “Also, the better you look, the more credible you are perceived. Having a good video presentation, while working from home, is the equivalent of your wardrobe when in the office. And it costs so much less to put together.”

Another person wondered how Sam likes the light and its brightness and glare factors.

“I like it but I have nothing to compare it to I’m afraid,” Sam replied. “I was worried about glare but honestly do not even notice it after a while. It’s diffused light so it’s not like those cheap light rings you can get. I got it in the Black Friday sale for almost half price. This is an expensive light otherwise. I figured I don’t want something cheap blasting light at me all day.”

And he did such a good job strapping it to the monitor arm that it’s stable even when the standing desk goes up and down.

Anker PowerConf Bluetooth speakerphone

The last part of Sam’s videoconferencing setup is his Anker PowerConf Bluetooth speakerphone. It packs six microphones arranged to pick up voices from all directions.

The device’s Smart Voice Enhancement system uses a custom DSP algorithm to optimize a voice in real time and effectively reduce background noises. It also automatically adjusts volume as needed, like when you’re not as close to the mics as usual.

PowerConf hooks up to your computer with a USB-C cable. It’s compatible with all popular online conferencing platforms. A built-in, 6,700 mAh battery allows wireless use and charging of other devices, too.

Paired HomePod minis with subwoofer

Another commenter noticed the paired HomePod mini speakers on the desk and wondered about the stereo separation.

This time someone other than Sam took the lead.

“The clarity is really good as a stereo setup,” they said. “Only downside is the bass is almost non-existent, I ended up buying a separate Airplay2 subwoofer and now it’s 10/10.”

They pointed out they needed to find AirPlay2-compatible, standalone subwoofers, but they found just one. It’s the Lithe Audio Wireless Micro Sub Woofer. It’s not cheap, so the commenter advised either finding one for less than $450 or ditching paired HomePod minis altogether and going with another sound system. Or getting a “dumb” subwoofer and connecting an AirPort Express to it to use it with the minis.

Other people pointed out the lag time between computer and HomePod minis can be off-putting.

“Yeah, good point, actually, don’t expect to use these as an audio output for your Mac. It works but it lags a lot. I use these basically as speakers for music controlled by Apple Music,” Sam agreed.

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