TeamSpeak is a application allowing people to communicate by way of their own voices instead of using the keyboard. It helps break down another barrier we've always had to deal with and allows everyone to enjoy a more personal experience with their fellow Basiners.
I hope this short guide with screenshots helps everyone get the most out of our TeamSpeak server.
Downloading / Installing
TeamSpeak can be downloaded from the official TeamSpeak website [Download Page]. Most of you will need the Win32 Client - not the server application. There is also a version for our Linux friends. And finally, for you Mac-heads, there is a beta version of the client!
Installation should be pretty straightforward.
Once TeamSpeak has been installed, launch the client. Click the 'Connection' menu, then select 'Quick Connect'. You should see a screen similar to this:
Enter The Basin's TeamSpeak server name (ts.theamazonbasin.com) in the 'Server address' field. To allow others to know who they are talking to, enter a nickname (your Forum ID is usually best) along with a hyphen then your real name. This helps people refer to you by name. Of course, if you'd rather remain anonymous, you can leave off your real name. 'Login Name' is optional at this point, so feel free to leave it blank. The password is available in different places as it is updated periodically. Check the Technical Discussion forum on the boards for the game you play. There may be a pinned topic with the password in it. (we're working on a better solution for the distribution of the current password) Once you've entered the required info, click 'Connect' to log onto the TeamSpeak server.
You should now be sitting in the 'Waiting Room'. This is the default channel on the server.
To get the best sound quality out of TeamSpeak, you'll need to change some of the default settings. The first thing to change is found by clicking on the 'Settings menu, then 'Options'. You should see a screen similar to this:
You'll first want to set the 'Sound Driver' at the top to 'Direct Sound'. Then, in the 'Device' section, set 'Input Device' and Output Device' to match your own sound device/driver instead of the default setting. This improves sound quality a great deal.
Now click on the 'Bandwidth' tab. You should see a screen similar to this:
For broadband users, your settings should match what is shown above. For dialup users or users overseas, you may want to choose a lower setting. Click 'OK' when done.
After that has been set, click on the 'Settings' menu, then 'Sound Input/Output Settings'. You should see a screen similar to this:
The 'Output Volume' refers to how loud the other TeamSpeak server sounds to you. In other words, this controls the mix of TeamSpeak with your game sound. If you can't hear anyone over the sound of your game, you would increase the volume of TeamSpeak using this slider.
'Push to talk' is the preferred method of using TeamSpeak. This involves setting an activation key which tells TeamSpeak to open your microphone. When the key is pressed by you, you can speak. When it isn't pressed, your microphone will not pickup sound. This keeps the channel clear of extraneous sounds as well as allows you to cough/sneeze without causing eardrum damage to your party members. If you have a decent headset (headphones/microphone combined), then you can instead use 'Voice Activation'. This method shuts down your microphone when no sound is heard, but then opens it to transmit once you start talking. There are problems with some folks picking up unwanted noise when using this method, so be sure you increase your 'Voice activation level' when using it. As the slider moves to the right, it picks up less and less outside noise.
To test your settings, choose a 'Test Codec' (CELP 6.3 would be used for overseas folks or dialup users - the two GSM Codecs are for broadband users. For more info on Codecs, please see the TeamSpeak Codec Explanation page), then click 'Activate local test mode'. This will allow you to say one or two words, then hear them back a second later. You can judge for yourself how much static you pick up, how much background noise is heard, your volume level, as well as your voice quality. If you need to make changes, this is the primary screen you'd do it in.
The use of a headset is highly recommended as using a microphone and speakers usually results in echo caused by your microphone picking up the chat coming from your speakers. For more help on getting rid of 'echo', please see the TeamSpeak Echo page.
Creating a Channel
After closing the 'Settings' dialog boxes, you should be back in the 'Waiting Room' channel on the TeamSpeak server. To create your own channel, click on 'Channels', then select 'Create Channel. You should see a screen similar to this:
Make sure you enter a name for your channel (Ancients, GW Alpha, WoW Horde 1, etc.) and a more detailed description (just in case). Unless you need to keep others out of your channel, you can leave the 'Password' field blank.
The most important setting here is the 'Codec' as this will set the codec for everyone who uses the channel. If you plan to have people using your channel who are on dialup, you may have to choose the CELP codec - otherwise, be sure to use either one of the GSM codecs for higher sound quality. The rest of your settings should match the screenshot above (no other options should be set). When done, click 'Create Channel'. The dialog box will disappear, the channel will be created, and you will be the first occupant.