Artificial Intelligence

Discord’s mobile app is getting background noise suppression because life is noisy

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Whenever I’ve tried using Discord’s mobile app to call a friend, I’ve found the audio quality to be pretty subpar. Sure, Discord’s desktop app gives you a few options, like simply using a better mic, and there are a few ways to add noise suppression — particularly if you have an Nvidia graphics card. But now, Discord has added the same background noise suppression feature to its mobile app that it rolled out on desktop in April, meaning your phone’s built-in mic or your earbuds should be able to take advantage as well.

Like the desktop version, Discord partnered with to create a virtual microphone that should intelligently filter out the background noise that might keep people from hearing your voice, like the clack-clack-clack of typing on a mechanical keyboard or, hopefully, the sound of my twin brother’s puppy barking and howling at my fridge for making ice as I frantically try to calm her down during a work meeting.

The new feature is already live, and you can see how to access it in a truly “I can’t believe I just watched that” video featuring animated goats:

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps many of us indoors, there has been an increasing demand for voice and video chat services like Discord, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom. Teams and Slack recently announced they’d surpass 75 million daily active users and 12.5 million concurrent users, respectively. In April, Discord said that it saw a 50 percent growth in daily voice users in just the United States and exponential growth overseas in countries including France and Italy. It announced in June that it had secured $100 million in funding to move beyond the gaming community and become more of a “day-to-day communication” tool.

Discord isn’t the only company to embrace noise cancellation features: Google Meet added a similar AI-powered feature in April, Microsoft Teams is adding a real-time noise suppression feature this year, and Krisp also offers a desktop app and Chrome browser extension that, like Nvidia’s offering, can work with a variety of apps.

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