High Definition Audio? Priceless!
After mucking about with the various VoIP tools, I have realized that a Skype-to-Skype, under ideal conditions, is righteous. While I realized I panned the whole concept of HD VoIP a while ago, no other tool comes close to sounding as good as Skype. There's something to be said for it.
Fortunately the person I was calling is an active Skype user and he was on his computer and saw and answered my Skype call. He apparently had a decent quality headset as well. Skype devotes extra bandwidth - you're paying for it, not them - to making call quality good when the call is between two Skype users. The quality was not only good - it was superb. Usually when I speak to someone for whom English is not his native language, there is a lot of "what" and "please say that again" and "I didn't quite understand you" in both directions. None of that. We were on Skype an hour and sound quality made the conversation much better than a phone conversation has ever been.
I used to think the reason I have a hard time understanding people on the phone is because I can't see their lips and their expressions. Now I realize much of the problem is the terrible audio quality - which we're so accustomed to - of a traditional phone call.
As more and more of our communication goes over abundant Internet bandwidth and bypasses the telephony last mile and as the handset and headset manufacturers have an incentive to spend a little extra on speakers and microphones to support HD voice, we're going to start insisting on getting what we've been missing.