Featured Article from Conferencing

Navigating the Vast Array of Business Conferencing Microphones

July 08, 2016

Choosing the proper microphones to meet specific business conferencing needs can be a complicated and tedious process. With so many offerings available, organizations are faced with trying to narrow down the vast selection of styles and models to meet their core goals and objectives.

A new free whitepaper from Systems Contractor News (SCN) helps break down the parameters for choosing microphones and offers an overview of the top conferencing selections for businesses.

“What it all boils down to is the room, the users, and the overall use,” said Andrew Brickman, commercial design engineer at Logic Integration. One of the most simple and basic tenets of microphone use, for table-mounted models, is that the closer the user is to the microphone, the better the sound quality. That’s why Zack Levine, corporate account manager at Presentation Products, recommends the table surface to be two feet or less from the mouths of conference attendees.

“This provides technicians with a high signal-to-noise ratio, allowing them to gate out unnecessary audio,” he said. He added that better audio quality may also be achieved by using more cardioid microphones instead of a lesser number of omnidirectional microphones. “Cardioid microphones pick up what is in front of them, and not much of anything behind them. Using one cardioid microphone per every two seats at the table gives full coverage without picking up much extra noise. Omnidirectional microphones provide 360 degrees of coverage, which means much more unwanted room noise such as side conversations, paper noise, and tapping, etc., gets picked up.”

According to Chris Bosworth, vice president of operations at Anderson Audio Visual, room dimensions, table dimensions, material types and the way a business uses a conferencing space are all important variables when selecting the best type of microphones. And while ceiling microphones have progressed significantly, variables like HVAC, air handlers, lighting, speakers and projectors will all impact quality.

“If the acoustics of the room are good, and there are lots of soft surfaces to absorb sound waves, you can usually get by with a ceiling microphone,” said Levine. “But if the acoustics are bad, your ceiling microphone will exacerbate this, and the far end of your phone call will hear unacceptable audio.”

Aesthetics are another important issue, added Randall Lee, director of strategic and channel marketing at Revolabs. “Many new office spaces emphasize a clean, simple environment with lots of glass and hard surfaces,” he said. “Collaboration tools must be an inconspicuous element of these rooms. Today’s wireless products overcome many of the aesthetic challenges of these spaces because they can be stored out of sight, deployed as needed, and then simply returned when the meeting is over, answering the demand for collaboration flexibility.”

The Revolabs’ Executive Elite wireless conferencing system is one of the solutions recommended in the whitepaper. The offering is unique as the only cloud server option available on the market, providing both local and cloud-based options for system setup, management and monitoring.

Additional suggested products include the Audio-Technica ATUC-50 Digital Discussion System, the CTG Audio CM-02 ceiling-mounted microphone and the DPA D:SCREET BLM4060 boundary layer microphone. The MXL AC-410W wireless boundary microphone is also recommended for web conferencing applications in both conference rooms and connected classrooms.

Edited by Alicia Young