“You’re ON MUTE!” will undoubtedly go down as one of the signature catchphrases of 2020/21. Unfortunately, that’s not the only reason conference participants can’t hear each other. The use of cheap headsets, or worse, the reliance on laptop audio, are among the reasons millions of students couldn’t hear instructors, and remote workers suffered through unintelligible meetings.
Unintelligible audio would almost be forgivable if it were a problem born of the pandemic. But audio has long been the forgotten partner in what we call “AV.” For as long as there have been conference meetings with a star-shaped two-way device placed in the middle of the table, audio has gotten short shrift. All meetings became a huddle room experience.
If you’re reading this, you are a member of our audiovisual industry. With few exceptions, intelligible audio should always be prioritized.
When student engagement goes up, hybrid meeting fatigue goes down, and there is parity near and far—feel free to say, “I told you so.”
Following are 23 products (in random order) that are sure to enhance the audio experience.
Yamaha Unified Communications’ ADECIA family of communication products enable organizations to overcome implementation, configuration, and room acoustic challenges by providing all the equipment required for a successful installation with the highest audio quality. ADECIA includes the new RM-CG ceiling microphone, new RM-CR audio processor, and Yamaha’s long-trusted PoE switches and VXL Series line array speakers. Every component automatically integrates, reducing complexities and costs. Designed for a variety of rooms and audio connections, the end-to-end flexible solution immediately detects, configures, and optimizes all components—accounting for the location of speakers and microphones, reverberation, and echo behavior for the best-sounding meeting.
TOA Electronics’ meetingIO Series is a combination of LENUBIO and AMIO for the perfect acoustic environment. The LENUBIO, integrated audio collaboration system with DSP, features Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) and Ambient Noise Control (ANC) to allow for clear conversation. The AMIO, steering array microphone with DSP, is a hands-free microphone featuring a low-profile. Both track presenter location to instantly eliminate speech volume drop-offs, acoustical anomalies, background chatter, and more. Because the LENUBIO and AMIO know exactly where the presenter, unwanted sound can be dialed out, while maximizing the fidelity and intelligibility of the speakers’ voice. TOA offers a diverse portfolio to ensure pertinent audio pick-up, as well as amplified sound.
BMA 360 with Voice Lift
The ClearOne BMA 360 with Voice Lift is the world’s most technologically advanced beamforming microphone array ceiling tile. It’s the industry’s only ultra-wideband, frequency-invariant beamforming mic array with uniform gain response across all frequency bands.
The BMA 360 offers everything desired in a beamforming microphone array CT—superior beamformed audio, echo cancellation, noise cancellation, auto-mixing, power amplifiers, and camera-tracking functions. FiBeam technology provides natural and full-fidelity audio across all beams and within a single beam. Deep sidelobe beamforming, DsBeam, provides unparalleled sidelobe depth, below -40 dB, for superior rejection of reverb and noise in difficult spaces.
Jabra’s Evolve2 75, the latest headset from its Evolve Series, has been specifically engineered for hybrid working to keep you connected and productive everywhere you go. Groundbreaking dual-foam patent pending technology, eight precision-placed microphones, and Jabra Advanced Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) create incredible sound quality in even the noisiest environments, to increase flexibility and easily enhance performance wherever you work. A unique ear cushion design lessens pressure and improves ventilation for all-day comfort and crystal-clear audio—everywhere.
TeamConnect Ceiling 2 with TruVoicelift
Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling 2 dynamic beamforming, is now available with TruVoicelift and advanced zone control, combining the advantages of a boundary microphone and a microphone array. TCC2 is the best solution for both (video) conferencing and in-room audio for classrooms, lecture halls, boardrooms, and more. TCC2 now offers unparalleled levels of control with the addition of a priority zone, five advanced exclusion zones (for pinpoint targeting and removal of unwanted noise sources) and more. Easy to install and, due to a flexible microphone ceiling mount system, easy to integrate.
LHM2-N & LHM2-P Active Optical Cables
Opticis USA’s LHM2-N & LHM2-P Active Optical Cables were recently unveiled. The two additions to Opticis’ active optical cable (AOC) line-up are the LHM2-N (fixed-end) and LHM2-P (detachable). These two new HDMI 2.0-based additions to Opticis’ AOC lineup offer simple plug-and-play installation and deliver true 4K (4096x2160) resolution for high-speed video and audio signal transmission up to 100 m (328 ft) without any degradation. The all-new LHM2-N and LHM2-P are made explicitly for mission-critical, digital signage, and cinematic display applications using a plenum-, LSZH-, or TPU-graded hybrid cable. These high-performance active optical cables support a high dynamic range (HDR) with digital cinematic initiatives (DCI) that display vibrant images and offer incredible theatrical experiences for movie enthusiasts.
M3 Hanging Ceiling Microphone
The Audix M3 is an innovative, tri-element hanging ceiling microphone designed for applications where aesthetics, sound quality, and ease of installation are critical, such as corporate conference rooms, classrooms, courtrooms, and medical applications.
The M3 incorporates three independent, phase-coherent hypercardioid capsules with tailored frequency response for greater effective coverage area and optimized speech intelligibility. Low noise preamp circuitry is employed for the highest possible signal-to-noise ratio and studio-quality sound. The silicone-jacketed cable offers a balanced, shielded signal and a very clean look. The unit features flexible mounting options for drop ceiling or hard lid applications. The M3 is available in white or gray, as well as both analog and Dante versions.
Hall Technologies’ EMCEE200 is a multi-view presentation switcher scaler with Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-Over-Picture (POP) capabilities. It can process up to four 4K@60 video sources with zero latency, and offers dedicated confidence monitor and presentation HDMI outputs in different window layouts. EMCEE features a built-in dual mic mixer and a wide range of audio embedding and de-embedding options. It can not only record the presentation to an external storage device, but also provides USB3.0 4K capture to stream live with no additional hardware. EMCEE200 is the perfect companion for seamless presentations.
Phonum Wireless Bluetooth Speakerphone
beyerdynamic’s Phonum wireless Bluetooth speakerphone is an excellent option for audio in conferencing. It’s ideal for broadcasting to remote students, huddle spaces, home offices, and anywhere else quality audio is desired. Phonum gives excellent voice transmission, whether speaking on one-to-one calls, moving around the room, or meeting with several people. It’s ideal for video conferencing, meetings, and presentations thanks to its highly developed and precise microphones; intelligent, down-firing speaker; Gecko 360-degree technology; and a special microphone arrangement. Universities and houses of worship find it to be the perfect affordable solution for many needs.
BlueJeans Meetings with Dolby Voice
BlueJeans Meetings with Dolby Voice from BlueJeans by Verizon is a breakthrough in video conferencing audio that eliminates “Can you hear me?” frustrations. Innovative technology from Dolby engineered into the BlueJeans Cloud elevates the meeting experience by allowing attendees to hear clearly and communicate naturally regardless of their location—desktop, mobile, or meeting room. Spatial audio presents each person’s voice from a distinct location, so everyone hears as if they were together in the same room, making it easier to focus on the conversation content. Everyone can be heard, even when voices overlap, so participation is easier, dialogue flows without delays, and work gets done.
Bose Videobar VB1
From Bose Professional, the Bose Videobar VB1 is an all-in-one USB conferencing device that brings premium audio and video to huddle spaces and medium-sized rooms. Six beam-steering microphones automatically focus on voices in the room and reject noise. A 4K ultra-HD camera with auto framing delivers crystal-clear video, helping remote participants feel like they’re in the room. Proprietary Bose sound supports multimedia presentations, plays Bluetooth audio, and ensures voices on the call sound natural. Single-cable connectivity means there’s no need for separate audio and video cables at the table, reducing clutter. Bose Videobar VB1 helps you huddle up, see more, hear more, and work better.
4098 CORE Supercardioid Microphone
DPA’s 4098 CORE Supercardioid Microphone works well in a wide range of conference situations. In addition to its compatibility with the brand’s DM6000 table/ceiling mount, the mic is available in varying lengths and mounting options, for any application. This flexibility allows the 4098 to be used for any size conference room down to a single office Zoom setup. When paired with the brand’s MMA-A Digital Audio Interface, any space can become a conference room. Compatible with most Apple devices, the MMA-A is a dual-channel pre-amp and A/D converter, and ideal for mobile applications.
EXPAND Vision 3T
EPOS Audio’s EXPAND Vision 3T is a simple and intuitive video bar designed specifically for small meeting rooms of up to seven participants. Today’s workforce demands video conferencing solutions that ensure effective collaboration and productivity. Certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms, the EXPAND Vision 3T was developed with intelligent picture framing, enhanced PTZ, voice tracking, and EPOS AI noise cancellation to emulate the in-person experience. The more general use EXPAND Vision 3 is expected to be released in Q1 of 2022.
EasyIP CeilingMIC D
Vaddio’s EasyIP CeilingMIC D overhead microphones with Dante networked audio deliver professional audio quality for superior conferencing experiences. It features plug-and-play design—with installation as simple as connecting a Cat5e cable between the network switch PoE port and the microphone receiver. With a three-element array head providing full 360-degree pickup coverage, one EasyIP CeilingMIC D provides excellent coverage for an average size meeting room table. Ensure clear coverage of all meeting participants in larger spaces with multiple ceiling microphones—the number of microphones is only limited by the availability of network switch ports. Centrally manage microphone routing and system configuration with free Dante controller software.
MAS-A100 Beamforming Ceiling Microphone
The Sony Electronics MAS-A100 Beamforming Ceiling Microphone is a hands-free lecture and presentation solution with advanced speech reinforcement technology, enabling truly hassle-free lectures and presentations. This microphone system has dedicated channels for speech reinforcement and recording, with comprehensive audio volume stabilization and clear audio processing to produce sharp recordings. The dedicated recording channel records with a wider capture range and optimal intelligibility—perfect for lecture capture. Supporting Dante and PoE, MAS-A100 links with third-party systems via a single cable connection. Auto-calibration streamlines system configuration, and settings can easily be adjusted via the network using the free MASM-1 management software.
AtlasIED’s Atmosphere X-ANS ambient noise sensor uses patented adaptive filtering technology rather than a microphone to accurately measure the noise level of a commercial environment and adjust automatically without picking up voice. The information is transmitted to the audio processor as data—not as voice programming—lending more enhanced security and volume adjustment accuracy than conventional ambient noise sensors that simply send audio to the processor for analysis and compensation.
QSC Audio Products’ NV-32-H (Core Capable) from QSC is a multi-purpose, software-configurable video endpoint native to Q-SYS, offering two distinct operating modes based on the needs of the application. Core Mode transforms the device into a fully integrated Q-SYS processor with local HDMI switching capabilities. Peripheral Mode allows multi-stream video encoding or decoding for network-based HDMI video distribution. Like all Q-SYS devices, the NV-32-H offers native integration and control, simplifying setup and configuration while eliminating the need for advanced programming knowledge.
The Renkus-Heinz DC12/2 is an ultra-compact, steerable array—delivering clarity, intelligibility, and control to compact spaces. Designed for tight control and invisible aesthetics, the DC12/2 addresses the needs of smaller, more challenging installations. Additionally, the DC12/2 is the first digitally steerable array with smartphone and tablet control. The DC12/2 features new updates as of Q4 2021. The upgrades deliver improvements to multi-unit configurations and a new full-range performance mode. An additional software update includes delay and discrete gain control for spaces such as conference and meeting rooms.
Nureva XT is a unique and highly integrated combination of audio, video, device management, and product services designed for educators who want the flexibility to extend the in-classroom experience to remote students. Easily combined with existing classroom technology products, Nureva XT enables live participation of remote students, while also supporting full-classroom audio pickup—all via a single USB connection to the instructor’s computer. There are four solutions, each combining a Nureva audio system (HDL300 for standard, Dual HDL300 for large) with the new Nureva CV30 classroom camera kit and a three- or five-year subscription to Nureva Pro.
Xilica’s Sonia range of networked amplifiers and ceiling speakers modernizes installed audio systems for IT-friendly collaboration spaces. The series includes the Sonia C5, a compact 5.25-inch in-ceiling speaker with a wide, even dispersion pattern that enables fewer speakers in large spaces. Sonia C5 is powered by Sonia Amp, a PoE+-enabled amplifier with integrated network switch that can power up to eight Sonia C5 speakers in daisy-chain. The Dante-enabled, plenum-rated design creates a single CatX drop to the ceiling for a full-room audio system. When paired with Xilica Solaro DSPs, Xilica’s VoiceMatch technology optimizes room audio and acoustics for highly intelligible speech.
The Konftel C2070 is an innovative collaboration kit featuring the Cam20 conference camera and Konftel 70 speakerphone that can, together, streamline video conferencing in huddle spaces as well as medium-sized meeting rooms. With the Konftel Cam20 USB conference camera, a clear and balanced image of participants and their colleagues is assured. Its WDR technology automatically adjusts to achieve a great picture in different light conditions, and its 4K video resolution enables superb digital zoom. Its counterpart, the Konftel 70, creates balanced, natural, and lifelike conversations using noise suppression and echo cancellation as part of Konftel’s acclaimed OmniSound technology.
Logitech’s Rally Bar is an all-in-one video bar solution for Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other leading video conferencing services that transforms meeting rooms with its cinema-quality video, crisp audio, and stunning design. With advanced audio engineering, Rally Bar features ultra-low distortion speakers that provide crystal-clear sound to every corner of the room. The video bar’s AI-based RightSound technology focuses on the active talker and auto-levels loud and soft voices, while suppressing unwanted noise. Plus, users can easily accommodate larger groups and spaces with Rally Mic Pods. Now, everyone joining conference meetings can hear and be heard with outstanding clarity.
SoundTube IPD-TSB2.0 Soundbar
MSE Audio’s SoundTube IPD-TSB2.0 STNet Dante-enabled soundbar is ideal for audio conferencing. The IPD-TSB2.0 Soundbar brings Dante connectivity from end to end in conferencing and boardroom video installations. Making the soundbar interoperable with other Dante products gives integrators additional flexibility when designing and installing audio systems. Built with high-quality materials and stylish, brushed metal cosmetics, the IPD-TSB2.0 Soundbar is a reliable, unrivaled solution for any audiovisual system. With a built-in amplifier, digital signal processor (DSP), and AES67 compatibility, it provides outstanding dialogue and clarity along with an open, wide sound stage. Wall-mount and table-top hardware are included.