AVT Question: Intelligible audio is the lynchpin that holds the entire conferencing experience together. What are some best practices to help ensure reliable, intelligible audio as the demand for hybrid solutions grows? [November 2021]
Thought Leader: Brian Retzlaff, solutions engineer, Legrand|AV
For conference rooms, there are basically two types of microphones to consider: table mics and ceiling mics. Before picking, consider the conditions of the room, including ceiling height, aesthetics, control panels, existing audio standards in the same building.
Table mics can provide 360-degree coverage. Because of the table, there can be an acoustic gain in efficiency with the sound bouncing off the hard surface. A table mic can provide access to mute buttons and volume controls.
For table setups, mics should be approximately two feet (0.6 meters) away from a presenter—a placement that optimizes voice pickup while minimizing ambient noise. This is fairly easy to accomplish when dealing with smaller spaces such as huddle rooms that are designed to accommodate a small group of people sitting around one table. For best audio results, echo cancellation and processing should occur at the mic, rather than within a soft client application such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
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For ceiling mics, installation requires an assessment of the immediate environment. Ideally, mics should descend to no more than approximately five feet (1.5 meters) above the person who is speaking. Extension cables can be used with higher ceilings, but they should be no longer than 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length. Otherwise, the mic and cable will act as an antenna and pick up ambient noise.