For AV professionals, there are few things more exasperating than bad audio. With all of the meticulously designed, acoustically optimized board rooms sitting vacant as the COVID-19 quarantine drags on, business meetings have been reduced to conversations through tiny built-in laptop microphones. That’s no good. Not only do these default setups generate noticeably poorer sound quality, they can also introduce echo into conversations, frustrating all participants in the meeting.
With all signs pointing to an enduring increase in remote work, there’s no better time than now to consider equipping your workforce with high-quality solutions for remote conferencing audio. Here are some of the latest solutions from top brands.
Avaya IXTM Conference Phone B109
The Avaya IX Conference Phone B109 is a compact, portable personal speakerphone that delivers clear sound using the company’s OmniSound audio technology. With its USB and Bluetooth connectivity, it connects to a laptop, desk phone, collaboration computer, or a mobile phone providing high-quality audio calls. It is well suited for a meeting with a couple of colleagues in a huddle room, and fits easily inside of briefcase, making it useful for work on the road, in hotel rooms, or anywhere away from the office. If you’re alone in the room, the B109 Conference Phone is a good alternative to a headset. You can also play music with high fidelity when your meeting has finished. The clear LCD display screen and various colored LEDs let you see at a glance which feature is enabled. Its built-in battery gives users the option of complete cordless use.
beyerdynamic’s ideal work-from-home product is the PHONUM Bluetooth/UCB-C Speakerphone. It is a simple-to-use device for impromptu meetings or creating a collaboration space virtually anywhere. PHONUM is compatible with smartphones/devices, laptops, and home/office computers. Using beyerdynamic’s audio and microphone technology, PHONUM delivers high-quality speakerphone sound for home offices or on-the-go work. PHONUM features three mic elements with Gecko 360-degree technology and the choice of three mic positions: omnidirectional, cardioid, and beamforming. It includes Fix & Follow Voice-Tracking with ANC (active noise cancelling) technology. PHONUM is also rated Best-in-Class Echo Cancellation according to Skype for Business certification guidelines. PHONUM is powered by a lithium ion battery that lasts up to 12 hours and can be charged through the USB port. It includes a hard case for meetings on the go and a USB-C cable for quick charging and conferencing.
Jabra Speak 710
Jabra Speak 710 is a portable speakerphone for business leaders that delivers high-quality sound for conference calls and music. The device features a small, compact portable design in an exclusive color and with an integrated folding stand for extra flexibility. Users can connect to a smart device or laptop in seconds via USB or Bluetooth, which provides a 30-meter range from a laptop or smartphone and 15 hours battery life. The high performing omnidirectional microphone is suitable for conference calls with up to six attendees. The Jabra Speak 710 features a "Hi-Fi-grade" speaker and the ability to pair two Speak 710 devices together for a full stereo experience, for conference calls with up to 12 people. The Speak 710 operation can be personalized by integrating a smartphone digital assistant using MS Cortana, Siri, or Google Now, with the one-touch Smart Button.
The Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e is designed to enable hands-free calling and high-quality audio for a phone or tablet. Users can pair up to eight Bluetooth devices or connect with NFC by touching a device to the P710e. The P710e’s innovative form factor holds your device for visibility on the other end of the call while you take notes or type on a second device or computer. The P710e provides long battery life, with up to 15 hours of talk time. A custom speaker and noise-cancelling mic offer clear sound on both ends of the call, and users can plug in headphones for additional privacy. When you’re ready to jump on a call, connect your mobile phone or tablet to the P710e speakerphone using Bluetooth with optional NFC pairing or the attached USB cable. Optimized for Microsoft Lync, Cisco compatible, and certified for Skype and Skype for Business, the P710e provides enterprise-quality audio and an integrated conferencing experience.
Poly Calisto 3200
Poly Calisto 3200 is a Teams-certified, portable personal speakerphone for your new remote working space or home office, designed with 360-degree audio to help turn any location into a professional-sounding environment. Poly’s Calisto 3200 provides high-quality audio up to 10 feet (3m) away and is Microsoft Teams-certified to ensure others hear you loud and clear on the other end of the call. Calisto 3200 is designed for intuitive control and features visual indicators and voice alerts that keep you informed of your call status. Powered by USB for plug-and-play setup and compatible with both PC and Mac, the device helps cut down on clutter.
Sennheiser TeamConnect Wireless
Sennheiser TeamConnect Wireless is a portable wireless conference system for online meetings. Its ease of use, multiple connectivity options, fast setup, and high audio quality make unified communications more efficient. The system can be set up in less than a minute, according to the company, so users can quickly host a professional-sounding online meeting for up to 12 or up to 24 people in any room. TeamConnect Wireless supports all unified communications requirements for online meetings and offers multiple connectivity options. Users can connect with any laptop or smart device wirelessly via NFC-enabled Bluetooth or via USB/3.5mm jack wired connections. TeamConnect Wireless also supports multiple simultaneous audio channels, so joining additional callers to an ongoing online meeting is easy, too. The system is available in stationary tray-set versions for dedicated meeting rooms with two satellites for up to 12 participants or four satellites for up to 24 participants.
Leading conference calls from home may be the new normal, but workers can be confident that the cacophony of kids and other background noise won’t interrupt and derail conversations with Yamaha’s YVC-330 portable USB and Bluetooth speakerphone. The device leverages Yamaha’s SoundCap technology to intelligently zero in and capture only the intended meeting participants to enable highly intelligible calls. To further enable clear meeting sound and prevent unnecessary noise from being transmitted, the speakerphone also features an automatic mute, which engages when participants are not speaking; Yamaha's Human Voice Activity Detection, which instantly distinguishes human voices from other sounds; and an auto-speaker volume adjustment, which regulates the volume to ambient noise levels.