Mythics is an Oracle systems integrator, consulting firm, and managed services provider. Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, they deliver technology solutions to the federal government, state, and local governments, as well as commercial, higher education and research, utilities, and healthcare sectors. Dissatisfied with the existing beamforming, hanging microphones installed in their conference rooms, they sought a replacement and called in Mike Jones of BCS Voice and Data Solutions. BCS is also based in Virginia Beach and offers telecommunication systems, information technology services, structured cabling installations, and AV solutions.
Jones began by interviewing his client. “Of course, I want to know the size and layout of the rooms, including where the furniture is placed,” said Jones. “But most importantly, I want to know their points of pain from a sound quality perspective.”
“Their previous install had beam forming mics hanging from the ceiling and they wouldn’t stay tuned – the quality of sound would drift from their DSP,” said Jones. “One day it sounds clear and the next day they can’t understand them. In addition to the continual sound quality issues, they did not like the appearance.”
The job required retrofitting five conference rooms, four large rooms with classroom seating, and the CEO’s conference room, with its long conference table. Jones recognized the challenge ahead: “It’s hard with ceiling mics. There are always reflections in the room and you have to be conscientious about staying away from supply or return vents,” said Jones. “I stay two tiles away and usually work with DSP to help.”
The client had specific criteria regarding the larger conference rooms.
“The client wanted all mics to pick up everything all the time without gating. All mics had to be evenly balanced – able to decipher what three people are saying at the same time, which is hard for any mic to do in a very reflective room like this,” said Jones. “Overall, the goal from the audio perspective was to give remote participants the feeling they were physically in the room, when up to three people are talking at the same time.”
Jones chose the Audix M70 flush-mount ceiling microphone, both for sound quality and their extremely low profile. “Everyone loves their aesthetic quality. Most customers I take to a live site ask where the mics are located. They can’t see them!”
In the larger conference rooms, Jones installed four M70s on each side. “The M70 covers the full 360°. The M70 can be aimed and sometimes the client will angle them inwards to catch the room better, but usually they are placed straight up and down.”
The CEO’s conference room turned out to the be most challenging space. “The only non-reflective surface was the floor.” Jones used an M60 mic on the table, gated as the primary mic, and four M70s mics in the ceiling. He also installed a diffuser to stop airflow moving across the ceiling in the CEO’s office.
Both Jones and the client were delighted with the result. “I never had any trouble installing M70s. They were simple to install and didn’t take a lot of time,” said Jones. “They were a drastic improvement aesthetically, the sound was crystal clear, they don’t drift like the beam-forming mics, and they are more reliable.”