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10 things you should know about microphones for your video conferencing system.

The quality of the sound in your video conference meetings is extremely important.

Have you ever evaluated the equipment you are using, or do you just accept that it will ‘get the job done’ ?

In this article we are going to look more closely at how you can ensure that your audio quality is at a premium for all future meetings.

So let’s review the 10 things you should know about microphones for your video conferencing system.

1. Sound is more important than picture in a video conference. You can still have a conversation without a picture stream but unless you are a skilled lip reader all you will see is unintelligible gums flapping in HD or 4K. A perfect picture and poor sound quality just defeats the purpose of the conference to begin with.

2. Can you get good quality sound from a camera/mic set up, a sound bar with built in mics, table devices, extension mics, wireless mics and ceiling mics? Short answer yes – some cost more than others.

3. You are not unique if your CEO wants wireless mics. And yes in most cases they can be used. If you have a large board room table and you want high quality sound think EXTRA EXPENSE (cheap, good, wireless should not appear in the same sentence unless you are writing fiction)

4. Effective speaking distance from the person to the input mic is called its “reach”. If the gain is consistent there will be approx. a 6db difference in sound level if one person is twice the distance from the mic. For those of you who are not sound engineers this is a significant difference and probably will be noticed at the far end. And remember your microphones control sound you SEND to the far end.

5. Are there mics that adjust for differing volumes of people speaking in the room? Yes there are mics that provide automatic gain and adjust for this (note: not so much in wireless)

6. Do noise cancelling mics work?. Yes the good ones do. See point 10

7. We hear this question all the time. “I’d like ceiling mounted microphones and a projector, what would you recommend?” We’d strongly suggest you reconsider as ceiling mounted mic arrays and projectors are bad bedfellows. Have a listen for the fans next time you see a projector in a meeting room. The far end will hear your projector.

8. Wireless mics are fickle beasts, cheap wireless mics even more so. Choose a good brand, have a base station for charging them, use a mixer/preamp/amp and try before you buy if possible. DO NOT ( please don’t ) use mics where batteries need replacing. You are asking for headaches.

9. If you are using hand held or lapel mics in a presentation situation have a mic that can be controlled from the mixer and have a person controlling the level and the on/off function. Having the person speaking switching their own mic on and off and fiddling with it is for amateurs and it goes wrong often – this frustrates the speaker and the audience.
10. Good mics are expensive! Wireless or ceiling arrays even more so.

Fast Track do this for a living and we love what we do. Talk to us before you start and save yourself some pain. If what you have needs fixing we will be happy to help. If you’d like to talk to one of our professional team members about the best solution for your requirements, then fill out the form here and contact us today, we are here to help!

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