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Selecting the right microphone for Video Conferencing

Some people may not be aware that one of the most important conponents of a Video Conferencing systems is the Micrphone. Read the article below to lear more about selecting the right microphone for Video Conferencing.

1. What is Video Conferencing?

Video Conferencing is basically a live connection providing a video and audio link between two or more participants in different locations, such that a live interactive meeting can be held between the parties.

One of the most important components of the video conferencing system is a microphone. Microphones work by picking up on sound waves present in the environment. The more sensitive the microphone, the more sound waves it picks up. Since microphones don’t discriminate between sound waves that meeting participants want to hear (conversation) versus sound waves nobody wants to hear (background noise), it’s imperative that the microphone technology in a conference room meet the requirements of the space. It creates an ideal acoustic environment in which to share conversations without being distracted by background noise. 

2. What are the 3 Different Types of Microphone Technologies for Video Conferencing?

When choosing a microphone for this purpose you have three major types.

The first type of microphone technology for video conferencing is speaker phone technology. These microphones work either with an analog phone system or an SIP phone service provider. The microphone amplifies the telephone’s built in speaker phone. It plugs directly into the phone jack or Ethernet jack, offering essentially a microphone with telephone features. Meeting participants can dial phone calls, take phone calls, use speed dial, and, of course, use the conferencing feature. It’s easy to set up a speaker phone, it doesn’t require any special, advanced, or unique equipment, it doesn’t require any setup costs other than the unit itself, and it can be quickly transferred from one meeting space to the next. 

The second type of microphone technology is traditional microphone technology, which is the type that most employees and meeting attendees are familiar with. This is when a single microphone designed to pick up all of the audio in the meeting space is placed on the conference table or mounted to the ceiling. One advantage is a quick and easy setup cost. All you have to do is place the microphone in a central location for everyone to be able to speak into it. Any microphone that connects via USB port to a computer may be used for this purpose. It can also be easily moved from one room to the next as needed. A disadvantage is that the acoustics present in the meeting space may not be ideal for a simple stand-alone microphone. Participants may find that they have to lean in close to the microphone for others to hear within the video conferencing system. Since it’s one single microphone, its performance might not deliver the best auditory experience for everyone present at the meeting. 

The third type of microphone technology for video conferencing is called the Beamforming array. Since the goal of a microphone is to eliminate as much background noise as possible, the Beamforming array works by limiting the listening to one single direction and focusing those sound waves. The microphone elements steer pickup patterns towards those who are participating in the meeting, thereby rejecting unwanted noise. Beamforming array microphones can replace many traditional microphones, and can be mounted to the ceiling, conference table, or wall. Some have the ability to automatically adjust to the room configuration. Beamforming array microphones are not round, but are flat and rectangular. They contain many microphone elements within one unit, enhancing acoustics, picking up more signals, and reducing the noise. The less background noise the microphone picks up, the more likely it is that everyone using the video conferencing technology can be heard. Also, the more microphones are in the array, the more reduction in non-directional noises, which increases the pickup capabilities of the microphone. 

3. Why and when to use Beamforming Array Microphone Technology

Beamforming array microphone technology is best used in medium to large conference spaces and meeting areas, where a large number of participants are expected to speak. They’re excellent for board rooms, training centers, courtrooms, houses of worship, and for companies or corporations that use video conferencing frequently to interact with customers and clients around the globe. They’re especially useful in noisier environments, like downtown in busy cities, since they’re so effective at blocking out background noise. 

Also, if you’re concerned about decluttering your conference room and providing a sleek, elongated microphone, then the Beamforming Array will work well in your space. It frees up desk and table space, while still connecting easily to external sound bar or computer internal speakers. These microphones also contained enhanced acoustics for noise canceling, echo canceling, and reducing microphone reverb. They are also compatible with Windows, Apple, and Linux operating systems, and they can be installed in any size conference space. 

Beamforming array microphones should be set up in a way that takes advantage of the conference room’s acoustics, participant seating arrangement around the table, its proximity to other objects, and your space’s specific needs. A good microphone is compatible with the video conferencing system and provides excellent sound for everyone to hear. The Beamforming Array microphone also can contain both analog and digital input speakers as well as output speakers. Having that two-way option for a microphone increases the technological capabilities, and it is akin to having a microphone / speaker hybrid. This eliminates the need to purchase extra equipment and can save on setup costs as well. 

Since the second most important aspect of video conferencing, after visual technology, is the audio technology, it’s worth it to find and select the right kind of microphone for your meeting space.