Choosing the right audio equipment will depend on the size and purpose of the room, and whether your intended use is for audio conferencing only or in combination with video conferencing. What follows is an initial look at a variety of audio conferencing equipment options, their capabilities, and some of the settings for which each is well suited.
Conference Phones: These are important for holding audio calls in small to medium conference rooms. These phones can also be great in larger conference rooms where budget is a concern and integration with video is not required. You should still require high-quality, full-duplex audio for even the smallest conference rooms.
You may need an installed system to support audio conferencing and video conferencing for larger rooms or when audio quality is critical. In general, any installed audio system should incorporate the following:
Automatic mic mixers to manage incoming microphone audio, limiting the number of active mics and reducing unwanted background noise.
Additional features you should also consider:
Microphones and microphone placement are important considerations for quality audio. Many types of microphones are available. Your choice will depend on the particular room equipment, acoustics, and number of people you are supporting. Microphones should be selected based on the number of maximum meeting participants you are likely to support. You will have to make some decisions regarding tabletop mics and ceiling mics; each type has its distinctive advantages and disadvantages.
Tabletop mics are a reliable choice in a conference room because people usually face the table as they speak, and the mics can be placed in sufficient quantities and in appropriate locations to pick up everyone’s audio. These provide a clear, direct pick-up pattern that produces good sound quality.
When conferencing needs extend beyond a few participants and microphones, a larger, intergrated system should be considered. There are a few good choices available for installed systems with multiple microphone modules that provide echo cancellation, noise cancellation and audio processing for greatly improved audio and sound quality.
Audio is the very foundation for your conferencing. Take the time to determine the right equipment for your needs. Many vendors offer complete lines of audio equipment, making it easier to build a system initially, and even easier to upgrade and/or expand your solution.
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