Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023 - 58

TECH UPDATE
C llab rati n
TODAY and TOMORROW
wisely, as most presenters don't have the best microphone
technique. Often, they tend not to point the microphone at
their mouth unless reminded to do so. It does not matter how
good the microphone is: It will not work if it is not in front
of the presenter's mouth. There are some new microphone
heads that sound excellent for this. I especially like the new
dynamic cardioid heads that control proximity effect better
than the condenser heads.
Microphones for RF bodypacks are another contested
issue. You can choose to use lavalier-style or earset/headset-style
microphones, or perhaps a combination of them.
I'm still a fan of omnidirectional lavs, as the positioning of
cardioid lavs can be difficult. (And, in most instances, they
feedback more easily than omnis do.) Earsets are available in
both omni and cardioid, as well. Again, here, the omnis work
quite well. With this style, you get what you pay for. If you
start looking at the best available, you'll find that they work
as well for you as they do for Broadway performances.
It does not matter how good
the microphone is: It will not
work if it is not in front of the
presenter's mouth.
I have always liked the look and sound of gooseneck microphones
on a boardroom table. The technology looks like it
means business, and it works better than any alternative I've
seen. Look at the short shotguns available, and I'm sure you
will come to the same conclusion. Of course, if the customer
or architect doesn't like the look, you will have to look at the
alternatives. Also, use a microphone that sits in the table -
not merely on the table. If you don't make the microphone
obvious, you have no chance of stopping the participant
from covering it up with their stuff. Remember this truism: If
the participant can move them, they will move them.
Suggested Microphone Types: multiple ceiling-mounted
microphones with multiple small speakers in a mix-minus
voice-lift array, wireless bodypack/lavalier and handheld microphones,
lectern gooseneck microphones, and wired and/
or wireless table-mount gooseneck microphones.
Conference Auditoriums
Another trending room type is the 300- to 600-seat auditorium
with a large video screen and stage. Sound systems can
be behind the screen with surround-sound speakers around
and above the audience. Additionally, there is usually a
voice- propagation system located to the left and right of
the stage. There are also onstage audio monitors for questions
to those on stage from the house, as well as from the
far end of a call. This is more like a performance stage than
a conference room. However, in reality, both functions need
to work here.
Having assessed the seating capacity, you will be using a
quantity of ceiling-mounted or pole-hanging beamforming
arrays evenly spaced over the audience area so both the far
end and the stage presenters can hear the audience's questions.
Voice lift is somewhat more difficult here. You could
use ceiling-mounted Atmos speakers for this, but you would
need separate channel drives to each speaker so you could
set up the mix-minus array. The other option would be to
put the left side of the audience into the right voice system
and vice versa. This doesn't produce the best result, but it
is better than having no voice lift at all. In any event, these
microphones would be on only during the Q&A. Otherwise,
there would be far too much noise transmitted to the far
end. In all cases, your audio system is only as good as the
quality of the microphones. This is not a place to valueengineer
a project.
The so-called " Fireside Chat " format is also popular in
these spaces. Often, a presenter will speak from the lectern
to present. This is followed by a sit-down chat that includes
a representative of the company hosting the event. We
have done this with RF earsets, lavalier mics, handheld mics
and RF gooseneck bases with different-length goosenecks.
Here's the story: If you choose a wireless system, make sure
that they're flexible enough to provide a selection of transmitters
and microphones without needing multiple receiver
systems. Dais setups are best done with wired bases with
gooseneck mics, but they can also be done with wireless
bases if the budget and frequency space will allow.
Suggested Microphone Types: multiple ceiling-mounted
beamforming microphone arrays, wireless bodypack/lavalier
and handheld microphones, lectern gooseneck microphones,
wired table-mount gooseneck microphones for dais
and " Fireside Chat " formats.
Your Mileage May Vary
The guidelines in this article should help you choose the best
microphone type in each of these circumstances. However,
as with everything else in AV, your mileage may vary. I can
remember several instances when we had to do something
different from the above in order to make an installation
work. As ever, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Once the application becomes more complex than the
everyday instance, it is best to bring in a qualified audio design
engineer to help you develop the best solution for that
particular space.
Mike Sinclair is president and founder of Sinclair AV, Inc.
58 Commercial Integrator+Security Sales & Integration | Sept/Oct 2023

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023

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