31 May Why is Audio Quality of your Conference Call So Bad?
As video displays become larger and more elaborate, the audio planning tends to be overlooked… that is until both parties begin to ask the frustrating questions, ‘‘Can you hear me?’’ or ‘‘ I didn’t catch what you said…’’ So we asked the question, what sort of factors should be considered when setting up an audio solution?
First of all it’s important to note inherent noises such as a loud air-conditioner, general office sounds such as typing on keyboards or people chatting from a distance, as well as outside distractions like sirens and street traffic.
Then, consider the conference room itself, the acoustics, echo, and hard surfaces to avoid.
There is also the phenomenon of ‘‘standing waves’’ an effect created when sound is reflected back and both between parallel surfaces.
At AV Planners, all of the above is taken into consideration for each individual room, before a video and audio solution is set up. But what to do if you can’t change the physical design of the room? Russel Pinkard of AV Planners assured us by saying, ‘‘ If you can’t have the perfect room, you remediate the audio through digital processing.’’
He also recommends the Shure MX202 , an isolated celling microphone that provides accurate sound reproduction with minimum interference or electromagnetic hum. Its unobtrusive and best suited to pick up speech.
We asked him what the 3 biggest mistakes people make when setting up their audio solution and these might come as a surprise:
- More microphones does not always mean better sound pick up, in fact having more microphones doubles the amount if inherent noise.
- The opposite is true for the amount of speakers in a room, more speakers at a lower volume makes for a better environment for echo cancelation.
- Placement – Many people place microphones on tabletops thinking it’s the best place to pick up a conversation however, many don’t anticipate the amount of noise generated at the table such as the vibration of a cell phone going off, or someone shuffling papers during the meeting, and if someone has a laptop fan pointed at the mic it will pretty much kill every other sound.