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Audio/phone setup in corporate environment

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I work in a rather corporate environment as the company's video editor/shooter extraordinaire (more or less) and have an audio question. We have a pretty big conference room that routinely holds 40-50 people with a podium/computer/projector setup in the front. We almost always have people who work remotely conferenced in who watch & listen in on meetings on their computers. The problem is that most of the time, those people have a really difficult time hearing most of the things that are said.

I am pretty sure that the current setup consists of simply a mic that came with the computer (most likely used for web chatting/Skype) but isn't really meant for what it is currently being used for. One of the IT guys here said that we need to buy an audio mixer and run it through the computer to get good audio for those connected in remotely - but it doesn't really seem as though a mixer would be necessary to me. My thought was just to plug a microphone into the computer and the audio would come through that, thus negating the need for a mixer, no? I have a couple wireless mics and a boom mic that I use on-board our camera that I could use, since the mics are available if I'm available, as I'm the only video guy.

What do you think - should I look into the mixer option or just plug in a microphone to the computer? Do I need a mixer? Am I crazy and none of this makes sense (entirely possible)? Any feedback suggestions would be welcome.
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmclaughlin42 View Post

I work in a rather corporate environment as the company's video editor/shooter extraordinaire (more or less) and have an audio question. We have a pretty big conference room that routinely holds 40-50 people with a podium/computer/projector setup in the front. We almost always have people who work remotely conferenced in who watch & listen in on meetings on their computers. The problem is that most of the time, those people have a really difficult time hearing most of the things that are said.

I am pretty sure that the current setup consists of simply a mic that came with the computer (most likely used for web chatting/Skype) but isn't really meant for what it is currently being used for. One of the IT guys here said that we need to buy an audio mixer and run it through the computer to get good audio for those connected in remotely - but it doesn't really seem as though a mixer would be necessary to me. My thought was just to plug a microphone into the computer and the audio would come through that, thus negating the need for a mixer, no? I have a couple wireless mics and a boom mic that I use on-board our camera that I could use, since the mics are available if I'm available, as I'm the only video guy.

What do you think - should I look into the mixer option or just plug in a microphone to the computer? Do I need a mixer? Am I crazy and none of this makes sense (entirely possible)? Any feedback suggestions would be welcome.

The most common solution to this problem is none of the alternatives that you have mentioned. Here are microphones that are designed for the purpose:

http://www.amazon.com/MXL-AC404-USB-Conference-Microphone/dp/B001TGTDFM



http://www.acousticmagic.com/p04-USB-Conference-Microphone/dp/B001TGTDFMroduct-applications-conferences.html



The high end is represented by the following:

http://www.microphones.com/microphone.cfm?URLID=LFH-0955



This is a system with individual microphones and an automated mixer that mutes all of the microphones but the one that is being used in order to reduce background noise.

The above are just examples that need to be evaluated to see what best suits your needs.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks arnyk - I'll take a look at these and things like them to see which of them works for our setup.

Thanks for responding!
post #4 of 8
Most companies use a single clip-on mic for the presenter and pester him/her/it to repeat any questions from the audience so remote listeners hear both sides.
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

Most companies use a single clip-on mic for the presenter and pester him/her/it to repeat any questions from the audience so remote listeners hear both sides.

I think we're talking about two different kind of meetings.

I was talking about an actual interactive meeting where many attendees are discussing things on an ad hoc basis.

You seem to be talking about a single-speaker presentation where most people are just sitting there listening. The approach you describe falls apart during question and answer sessions unless someone passes a mic around, which almost never really works very well.
post #6 of 8
Yes, you are right, of course. I guess I was not sure which way the OP was leaning. I just presented at our annual FAE training, and that format was ~100 people but a single presenter. At my company, and the others I have been at in the past decade or three, we have Polycom systems that look very much like your last picture, with multiple (1 - 8) mics placed up and down the conference table.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
For the most part, we use the conference room for a bunch of listeners listening to one presenter, but there are also quite a few meetings where there is an actively participating audience. So I guess both scenarios apply to the conference room in question.
post #8 of 8
We have Polycom's everywhere. Probably not the greatest, but not the worst...

http://www.polycom.com/products-services/products-by-environment/conference-room.html
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