Conferencing MicrophonesWhile conference mics usually share a common form factor (gooseneck mic attached to a base), the implementations and technology can vary widely. 10/22/2012 8:14 AM Eastern
Oct 22, 2012 12:14 PM, By Mark Johnson
No matter the legislative body—Senate, Parliament, or Congress—it’s all a political meeting with several participants that can range from high-level government discussions on topics that will affect our daily lives to corporate-level discussions concerning bests practices and standard operating procedures to help businesses operate more effectively. While conference mics usually share a common form factor (gooseneck mic attached to a base), the implementations and technology can vary widely. For example, some version of a cardioid mic with a gooseneck is the de facto standard for live conferencing applications, while boundary mics (either standalone or integrated into the telephone device) tend to be used in teleconferencing applications where gain before feedback is less of an issue.
Conference mics can be permanently installed in government buildings and corporate conference rooms or set up temporarily in meeting halls and convention centers to facilitate a one-off event. A conferencing mic can be as basic as a wired system with a XLR connector on the other end of a 2-meter cable, wireless systems that use bodypack transmitters, or purpose-built infrared or 2.4GHz ISM band systems. In some cases, all that’s needed is a mic on a podium or head table and some well placed additional mics interfaced to a mixer. Other times it’s an elaborate and complex hierarchical system of microphones dedicated for chairmen and delegates, has the ability to cast votes, or enable language translation; a part of a larger system, all controlled by some sophisticated automixing DSP. Be sure to check the manufacturers websites for further information about complete systems or options available on specific models.
Part of AKG’s CS 5 system, the VU allows for the selection of either president or delegate operating modes; features a one, three, or five-way voting/polling function; and has up to 63 language channels that are independently selectable for two users. Two gooseneck lengths are available—either 12in. or 20in.—and both feature an extra wide LED ring for visual mic status indications. Microphone capsule options include CK 31 cardioid, CK 33 hypercardioid, and CK 47 that provides an 80-degree pickup coverage angle.
Apex Electronics’ Apex 145 dynamic tabletop gooseneck microphone features an integrated die-cast weighted stand base with a silent latching on/off switch and XLR output connector, and also incorporates an 18in. gooseneck. The mic features a cardioid pick up pattern and provides a frequency response of 100Hz to 12kHz.
CAD Audio’s Astatic GN15VPD and GN20VPD are dual-flex 15in. and 20in. gooseneck microphones, respectively. They feature continuously variable polar patterns (omni, cardioid, and figure eight); a soft touch, programmable membrane switch (push to talk, push to mute, power up on, power up off, and remote mode); and a LED status indication and logic I/O for external muting and remote control.
Audio-Technica’s SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband Digital System operates in the 6GHz range and provides wireless functionality free from the issues currently facing many of wireless systems. Available microphone transmitter units include mtu101 boundary microphone transmitter and the mtu201 XLR desk stand transmitter, which is optimized for Audio-Technica Engineered Sound gooseneck mics. The transmitter features a programmable, touch-sensitive switch for push-to-talk, push-to-mute, or toggle operation.
The MicroPod from Audix is available with a 6in., 12in., or 18in. gooseneck. An optional ATS-10 table stand (with lighted on/off switch) allows for desk or tabletop operation. The system comes standard with the Audix M1250B cardioid condenser mic though a hypercardioid is available as well, and both feature a low-noise circuit with RF immunity. The frequency response is 50Hz to 19kHz.
Azden’s IRC-51 chairman tabletop microphone is part of the Azden 6-channel IR wireless conference system, which comprises the IRR106 6-channel receiver and the IRC-56 participant’s microphone. The mic is always on channel number one of the system and features a push on/push off talk button in addition to mute (which silences the participants mics). The IRC-51 can be powered either by six AA alkaline batteries or by six Azden 1HR-3U rechargeable batteries. Operating time is four to five hours.
Oct 22, 2012 12:14 PM, By Mark Johnson
Beyerdynamic’s Quinta Digital Wireless conferencing system includes the MU 23 chairman microphone unit that features software configurable soft-touch keys and rechargeable NiMH batteries that can provide approximately 30 hours of operating time. The microphone also features voice activation or push-to-talk operation. The control unit can be networked via AVB technology and an integrated web server allows smartphone control.
The Bosch DCN-WDCS-D Wireless Discussion Unit wireless discussion unit can be used as either a delegate or chairman unit. The system features operation in the 2.4GHz band, a built-in channel selector for simultaneous interpretations in multiple language conferences, and offers 128-bit AES encryption for security.
Bogen’s DDU250 is a dynamic cardioid microphone that includes a 16in. gooseneck mounted to a zinc die-cast base. It features push-to-lock and push-to-talk switches and a 10ft. cable with external contact closure outputs for the switches. The frequency response is 100Hz to 12kHz.
The Brähler Automic system includes the AMic delegates microphone unit, which features a button that functions either as an on/off switch or for sending a request to speak. The unit is also equipped with a loudspeaker for decentralized sound reinforcement. One ACen central control unit can support up to 100 AMic units. The mic can be used as a drop in replacement for Brähler’s Digimic delegate units.
Clockaudio model S 133-RF desk stand, which features RF interference protection and a programmable touch pad (PTT, PTM, and latching modes), combines with either the C 36E-RF cardioid gooseneck mic (27in. long) or the C 301E-RF rigid stem gooseneck (7.2in. long) mic. Both microphones feature a frequency response of 50Hz to 18kHz.
The PolarChoice Satellite from Electro-Voice is designed to accept Telex and Electro-Voice bodypack transmitters hidden in the base of the microphone. The on/off switch can be programmed to function as a latching on/off or push-to-mute switch. The mic features selectable polar patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid. Available gooseneck lengths include 5in, 12in., or 18in.
The JTS CS-1 i-Conference Discussion System features the CS-1 control unit, which can power up to 50 chairman or delegate units (three systems can be combined for a system of up to 150 units). The delegate unit provides an on/off push-button, an internal speaker, and headphone output. The chairman unit adds a priority button that allows overriding or deactivating of the delegate microphones.
Oct 22, 2012 12:14 PM, By Mark Johnson
Milab’s VM-44 gooseneck condenser microphone features interchangeable microphone capsules, but comes standard with a cardioid element. A 3-meter cable separates the preamp from the mic. The frequency response is 20 to 20,000Hz with a maximum SPL of 140dB. The 120mm gooseneck allows for different mounting options.
The AC-400 from MXL is an USB-powered gooseneck mic designed for web conferencing applications. In addition to USB, other I/O includes a 1/8in. headphone jack and a 1/8in. extension jack. Up to three AC-40 EXT mics can be connected. The microphone frequency response is 40Hz to 16kHz.
The PM 18S back-electret condenser podium microphone from Peavey/Architectural Acoustics comes in black or white finish and provides a cardioid pickup pattern. The mic features a collet-type mounting flange with a mechanical isolation system, an LED power indicator, and a security locking system to prevent unauthorized removal once installed.
The Revolabs Fusion comes in a four or eight microphone version and provides functionality as the wireless receiver for the mics, digital signal processor, audio mixer with acoustic echo cancellation, and noise reduction technology. The system can interface directly to amplifiers or speakers or most major videoconferencing systems. The wireless signal is 128-bit digitally encrypted for secure communication.
The Samson Technologies CM15P and CM20P gooseneck podium mics come in either 15in. or 20in. in length. They feature a rigid midsection with flexible goosenecks at the top and bottom. The mic features a cardioid pickup pattern with a frequency response of 60Hz to 16,000Hz and has an internal selectable high pass filter. Also included with the mic is the FMS1 standard flange mount and SMS1 shock mount.
A unique absorbing system helps to provide isolation for Sanken’s CUS-101B from table vibrations. The mic comes in gooseneck lengths of 130mm, 240mm, and 300mm. Available in a satin nickel finish, the mic features a cardioid polar pattern, a frequency response of 50Hz to 10kHz, and a maximum SPL of 125dB.
Sennheiser’s SDC 8200 digital conference and interpretation system features the SDC 8200 chairman unit, which comprises a gooseneck cardioid mic with a frequency response of 100Hz to 14kHz, built-in loudspeaker, two headphone jacks with individual volume controls, and LED indicators. The SDC 8200 CV with PC control provides an LCD display for advanced voting capabilities and text messaging.
Shure’s Microflex modular gooseneck microphones are available in three gooseneck lengths (5in., 10in., and 15in.) and a variety of other options, including desktop or mounted bases, wired or wireless, and interchangeable mic elements (cardioid or supercardioid polar pattern). The units feature either bi-color status indicator or single color light ring.
The Sony ECM530 tabletop microphone can be powered via a AA battery or phantom power, and features a gooseneck that can extend from 12 7/8in. to 17 3/8in. The mic features a uni-directional pickup pattern, a frequency response of 70Hz to 18kHz, and a maximum SPL of 126dB.
The HCS-5300 series digital infrared wireless conference system from Taiden features a unidirectional microphone with a two-color illuminated ring and individual microphone sensitivity and EQ adjustment. The system can control up to 1,000 chairman and delegate units. The built-in rechargeable Lithium battery can operate up to 14.4 hours when the mic is on and up to 48 hours when the mic is off.
TOA’s TS 770 series conference system central unit can support up to 70 chairperson/delegate stations and up to three central units can be combined for a potential total of 210 chairperson/delegate units. The TS-771 features a headphone/recording output, internal speaker, a speech button, and a priority button. Gooseneck unidirectional mic length options are 14.49in. (TS-773) or 20.39in. (TS-774).