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Conference Microphones

Multiple control options for user-friendly systems.

Conference Microphones

Nov 5, 2009 6:02 PM,
By Bennett Liles

Multiple control options for user-friendly systems.


Conferencing is a very demanding environment for microphones, especially those held in large meeting spaces with high-level sound-reinforcement systems. The participants each have the floor for a fairly short time, and their points must be made clearly and quickly. At the same time, these are typically not tech people, so the systems have to be very reliable and user-friendly. All the mixing must be done automatically behind the scenes. Several of the models covered here have additional interfacing capability so that they may be controlled with sophisticated third-party conferencing systems. Others are available as part of a specific conferencing system, and for those products, we have centered on the microphone’s performance. Most of those covered may be used either with automatic or manual mixing and control equipment.

Designed for use with the AKG CS2 conferencing system, the GN 50 CS is a variant of the GN 50 gooseneck microphone—one of nine models in the Discreet Acoustics Modular series. A condenser-type microphone, the GN 50 is about 20in. long and requires a 9V to 52V phantom power supply. The mic uses any of five interchangeable capsules, and it features a light ring that identifies the active microphone in a conference environment. The unit comes with a variety of mounting options, but the GN 50 CS uses a screw-in mini connector to mount into the base stations of the CS2 conferencing system.

Apex Electronics Apex145

A versatile setup option on gooseneck microphones for conferencing is a telescoping stem, and the AM-33 from Ansr Audio has the capability to extend from 13.5in. to 22in. The electret-condenser mic operates on 9V to 52V phantom power, and it has an audio frequency response of 60Hz to 16kHz. When paired with the AM-DSS weighted stand with matching black finish, the stem plugs directly into the XLR-F connector on the top of the base. The cast-iron AM-DSS base has a male XLR connector on the back for the mic cable. The pickup pattern on the microphone is unidirectional cardioid to minimize ambient noise pickup, and the unit has a sensitivity of -66dB ±2dB.

Among the dynamic microphones in the conference group, the Apex145 from Apex Electronics uses an integrated, die-cast, and weighted base with a latching on/off switch and low-impedance XLR connector, topped with a flexible gooseneck. The microphone features a frequency response from 100Hz to 12kHz in a cardioid pickup pattern with a sensitivity of -75dB ±3dB. The mic, base, and gooseneck come in a matching black finish, and since the unit is dynamic, no phantom power is required.

Astatic 1600VP

One of the more interesting approaches to conference microphone placement is hanging them from the ceiling. Where this is architecturally feasible, it avoids cluttering the conference table or console and allows the microphones to minimize proximity while keeping them out of the way of participants. A primary challenge of this placement is the physical positioning, so the Astatic1600VP condenser hanging microphone system includes a remotely operated, continuously variable polar-pattern control. Up to six of the control units can be mounted in 1RU, and when all the connections are made and phantom power is applied, a blue light appears on the control unit. The frequency response of the 1600VP is 40Hz to 20kHz, and the control unit also features a switchable 80Hz, 12dB/octave bass roll-off.

Audio-Technica ATCS-60MIC

The Audio-Technica gooseneck ATCS-60MIC microphone is used with the ATCS-60 IR transmitter/receiver and attaches directly to the 4-pin connector on the ATCS-M60 delegate unit. The mic is a fixed-charge back-plate condenser-type using very little power, and it exhibits a hyper­cardioid pattern for minimizing ambient sound pickup. The frequency response is 200Hz to 5kHz with a maximum sound pressure level (SPL) of 100dB and a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 61dB. It has a black finish to match the delegate base station to which it attaches in the system.

The M1250B miniaturized condenser mic from Audix can be combined with a gooseneck and the ATS-10 table stand to form a unit in the MicroPod series of conferencing microphones. With a fully integrated preamp and detachable cable, the M1250B is immune to RF interference from cell phones and GSM devices. The mic is available with omni, cardioid, hypercardioid, and shotgun capsules, and it has a frequency response of 50Hz to 18kHz. The unit can handle SPL levels up to 140dB with a dynamic range of 115dB. It operates on phantom power from 18V to 52V.



Conference Microphones

Nov 5, 2009 6:02 PM,
By Bennett Liles

Multiple control options for user-friendly systems.

MPR 111 Revoluto desktop microphone

Beyerdynamic offers a unique solution to conferencing with its MPR 111 Revoluto desktop microphone. The Revoluto uses an array of integrated microphone capsules to produce a corridor characteristic capable of providing an even pickup whether the user is sitting or standing at his or her conference position. The back-electret-condenser design operates on 44V to 52V phantom power, producing a frequency response of 130Hz to 17kHz and a maximum SPL handling capacity of 112dB. The unit’s audio interface is a standard 3-pin mini XLR male connector. The Revoluto design is available as a generic mic capable of operating with any professional mixer or as a microphone unit with programmable control and connections for operation with external logic.

C3-Halo-RF series cardioid condenser microphone

The DDU250 from Bogen is a dynamic microphone requiring no phantom power and incorporating a 16in. flexible gooseneck. The heavy zinc, die-cast base can be moved around on a table or podium, and the 10ft., 5-conductor cable includes external contact closure outputs for the talk switches. The local switches on the base are push-to-lock and push-to-talk. The unit exhibits a frequency response of 100Hz to 12kHz and a signal to noise ratio greater than 65dB.

The DCN-MICS/L pluggable, short- and long-stem microphones from Bosch Communications operate with the DCN-DISCS discussion unit in the Digital Congress Network Next Generation conferencing system to provide a unidirectional pickup pattern. The mic has red and green illuminated indicators to show if the mic is active (red) or if a request to speak has been initiated (green). It connects directly to the discussion unit, Concentus units, flush-mounted microphone connection panes, or DCN_IDESK interpreter desk. It also exhibits low susceptibility to cell phone interference.

Communication Technology C98 microphone

The ClockaudioC3-Halo-RF series cardioid condenser microphone may be used with a variety of conferencing systems by including an extra two pins on its XLR connection to be used for external control logic. This allows the microphone to illuminate an LED halo ring on the mic when it’s active. The unit has a frequency response of 50Hz to 18kHz, a sensitivity of -47dB ±3dB, and an impedance of 200V. It can operate on 12V to 48V phantom power, and it comes with a W2 foam windscreen. The gooseneck is available in four lengths.

Electro-Voice PolarChoice Desktop

The Communication TechnologyC98 microphone is fitted to a 11.8in. gooseneck and terminated with an M10 mounting base, nuts, and washer. Either a unidirectional electret capsule may be fitted to it using an internal FET preamplifier or a moving-coil dynamic capsule may be used. Three-pin XLR and flange mounts are also available. The moving-coil capsule has a frequency response from 100Hz to 8kHz with a presence lift at 3kHz, and the electret capsule has a frequency response from 100Hz to 15kHz.

The PolarChoice Desktop microphone from Electro-Voice has a gooseneck stem on an oval base and offers a selection of omni, cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid polar patterns and either flat or high-pass frequency response. These options are switch-selectable on the underside of the base along with the mic switch function. Push-to-talk, push-to-mute, and momentary or toggle modes can be chosen by the combination of two switches. The control of the microphone can also be switched between local and automatic mixer modes to suit the system in which it is being used.

JTS Professional ST-850

The ST-850 gooseneck microphone from JTS Professional is a back-electret-condenser mic that can be used in a wired or wireless configuration to provide a frequency response of 50Hz to 18kHz in a supercardioid polar pattern. The base unit includes a mic activation switch, and it may be connected directly to an audio cable with phantom power or it can contain a bodypack-style wireless mic transmitter. Maximum SPL-handling capability is 125dB, and the impedance is 2kV wireless and 100V wired. The gooseneck length is 12.5in.




Conference Microphones

Nov 5, 2009 6:02 PM,
By Bennett Liles

Multiple control options for user-friendly systems.

Milab Microphones VM-44

Through a number of mounting options and interchangeable capsules, the flexible gooseneck VM-44 condenser microphone from Milab Microphones can be used to suit a variety of applications including tabletop conferencing. The mic has a switchable 12dB attenuator, and it provides a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz in a cardioid polar pattern with the standard capsule. Operating on 12V to 52V phantom power with a current consumption of 4mA, the unit handles a maximum SPL of 140dB and presents an impedance below 200V. Its in-line preamp is fitted with an XLR connector for direct interface with mixers.

For wireless conferencing applications, the Nady SystemsWPM-2U offers an RF range up to 200ft. when used with the Nady UHF-3 receiver. Eliminating the clutter of cables on the conference table or console, up to six WPM-2U systems may be used simultaneously. The tabletop base features a switch for audio on/off and a separate switch for power. Both the power and audio switches must be in the on position for function. An LED on the top of the base lights green when the power is on. When the battery is low, the LED changes to orange. The unit operates in the 470MHz-to-510MHz band and maintains crystal-controlled frequency stability. The RF output is 50mW, and tone squelch prevents the receiver from picking up stray signals when the transmitter unit is switched off. The battery life on a single 9V is 8 hours to 16 hours, depending on the duty cycle.

Peavey PM 18S

Available in a black or white finish, the PeaveyPM 18S is suitable for podium and conferencing applications using dual-flex tubing for strength with the elasticity to provide a variety of positioning choices. The back-electret-condenser mic produces a smooth frequency response in a cardioid pickup pattern for speech and high gain before feedback. A collet-type mounting flange allows the unit to be permanently placed securely onto a flat surface with mechanical isolation and a security locking system. The PM 18S operates on a phantom power supply of 9V to 52V, and it includes an LED power indicator.

With a 15in. gooseneck length, the SamsonCM15P has flexible sections at the top and bottom with a rigid center. A permanently charged condenser element operating at 9V to 52V provides a cardioid polar pattern with a frequency response of 60Hz to 16kHz. The mic can be powered from a mixer or with the Samson S-phantom external power supply. There is also an onboard high-pass filter with a 100Hz roll-off for cutting background rumble and mechanical noise, and a dual-stage rippled windscreen to reduce breath popping when used up close. The FMS1 standard flange mount is included to fit with the XLR audio connector on the bottom of the gooseneck.

Sanken Microphone CUS-101B

The CUS-101B condenser microphone from Sanken Microphone has a small, round base and a cardioid pickup pattern with a frequency response tailored for speech. The unit has approximately 20dB rejection on-axis vs. 180 degrees. The base has an isolating shock absorber composed of foam rubber and a metal spring. The gooseneck stem is available in three lengths: 5.2in., 9.6in., and 12in. The CUS-101B operates on 48V phantom power, and it provides a maximum handling capacity of 125dB SPL with a signal-to-noise ratio of 72dB and a dynamic range of more than 130dB. There is also a set of urethane windscreens (WM-101) available in seven colors.

Sennheiser SDC 8200

The gooseneck cardioid condenser microphones featured on the delegate, chairman, and interpreter units of the SennheiserSDC 8200 digital conference and interpretation system operate on 48V phantom power and offer a frequency response from 100Hz to 14kHz. Just below the microphone, each unit has a built-in loudspeaker and two headphone jacks with individual volume controls. The base also features a microphone activation key and LED status indicator. The chairman and delegate units also provide voting capabilities, an ID card reader for security, and an LCD for voting and text messages. The SDC 8200 SYS software can allow synoptic or nominative microphone control. The base includes two RJ-45 terminals for connecting up to 20 units along one twisted-pair cable.

Shure MX405/410

The ShureMX405 and MX410 gooseneck condenser mics are available in 6in. and 10in. lengths respectively, and they may be fitted with either a cardioid or supercardioid capsule. The screw base on these models can fit either the MX400SMP surface-mount preamp for permanent position mounting in a table or the MX400DP wired desktop base (also available is the MX890 wireless desktop base). There is also a choice of having either a bicolor status indicator or LED light ring on the gooseneck, which may be controlled remotely in conjunction with external logic from a conferencing system using pins 3 and 5 on the audio connection. The MX400DP desktop base also features a configurable mute button with logic output. The mute button functions are programmed with an array of internal switches located in the base. Both units provide a frequency range of 15Hz to 17kHz and a dynamic range of 93dB.

As an integral mic/base unit for conference-table use, the SonyECM530 condenser microphone can be phantom-powered by a pair of internal AA batteries or by an external power supply of 14V to 48V. The microphone provides a unidirectional pickup pattern with a frequency response of 70Hz to 18kHz and a dynamic range of more than 90dB. Typical of Sony’s ECM mics, the unit has a sensitivity of -49dB ±2dB and a signal-to-noise ratio of more than 63dB. The mic cable attaches to the back of the matte black, noise-isolated base that matches the microphone’s color. The gooseneck is flexible for placement options.

Taiden HCS-5300 series

The TaidenHCS-5300 series infrared conferencing system uses electret-condenser gooseneck microphones operating on 1.5V on its chairman and delegate units. Powered from the battery supply on the chairman and delegate units, the microphones are available in 13.2in., 16.4in., and 18.8in. options with a unidirectional polar pattern, a frequency response of 30Hz to 20kHz, and SPL capacity of 125dB. The units have a proprietary 6-pin connector, and they are available in a silver/gray finish. A light ring around the element indicates when the microphone is turned on.



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