How to choose the best microphone & speaker bars for your meeting room
Crystal clear audio in your meeting spaces
The importance of audio in your meeting rooms should not be underestimated. As more of us are now working from home than ever before, the audio in your room has never been so key. It's not just about the people in your room, what sounds fine to them may not sound so great to your remote participants. Poor quality audio in your meetings is frustrating, distracting and disruptive.
Microphone & speaker bars are great for your meeting rooms. They deliver high-quality audio and will improve the overall experience of your meetings.
But with so many different options available, it can be hard to know which one is right for you, so we've put together some tips to help with selecting the right bar for your meeting room.
Your meeting space
The best option for you will be very much dependent upon the size of your meeting space. Generally speaking the bigger your meeting space the larger the bar you will need to ensure full-room audio coverage.
Technology and features are continuously evolving in this area, with vendors vying against one another.
Traditional audio-conferencing systems often use beamforming technology where the sound is picked up in defined beams pointed at fixed positions. If talkers stay within the beams, pickup can be adequate. But if they move outside the beams, they may enter dead zones where pickup is compromised.
Here are just a few examples of the technologies currently available from vendors, but the technologies are always changing, so make sure you do your research:
Microphone MistTM from Nureva, fills the room with thousands of virtual microphones, giving much better coverage so that you can be heard anywhere no matter where you move.
Biamp sound bars use BeamTrackingTM technology to actively track and intelligently mix conversations from around the room creating room filling audio with superior speech reproduction.
Shure Stem Wall conferencing bar arrays are equipped with 15 microphones that perform real beamforming plus full-range speakers and subwoofers, ensuring that everybody has a voice.
It is worth looking at all your options, as it doesn't necessarily go hand in hand that the most expensive is the best option for you. Rather look for the most suitable option for your meeting space and the technology features included.
The leading brands come at a premium price, often for good reason due to product quality, enhanced warranties, superior support, regular updates and trademarked technologies. We recommend it is wise to do your research here too. As with price, it doesn't always follow that the brand leader is the best option for you.
All-in-one video bars
If video is the main function of your meeting space, then an all-in-one USB video bar might be a good option for you, especially for small to medium sized rooms. USB video bars are simple to set up and easy to use providing you with professional quality audio and video. Though for larger meeting rooms you will definitely need to look at cameras and microphone & speaker bars with wider pick up and coverage.
Depending on the video platform/s you've chosen to use, make sure that the bar you select is certified to work with your platform. Make sure that your audio-conferencing system will work seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, Zoom or your other chosen video platform.
Microphone & speaker bars are typically easy to set up and install but make sure they are placed in the optimal position for your meeting space, even more important when you've opted for a 2-in-1 video bar. The bars are usually mounted above or below the screen in your meeting room, and if it's a video bar then as close to eye level as possible is best.
It’s not all about the bar!
It’s important to note that electronics won’t fix poor room acoustics. Indeed, poor room acoustics can undo all the technology benefits. So, if your room has a lot of glass, metal or hard surfaces or a lot of background noise then it is best to look at acoustically treating your room. This can often be achieved with simple additions of acoustically treated soft furnishings or acoustic panels.
We're here to help
If you need help choosing the best microphone & speaker bar for your meeting room or advice on improving your meeting room acoustics have a chat with our knowledgeable team who will be able to advise on the best, most cost effective options for you.Chat with us