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Wireless Microphones for Lync Conferences

At Orbit One, we regularly organize ShareCafés: knowledge-sharing & inspirational sessions with customers and partners. It is possible to attend the sessions live through Microsoft Lync (Skype for Business).

Good-quality audio is very important, so that it feels pleasant to remotely join and follow the sessions. In the beginning, we used a Polycom CX5100 conference device, which works fantastically when everyone sits around the table in a closed conference room.

 

 

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However, when you are giving a presentation in a larger conference room, with a speaker standing in the front of the room, a wireless microphone is necessary. We have tested numerous solutions, and we are happy to share our feedback with you. All devices are plug-and-play devices and compatible with Lync and Skype.

One wireless microphone

In case of only one speaker and no or very limited interaction with the audience, we recommend the Revolabs xTag (€ 258 VAT not incl.):

 

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Just connect the Base-station to your laptop via USB, and clip the microphone to your clothing.

Easy and affordable.

Moreover, the quality of this system is very good! During conferences, it is recommend to repeat the questions from the audience, so that people who are listening remotely also know what it is about. Once a debate arises in the audience, however, things become more difficult. Therefore, we started looking for a system in which an Omni-directional microphone can be combined with the sound of the speaker. In this way, it is not necessary for the speaker to repeat the questions.

 

 

Two wireless microphones

When there are two or more speakers, or when interaction in the room becomes important, you will need at least two microphones.

You would probably think - well, then I will just buy the xTags twice; why not? It is not that simple. In Lync/Skype, it is not possible to combine two USB microphones. You could solve this using specific software, but that is far too complicated for end users. Therefore, we started looking for a device with 1 USB interface enabling the integration of different microphones.

 

For that purpose, we recommend the Revolabs HD Dual Channel System. With this system, we also use the Revolabs USB Audio Kit, allowing you to connect the device to your laptop easily through USB.

In addition, you will also need wireless microphones. You can choose from several models

(http://www.revolabs.com/products/product-line/executive-hd-8-channel/mic-type):

  • Clip-on microphones to hang around your neck or to clip on your clothing
  • Omni-directional microphones that you can lay down on the table (ideal for interaction with the audience)
  • It features a converter that allows you to turn a XLR microphone or a Countryman® into a wireless device

Everything works quite simple. It is just a matter of plugging in through USB and you can instantly use the microphones. The battery lasts for about 8 hours (according to the specs). Hence, even in case of presentations going on for the whole day, there is no risk of a dead battery. The wireless technology is DECT, so you do not have to worry about WiFi interferences, interferences from Bluetooth devices, etc…! Moreover, it is possible to walk up to 50 meters away from your base station; which means you will not have problems in larger conference rooms.

The price for base-station, USB adapter + 2 microphones is € 1,400 VAT excl. Not cheap, but for this money, you get professional quality and ease of use (plug-and-play).

The microphones adapt very well to the situation: both the speaker who does not speak very loudly and the speaker who speaks loudly will always be heard perfectly - thanks to the high dynamic range of the microphones.

 

 

Configuration

 

There are plenty of options to adjust the configuration of the microphones.

Firstly, on each microphone you have a button to mute/pair and to switch on and off.

You also have a series of buttons (DIP switches) on the base station with which you can configure the following:

  • Mixed output (= combining two microphones)
  • Low pass filter (= filtering out low tones)
  • Audio output level (= microphone input/ line-in)
  • Mute mode
  • Microphone EQ (Flat/High bootst/Bass boost/Dynamic)
  • Transmit power

Finally, there is also a specific software available that you can use when you connect the base station through an extra USB cable, enabling you to configure even more:

 

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That way, you will have the option to remotely mute the microphones, make them louder, or less loud, check the battery levels, and so on. You may not need it for a regular meeting, but for conferences, it is a necessity.

By using two microphones: one for the speaker, and one omnidirectional microphone to catch the responses from the audience, we are able, from now on, to provide our Sharecafés with decent audio.

Important is to use a mono to mono cable for connecting the audio from the unit to your PC when using Lync, otherwise the audio quality is not good.

 

More than two wireless microphones

Also for this, you will find solutions from Revolabs. The Revolabs Executive HD System can handle 4 or 8 microphones. However, it is quite pricey: € 5,000 and more.

 

Demo

In case you would like a demo or need more information, we will gladly assist you.

Technology Technology

Op 24/12/2014 door Bram

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