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.
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.
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 Astatic 1600VP 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.
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.
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