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.
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