02/09/16

WHY MICROPHONES MATTER IN THE CONFERENCE MARKET

Investing money in a purpose-built conference room or auditorium is a major commitment, but for companies that get it right this investment can bring huge benefits in terms of increased productivity and reduced business costs.
Why spend money flying key personal around the world when you can just as easily conduct meetings with overseas colleagues or customers from your own office using the latest teleconferencing technology? Equally, a conference hall or auditorium that is designed to be flexible can save a larger company a fortune in external venue hire for corporate events.

For smaller businesses, conference rooms usually have to fulfil a number of different functions ranging from formal settings for client presentations and board meetings through to providing a space large enough for brainstorming sessions, team meetings and even social gatherings.

When it comes to creating the perfect conference facility, there are a number of points that need to be considered, no matter how large or small the facility might be. A key point – and one that is often sadly overlooked – is how the room sounds.

"In any conference or auditorium environment, audio is just as important as video – possibly even more so because it is very hard to fix poor audio at a later stage," says René Mørch, Business Manager at Danmon, a Danish company that specializes in supplying professional audio and video equipment to the broadcast, television, film, commercials and AV industries. "Good communication is all about ensuring that everyone can be heard and understood. For this you need clear, intelligible sound. Room acoustics matter, especially in larger spaces, because reverberation caused by sound bouncing off hard surfaces can make it hard to hear. This can be easily fixed if the right acoustic treatment is installed, but designers need to be aware of the issue from the outset."
d:screet™ SC4098 on podium
Danmon's policy is to invest in the best design, acoustic treatment and technology from the outset, which is why the company only uses high quality equipment, especially microphones. Danmon's preference is for DPA microphones because, says Mørch, they have a fantastic linear response.

"The microphone is the starting point for the audio so it is important to get that right," he says. "DPA microphones are excellent in terms of audio quality and some of the types are highly directional while maintaining a great flat response on the off-axis."

Internationally acclaimed for creating high quality live sound and recording microphones, DPA turned its attention to the installation market three years ago when it launched a range of podium microphones incorporating modular capsules from its d:dicate™ Microphone Series. Acclaimed for their exceptional linear frequency responses, high SPL and superior gain before feedback, these podium microphones combine the state-of-the-art capsules with modular active booms. A number of different capsules are available, including the popular d:dicate™ MMC4018 Supercardioid capsule, which is especially popular with AV installers because it provides such a smooth and uniform off-axis frequency response. Whether they are used as conventional podium microphones, desk top microphones, or even suspended from the ceiling, DPA's d;dicate™ Series provide a visually elegant and sonically superior solution for a wide range of applications.

Alongside the high-end d:dicate™ solution, DPA has also developed a cost-effective, directional podium microphone based on its renowned d:screet™ range of Miniature Microphones. These directional gooseneck microphones, which use interference tubes to ensure better off-axis rejection, were originally devised for the Nobel Prize organisation. The organisation had requested a dedicated podium solution for its 2012 Nobel Peace Prize presentation, which was taking place in Oslo City Hall, in a room with challenging acoustics. DPA adapted its existing miniature capsule to give an off-axis frequency response that negated room reverberation while preserving the required on-axis sensitivity for voice level. It also positioned the capsule on a delicate gooseneck stand, which encompasses all that is best in a sleek Scandinavian design. The result was so well received that the microphone was quickly adopted as a standard DPA product and is now available to all installation customers. 

"Many of our conference rooms feature d:screet™ 4098 Supercardoid Miniature Microphones, which we often hang from the ceiling so that they capture sound from all sides," René Mørch says. "Using the fact that the 4098’s are very directional and still sound natural on the off-axis, it is possible to point at a source in the far end of a conference table and yet still pick up the participants alongside the table at a damped level, thereby balancing the audio on an acoustical level. It is amazing what you can achieve with these small microphones. Even in large auditoriums a single d:screet™ 4060 Omnidirectional Microphone in a Boundary Layer Mount can pick-up great details and can be added in recordings or online streaming of an event."
d:fine™ Headset Microphone
Mørch adds that while DPA microphones are not the cheapest on the market, the expense is mitigated because you don’t need so many of them. 

"One d:screet™ 4098 can do the job of three cheaper microphones," he says, "They are so flexible that it's possible to use them in many different configurations”. 

Another solution that is often required by the conference market are the bodyworn microphones that include headset and lavalier microphones. Once again, DPA provides a range of products that are perfectly suited to this market.

"Wireless headsets such as DPA's d:fine™ Headset range are great for speakers who want to move around during a presentation and don’t want the hassle of being tied to a microphone stand," Mørch says. "The d:fine™ range delivers a very natural sound and because the microphone capsule sits on the cheek, close to the mouth, there is no loss of sound quality if the speaker moves his or her head. Replaceable cables, ear hooks and mic booms make customisation easy and DPA's miniature omni and directional capsules mean that speech can always be heard with clarity and thanks to DPA's clever adapter range they can be used in a wireless configuration with any wireless system."

For people who prefer not having something round their ears, DPA also has a range of wireless lavalier microphones that can be attached to the speaker's clothing. 

"It's really a question of picking the right microphone for the customer and for the venue," Mørch adds. "If you select a high quality microphone such as a DPA, and you install it and use it correctly, you will achieve excellent results."

Damon's experience in audio and video is extensive, thanks to a history spanning more than 30 years in film and broadcast. With sister companies in Sweden, Norway, Germany, UK, Spain, Portugal, Dubai and Vietnam, Danmon also has a significant international footprint in the industry.

"We moved into AV Installation five years ago because we recognised that the skills we had in broadcast were highly transferable to this market," says René Mørch. "We have subsequently carried out a number of installations, including a 500 seater auditorium and 200 meeting rooms at the new headquarters of healthcare provider Novo Nordisk. 

"One of the first projects we undertook was for the Tivoli Congress Centre, a major new conference facility in central Copenhagen. Initially we were asked to specify and install all of the audio equipment for 55 meeting rooms and a large auditorium that can seat up to 2,400 people. However, when the Centre added a new building to accommodate 38 more meeting rooms, we were asked to tackle the entire project including both audio and video equipment as well as the backbone of the facility making it possible to route content from any room to any other room via CAT and Fiber."

Mørch adds that the majority of Danmon's AV clients come from the corporate sector and they usually have the budget to employ architects and AV consultants who look after the actual build and the acoustics.

"Occasionally we are asked to design and install an entire facility and this is our preferred way of operating because it means we can control the whole project and make sure the highest standards are maintained throughout," he says. "Coming from a broadcast background, we are very aware of the engineer's perspective and the importance of getting it right from the outset because it is always so much harder to correct problems once the project is finished."

When it comes to creating the perfect conference facility, Mørch says there are a number of points that every client needs to bear in mind, no matter how large or small their facility might be.

"Regardless of the size of the company, any organisation investing in a conference room or auditorium needs to be sure that it is properly designed and equipped for their purposes," Mørch says. "Knowing about these issues is our job and being able to guide customers through to the right solution is something we pride ourselves in. After all, if you intend to invest money in a facility like this you want to end up with a successful conclusion."

René Mørch, Business Development Manager at Danmon
René Mørch, Business Manager at Danmon

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