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Reader Question: Small Meeting Room Acoustics

A reader posed a question the other day. He asks;

I have a question for a friend. He has a smallish meeting room capable of accommodating 8 people. The problem is that some of the walls are made of glass.

When doing conference calls, the echo from his room is impossible to handle which leads to a crappy experience for others.

Which room microphone/speaker should he purchase? Ideally, it needs to be able to connect to a laptop that is brought into the room for meetings.

This is sort of question that I enjoy, so I thought it worth sharing my response.

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Jeff Rodman on Getting Great Audio in a Video Call

Jeff-Rodman-Wired-Ning-on-HDX-4500 copyLast week it came to my attention that Jeff Rodman, co-founder and currently Chief Evangelist of Polycom, has penned a blog post/article for Wired Innovation Insights. It’s called, “Getting Great Audio in a Video Call” and it’s well worth your time. Jeff certainly knows a thing or two about great audio.

There’s very little point to a video call with bad audio. Audio is the foundation of the entire exercise. Jeff offers seven points that highlight the major considerations. The list reads like a market requirements document for some of the fine Polycom gear that I’ve had the pleasure of using in recent years.

6. Use Spatial Sound Only When it Makes Sense

His point number six is the first time that I’ve ever seen him offer commentary about the “spatial” aspect of conference audio. Most video conference schemes support stereo audio, but I’ve yet to experience any specific spatial tricks used in video calls.

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3D Wallpaper: An Affordable Approach to Better Office Acoustics

mio_paperforms2013_acousticweave_angleLacking for any specific consideration of acoustics, many workplaces simply sound bad. Hard surfaces like drywall, glass, tile, stone and hardwood floors combine with arbitrary dimensions to create boomy, boxy sounding spaces where sound bounces around a lot. This creates a muddled sound that can make it more difficult to understand conversation. Sadly, this is also true of a lot of meeting small spaces and home offices.

This acoustic reality impacts how we work, especially the quality of our communications. Speakerphones and conference phones suffer in sub-standard acoustic environments. Intelligibility of conversation can be significantly degraded. You may not notice, as you are in the space and accustomed to that environment. However, the person at the far end of the conversation may find it more difficult to understand what you are saying.

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