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6.1 Microphone Positioning

Microphone pod
Video Conferencing Microphone Pod

Video conferencing microphone pods (see illustration) should be placed slightly in front of meeting participants. As people usually look at the TV monitor when speaking, try to place the microphone pods in the direction in which they will look when facing towards the TV.

Presentation speakers tend to face their projected slides (and thus away from the usual microphones) and may also move around. These traits, and noise from fans in projectors, can make it trickier to place microphone pods for a presentation than for a conversational meeting. At least one microphone pod at each site should be on a long cable to allow flexible positioning (but microphone cables should not be longer than 60 feet). The Polycom ViewStation has an auxiliary audio input that can be used with a lapel microphone to ensure good audio from a presentation speaker. (This has worked very well in some NRAO settings).

If you need to change the position of a microphone pod during a meeting, press the MUTE button first (to avoid deafening listeners at other sites while your pod is moved). There is a MUTE button at the center of each pod as well as on the video remote control.

Presentations from a large room such as an auditorium will almost always require the use of extra microphones if you wish to capture both the speaker's presentation and an audience discussion. One arrangement that has worked well for presentations in large rooms (e.g. colloquia and conference sessions) is to use just one Polycom microphone pod close to the presenter, and then to mix in audio from independent room microphone(s) to capture audience discussion. Thie single Polycom pod can then use its internal switching to select the best way to detect the speaker, maintaining the needed balance with a preset audio level for the audience. (This approach works much better than placing the second Polycom pod in the audience, as the Polycom system may decide to switch to this second pod in response to sounds from the audience, and thereby mute the presenter at inappropriate times.)

An alternative approach for large rooms is to give the presenter(s) a independent lapel microphone connected to auxiliary audio input, to place both Polycom pods in the audience, and to adjust the level on the lapel microphone so that the presenter is always audible.

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Next: 6.2 Sound Check (Audio Meter) Up: 6 Sound Previous: 6 Sound

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