Ceiling-mounted microphones from Earthworks are playing an important role in the upgrade of the videoconferencing rooms at a leading website optimisation platform company's HQ. The system at the San Francisco-based firm was designed and installed by Audio Visual Design Group.
Ceiling mics can present an audio challenge, as Aaron Obstfeld, director of technical services at Audio Visual Design Group, explained: “Ceiling mics by nature are difficult to make sound good due to the distance from participants and the unintended sound they can pick up. These rooms themselves were acoustically challenging as well.”
With those challenges and client requirements in mind, Obstfeld and project engineer Greg Spydell selected the Earthworks IM3-W and C30/C-W microphones for the install. “The specifications and our preliminary testing led us to believe we could minimise factors such as ambient noise and acoustic reflectiveness for a better quality sound.”
The project involved three independent spaces, with the IM3-W being installed in the room with a tiled ceiling. The C30/C-W were installed in the other two rooms, which had exposed ceilings. The microphones were installed with a Biamp TesiraFORTE DSP, Lab.gruppen E4:2 amplifier and Tannoy CVS6, OCV6 and Di 6Ct speakers (respectively in the different rooms), for use with a videoconferencing application using Vidyo HD-230 codecs.
The IM3-W provided substantial improvements over other microphones Obstfeld had previously used for this type of application. “The audio quality was superior to other ceiling microphones we’d used for conferencing applications,” he explained. “Improved clarity, appropriate pickup patterns and fewer issues with distance from microphone to participant were some of the key improvements with the Earthworks IM3-W microphones.”
Beyond improved sound quality, Obstfeld also cited ease of installation as a chief benefit of the IM3-W. “Our install technicians had a very easy time with mounting and configuration – particularly in ACT ceiling tiles. They’ve asked that Earthworks become our standard for ceiling microphones from an installation perspective. The quality of sound was good enough that we are planning to use these microphones for other clients on upcoming projects and will lead with them for designs with ceiling microphones whenever the budget allows.”
Obstfeld noted the client’s reaction to the installation and plans for future upgrades. “The client was very happy with the quality of the systems overall. They have decided to standardise on Earthworks microphones for future installed conference room systems.”