Conferencing Soundbars in meeting rooms – Audio quality is “so subjective”
A friend of mine, and AV industry colleague for well over 10 years, managed to really stir up the pot earlier this week through a very simple post on LinkedIn.
The post was all about conferencing soundbars in meeting rooms, and he was asking for some input and recommendations from his professional network.
His question was quite straight forward. “I need a 1-year temporary conferencing solution for my client in a medium size room that will have people seated up to 7 meters away from the front of the room. For audio I am thinking conference soundbar. Do any of you have any good recommendations based on experience?”
Within minutes he had more than 30 different responses from AV experts that actually made me laugh. Here are just a few examples:
♦ Model XYX will be perfect
♦ Conferencing soundbars are designed for smaller spaces
♦ You will need to have a room with great acoustic properties
♦ We evaluated model ABC, and it worked OK up to about 5 metres
There were no stupid responses. All had opinions that were valid and made sense, but I couldn’t help thinking how confused my friend must have been after reading them all!
The big takeaway for me though was that audio in meeting rooms (and in most AV applications) can be very subjective. At the end of the day, what is an acceptable audio experience for the situation? In my friend’s case:
♦ What is an acceptable listening experience for the people in the room? Will the loudspeakers in the conferencing soundbar output the right quality sound to meet that desired experience?
♦ What is an acceptable listening experience for the people connecting to a video conferencing call with this room? Will the microphone in the conferencing soundbar pick up the speech of people talking in the room to an acceptable level to meet the desired experience?
It’s interesting that none of these AV experts actually asked my friend any qualifying questions to gauge the desired audio experience for his application. They all just jumped straight into offering solutions.
Many years of experience have taught me that different people can have different definitions of good, bad, and awesome when it comes to audio. It always needs to be qualified – especially in a meeting space environment in which clear communication of the spoken message is key.
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