Author Topic: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?  (Read 1312 times)

Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« on: 07 June, 2024, 03:40:45 pm »
quixoticgeek started a good discussion so, rather than hijack that with a related question, I thought I'd start another thread.

We run monthly all-staff meetings for a group of about 30 by hiring an adjacent office space for the morning. A few colleagues participate remotely in any given month. The meetings consist mostly of senior staff speaking from the front, but then with Q&A and discussion. It's all fine except that the remote staff can't hear properly. A hand-held microphone has been tried, but it didn't have the range, and ideally we'd have more than one I think. Also, of course, you can really only have one microphone input to Teams.

So we're looking for a way to have multiple microphones, covering an office space that accommodates about 30. If we could avoid passing hand-helds around, that would be a bonus. Wireless would be far preferable, because we're this is office space rather than meeting room and we don't want trailing wires, or much set-up on the day, and it won't always be the same space so we can't rely on any particular layout. Ideally, we'd be able to use the same kit for committee meetings for up to 18 people, which again makes me think about wireless desk microphones.

We don't really need amplification, except of course for colleagues making comments remotely (so feedback needs to be avoided). We can do adequate video with a Webcam for the speakers - no-one is really bothered about putting people asking questions on screen, as we all know what each other looks like anyway.

So this sounds pretty low-end and not a job for a full video-conference set-up, but multiple wireless mics seems to be an issue, especially with some kind of mixer. Our budget is also low end! We could run to maybe £2k or so but we'd want to be confident of the set-up.

Any pointers?

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #1 on: 13 June, 2024, 03:19:39 pm »
Some of the portable Jabra kit can be set up so multiple boxes can be paired and will work together to cover a bigger space.

Never used those models (I think you're probably looking at Speak 750 and 810, possibly also 710), but the lower-end 510 had been decent enough when we've used it for smaller groups.

Looks like Sennheiser/EPOS also does a unit (Expand 80) which can be paired with extension mics - again, no experience with that model but the smaller SP30 is decent.

(On the face of it, this should see you right for about £550 plus VAT, but that's Google's suggestion not mine!)

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Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #2 on: 13 June, 2024, 03:45:36 pm »
Use the laptops Array microphone, can pick up a pin drop a mile away like it's a nuclear explosion.

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #3 on: 13 June, 2024, 11:14:25 pm »
Thank you. We are looking at the EPOS 80 (we already have one and two extension microphones). I'm not sure one microphone per table would be enough, and we'd need some pretty long cables. I'm wondering about one plus an extension microphone on each of the three main tables. I'm then considering connecting each main EPOS unit to its own laptop and effectively having each table join the meeting independently. That would have a secondary benefit that the laptop cameras would make in-room participants a bit more visible to remote colleagues than the current one webcam covering the whole room. There may be a risk of crosstalk or feedback if the microphones are too sensitive.

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #4 on: 14 June, 2024, 03:04:59 am »
I think if you've got multiple independent speakers and mics you'll get horrendous feedback - I wouldn't even bother to try 3x EPOS or Jabra, each connected to a different laptop, as they're bound to fight with each other.

I'd either go for a single device with extension mics, or I'd look at units that can be daisy-chained, as presumably they've got some sort of audio management built in.

Our (much smaller scale) experience is that a single Jabra 510 or  EPOS 30 is adequate for a meeting of 8 or 10 local participants, with enough volume for them to hear remote contributors, and enough sensitivity for the remote participants to hear in-room speech reasonably from people up to about 10 feet away.

We've normally got several in-room laptops connected to the call (so multiple cameras turned on, and it makes screenshares easier), but audio absolutely has to be off on all of them except the one connected to the speaker/mic.

(If you've already got an EPOS 80 and two extension mics, is the lowest cost experiment to just get a couple of extension cables? You might find that one mic per table is OK - as I say, for us we've found the small single units adequate for 8-10, though the mic definitely picks up the folk round the table better than those standing half way across the room.)

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #5 on: 14 June, 2024, 09:07:48 am »
Yes I'm having a rethink and wondering whether we should try that. One mic per table could be enough. We only use speakers in the room to hear the remote participants, and they don't speak much (because, in a general discussion with most people in the room, sheer numbers mean that most people speaking will also be those present in person). If it weren't for the remote participants, we'd just have a laptop with PowerPoint.

So there's an option of turning off the speakers and just using the mics. Obviously though one speaker somewhere would have to be active, so that we could hear remote participants. Even if we were to turn that off except when they were speaking, I realise that feedback could be an issue.

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #6 on: 14 June, 2024, 01:31:32 pm »
Have a look at Meeting Owls. They are rather wise and smart Owls...  they turn towards whoever is speaking...

https://owllabs.co.uk/

We had Owls in every conference room at a small company. They work great.

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #7 on: 14 June, 2024, 02:14:36 pm »
Thanks. I had looked at them, but I'm not sure one would cover our whole room, nor could we link three together? I suppose we could try two, maybe on the outer two of the three tables in our most-used room.

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #8 on: 14 June, 2024, 03:35:29 pm »
The website shows two Owls paired. I guess you should ask what the maximum amount in a flock would be.

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #9 on: 14 June, 2024, 05:13:51 pm »
Three. Bit more than our budget though, to buy a flock :-\

Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #10 on: 15 June, 2024, 08:20:38 am »
Get two and leave them in  nice nest.. quiet and dark.

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Re: Wireless microphones covering a room for virtual meetings?
« Reply #11 on: 15 June, 2024, 11:53:09 am »
To wit they’ll woo?
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