A Guide to Conference Room Microphone Setup, By Room

It's not always easy to achieve clear audio in a conference room. The room's size, shape, seating layout, and many other factors can largely affect the sound quality.  When selecting an AV system for the space, it's crucial to invest in microphones that complement the room, rather than amplify its negative qualities.

Ideally, every employee in a conference room should be able to understand the person speaking, and also be intelligible when they speak. This is especially true when you're running a video conference in multiple time zones.  

In this guide, we've shared the strengths and weakness of various conference room microphones, as well as their ideal room pairing. From huddle rooms to auditoriums, there is a microphone system suited to every size and use case. With the correct microphone, employees won't struggle to hear an important conference or presentation, which could save your company countless dollars in potential deals.

The Strengths of Different Conference Room Microphone Types

Conference room microphones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from tiny wireless marvels to large tabletop systems. Every microphone is designed for a specific application, so we recommend consulting with an audio expert before investing in a system for your space.

Let’s review the two most common microphone patterns:
  • Directional Microphones: This popular microphone style is designed to pick up sound from the front (and the sides, to a lesser extent), while rejecting sound from the rear. Also known as "cardioid", this is an ideal mic for rooms with unflattering acoustics, because it focuses on picking up the speaker's voice.
  • Omnidirectional Microphones: True to its name, an omnidirectional microphone captures sound in a 360-degree fashion. For those working in a small room with ideal acoustics, this microphone type could be a great fit. It can capture multiple employees at the same time, and can easily be repositioned for different conference scenarios.  
Below is a basic outline of the strengths and drawbacks of each microphone type:
  • Gooseneck: the gooseneck (a directional microphone) is designed for close-up speech and ideal for use cases such as panels, lecture podiums or boardrooms. When a person isn't talking, it's easy to mute the mic so that it doesn't detract from the current speaker. Goosenecks provided optimal speech pickup due to the closeness to the person speaker.
  • Handheld: Designed to move freely around a room, handheld microphones offer tremendous flexibility in a lecture setting. Typically, these mics are found on a concert stage or auditorium, but they also work well in large conference rooms. For example, if there are multiple people involved in a sales presentation, you can use a handheld mic to move quickly between speakers.   
  • Wearable: Dynamic presentations require a lightweight microphone solution, and a wearable mic offers just that. Perfect for lecture halls, training rooms, and multi-purpose rooms, these microphones are highly versatile and convenient. By adding a headset connector, conference speakers can also have a two-way conversation on a video chat platform, which expands the mic's possibilities even further.
  • Tabletop: Tabletop microphones are available in both directional and omni-directional microphone patterns. Whether fixed to a table or wireless to provide flexibility, tabletop microphones can be a great choice for small to large conference rooms. When choosing tabletop microphones, we always recommend having one microphone per two-three people.

What’s the Right Conference Microphone by Room?

If a company is using the wrong system in their conference space, the audio can be underwhelming or incoherent and lead to costly issues. To help narrow your search for the ideal microphone, we've shared recommendations for the most common room types.
  • Offices: These personal workspaces can benefit from a USB or Bluetooth conference phone that boosts audio quality during an important call. Today's compact conference systems take up minimal space on a desk and can even offer the ability to take it on-the-go, like the YVC-200 Speakerphone. Whether you're working in a hotel or an executive suite, a personal speakerphone delivers audio clarity that can't be achieved with a smartphone's "Speaker" option.
  • Huddle Rooms: These impromptu spaces don't require a complex microphone system to fulfill their function. Typically, a USB or Bluetooth conference phone can be placed on a small table for audio conferences or an all-in-one system like the CS-700 Video Sound Bar can be used for video chat. Since you're working with limited space, it's best to have as few cables as possible.   
  • Medium - Large Conference Rooms: To ensure that everyone is heard in an average-sized room, we recommend using a conference phone system like the FLX UC 1500 with extension microphones to provide ample microphone pickup.  If you choose to go with an installed solution, keep in mind the one microphone per two-three people rule.
  • Multipurpose Rooms: When a room is used for a variety of activities, its conference microphone systems need to be just as versatile. We recommend a USB & Bluetooth conference phone with the flexibility to support a variety of mic configurations, like the YVC-1000MS. The flexibility to add up to 5 microphones and audio in/out capabilities give you ample flexibility if your room needs change. For an installed solution, we’d always recommend a wireless microphone solution to give you the freedom to move the microphones based on your table configurations.  
  • Auditoriums & Lecture halls: Conference microphone systems are just as powerful in a lecture hall or training room, where the instructor's voice needs to cut through the space and impact listeners. Depending on the presenters preferences, we’d either recommend a gooseneck microphone for a podium or a wireless wearable microphone to allow for movement around the room. If audience participation needs to be captured, handheld microphones could be placed for questions and comments.

Questions? We’d love to help