Ceiling Microphones for Conference Rooms: Pros & Cons

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Poor conference room audio can make the difference between a successful collaboration and an embarrassing mess. It's crucial to invest in professional-grade microphones that capture every voice in the room, including the team members farthest from the mic. There are a wide variety of microphone types designed for conferencing, including tabletops and hanging mics. In this practical guide, we've shared the benefits and drawbacks of ceiling microphones for conference rooms.
 

Pros of Using Ceiling Microphones

Designed to hang unobtrusively from the ceiling, an omnidirectional ceiling microphone is great for capturing the entire conference room. By hanging the mic, you eliminate wires and machinery from your conference tabletop, while enjoying wider, 360-degree audio coverage. If you prefer a clutter-free work area, installing a ceiling microphone could be a good solution. The technology will be out of sight and out of mind, allowing you to focus on the conference call.
 

Cons of Using Ceiling Microphones

On the other hand, ceiling microphones for conference rooms can often sound distant and washed out, because the subjects are often far away from the mic. This may require you to turn up the ceiling microphone gain, which will also increase the ambient background noise, such as nearby air vents. Overall, you'll have far less precision with a hanging microphone than a tabletop or gooseneck mic.

It’s also important to keep room acoustics in mind when selecting an omni microphone type such as a ceiling microphone. With highly reflective surfaces or loud ambient noises, omni mics can be a poor choice in that they pick up much more than just the participants speaking.

You'll also have to worry about ripping open the ceiling to install the microphone, which is far more complicated than installing a tabletop conferencing system.
 

Tips for Microphone Setup

As a general rule, audio quality is clearer and more detailed when the subject's mouth is near the microphone. Directional mics (such as a tabletop or gooseneck) tend to capture much better audio, because the subject is talking directly into the mic, and it doesn't pick up as much ambient room noise.

It helps to think about microphone capture with the Inverse Square Law, which is a basic concept in physics. When a subject moves a foot away from the microphone, they lose 6 decibels in volume. If they double that distance, they will lose 12 decibels in volume, which is more than half of the sound level. Whenever possible, you should be close enough to a conference room mic so that it captures a consistent volume, without clipping (i.e. "going into the red").

Learn more about conference room microphone setup and discover the right conference microphone solution with our Product Finder.
 

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