How to Perform Room EQ for a Conference Room

Author: Gina Cunsolo

How to Perform Room EQ for a Conference Room

Conference rooms come in all shapes and sizes, and each has its own set of furnishings. And when designing a conference room and outfitting it with audio equipment, all of these factors can come into play in determining how that equipment performs. A large boardroom table, for example, might introduce echo, while thick carpeting on the floor may dampen certain frequencies. These issues can become a problem when recording meetings or conducting remote sessions with many people.

One of the ways to overcome audio problems is by setting the equalization, or EQ, of the equipment to conform to the specific room. Although setting room EQ may sound complicated, with most audio equipment it’s actually pretty simple. Here are some basic instructions outlining how to EQ a room.

The color of noise plays an important role in room EQ

When it comes to setting the EQ for a conference room, audio engineers generally recommend doing so using what’s known as “pink noise.” Most of us have heard the term “white noise” to describe, say, the noise from a radio tuned between stations, but noise actually comes in a variety of colors. Pink noise is composed of equal energy in all octaves (halving or doubling) of frequency. With white noise the power is constant across the spectrum, but with pink noise the difference in power becomes smaller as the numbers get bigger.

As a result, with pink noise, higher-pitched sounds are softer than lower-pitched sounds. Because pink noise is a constant and reliable sound source, it typically delivers good results when it comes to setting EQ.

How to use pink noise to EQ a room

The simplest way to EQ a room using pink noise is to use your ears. You can purchase a pink noise generator or download a pink noise sample from the Internet. Play the pink noise sample through the speakers on your audio system, walk around the room to where audience members and/or microphones may be placed, and have a partner adjust the EQ settings on the equipment until the noise sounds “right “ to your ears.

Another, slightly more complicated, method is to use a specialized “reference microphone” and either a spectrum analyzer or a laptop computer and room optimization software to accomplish the task. (There are a variety of EQ optimization programs available on the Internet ranging from free to hundreds of dollars). Again, play the pink noise sample through the system’s speakers and check the levels with the analyzer or laptop at various spots around the room. Adjust the EQ levels on the audio equipment until you obtain optimum results.

Automatic room EQ setting

The easiest way to EQ a room is by not doing anything at all. Instead, let the equipment do the job for you. Many conference room audio systems include features that automatically adjust EQ settings for optimum performance.

Yamaha Unified Communications’ ADECIA family of products, incorporates technology that automatically tunes the system in minutes, reducing setup time, cost, and complexities. The ADECIA system optimizes audio performance for room audio issues such as reverberation characteristics, echo behavior, speaker/mic position, and more. ADECIA’s setup wizard automatically detects connected speakers and microphones and offers the option to Execute Automatic Audio Tuning. ADECIA plays pink noise through the speakers while listening through the microphone array, making tuning adjustments to match the system to the environment.

How to EQ a Room with ADECIA by Yamaha UC

With ADECIA’s Automatic Audio Tuning capabilities, anyone can completely EQ the system without complicated procedures or expensive equipment. And if there are changes in the room, such as new furniture or carpet or even more meeting participants than normal, re-tuning the system to account for those changes is a breeze.

To learn more about how to best set up your conference room for success, read Conference Room Layouts for Different Situations. For information on Yamaha UC products designed for your large conference rooms or boardrooms, visit the product page dedicated to large conference room workspaces or contact one of our experts.