What is Beamforming Microphone Technology?

Multiple people standing around Yamaha's RM-CG Ceiling Mic talking..jpg

With more and more business activity taking place via videoconferencing these days, the type of technology used to facilitate those videoconferences has become more and more important. And no piece of equipment is more important than the microphone used to capture the conversation. There are bidirectional mics that pick up conversations from two directions, cardioid mics that pick up in a heart-shaped pattern, and omnidirectional mics that pick up from all directions.

And one of the latest advances in microphone technology is the beamforming microphone.  But when it comes to microphone technology, what is beamforming? 

What is a beamforming microphone?

At its core, beamforming microphones incorporate arrays of components that can be controlled and shaped via digital signal processing, allowing for beams of sensitivity that can be focused on different areas of a room.

Rather than a single mic, beamforming mics are composed of multiple mics controlled via DSP (digital signal processing).

How beamforming arrays work

4-dynamic-auto-tracking-beams from yamaha's mic in conference room.pngA beamforming microphone array creates multiple lobes of sensitivity that can be adjusted for maximum audio quality. The effectiveness of a beamforming array depends in part on having speakers stay in specific locations. In other words, a beamforming microphone array determines the best location for speakers to deliver the best audio quality. In most beamforming microphones both the direction of the lobes and their width can be adjusted.

It’s important not to confuse the term beamforming with beamtracking, which is another type of mic. Beamtracking mics identify and lock on to an audio source, following it even if the speaker is moving around.

What are beamforming mics used for?

Use cases for a beamforming microphone array include serving as the centerpiece of a conference room. 

Consider, for example, a conference table with eight chairs and a beamforming array that supports eight lobes. The lobes can then be adjusted so each lobe is focused on a specific seating pattern while minimizing sensitivity in other areas. This can be particularly effective if there’s a noisy piece of HVAC equipment in the corner of the room; the lobes can be adjusted so the sensitivity of the array is at its lowest in the direction of the equipment.

Or maybe the conference space includes a digital display or whiteboard at the front of the room. The lobes of sensitivity can be adjusted so they are narrow in the sides or the rear of the room, and widest in front. If a speaker is at the front of the room at the whiteboard, their voice will still be picked up even if they move around the whiteboard.

Beamforming microphone technology by Yamaha UC

Multiple products from Yamaha Unified Communications leverage beamforming technology to create a unique collaboration experience.

Yamaha UC’s Dante-enabled RM-CG Ceiling Microphone features dynamic multi-beamforming technology in a completely unique way. With four dynamic beams, the RM-CG has an impressive range - picking up sound from across the room. For an audio and visual demonstration, check out this video of our Senior Field Systems Engineer Timothy Mackie demonstrating the range in his garage. The RM-CG is available as a standalone microphone, or as a part of our ADECIA Ceiling Solution (which is certified for Zoom and Microsoft Teams).

Yamaha UC’s new CS-800 and CS-500 Video Collaboration Systems combine AI, voice, and video data into the future of videoconferencing. With its Easy Launch feature and multiple mounting options, the new CS Series products are made for use in any environment - even noisy, open office spaces. Users can easily connect and collaborate without complicated setup procedures.

The CS series brings together three unique Yamaha technologies: Face Focus Beamforming, Self-Silence, and Self-Volume Balancer. The video soundbar pinpoints participants speaking in open spaces by combining audio and video data, narrowing in on in-meeting voices, and blocking out unwanted background noise.

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Once voices are detected, AI algorithms recognize faces within the meeting area. The solution automatically adjusts speaker output according to ambient room noise to maintain an appropriate volume level.

The solution offers flexible mounting options, including tabletop, wall mount, and TV mount using included accessories. It offers seamless connectivity with all popular remote-conferencing software and supports Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android operating systems.

The right tool for the task

With microphone technology advancing on nearly a daily basis, choosing the one that best suits your needs can be difficult. To ensure the mic you choose will deliver the desired results, it helps to speak with an expert.

And when it comes to expertise, Yamaha Unified Communications has the knowledge to help you make the best choice.

Yamaha UC offers a variety of microphone systems, with solutions for nearly any task. Additionally, the company offers a variety of conference phones, speaker systems, accessories, and other audio solutions.

No matter what your audio needs may be, Yamaha UC can help. Contact us to learn more.