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Audio Visual Insights for Web-Conferencing and Live Streaming

Professional USB Audio Conferencing... Here is what makes Phoenix Audio Different

Posted by Paul Richards on Feb 9, 2017 9:33:50 AM

Hello AV & IT Managers,

If you have spoken to one of dedicated account managers here at ConferenceRoomSystems.com you may have found out that we really like to recommend Phoenix Audio conferencing products. There are quite a few reasons why Phoenix Audio's USB, SIP and traditional analog PSTN conference phones fit the bill for many of our technology projects. Let's start with some basic reasons why we recommend Phoenix Audio and then we will review each major product in our video series below.

1. Quality: Phoenix Audio makes a high quality product. Every product is made from aluminum alloy, NOT plastic. It makes a BIG difference and  the build quality shows.

2. Support: Support is essentially non-existant. It's not that we don't want to help support our customers... It's the fact that the products just work and support/troubleshooting just doesn't come up with Phoenix Audio Products

3. Easy Installation: When it comes to installation everyone likes to hear Daisy-Chaining and Power Over Ethernet. These two features put Phoenix Audio above and beyond. Later in this blog post we will review there PoE USB 2.0 extension system, ceiling mounting solutions and daisy chaining in more detail. 

4. Versatility: Phoenix Audio has managed to pack a ton of value into their small conference phones. When competitors are offering just USB or just analog phone support, Phoenix support both in a single model. As many of our customers make the trasisition from traditional audio conferencing to web-based communications it's nice to have product that can bridge the gap. 

5. Asthetics and DesignHave you ever seen the size of a Cisco 8831? Check out the size difference. Enough said. Collaboration space design is more important than most manufacturers give it credit for. A good design can make all the difference for room functionality and ease of use. 

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Topics: audio conferencing, phoenix audio, AV

NEW 3D Conference Room Layouts!

Posted by Paul Richards on Nov 3, 2016 11:18:11 AM

CRS is proud to announce we will be offering 3D conference room layouts with Google Sketchup! CRS is now offering 3D room layouts. We have a link below where you can get started with your next project to have a 3D rending made and drawn to scale! CRS is using Google Sketchup to create 3D Room Layouts for our customers audio visual projects. If you are working with an account manager from CRS, request a 3D rendering for your next project and meet with one of our engineers who can make you next project a success!

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Topics: Video Conferencing, audio conferencing, Video Production, AV

Choosing the Right Microphone - Listen to these recordings and sound great on your next recording!

Posted by Paul Richards on Sep 7, 2016 8:48:25 AM

BROADCAST MICROPHONE REVIEW

SUMMARY:

This broadcast microphone review covers a wide range of microphone types that have been used on our live show and video blog. We use recordings with, broadcast microphones, hand held microphone, lavalier microphones, head-worn microphones, built-in laptop microphones, ipads and even headphones. The point we are trying to make is pointing out which microphone sound good and which sound pretty bad… All recordings were done using mp4 video format with 128 Kbs for audio. So with that 128 Kbs as our constant variable look for differences in the audio quality in our microphone recordings.

Two of the best audio experiences can be found using handleld and lapel (lavalier) microphones. Each microphone has its own best practices and use cases that we will review in this video. Both microphones are standards for public speakers, presenters, worship leaders and stage actors.

LAVALIER MICROPHONES

The Lavalier or Lapel microphone is ideal when you have time to “Mic Up” your talent. Lavaliers are ideal for audio pickup because they can be placed fairly close to your talent’s mouth. You can clip the lavalier microphone onto your talent’s clothing and the best place to start is roughly 6-8″ from the talent’s chin. In Profile, you should notice that there is a direct line between the lapel microphone and your talent’s mouth. You should hear a full range of high and low frequencies and adjust the microphone position to avoid any noticeable bass boosting or excessive sibilance.

Finally clothing is a potential issue when it comes to lavalier microphones. Suggest clothing of natural fibers such as cotton, wool or a blend. Synthetic clothing can be an issue because it can cause rustling heard through the microphone. For men the best case scenario is business suit and/or a business tie. For women suggest something without any noise accent pieces that make ruffling sounds.

HANDHELD MICROPHONES

The best advice I have ever received about handheld microphones is that they pick up audio like a flashlight shines light. Generally, hold the microphone in front of you, pointed directly at your mouth. Ideally, we are suggest 3-6 inches from your face and about 1″ below your mouth. You want to speak directly into the hand-held microphone, so it can pick up your audio loud and clear. Avoid breathing directly into the microphone and use a wind-filter if your talent is creating any noises that are un-settling.

HEAD WORN MICROPHONE REVIEW: DPA VS SAMSON


When it comes to microphones there is almost nothing like a head-worn (headset) microphone. In this video we review perhaps the most expensive head worn microphone the DPA D:Fine vs SAMSON XPD1. The DPA D:Fine microphones are used in the highest quality systems from Broadcast in New York to the filming of the Hobbit! These microphones are of the absolute highest quality. But they cost over $649 per system. Because budget is always a concern we wanted to compare and contrast the difference between the DPA D:Fine and a new product from SAMSON called the XPD1. The XPD1 is only $99 and it includes a complete wireless transmission system that uses 2.4 GHz. In this video we compare and contrast the differences, show some sample recordings and switch between both microphones live!

VIDEO CONFERENCE EFFECT ON AUDIO QUALITY


Another interesting topic in our broadcast microphone review is the effect of compression during a video conference call. For this review we take two audio clips and compare them. The first video clip is taken from Tom Sinclair’s “Streaming Idiots” show which was directly recorded to his laptop. The second clip was recorded on the far end of a Zoom Video Conference call. Both clips used the same broadcast microphone the Audio Technica AT897. (http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/9aeff7bd1ee954dc/index.html/) The microphone is mounted on overhead boom extension so you can’t see it in the video clips. It’s a condenser mic so it picks up every little sound in the studio. Ac, pc fan, any ambient sound gets picked up. Also picks up the ever so slight echo in a room with bare walls.

With our microphone and recordings at 128 Kbs as our constant we compare the audio quality when sent over the public internet using Zoom Video Conferencing. The video conferencing software has it’s own compression and audio algorithyms it uses to provide an ideal experience. As you can hear the audio is amplified quite a bit and the audio echo cancellation is also at work. Let us know what you think. Personally I hear some audio quality loss and a bit of the dynamic lows are missing.

BUILT-IN LAPTOP MICROPHONE VS PROFESSIONAL HEADSET MICROPHONES


This review provides recorded audio from built-in laptops and compares them with a professional headset microphone from DPA (D:Fine). This is the most common form of online video conferencing and most of our guests actually join our show with a built-in microphone laptop. What we found is that our audience has trouble hearing recorded content from such low quality microphones. Using a built-in microphone on a laptop or iPad is acceptable (not ideal) when you are using it for video conferencing. It’s not the best microphone but as long as you can be understood it should be fine. But when we are talking about broadcast microphones where a video is being recorded it’s really barely acceptable. The audio from a built-in laptop has to battle audio echo cancellation as it

The audio from a built-in laptop has to battle audio echo cancellation as the same device that is recording audio is also producing audio from the speakers. Laptops varying in quality but in general the audio quality is not why you buy a laptop. Therefore a built-in laptop microphone is almost the worst possible microphone you can use duing a live streaming, broadcast or professional recording.

HEAD-WORN MICROPHONE VS HEADPHONE (EARBUDS) MICROPHONE


So this review show the difference in quality when users select a professional head-worn microphone (we are using the DPA D:Fine) vs a set of standard earbuds that include a microphone. If you have seen our other videos a set of headphones with the microphone attached is still MUCH better than a built-in microphone on a laptop. But as you can hear these standard earbuds don’t offer much of a high quality experience. One of the main problems with these headphone style microphones is that they swing with the headphones and make a scratchy, ruffling sounds when moved around. They are a step up from standard built-in microphones but do not provide a broadcast quality audio sound that is worth recording in a professional environment.

IPAD MICROPHONE VS HEAD WORD MICROPHONE


Perhaps one of the biggest differences in quality is a professional microphone vs any built-in microphone including the iPad. But in this video we wanted to demonstrate the audio quality difference of a iPad without headphones being used. As you can see the headphones make a pretty big difference but both still don’t sound as good as professional microphones. The headset is better than a built-in microphone because it helps seperate the audio output from the microphones. In this regard, we do notice better audio quality when guest on our show uses headphone microphones. While both microphones perform poorly when compared to the professional microphones in our review… The headphones still out perform the standard iPad microphone.
Here the entire list of microphone reviews here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4LKvb_3f6U&list=PLyY0t7zWqRQoVyeNJOvI8VLP-5nxVAIFl

Watch our Latest Friday Live Stream: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyY0t7zWqRQoTds87rRKXlBAePHVfOD23

View Upcoming Live Webinars: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa-H8O_q6M6P9XkgLmzxxDw/videos?shelf_id=1&live_view=502&sort=dd&view=2

Watch our Latest Company VLOG: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyY0t7zWqRQoJXccjLRlCVIvGQ_CbiR95

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Topics: audio conferencing, wireless microphones

Why the Wireless USB Speakerphone is so important...

Posted by Paul Richards on Sep 2, 2015 3:24:00 PM

Hello IT & AV Pros!

For those of you who follow the "USB Revolution" as Vaddio has popularly termed the shift toward "Web Conferencing Equipment" you have seen the many breakthrough's in this industry. Web conferencing software pioneers such as Skype, GoToMeeting and WebEX were years ahead of the hardware technology we are now using to create successful meeting spaces for web conferencing (Technology Timeline Here). Today we wanted to demonstrate a important breakthrough for USB audio conferencing and explain why it's so important for the industry.

1. Wireless Technology is Important

2. High Quality Audio is always King

3. Wireless Video vs Wireless Audio

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Topics: audio conferencing

The Future of International Business is Here.

Posted by Paul Richards on Jun 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Skype Translate is revolutionizing the world of international business

In December last year, Skype launched its Translate app preview which will revolutionize video calling forever. We live in a technological world where everyone is connected with their friends, family and colleagues through social media and social networking apps. The only barrier that stops us from connecting with new people is language. Language is the biggest barrier in communication even though English is the most commonly spoken language, still more than half of the 7 billion people on this planet cannot communicate in English.

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Topics: audio conferencing, Audio Visual Advice, Microsoft Lync, skype for business

A New Outlook, Skype for Business Now Integrated with Office 365

Posted by Paul Richards on Jun 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Skype for Business, Improved and Integrated with Office 365

Microsoft has replaced Microsoft Lync with the improved Skype for Business video conferencing software. Skype for Business is an improvement over Microsoft Lync while retaining the same popular features and adding new ones. Great news for professionals, Skype for Business offers new integrations with Office 365. There are three pricing plans now available for users – Business Online 1, Business Online 2 and Server 2015.

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Topics: Video Conferencing, audio conferencing, Audio Visual Advice, Microsoft Lync, skype for business

Better for Business? Cisco Jabber vs Skype

Posted by Paul Richards on Jun 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Cisco Jabber vs Skype for Business

Cisco Jabber and Skype for Business (formerly Lync) are two of the most widely used video conferencing softwares in the world. Reason being, both softwares are developed by highly reputable companies with extensive background knowledge on office software and hardware. Cisco is the most popular networking, video conferencing and office equipment manufacturer while Microsoft is the pioneer behind Office applications. Both applications fight neck to neck to gain corporate awareness and with video conferencing now a common practice in organizations it’s about time both companies polish their tools even more.

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Topics: audio conferencing, Audio Visual Advice, Cisco jabber, skype for business

Calculating ROI for Video Conferencing

Posted by Joseph Mulcahy on Nov 30, 2014 11:56:00 AM

Hello Web Conferencing Professionals,

Calculating the ROI for Video Conferencing is an important step to justify increased investment in technology. There are quite a few variables and sometimes the task may seem daunting. That is why we have made one truly easy calculator to help you determine: A: Your Costs & B: Your Gains. With these two variables we are able to create a Return on Investment and Pay Back Period fairly easily. 

There are actual 3 calculators used. But don't be afraid the entire process takes less than 5 minutes!

Step 1: Estimate your cost of implementing video conferencing

Step 2: Estimate your gains from implementing video conferencing

Step 3: Input your results from Step 1 & Step 2 to determine your ROI and Payback Periods

Tip: When you are done calculate your total CO2 Emission Offset here.

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Topics: Web Video Conferencing, audio conferencing, Audio Visual Advice, web conferencing

Surprising Review of the Top USB & Bluetooth Microphones

Posted by Patrick Kirby on Aug 14, 2014 7:30:00 AM

Normally you would think that the more you pay for a microphone the better the audio quality will be? Not so, judging from our USB & Bluetooth microphone audio recordings which show surprising results across the board. One thing for sure is a direct USB connection will always sound better than a bluetooth connection.  For example listen to the Jabra Speak 510 with a direct USB connection vs a Bluetooth connection.

Jabra Speak 510 USB

Jabra Speak 510 Bluetooth

Now try listending the HuddlePod Air which uses a technology we consider superior to Bluetooth (2.4 GHz). This microphone is recorded wirelessly but it still maintains a high quality audio recording.

HuddlePod Air

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Topics: audio conferencing, Bluetooth Technology, YAMAHA, phoenix audio, konftel, clearONE

Phoenix Audio Conferencing

Posted by Patrick Kirby on Jul 16, 2014 4:34:00 PM

Phoenix Audio is quickly becoming a popular USB + Analog + Digital Audio Conferencing solutions in applications where USB and Analog calling are required. The unique approach from Phoenix Audio provides High Quality Audio Solutions that can integrate with existing analog, VOIP and Digital interfaces for Audio Conferencing. The Duet and Solo USB Audio Conferencing Line offers personal and small group USB Audio Conferencing. The Quattro3 Line offers USB, Analog, and Smartphone Audio Conferencing that can daisy chained for small, medium and large conference room areas. The Octopus Audio Conferencing Line brings USB integration with Analog, Digital and PBX Audio Conferencing Solutions to the new frontier of scalability and affordability. They Octopus Line from Phoenix Audio can be compared to the Vaddio EasyUSB Line which is a very attractive audio conferencing line in iteself. But the Phoenix Audio Octopus line adds Analog and Digital VOIP integration with USB calling. This opens up all new avenues for easy telephone and video conferencing/ audio conferencing bridging. Skews Included: MT202-VCA, MT301, MT302, MT304, MT305, MT454, MT454-PSTN, MT454-DTI, MT454-PA, MT454-PSTN-PA, MT454-DT-RVN.

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Topics: audio conferencing

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Mission Statement: Welcome to ConferenceRoomSystems.com, a website with a curated selection of audio visual products coupled with phone, chat or email support helping audio visual managers optimize their technology budgets and corporate collaboration needs.