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Posted by Mark Hine at 4:11PM   |  Add a comment
Sample Headset Mic and Headphones

Web conferencing inquiries have been coming in at a steady pace and we've met with numerous departments and individuals to get sessions off the ground. One of the more interesting, yet annoying, caveats that many of our users face is dealing with feedback - that nasty squeal or echo that happens when a microphone is too close to a speaker.

Audio feedback is a phenomena which occurs when the user's voice emanating from their PC speakers (or room speakers) is captured  by the microphone again - which is already sending the original audio or sound. This effect creates a feedback loop which has the effect of creating a disturbing echo. This echo will build and occurs because there is a delay between the actual sound being sent by the microphone and the time it takes the sound to return to the speakers during the session.

To solve this problem, obtain a headset mic with a dynamic microphone. A dynamic microphone is less sensitive and is less likely to pick-up the sound from the users speakers. Again, the problem occurs because the user's sound is being sent again through the mic, but slightly delayed, as it is normally picked up during the broadcast. A cardioid pattern, uni-directional mic helps prevent feedback because it is only sensitive to sounds that are directed at the mic in a heart shaped pattern and within five to eight inches from the mic element. It is best to avoid condenser mics or omni-directional mics which have a larger, more sensitive sound pick-up pattern.

Another option is to forgo PC or room speakers where possible and use a pair of headphones instead. Many headset mics combine these two features into one unit and have two connectors - one for the mic and one for the speakers.

For conference rooms, where there may be many speakers at a table, we recommend a paddle mic or PZM mic. This table top mic exhibits feedback reluctance and has a pick-up pattern ideal for meetings. Feedback may still occur if the room speakers are set too loud.

For additional assistance or questions please e-mail mhine@ithaca.edu.


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