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A brief guide to audio conferencing in higher ed:

classrooms

 

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Better classroom audio conferencing for remote and on-site participants

The increasing popularity of distance learning highlights the demand for high-quality audio conferencing systems in educational settings. But classrooms pose a range of problems for audio conferencing, such as achieving full-room pickup. Learn how the two leading approaches to audio conferencing for classrooms stack up when it comes to pickup esthetics, installation, price and more.

Option A: Multicomponent systems

May include: Podium or lapel mic for the instructor, distributed mics for students, external DSP, mixing board, amplifier, cables and speakers. Components are typically sourced from a single suplier. Requires UC&C-equipped computer.

Audio pickup

The green circles show approximate voice pickup zones. It could be difficult for remote participants to hear in-room participants moving outside the circles – to work at displays or huddle in small breakout groups.

Multicomponent system scorecard

The multicomponent system is the traditional approach to audio conferencing technology for classrooms. It can employ a range of microphones (including podium or lapel, tabletop, in-ceiling and mics hanging from the ceiling) connected by cables to a DSP, amplifier, mixing board (some systems) and computer.

Pickup

Instructor: The most common methods are a separate podium or lapel microphone. Student: A common solution is multiple desktop omnidirectional microphones. Other strategies may include one or more in-ceiling beamforming mic arrays or hanging omnidirectional mics.

Installation

Installing a multicomponent system may entail a range of procedures ranging from creating pathways for cables for desktop and podium mics to installing in-ceiling mic arrays. Installation may require skilled technicians and make the room unavailable for up to several days.

Esthetics

Distributed desktop microphones can cause clutter on tabletops while cables may add clutter to floors. Installed in-ceiling systems, including microphone arrays and separate speakers, are unobtrusive and can bring a polished premium look (with a price to match).

Calibration and mixing

Calibration can be a challenge. Getting the levels right so the instructor and students are balanced and can be heard by remote participants may require a technician and/or real-time mixing of levels (input and output). Reconfiguring the room will likely require recalibration.

Performance

A properly calibrated system can provide professional grade performance. This can be diminished if participants move away from the pickup zones. Accommodating dynamic lessons (where participants move and work at displays) may require reinstallation of the hardware.

Price range

Prices for hardware and installation of traditional multicomponent systems range widely, from <US$7,500 to >US$50,000. Institutes choosing this option should be sure to budget for ongoing maintenance and calibration (many providers offer service plans).

Option B: Virtual microphone system

Includes: 2 wall-mounted integrated microphone and speaker bars, cables and connect module. Requires UC&C-equipped computer.

Audio pickup

The HDL300 system employing virtual microphones provides full-room pickup. In-room participants can be heard by remote participants from anywhere in the room.

Virtual microphone scorecard

Virtual microphones are available only in the Nureva™ Dual HDL300 system. The key components of the system are two wall-mounted integrated microphone and speaker bars. The Dual HDL300 system employs revolutionary Microphone Mist™ technology. It’s an entirely new approach to classroom microphones, filling the space with 16,384 virtual microphones (8,192 per bar) that pick up participant voices no matter where they move in the room (up to 30' x 50' or 9.14 x 15.24 m). With advanced signal processing capability handling >25,000 MIPS, the system processes sound from all of its virtual mics in real time. It focuses on the cleanest sound sources and optimizes them for distortion-free, natural-sounding conversations.

Pickup

There is no need for a dedicated microphone for the instructor. The Dual HDL300 provides true full-room pickup. The instructor and in-room students can be heard throughout the entire space.

Installation

The Dual HDL300 system’s two integrated microphone and speaker bars can be installed on the wall in less than 60 minutes. Installation is minimally invasive and no specialized technicians are required.

Esthetics

The two 60" x 5.9" (152.4 x 15 cm) wall-mounted units are sleek and unobtrusive. They are available in black or white to suit virtually any decor. There is no need for external microphones, speakers or cabling.

Calibration and mixing

Calibration is automatic for any room configuration or meeting style. The Nureva Room Manager enables adjustment of audio levels and integration with external speakers. It also upgrades the system through automatic firmware updates.

Performance

Provides professional grade performance. Thanks to its Microphone Mist technology, the Dual HDL300 enables true full-room pickup that may exceed the the coverage of traditional systems, allowing for more dynamic meetings.

Price

US$5,499 MSRP for the complete system, including two integrated microphone and speaker bars, connect module, cables and remote. The Dual HDL300 system can be installed by in-house personnel so no additional budget for installation is required.

More than just classrooms

You’ve learned about the features and benefits of traditional multicomponent and virtual microphone systems for audio conferencing in classrooms. You can also see how they compare in other educational environments.

Dual HDL300 use cases

Large meeting spaces

See how the leading audio conferencing approaches compare at meeting the demands of faculty meetings, seminars and other gatherings in large meeting spaces. Learn more.

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Dual HDL300 use cases

Large flex spaces

Large flex spaces present a range of challenges for audio conferencing systems. See how the leading approaches stack up. Learn more.

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Dual HDL300 system

The Dual HDL300 audio conferencing system helps facilitate easier and more interactive remote learning in large spaces. You get easy installation, autocalibration and true full-room pickup at a budget-friendly price.

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*Price represents the manufacturer’s recommended selling price in North America in U.S. currency. Price excludes applicable taxes and shipping. Dealers may sell for a different price. Dealers may charge additional administration and installation fees, which may vary by dealer. Prices in other countries will differ. Please contact your local dealer or Nureva Inc. for a detailed quote. Equipment, specifications and price are subject to change without notice.