Why Combining Best in Class Components Is Better than Using All-In-One Conferencing Products, Especially in Classrooms

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There are quite a few all-in-one conferencing products on the market now. Their appeal is apparently If one based on the fact that they are easy to set up. Most combine an array mic, camera and speakers, while others add a built-in computer to provide connection to Zoom, Teams, etc. (rather than connect via a laptop).

The most important task of a conferencing system is providing good sound quality and pickup range.

Most of these all-in-ones have limited microphone pickup range and are useful only in small rooms. Adding auxiliary microphones can be difficult.

There are a few all-in-ones now that have better array microphones and can pick up from 30 feet. But they are relatively expensive.

If you choose to combine best in class components, you can use the Voice Tracker III auto-scanning array microphone, which also picks up from 30 feet, but which costs less than $500.

Video performance is equally important. There is constant improvement in camera technology, most notably the auto tracking cameras. For example, take a look at the 1 Beyond camera offered by Crestron. These cameras automatically focus on and zoom into the active speaker (much like auto-scanning array microphones). This makes the meeting more comfortable for the far end participant.

With all-in-one products, the camera is usually in the front of the room, limiting views of anyone presenting at the whiteboard (and the writing on the whiteboard itself). Auto tracking cameras can be placed separately from the microphone/camera/speaker, perhaps in the rear, to show (and zoom into) the whiteboard.

Clearly, loudspeakers that are larger than those in all-in-ones perform better.

The advantages of combining best in class components is especially strong for hybrid classroom applications.

Classrooms/lecture halls are usually larger, and benefit greatly from combining several microphones and cameras for better coverage.

Additional Voice Tracker array microphones can be placed on sidewalls, the backwall or ceiling to improve the pickup of questions from the class as well as the professor as he moves around. It’s easy to combine their audio with a simple mixer. It’s cost effective when several inexpensive (but high performance) microphones are involved.

Ditto for loudspeakers.

Combining several Auto Tracking cameras also has great advantages in classrooms.

One can zoom into the student asking questions while another tracks the teacher or whiteboard. The images can be shown on split screen.

Reliability is also a factor. Squeezing microphone/camera/speakers into one small box can create reliability issues. Camera, microphone, and speaker companies can optimize for reliability. For example, the failure rate of the Voice Tracker array mics have been less than 1% over the last 20 years.

Finally, there is the question of set up convenience. All-in-ones will undoubtedly be easier to set up. But combining components isn’t that hard. The Voice Tracker simply connects to a computer sound card through a 3.5mm audio jack. Or it can bypass the soundcard with a USB adapter. It can be connected to Mixers and DSP through XLR adapters. There are no controls on the Voice Tracker, its processes are all automatic.

Auto Tracking cameras have limited controls.

Finally, combining components adds flexibility. Components can be rearranged, or added as new technology arrives, and existing speakers etc. can be used.

Tekvox Incorporates the Voice Tracker III Array Microphone in Its Hyflex Drop in AV Systems

This entry was posted in Array Microphones on by .

TEKVOX has selected Acoustic Magic’s VTIII as the high-performance array microphone of choice to integrate with our HyFlex Drop-In systems for educational installations. TEKVOX HyFlex Drop-Ins are the industry’s most powerful and cost-effective solutions for cloud-connected classrooms.

The VTIII has been an integral component in our best-selling, entry-level collegiate classroom solution, the 71021-HF1, where they provide whole-room microphone coverage. The mics also feature in our value-based 71021-HF2 and 71021-T2 systems. TEKVOX HyFlex Drop-In solutions with VTIII mics are currently used on Lone Star College campuses and at Texas Southern University and Alamo College.

In our real-world classroom evaluations, the VTIII offered the best price-performance for deployment in every classroom. The mic’s range, sound quality, reliability and cost combine to give us the audio features we need in our easy-to-use Drop-Ins. Compared to a typical lavalier or choir mic, the VTIII, with its beam forming array, provides superior coverage for a whole room experience at a comparable cost.   

We have created custom mounts and plates for the mics for mid-room installation of our classroom Drop-Ins and integrated them with our auto-tracking cameras for audio transport. Acoustic Magic has been an outstanding partner with TEKVOX providing us with consistent availability and quality of product, which enables us to offer the best solutions for cost-sensitive customers across the educational market.

Jim Reinhart

Young students, course, learning together and happy school.

Affordable Excellence and Reliability: Transform Hybrid Classrooms with the Voice Tracker Array Microphone

This entry was posted in Array Microphones on by .

As hybrid classrooms redefine the way we teach and learn, the need for reliable and high-quality audio solutions has never been more evident. Acoustic Magic’s Voice Tracker Array Microphone stands at the forefront, not only for its affordability and performance but also for its unmatched reliability. In this blog post, we unveil how the Voice Tracker Array Microphone is setting a new standard for hybrid classroom installations by delivering consistent, high-quality audio that educators and students can depend on.

Pioneering Reliability and Performance

Reliability is a cornerstone of any successful technology deployment, and Acoustic Magic understands this better than most. With more than 25,000 Voice Tracker Array Microphones sold since 2002, this microphone has established a track record of reliability that sets it apart from the competition. Schools, universities, and institutions worldwide rely on its consistent performance to deliver engaging and effective hybrid learning experiences.

A Legacy of Reliability

  1. Dependable Classroom Partner: The Voice Tracker Array Microphone is more than just a piece of equipment; it’s a dependable classroom partner. Educators can trust that their voice will be heard clearly, ensuring that lessons are conveyed effectively to both in-person and remote students.
  2. Streamlined Support Efforts: With over 25,000 microphones deployed and minimal reliability issues reported, the Voice Tracker Array Microphone reduces the burden on technical support teams. This translates to saved time and cost, allowing educators to focus on teaching instead of troubleshooting.
  3. Sustained Excellence: Acoustic Magic’s commitment to reliability extends beyond the initial purchase. The Voice Tracker Array Microphone’s longevity ensures that educators and institutions can rely on its performance for years to come, making it an investment that pays off over time.

A Proven Choice for Hybrid Classrooms

  1. Efficient Learning Environment: The Voice Tracker Array Microphone’s reliability ensures that hybrid classrooms function seamlessly. Instructors can engage students without audio interruptions, fostering an efficient learning environment.
  2. Unwavering Performance: Regardless of the scale of deployment, the Voice Tracker Array Microphone consistently delivers exceptional performance, ensuring that every student benefits from clear and engaging audio.
  3. Enhanced Cost Savings: Investing in a reliable solution like the Voice Tracker Array Microphone translates to reduced maintenance costs and technical support efforts, maximizing the return on investment for educational institutions. At $470, the Voice Tracker III is almost an order of magnitude less expensive than some array microphone competitors.

Elevate Hybrid Classrooms Today

Experience the dual benefits of exceptional affordability and reliability with the Voice Tracker Array Microphone from Acoustic Magic. Transform hybrid classrooms into thriving hubs of engagement and learning.


In the realm of hybrid education, reliable audio technology is more than a luxury – it’s a necessity. Acoustic Magic’s Voice Tracker Array Microphone brings together affordability, exceptional audio quality, and a track record of reliability that speaks volumes. Join the ranks of over 25,000 satisfied users and experience how this microphone can elevate your hybrid classroom experience. Say goodbye to audio disruptions and hello to dependable audio solutions that streamline support efforts, allowing educators to focus on what they do best: educating the next generation. Embrace reliability, embrace excellence, and redefine the hybrid classroom with the Voice Tracker Array Microphone.

Combining 4 Voice Tracker III Array mics for hybrid learning in a large auditorium

This entry was posted in Array Microphones on by .

Considering the success we had using Voice Tracker III array microphones in our classrooms for hybrid learning, we decided to install 4 Voice Trackers to cover a large auditorium.

Brindley Auditorium is a trapezoid shape, approximately 1,680 ft2 room with 151 seats. See the attached photos and layout.

In May 2021, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor modernized the A/V technology in the auditorium, which includes the following:

  • Video – An 86” interactive display, two 75” secondary TVs, two 85” TVs for content replication and a 70” confidence TV.
  • Audio – Four Acoustic Magic Voice Tracker III, one on each wall. A RDLRU-MX4L 4-channel mixer to aggregate audio feeds and an AudioSource AMP100VS amplifier with six C2G 2’x2’ ceiling speakers.

See the attached block diagram.

The four Acoustic Magic Voice Tracker III microphones are able to capture audio from any seat at any location for video conferencing and distance learning.

-Shawn Kung
Director – Information Technology, University Of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Using the Voice Tracker I array microphone in patient rooms to enhance video conferencing

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A Hospital in Texas wanted a microphone that could do a good job picking up all the talkers in a patient’s room, but needed a cost effective product because of the large number of rooms.

They found the solution in the Voice Tracker I array microphone.

The Voice Tracker allows patients to video-conference to family and loved ones, as well as communicate clearly with doctors and nurses that are not in the room.

In the picture below, you can see the Voice Tracker I, alongside a USB camera, at the top of the footwall TV system. Both are facing the patient’s bed.

The hospital staff tested the VT I in the rooms and had about a dozen folks try it. The decision was unanimous – everyone preferred the VT 1’s sound quality. They went live with it in August 2015 when they opened their new hospital. They originally got 400 Voice Tracker Is and added an additional 350 units this year to finish up the rooms

“We just needed a cost-effective solution to resolve the audio issue and that’s where the VT 1 came in”

Connecting Voice Tracker Array Microphones to Computers with TRRS Jacks

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Some computers now have a single TRRS 3.5mm jack which combines mic input with speaker output instead of the tradition two jack approach (one jack for mic input and the other for speaker output).

The traditional jacks are TRS.

The Voice Tracker array mics have TRS 3.5mm stereo connectors.

In order to connect to a computer with a single TRRS jack, a TRS to TRRS adapter is required.

A better approach might be to use a 3.5mm TRS to USB adapter like our part 102B.

The sound quality thru USB may be better than the sound quality of the computer’s internal sound card.

Both the TRS to TRRS and TRS to USB adapters are reasonably priced

Connecting Multiple Voice Trackers Using a Mixer

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Two Voice Trackers can be combined using a simple 3.5mm stereo Y. Our 25 foot 3.5mm extension cables can be used to separate the microphones.

For better coverage in large rooms, several Voice Tracker I and Voice Tracker III can be combined with a mixer.

Mixers that accept unbalanced, mic level stereo input through a 3.5mm TRS connection would be preferred for simplicity, even if simple adapters are required.

However, most Pro AV mixers require balanced XLR connections. In that case, you can adapt from 3.5mm to XLR using an adapter/transformer like the Sescom SES-AUD-RCA-XLR adapter. You will need a 1/8th inch to ¼ inch adapter. These adapters will also help prevent ground loops. You can adapt just before the mixer, but adapting at the microphone and using XLR extension cables provides better shielding from noise pickup.

Reasonably priced mixers that have worked well with our microphones are the Shure SCM 268, the Extron MVC 121 Plus and the RDL-RU-MX4

Nova Southeastern University used the Extron MCV 121 Plus in dozens of rooms. See: https://www.acousticmagic.com/about-us/user-comments/#alinzels

Mixers can improve sound quality though features like EQ, compression limiters, etc.

An interesting example of 4 Voice Tracker III combined to cover a large auditorium (including a block diagram) can be seen at https://www.acousticmagic.com/news/combining-4-voice-tracker-iii-array-mics-for-hybrid-learning-in-a-large-auditorium/

A more expensive approach is to use a DSP device like the BiAmp Tesira.. See: https://www.acousticmagic.com/news/combining-two-voice-tracker-greater-room-coverage/

This approach is best implemented by a professional AV integrator. Care must be taken in the connections.

If you are trying to connect to a mixer or DSP using wires rather than connectors, connect the tip and the ring to Positive and Negative on the DSP or mixer.

Do not connect the ground to the DSP.

Using the Voice Tracker III for web-conferencing in NYC

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Since June of 2019 we have successfully deployed many Voice Tracker microphones for a combination of teleconference and web conferencing rooms. In one specific not-for-profit location, they have had microphone issues in the space leftover from the original vendor. No amount of DSP and adjustments made the space usable for their purposes. We brought in Voice Tracker III to the space and they could not believe the difference in quality. With one microphone connected by the monitor, their entire room was picked up with a clarity they had not ever had in the space.

In my opinion the positioning of the Voice Tracker in the same audio plane of the meeting attendees gives an audio presence that no ceiling microphone has been able to capture. The fact that the Voice Tracker is a reasonable cost makes it an easy sell to the client after the demonstration.

Due to the NYC COVID 19 shutdown many universities we are working with are looking to create hybrid learning environments with Zoom. The Voice Tracker lends itself perfectly to these types of spaces, as many fit the size and price constraints we are being tasked with in the coming months.

Zoom Room integrator 323link sells his 75th Voice Tracker I array microphone

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323link was an early advocate of the combination of Zoom Rooms and Voice Tracker I array microphone to provide cost effective yet high performance video conferencing.

VoIP products like Zoom make video conferencing easy and affordable. At $279, the Voice Tracker I enhances that affordability, providing long pickup range and good sound quality at a price as much and 1/10th that of competitive array microphones.

The AEC in Zoom is robust enough so we don’t need the built-in AEC in the Voice Tracker II.

The Voice Tracker I is easy to set up and is extremely reliable, minimizing the need for IT support. We have had Voice Trackers installed for more than 8 years without problems.

A single Voice Tracker I can cover a 30 foot room, and two or more Voice Trackers can be easily combined for greater coverage.

The price/performance advantage of Zoom and Voice Tracker I has often encouraged our customers to install multiple rooms.

Don Cottom
323link, Inc