Category Archives: Array Microphones

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. 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 connection is preferred for simplicity, even if simple adapters are required. If the mixer requires an XLR connection, you can adapt from 3.5mm to XLR using a product like this. These adapters will also help prevent ground loops.

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

The Extron MVC 121 Plus is a compact, three input stereo audio mixer featuring a digital signal processing platform for audio signal mixing and control. The MVC 121 Plus features a stereo line level input and two mic/line level inputs, plus fixed and variable stereo line level outputs. It offers gain, filter, tone processing, and parametric EQ. Quick and intuitive configuration using the DSP Configurator™ Software allows the MVC 121 Plus to be installed in very little time. The MVC 121 Plus is ideal for presentation applications that require line and microphone audio mixing with DSP in a small form factor.

Other Integrators recommend the Yamaha MG06X Mixer

Less expensive approaches include simply using a 3.5mm Y. Several universities have had success with that approach.

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 profession AV integrator. Care must be taken in the connections. If you are trying to connect to a DSP, connect the tip and the ring to Positive and Negative on the DSP.

Do not connect the ground to the DSP.

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
CTO
323link, Inc

Replacing a Polycom SoundStation with a Zoom/Voice Tracker array microphone combination for better pickup of conference participants

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We have been using a Polycom SoundStation IP 6000 with two expansion mics for quite some time, but the far end participants complained that they had trouble hearing all the participants in the near end conference room. Our room size is 30×15.

Since we already had a Zoom VoIP, we tried calls using a Voice Trackerr, connecting it to the employees computers prior to making their Zoom call.

Our far end participants then reported that they could hear everyone in the room clearly, and we didn’t have to worry about people in the conference room moving the microphone close to them.

And with Zoom, we could do video as well as audio.

Jon Newman
Director of Operations
Kaon Interactive
3 Mill & Main
Suite 200
Maynard, MA 01754

Connecting a Voice Tracker II array microphone to an iPhone or iPad

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We often get inquires on how to use the Voice Tracker II with iPads and iPhones for enhanced recording range, and for inexpensive conferencing/telemedicine.

There are two “tricks” for doing this.

First, a TRRS splitter is required. This is connected to the 3.5mm jack on the iPad or iPhone and creates separate 3.5mm connections for the mic and loudspeaker. See the photo of such a splitter. Such splitters are readily available commercially.

Second, the output impedance of the Voice Tracker II must be adjusted to match the expectation of the iPad/iPhone. These devices require an input impedance of less than 10Kohm. If the output impedance of the mic in higher than that, the iPhone/iPad will default to their internal mic.

The output impedance of the Voice Tracker II is higher than that, so an adapter is needed in the 3.5mm cable to reduce the output impedance to below 10K.

When the Voice Tracker is connected thru the TRRS splitter and impedance adapter, you can hear the improved pickup range:

 

Because the Voice Tracker II has built in acoustic echo cancellation, it can be used with iPads or iPhones for inexpensive conferencing. Connect the speaker jack from the TRRS splitter to the ref in jack on the Voice Tracker II, and connect an external powered computer loudspeaker to the speaker out jack on the Voice Tracker II. Provide power to the Voice Tracker II from USB battery, or a USB wall power supply. Then run a VoIP app on the iPhone or iPad.

See the photo below. Note the thicker 3.5 cable to the middle jack on the VT II (the audio out jack). That is the impedance adapter.

If you are using Zoom or Skype for Business as the VoIP App, they have good AECs, so the AEC in the Voice Tracker II is not required.

This reduces the number of cable connections (clutter). You can then connect the speaker jack from the TRRS splitter directly to the loudspeaker. See the photo below.

Bob Feingold

Bob@AcousticMagic.com

Using Voice Tracker Array microphones in open area Huddle Rooms

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A well known eastern insurance company is employing Voice Tracker I microphones throughout cubicle areas to facilitate Skype for Business based collaboration meetings.

The Voice Tracker is mounted, together with a camera, on top of a large display monitor. A loudspeaker bar is mounted below the display.

Also below the display is a shelf to hold a laptop. The participants bring along their laptop, place it on the shelf, and connect it for the meeting. The team then stands around the monitor to engage in their conversation.

The Voice Tracker picks up the talkers around the monitor, and ranges of 25 feet or more, and with an extremely wide field of view.

The Voice Tracker I can be used since the AEC in Skype for Business is robust enough to adjust to the Voice Tracker’s listening beam as it moves rapidly from talker to talker. The Voice Tracker II can also be employed, using its own internal fast adapting AEC.

The Voice Tracker’s low cost make it possible to build several huddle areas on each floor.

The Growing Legitimacy of Array Microphones

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Acoustic Magic exhibited at InfoComm for the first time this year.

We learned a great deal.

The professional audio world is now taking array microphones seriously and the catalyst for this is the MXA 910 array microphone from Shure, a respected Pro-Audio microphone leader.

Two other companies introduced array microphones, so there are now six or seven companies offering array microphones for conferencing.

The good news is that all these competitors price their microphones much, much higher than the Voice Tracker. And according to a lot of our Resellers, these competitive microphones do not perform any better than our microphone. In some cases, they don’t perform as well.

Part of the reason for this is that they use a different technology. The Shure microphone, the Clear One microphone, and the Phoenix Audio microphone create several listening beams that are fixed (but adjustable) to cover certain parts of the room (where talkers are expected to be).

In contrast, The Voice Tracker creates a scanning listening beam so one beam covers the entire room. A single beam is inherently less complicated, and less expensive. And with our technology you can’t miss talkers that happen to be in between the competitor’s listening beams.

The Shure MX a 910 is $4500 (plus mounting Hardware)

The ClearOne Beamformer Array is ~$2500 (plus it must be connected to a ClearOne DSP)

The Condor from Phoenix Audio is ~$1200

New Products:

The CS- 700 from Yamaha/Revolabs is $1200 (includes speaker and camera, but it has a small array that is only good to 12 feet)

The HDL 300 from a new Company called NUreva is $3000.

So clearly, we have a big cost advantage. Several Resellers told me this is their “secret weapon”.

From one reseller: “I just did a demo up against a competitor that was using a Shure MXA910 array microphone. The customer didn’t notice much of a difference between that and a VT I. I won the deal because on a $78,000 lecture system, I was $1,800.00 less than my competitor, and I went in with 50% mark-up. Nice, huh? Keep up the good work!”

From another Reseller: “I had to work too hard to make the Clear One work”.

Several Resellers came to our booth to tell us how great the Voice Tracker was. That made us feel good.

16 years of experience with array mics makes a difference.