Question: When is it best to use hanging microphones for meeting and presentation rooms?
Answer: Having addressed the use of boundary and gooseneck microphones in our previous two posts, today we continue our series on meeting and presentation room miking applications by looking at another popular choice: hanging microphones. Microphones can often become distractions for the people using them, and suspending a microphone from the ceiling may reduce this problem. Hanging microphones are most commonly used for audience participation and general pickup of a room while recording or conferencing. The microphone preamp gain level may need to be set higher for hanging microphones than it would be for other microphones in order to sufficiently pick up the sound. Depending on the setup, this gain increase may lead to feedback. But such feedback can be combated with auto mixing and DSP processing.
The PRO 45 and PRO 45W hanging microphones are versatile in performance and are price-conscious options when choosing hanging microphones. The U853 hanging microphones are in our UniPoint® Series and integrate the important feature of RF shielding. In order to be unobtrusive, microphones are often hung by a thin cable, which, however, makes them susceptible to picking up radio frequency interference. The UniPoint Series microphones are equipped with UniGuard RFI-shielding to combat this potential problem. The UniPoint hanging microphones, like the boundary and gooseneck options we looked at previously, also have interchangeable elements which offer different pickup patterns. The directional cardioid pickup pattern is the standard element for these microphones, and the hypercardioid (UE-H), omnidirectional (UE-O), and UniLine (UE-UL) elements allow that same hanging microphone to be used in different applications. The UniLine has a tight 90-degree acceptance angle, similar to having a line and gradient (aka shotgun) pickup. This is helpful when focusing the pickup to a specific area and may be used to help combat feedback through the audio system. The ES933 hanging microphone is in our contractor-exclusive Engineered Sound Series, which includes microphones with all the features of the UniPoint Series but goes one step further to include lower-profile elements and even more features, including the MicroLine element, which is similar to the UniLine.
Hanging microphones use an external in-line power module that reduces the voltage being sent to the microphone circuits and often includes other specification-changing features. Using an external power module allows the microphones to remain low profile and unobtrusive. Some microphones, like the U853, may be used with different power modules. The U853R includes the AT8538 in-line power module, which is powered via phantom power, whereas the U853A includes the AT8531 in-line power module, which may be powered via phantom power or battery power. Additionally, the U853PM includes the same microphone found in the other U853 models, but uses the permanently installed AT8534 Plate Mount Power Module. Hanging microphones may also be added to your digital Dante™ Network with the ATND8734 power module. This allows microphones such as the ES933ML or ES931H to be hung from the ceiling.
Audio-Technica’s Audio Solutions Department can help determine which microphone, power module, and element pickup pattern will best suit your needs. Feel free to contact us when designing your next project.