Speaker systems are an often overlooked element of conference room design, but they shouldn’t be. Although a lot of thought is usually given to displays, it’s just as important for companies to achieve high-quality audio for their teleconferencing purposes. Poor audio is capable of sabotaging the best planned meeting, and the difference between sharp audio and lackluster audio is stark. It is, however, difficult to guess at the right audio equipment for a room, and it’s best left to an A/V integrator who has experience working with conference spaces.
What goes into picking the right speaker systems for a meeting room?
Acoustics are a tricky thing to tackle, but A/V integrators have the tools to guide them through. Ideally, a building would be constructed with the kind of materials that minimize exterior noise and help confine noise to each room, but this isn’t always the case. In most cases, an integrator will have to get creative with how they manage audio levels in a space, especially when that space is especially large.
Many companies now rely on small conference rooms or huddle spaces to manage much of their collaborative efforts. Fortunately, minimal equipment is needed to run these spaces, and speaker systems may not even be necessary, beyond the onboard speakers tied to the display. For anything larger than a huddle room or small meeting space, though, additional audio equipment will be required.
Room size is not the only consideration, either. Other factors that the integrator must weigh include:
- Room construction. How the room is built and the materials it is made from will affect how audio travels through the space. If the conference room is surrounded by glass, for example, lower frequencies will pass through it, while higher frequencies will be reflected. This will have to be accounted for if the company wants to trap audio in the meeting room during a conference.
- Room shape and aesthetics. The shape of the room will also alter the path audio takes through the space, though this is usually only noticeable in larger areas, like an auditorium or town hall. And though aesthetics aren’t always a concern, they are an element of brand image for many companies, and they have to be worked around when integrating audio equipment into the space.
- Room purpose. The typical conference room has a sizeable table, usually three or four feet wide, dominating the center of the space. If this is the standard configuration for the room, it will allow the integrator to build audio input devices into the table and configure them to minimize interference from other noise sources. Such an arrangement will also allow the integrator to zone output devices throughout the space to ensure every meeting member receives the same audio volume. This eliminates the need to run up the volume of the display, making it uncomfortable for people seated near the front of the room.
There is a lot to consider when building a clear, user friendly audio system in a conference room. And A/V integrators think about this stuff obsessively, making sure everything is factored in before bringing in a new spate of A/V equipment.