There’s a new expectation when it comes to audio while working from home. Chris Lyons of Shure shares with us how to get the best audio for hybrid work environments.
Commercial Integrator: In the hybrid workplace, employees will need technology at home and in the office as well. Can commercial integrators get involved with technology outside of the office for their customers and is audio a good place to get that started?
Chris Lyons: Commercial integrators should get involved because just like AV in the office, in the workspace, most customers don’t really know what it takes to get good audio; this is where an integrator can help them out both in figuring out what they need to get great audio at home the same way they do in the workplace.
There’s an expectation now that audio at home, or when working remotely, will be professional grade quality and it will be a completely transparent and seamless transition between working at home and working in the office. You can’t really get away with saying, “I’m sorry it doesn’t sound so good, I’m working at home today.” People want it to be a completely seamless transition, but they don’t always know what their options are. Commercial integrators can be the ones who say you should be doing something more at home than using a pair of earbuds that came with your phone.
CI: To get the best audio for hybrid work environments, are there specific types of technology within the audio category that makes sense for integrators to focus on when outfitting employees at home?
CL: The ideal situation for remote workers is almost the same as it is in the office, which is a good desktop directional microphone. Directional microphones is what originally put Shure on the map in 1939 — we invented the unidirectional microphone. That technology is still at work today in almost everything we make. It is amazing the difference in sound quality that you can achieve even at home. A good directional microphone, in a favorable position on the desktop, right to one side or the other of your laptop, can make a night and day difference in the sound quality that you are sending to the outside world, so directional mic is the number one place to start.
CI: Could you tell us more about Shure’s MV5C USB microphone?
CL: The MV5 was originally designed for recordist and podcasters, but with the growing need for a conferencing solution, we said let’s do a version of this product aimed directly at teleconferencing needs. It’s just like a little tennis ball sized microphone that comes with its own stand; plugs into the USB port on your laptop, and gives you a cardioid pickup pattern, so it’s blocking out the noise from around you from the room. It blocks reflections by reducing noise pick up and with reverberation you get a lot more focus on the voice itself. Your voice is richer, less distractions from noise and reverb, so it’s just a more kind of wholesome full professional sound quality.
The other nice thing about the MV5C is the fact that it’s just plug-and-play. You can listen through your computer speakers, or if you’ve got a pair of you small stereo speakers attached to your laptop for music, you can listen through those, or you can do what I’m doing which is plug-in a pair of ear phones that you’ve got, and then you hear directly, and you don’t have any chance of any of the sound from loud speakers getting picked up by the microphone either direct or reflected.
The microphone also has a built-in speech enhancement setting that adds a little bit of EQ and compression to enhance the voice giving it more intelligibility, so you get that professional radio sound without having a big microphone right there in front of your face like a radio DJ. There’s no hardware but you get the benefits of having professional audio hardware.