Chris Lyons on the Shure Microflex Advance MXA902

Published: September 1, 2023

Recently, Commercial Integrator chatted with Shure’s Chris Lyons, a 30-year veteran of the company, to discuss the challenges that meeting spaces pose. In particular, we asked Lyons to identify audio difficulties in small to medium-sized meeting spaces.

Then, we sought Lyons’ expertise on how the Shure Microflex Advance MXA902 Integrated Conferencing Ceiling Array speaks directly to solving those challenges.

Chris Lyons on the Shure Microflex Advance MXA902

CI could have picked no better interviewee than Lyons. After all, he has filled a variety of marketing and PR roles during his long tenure at Shure. His specialty is making complicated audio technology easy to understand. We think, as you read this interview, you’ll find that statement proved true.

Commercial Integrator: Thinking about small to medium-sized meeting spaces, what are some of the most prevalent audio challenges that end users and integrators alike are tackling these days?

Chris Lyons: While everyone wants good sound quality in meeting rooms, finding a solution that delivers an equitable experience for all participants and offers ease of installation can be difficult. A soundbar with microphone and loudspeaker makes for a quick installation, but the most important person is often seated farthest away, at the head of the table. And, thus, they receive the poorest experience. Ceiling-mounted array mics and loudspeakers provide optimal coverage, but installing and configuring multiple components is not always cost effective in smaller rooms.

Commercial Integrator: The Shure Microflex Advance MXA902 Integrated Conferencing Ceiling Array is an exciting new offering from the company. How do its features and benefits speak directly to solving those challenges that we just identified?

Chris Lyons: The MXA902 was designed specifically for small and medium-size meeting rooms. Because the MXA902 mounts overhead, it provides consistent voice capture and listening levels for everyone in a 20-by-20-foot (six-by-six-meter) area. So, everyone at the table can hear and be heard equally well. With an array microphone, wide-dispersion loudspeaker and DSP in one ceiling-mounted device, there’s only one device to install and one cable to connect. This makes the entire process as simple and efficient as possible.

Shure Pioneers Integrated Ceiling Array Mic and Speaker for Conferencing

Commercial Integrator: Give us insight into how Shure pioneered the first integrated ceiling array microphone and loudspeaker for AV conferencing. What inspired the Shure Microflex Advance MXA902, and how did the team bring it to life?

Chris Lyons: Shure is constantly looking for ways to streamline the installation and commissioning process for systems integrators, without sacrificing audio performance. Combining the microphone and loudspeaker into one unit made perfect sense. However, having the loudspeaker just inches away from over 100 microphones required considerable effort to provide both acoustic and mechanical isolation between the microphones and loudspeaker. The close proximity between them also makes the Acoustic Echo Canceller’s job much harder. The built-in IntelliMix DSP’s powerful echo cancellation algorithm was carefully tweaked to preserve natural interactivity even with the adjacent loudspeaker.

Commercial Integrator presents this thought-leader interview as part of our Collaboration Today and Tomorrow supplement. Produced in partnership with the IMCCA, Collaboration Today and Tomorrow seeks to illuminate key trends in how we collaborate, work, learn and play.

For more thought-leadership content, check out Collaboration Today and Tomorrow’s fall edition, bundled with the September/October print issue.

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