No UC And Collaboration Without Good Audio The laws of physics break for no one.
By Michael Sinclair As a 40-plus-year veteran of the sound industr y, when I’m asked to reflect on the importance of good audio, specifically microphone performance as part of a videoconferencing system, it leads me to wonder why it’s even a question at all. Quite often, audio quality is the primar y indicator of connection quality, with video processing and network issues all being expressed as “audio problems.” In reality, they are not audio-related issues, although adjustments to the audio system can often mask or suppress those connection problems. Good microphone design and placement can mitigate problems with bad audio signal, but only within the boundaries of the physics of sound that govern the design of all microphones. Although it is true to say that current advances in processor power and design open up new and faster avenues of sound manipulation, the underlying constraints nevertheless remain. At the beginning of unified communications (UC), when video and audio were combined to develop what we now call videoconferencing, the emphasis was always on the picture. Invariably, comments were made about “dropped frames” and “video tiling,” whereas audio was rarely mentioned unless there was the catastrophic “echo” or a complete loss of sound. In reality, the audio part of the process was infinitely The $100,000 boardroom has become the $100 million audiovisual extravaganza, boasting a broadcast-style control room, behind glass, that’s in full view of the conference participants.
Since the mid-1970s, Michael Sinclair has been working in all facets of the audio industry. Beginning with concert audio and touring sound systems, he has grown to become the go-to person in pro-audio design and DSP programming for many of the major corporate conference spaces. He and his company, Audio Inc., are sought after for skills in many environments, including live music production, corporate boardrooms and multi-purpose rooms, network audio and live television production.
What the future holds for unified communications and collaboration is featured in our fall edition of IT/AV Report.