Check, Check, Check…Can You Hear Me? The Importance of a Great Sound System
Feb 06, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

sound checkGreat sound in a meeting or event is something most planners take for granted…until they experience that screeching microphone or the entire system goes dead. So what makes up a good sound system?  

Lets explore the definition and use of microphones and mixers, as well as, understanding the importance of room accoustics, having event audio visual rental personnel on site, and last but not least, the infamous soundcheck. 

First, understand the room accoustics, which is how sound behaves in that space. Planners need to take the dimensions of the room and find the reverberation time. In simple terms, that means the amount of echos in that room and how long it takes them to be absorbed into the air or walls. For a typical meeting room, the standard reverberation time is under 1 second. This is so important because it will ultimately impact the type of audio equipment you will need. When considering sound and lighting rentals, select a provider that understands the acoustics as the audience fills up the room.

Second, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining, routing, and changing the level and dynamics of the audio signals. It can be connected to an amplifier, which is a device that can increase the power of the signal or directly to the speakers. An experienced AV technician sits at the mixing console to make certain the volume and clarity of your speaker’s presentation is heard especially if it involves music and/or video with the presentation services audio visual equipment.   

Third, you need to consider using one or more of the following microphones:

  • For your speaker, a lavalier microphone probably makes the most sense because it allows the presenter to move around the room freely. This small mic is often clipped onto the lapel of a jacket or held in place via a magnet. The cord can be hidden and the RF transmitter can be placed in a jacket pocket or clipped to a belt. 
  • To encourage maximum interactivity in a large meeting, renting wireless microphones that can be placed through out the room and passed from attendee to attendee is a great option. It transmits the audio as a radio signal to a transmitter that is then connect to the mixer.
  • Wired microphones can be used when you have a stationary panel of speakers who will be talking from a seated position. In addition, a wired mic works well on a podium and/or placed throughout the audience where attendees can walk up to the mic to ask a question or make a comment. These are mics that are cabled directly to the mixer.

Lastly, the soundcheck. This allows the audio team to make sure the sound in the room is clear and at the right volume and tonal frequencies. Soundchecks should be completed with each speaker and well before the attendees enter the room. Since soundchecks are more of an art than a science, it is vital that this process not be rushed. 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment company, has state-of-the-art sound systems and microphones available for rent. They also have a dedicated and experienced audio team, ready and willing to make your next event rock!

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