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8 tips to improve audio quality in your next AV installation

March 10, 2021

8 tips to improve audio quality in your next AV installation
We've all experienced poor audio, whether in a conference room, convention hall or classroom. To the untrained ear, audio simply doesn't sound "good." However, professionals trained in the physics of sound know that there are many reasons why an audio-video installation might lack the clarity and loudness necessary for a particular application. Here's a quick list of tips to ensure your next AV installation isn't lacking when it comes to audio.

1. Understand the environment. Because sound waves behave differently depending on the surrounding materials, you need to understand your audio-video installation environment. What are the dimensions of the room? What are the walls, ceiling and floors made of? Drop ceilings and drywall will behave differently than a concrete ceiling and lots of glass or a school hallway full of metal lockers.

2. Create and use a design document. Thorough planning and documentation are critical parts of an AV installation that must not be overlooked. Work with your customer, vendors and distribution partner to ensure that nothing is being overlooked, leading to poor performance once implemented. At that point, you'll have a disappointed customer and find yourself scrambling to make improvements.

3. Use the right microphones. There are two types of microphones you should know about—dynamic and condenser. Condenser microphones are often found in studios or quiet office settings. Most professional AV installations will rely on dynamic microphones for public speaking applications. However, not every mic is the same. Brush up on concepts such as frequency response and SPL (sound pressure levels). Some microphones even include a switch to give a boost to presence.

4. Use the right speakers in the correct location. The best microphones won't do much if they aren't paired with the right speakers. The type of speaker, quality and placement should be dictated by the application and environment discussed in tip #1.

5. Use a DSP (digital signal processor). Once you can experience the above items' benefits, you can make additional adjustments using a DSP. If you need to blend different audio channels, make audio louder, softer, remove noise or adjust for echoes in a large room, this is the tool to take your audio to the next level of quality.

6. Automate audio intelligence. Similar to DSP, companies such as Dolby provide high-quality audio for conference calls, suppressing background noise, separating participants and adjusting levels to make it easier to hear each voice on the call. Dolby Voice Room (which also includes video) provides features that dynamically adjust the meeting space's acoustics to maximize the sound quality for each participant.

7. Don't overlook acoustic treatments. Oftentimes the right microphones, speakers and signal processing will still fall short of expectations due to the environment. In these cases, acoustic treatments placed on walls or ceilings can be installed to control and reduce noise, eliminate echoes and more.

8. Eliminate the guesswork by seeking assistance. If you aren't sure how to get the best possible sound out of your next AV installation, take advantage of Ingram Micro's complimentary Pro AV design service. Contact Tom Jones, Ingram Micro's Pro AV expert, to get started.


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