It happens to everyone at some time. You're sitting in a live meeting at a convention, listening to someone give a talk... it sounds like they're saying something quite interesting, and possibly very important. But you can't understand a word of it, because the audio quality in the room is terrible.
Maybe the mic isn't loud enough. Maybe they're not mic'd at all. Maybe there's feedback, or an echo, or some other problem that makes the words come out as an unintelligible mess. Whatever the issue is, though, it ruins the presentation, and reflects badly on everyone, from the people putting together the presentation, to the speaker themselves (even though it's not their fault).
The Importance of Audio Quality
Audio quality is critical for live events and presentation spaces of all types. The common thinking is that amplification is only necessary for an auditorium, cathedral, or other large space, to make sure that those sitting in the very back can hear the presentation. This doesn't even come close to being the full picture. For one thing, even in a small space, it's important for the speaker to have a microphone. Particularly if the room is crowded, all the people packed tightly in the space will absorb sound, making it difficult to hear without amplification.
But it's also important to realize that there's much more to audio quality than just microphones and amplification. Many presentations and performances involve video and other sound cues besides just one person speaking. These things need to be heard by the audience as well.
Or maybe there's a band playing. One of the most common problems that can occur during musical performances is that one or more of the instruments are too loud, so that the voices aren't loud enough. Good audio quality means finding the proper balance, so that everyone can get the full effect of the performance.
In larger spaces, audio quality can be a problem as well. The sound might echo around the room and become distorted, or simply distracting. Whatever the issue might be, it's essential that the people in charge plan for it and do their best to make sure that it doesn't have a negative impact on the presentation.
Planning for Quality Audio
So, how do you ensure good audio quality for a presentation or performance? It takes careful preparation. First, make sure you have a working knowledge of what the presentation space is like, and what the acoustics are like, so that you can be prepared for any potential problems. Then, make sure you have the right audio equipment to accommodate whatever performances or presentations may be made there. Often it is important to consult a professional sound or live event company to make sure that the acoustics and event are considered when planning for live sound. As we mentioned, things may sound good when testing in an empty room, but often in a live event with many people that sound quality can quickly dissipate.
Another thing to consider is always have more microphones than you think you'll need for any particular presentation. Even if you have only one scheduled speaker, or one person scheduled to speak at a time, have at least two mics ready, in case someone decides to take questions from the audience. Be sure to have a couple of wireless microphones in your arsenal, just in case, and a couple of lapel mics. And don't forget speakers that are the right size for that venue, not too loud or too soft. With proper preparation and the right audiovisual system for your space, you can accommodate any type of presentation, and ensure that the audience can hear you loud and clear.
Live sound and acoustics can be quite the challenge for any space large or small. At HB Live we have worked with companies and organizations to make sure their sound, video and lighting production are set up to deliver the best possible event for all whom attend. To learn more about the services of HB Live, click here.