14 Agustus 2018
For many financial institutions, the foundation for stable development and market competitiveness is to manage risks and approach work in a strict, rigorous, and highly efficient manner. For one of the ‘Big Four’ state-owned banks in China, ensuring such work efficiency recently required an upgrade of the conferencing technology used in the 42-seat boardroom at the Bank’s global headquarters in Beijing.
The Bank had been using the same conference system in its boardroom since the room was first set up over 10 years ago. Users have increasingly been plagued by problems such as poor sound reinforcement and speech intelligibility, which greatly affected the quality of meetings. The large size of the room, paired with floor-to-ceiling windows that cause strong reflection of sound, creates a difficult acoustical environment that makes conversations more difficult. On the technology side, the old analog microphones required conference attendees to lean forward and maintain an uncomfortable posture when talking into the microphone. Also, only 4 microphones could be activated at a time, which limited discussions among participants. In important confidential meetings, technicians are also not allowed in the room, which created additional problems for the conference leader to manage the system.
Shure and the system integrator designed a new digital audio solution to overcome the acoustical and technology challenges in the boardroom. The existing 42 analog microphones were replaced by 20 Shure MXA310 Table Array Microphones using a total of 32 audio channels. The channels can be individually adjusted for pick-up pattern, direction, and gain to effectively cover all seats. Through Dante digital audio networking, all audio channels are routed to the new DSP which replaced the old analog mixer. The processor mixes audio from the MXA310s and provides output control for the connected ceiling speaker system. The 12 legacy analog ceiling speakers have been redesigned into a zoned speaker system with 3 speaker groups to allow more flexibility in sound reinforcement.
Each MXA310 Table Array Microphone can utilize up to 4 audio channels to capture talkers, which halved the total number of microphones needed in the room. Integrated Steerable Coverage™ technology makes the microphones highly directional. Conference attendees can now remain comfortable in their seat while speaking and don’t have to directly interact with the microphone. This improvement in user experience has been unanimously recognized by the Bank's leaders. The integrated automatic mixing functionality within the microphones automatically activates the best channel for each talker. Paired with the output control matrix of the DSP, the ceiling speakers now reinforce sound in grouped areas, depending on which microphone channel is activated. The result is more evenly distributed sound throughout the large room, and conference participants have clearly noticed that the speech clarity improved significantly.
About the MXA310:
The acoustical conditions in our building are very harsh, and we have to support very important meetings with a large number of users. It was a difficult task to find a suitable replacement for our conferencing system and we demanded a lot from our future system. Especially in our industry, an audio solution for an application like this needs to be reliable, well established, and safe to operate. We looked at the best solutions available in the market to provide us the top-notch scale and skill that we required.
Technical Director, Leading Financial Institute in China