“Corporate events have become increasingly complex, incorporating live webcasts, a phone bridge, and in-room sound reinforcement of the company’s CEO and several employee presentations,” Heller explained. “In addition to audio from a presenter’s microphone, we also need to accommodate PowerPoint presentations with audio from a laptop.”
“Recently, we worked a town hall meeting event in a very live space, where we knew from past experience that an omnidirectional microphone would not work well,” Heller continued. “This is precisely why we chose the directional Countryman B2D, with its hypercardioid pattern. Being a directional lavaliere microphone that can easily be positioned on a person, the B2D enabled us to eliminate any surrounding ambient noise while, at the same time, maximize gain before feedback. The result was clean, clear audio signal with all the level we required. We were able to feed the sound reinforcement system with an optimized microphone signal and this was a significant factor in providing a high level of speech intelligibility. The B2D sounded great in the house, over the phone, and on the webcast.”
The town hall meeting involved a number of laptop computer-sourced presentations and, for these aspects of the meeting, audio quality was equally important. “Video and audio play a huge role in a well-planned presentation,” says Heller. “If the picture and sound quality aren’t up to par, the audience’s ability to process information is severely compromised. This is why we placed two Countryman DI’s—a Type 10S Stereo Direct Box and a Type 85S Stereo Direct Box—into service.”
The Countryman Type 10S and Type 85S DI’s both served as laptop audio interfaces for the event. These units enabled the laptop computer’s unbalanced audio feeds to be converted to balanced signals while also providing electrical ground isolation—thus eliminating the possibility of inducing noise, hum, or other audible artifacts, especially when long cable runs were involved. “By inserting these DI’s into the audio chain, we were able to maximize signal to ensure the best possible audio quality through the sound system and over the Internet,” Heller added.
When queried about those aspects of Countryman Associates that really impressed him, Heller shared his enthusiasm for the company’s direct boxes. “I've always wanted to see RCA and mini-jack inputs on a DI,” he said. “With the proliferation of iPods, iPads, and laptops being used in corporate presentations, it makes it much easier to use a DI to take the audio and get it into the mixing console without having to use several adapters in the process. We also like the fact that the Countryman team is open to suggestions regarding their product development. This is precisely why their equipment fits so well into a myriad of audio environments.”
Heller knows well about using audio gear in different environments—he has also regularly used these DI boxes for live sound reinforcement of bands playing at outdoor music festivals. There, rather than interfacing a laptop to the DIs, he uses them on bass and acoustic guitar, keyboards, and any other instruments going direct, “The high input impedance of Countryman DIs makes them ideally suited for a wide range of instruments and pickups. I never need to worry about the DI loading the instrument, and changing the character of the sound.”
Heller offered these parting thoughts, “Our customers are always pleased with the results we provide; we regularly get repeat business, which is as good as it gets. We'll definitely be using the Countryman B2D on other similar projects as well, and will also recommend the mic and the direct boxes to our customers who have their own installations. We couldn’t be happier with our Countryman gear.”
To learn more about Audio Production Group, Inc., visit the company online at www.audioprogroup.com.
About Countryman Associates
For more than 30 years, Countryman has focused on developing microphones and accessories that deliver maximum gain before feedback, with the highest possible rejection of wind, vibration, interference, and other unwanted sounds. The result is warm, clear vocals in speaking and singing applications, delivering natural audio reinforcement that requires almost no attention from the sound engineer or the performer. For additional information about Countryman Associates, visit the company online at www.countryman.com.
Photo info: Andy Heller and Gary Wood, co-owners of Audio Production Group, with their Countryman Type 10S and Type 85S Stereo Direct Boxes.