When the City of Beaumont, Texas was looking to upgrade their City Council Chambers for local sound reinforcement, live streaming and recording for archiving, they turned to MSC Systems which recommended Earthworks microphones..
Key requirements for the system upgrade were clarity and off-axis response for instances when council members and citizens didn’t speak directly into the microphone, which was replacing existing gooseneck microphones. The client also wanted the microphones to have an LED light ring that would serve as a visual indicator of the microphone being on.
With those client requirements in mind, Chase Daigle, system designer for MSC Systems, selected the Earthworks FlexMic microphones for the install.
“Earthworks met the client’s main requirement of exceptional clarity and great off-axis response hands down, but didn’t have a current model with a LED ring,” explains Daigle.
“After contacting Earthworks with the client’s request, we had a prototype within 20 days. We set up a demo in the council chambers and the microphone sold itself. They were blown away by the overall improvement in audio quality and were very impressed with the smoothness of the microphone at different distances and positions around the microphone. After hearing the difference a microphone of this quality can make the client ordered 16.”
After Daigle selected the FMR600-LR-G for the installation, which features a green LED light ring, cardioid polar pattern and 14-inch gooseneck, he was able to program the microphones with a BSS processor.
“We are using a custom mounting plate from Horizon with mounting points so the PMM1 shock mount can be used. There is a 2 pole toggle switch on the plate, which allows the audio to be muted and the power to the LEDs to be turned off at the same time. On the back side of the plate is a pop filter circuit to keep the audio from popping and terminal strip where the audio lines and 12v power supply for the LEDs tie in.”
The FMR600-LR-G provided improvements over other microphones Daigle had previously used for similar installs.
“The Flexmic’s near flawless reproduction of audio and extremely smooth frequency response on and off-axis allows more gain before feedback than other microphones I have used. I can get the level of audio I need from the Flexmics, even from people with poor microphone technique, without having to compromise the audio quality from excessive EQ to get rid of feedback.” says Daigle.
Once the complete system was installed, Daigle explains the response that the council members had to the new microphones: “I was told that with the first use some council members commented on how much better the new sound system sounded and were very surprised when told that just the microphones were replaced. They were impressed with the amount of improved clarity from just replacing the microphones.”
The City of Beaumont’s chief technology officer, Bart Bartkowiak, also gave his feedback on the new microphones: “We were struggling with reports of poor sound quality on City of Beaumont Council meeting broadcasts. The Earthworks FlexMic Series microphones with the LED ring have greatly improved our overall sound quality. In fact, we’ve had to turn down the gain on many due to the fact that the microphones pick up voices so well. The LEDs have also helped us when evaluating any issues since it is now so easy to tell if the microphone is on or off while the person is speaking.”
Daigle offered his final thoughts on working with Earthworks to develop a custom microphone solution for their client: “Taoufiq and the rest of the team at Earthworks were amazing from the time I asked for a custom microphone, to working through a few bugs with grounding issues, and following up after the installation was done.”