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The Science Behind the Audio: Creating Natural Sound for Conferencing

5/5/2016
RevoBlog
14 comments

Audio technology has greatly improved over the last 10-15 years and we are committed to delivering the most natural sounding communication for conferencing.

But, what does it take to be able to CREATE this sort of natural, conversational sound? Probably a lot more than you might think!ThinkstockPhotos-469078175.jpg

Let’s break it down. There are three main parts to delivering crystal clear audio:

  1. Sound Capture
  2. Sound Transmission
  3. Sound Reproduction

Typical human conversational speech contains frequencies from 160 Hz to 16 kHz. Older analog telephone systems had an upper limit of 3.5 kHz to squeeze more conversations across the network bandwidth. Today, most UC systems utilize wideband audio with an upper limit of 7 kHz which sounds exponentially better, but still doesn’t match live speech. Today’s ultrawideband audio technology delivers rich, clear sound because it covers the entire frequency range of human speech and transmits it over a digital network with almost no issues.

With ultrawideband capability, the challenge shifts to sound capture and reproduction. In the old days, we simply captured and transmitted on low bandwidth systems…meaning the sound quality was seriously lacking. Now we can capture sound better, but that includes environmental noise, paper shuffling, and other noise sources. So, how DO we solve the issue of capturing the sound and delivering only the person’s voice with the original crystal-clear, natural quality that was originally produced?

First of all, we need the proper equipment. With today’s complex UC network, a simple or outdated speakerphone is not going to cut it. Tim Root, Revolabs' CTO and VP of Business Development explains: "Many speaker products on the market do not effectively prepare for high reverb environments where echo is an issue. When the echo is longer than the actual tail of the audio subsystem, the result is linkage back to the far end. The echo still exists even though the echo canceller thinks it has gone away. It picks up the residual echo as local energy to the far end.”

In the equipment, we must consider factors such as bandwidth, voice volume and echo as well. And it gets more complex! We also have to consider the actual conferencing environment and how the sound behaves in certain spaces. All of these factors affect the three key ingredients to achieving natural sounding communication.

Some tips for choosing or creating the best space for natural communication include choosing quiet, enclosed spaces with limited background noise and being aware of the building/room materials which can cause increased reverberation. For example, rooms with lots of windows or hard surfaces will increase echo. In that case, finding a solution with appropriate echo-cancellation is ideal.

To learn more about the right solution for your space, contact us today!

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