Choosing the right microphone setup will enhance your customer experience


You can use any kind of microphone with the kiosk app. But, in order to provide the best experience for your users, you have chose the right microphone type and setup. We suggest two approaches:

  • go through our guide below,

  • hire a professional to figure it out for you.

Microphone types

There is a number of microphone types, but we will focus only on a few of them. You can find many guides in the internet (like this one) that will help you understand the topic. In general, for purpose of capturing and processing human speech, we will use a unidirectional or cardioid microphone that is designed specifically to capture the sound that is coming from one specific direction. There are a few microphone setups that were tested and are listed in the next section.

  1. Headset with microphone - simple and reasonably priced, this setup will be perfect for personal experience and quite loud environment. You can go with any setup (wired and wireless), but if you wish to cut out external noise use dedicated dynamic headset. Cons: you need to put in on your head, often wired, lack of seamless experience.

  2. Dynamic microphone - dynamic microphones are a perfect choice for very noisy environments. If you decide to use a traditional, stage dynamic microphone it will cut off all unwanted voices and work even in a very noisy environment. The disadvantage is however, that you will need to be very close to the microphone and it might form a "stage barrier" for your end users.

  3. Shotgun microphone - those are very specific microphones that can pick up a sound from a distance. Those need XLR wire and an audio interface with phantom power. In exchange you will get a perfect setup for VAD, as those microphones may pickup the sound only from a chosen spot and angle from a distance (e.g 2 m from your device).

  4. Gooseneck microphones - those are microphones dedicated to picking up a voice on conferences. Usually offer a good sound quality and fine cut-off of external voices. Have to be plugged in through an audio interface, and require to be really close to (like dynamic microphones).

  5. Specialized microphones - those are dedicated solutions to work with voice recognition software, like a small microphone attached to the kiosk frame: Andrea Communications PureAudio-AI DA-250Q or Andrea Array USB mic. Those solutions have a build-in noise and echo canceling software and are tuned specially to provide the best voice recognition experience. The allow the user to be approximately 1m from the microphone.

Please note that those are setups that are recommended by Virbe. There might be other setups that will work fine. If you work on one, feel free to consult with us or let us know what results you managed to get!

Wired or Wireless?

Your choice - both will work fine. Most of modern microphones will be able to work both wired and wireless. Wireless is much more comfortable, but might be more expensive and needs charging.

USB, XLR or mini-jack?

All of above-mentioned microphones might occur in different plugin setups. In general there are a few things that you may consider:

  • mini jack - most popular, plugs directly into yours computer soundcard. So be carecareful - your soundcard quality affects the sound quality! If you have a very good mic and low quality integrated sound card, than the final effect might be not as good as you would expect. In that case consider using high quality USB soundcard.

  • USB - USB microphones bypass your soundard, so as good as the microphone is, that good the sound quality will be. In general modern USB microphones are consider almost as good as XLR microphones. One disadvantage might be a lack of option of boosting the input over 100% (but this will not apply to all USB mics).

  • XLR - classic choice. XLR wiring is used in the music industry for decades. Considered most versatile and highest sound quality. In order to make it work you will need to buy an audio interface, but it will give you the widest choice of microphones (shotguns, goosnecks, dynamic, etc...). XLR audio interface will have the widest range of sound level input.

Where to put the microphone?

Choosing the right location for your microphone might be as important as choosing the microphone type. In general, the microphone should be in a position to pick up your client's voice best. And ONLY your client's voice.

For headset microphones the situation is simple - the headset should be on your client's head. Dynamic microphones should be close to your client's mouth. One way to do it is to use stage stands like in the example presented below. Shotgun microphones should be in general located away from the person who is speaking. You can put it above the monitor, under the ceiling, on the wall, etc. Gooseneck microphones are designed to be put on a table, but they may be as well mounted on a chair, on the wall, or attached to the screen. Remember that the microphone itself has to be very close to the mouth of the person speaking. Specialized microphones (like Andrea beamforming array) could be located more far away from the client. In the case presented below it is attached to the side of the screen, but they can be also located on the top or on the bottom of the screen.

For the vast majority of situations, you will need a microphone that will pick up only the sounds you want, so we recommend using directional microphones. A detailed setup (type of microphone, levels, location) will always be a unique case.

If you have your own microphone setup that you want to share with us , write directly to support@virbe.ai.

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