Anyone who works in the home office knows how important communication with colleagues, employees, superiors, or business partners is. In fact, this is equally important if you’re working in a regular office.
The exchange via email, WhatsApp & other social media platforms as well as in video conferences often works smoothly or communication.
However, the acoustics could be improved in some video and telephone meetings. Frequently, conversation partners are not understood well, or noises are disturbing, which negatively affects the quality o the conference call. Possible consequences are technical misunderstandings with high follow-up costs as well as personal frustration and demotivated participants. Unlike in the company, home office workers cannot compensate for these shortcomings through personal discussions. One solution for effective voice communication is a high-quality microphone for conference calls.
There is a lot of technology that helps make the quality of our office life more enjoyable. A good quality microphone is a good place to start.
There has been a surge in video conferencing since 2020 as many teams began working remotely due to the pandemic. Of course, it only takes a few Zoom calls to realize that a standard laptop mic just can’t deliver high-quality audio. While some companies have provided their employees with the best technology to upgrade their home office, many others have not been so lucky and have had to dig into their own pockets.
Do not worry! Here we find the best microphone for the home office and office. Further on, we’ll also go through the most important things you need to take into consideration when making your pick.
Best microphone for conference calls
Marantz Professional MPM-1000U
The Marantz Professional MPM-1000U is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a USB connection, which the manufacturer even recommends for podcasts and other studio recordings. Due to its directional cardioid characteristic, i.e. a physical intercepting function for the incoming sound, it ensures the filtering of ambient noise by design and convinces with a broadband sound recording over all relevant frequency ranges.
The Marantz Professional MPM-1000U can also be mounted on a tripod. The corresponding thread is available. It is connected via USB. The microphone can be purchased on Amazon.
You would probably find the Tonor Q9 in a recording studio rather than at your desk. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good for conference calls – if you’re looking for excellent sound quality. In fact, it comes with a complete set of features that can satisfy even semi-professional singers. Nevertheless, it is easily connected via USB.
The Tonor Q9 also scores very well with users. The manufacturer supplies a so-called spider in which the microphone is held floating. For example, typing noises cannot be transferred to the recording.
Jabra Speak 510
If you can get used to the rounded speaker and 360-degree microphone combo and if better sound quality when handling multiple speakers is on your wish list, you can check out the Jabra Speak 510. It can be connected both via USB and Bluetooth. It can also be used with smartphones and tablets.
If you attach particular importance to the design of your work equipment, you should definitely take a closer look at the MV5C from Shure. This is also connected via USB (A or C), costs around 100 dollars at Amazon, and simply looks good.
Despite the spherical optics, it is a front-facing recording device. A special speech mode is intended to emphasize the speaking voice. You can connect headphones via the integrated jack output and set the MV5C so that it transmits the sound into the ear without your own voice. The connection is made via plug-and-play under Windows and macOS.
Blue Yeti Nano
Under the Yeti brand, the manufacturer Blue offers a small range of differently priced USB microphones. For home office use, you should take a look at the Yeti Nano, which is available from Amazon in black and in gray with otherwise identical functionality.
The Yeti has the ability to switch the polar pattern at the push of a button. So you can choose the carhttps://www.ephatech.com/best-surround-sound-headphones/dioid characteristics in video conferences where you sit alone in front of the computer. If there are several people in the room, the Yeti Nano can also be used as an omnidirectional microphone.
The two-condenser microphone also has a jack output for separate headphones. Because it’s not held over a spider, it’s less well-suited for situations where busy typing is required during the conference. This is transferred to the device.
Tonor also provides a microphone spider to reduce the transmission of vibrations when using the keyboard at the same time – essential for game streamers on Twitch and Co. A pop filter is also included. The microphone works via USB on macOS and Windows via plug-and-play. With a length of two meters, the connection cable is also sufficient for extensive workplace installations.
The Elgato Wave:3 is a versatile microphone for remote workers, gamers, and musicians alike. The microphone features an external steel grille that protects the internal components and uses a cardioid pickup pattern for audio pickup. On the back of the device there is a USB Type-C port and a headphone output.
The front panel dial allows you to adjust the headphone volume, input, and more. The stand features a U-bracket for easy adjustments, and the padded base keeps the device firmly in place. A mute function allows you to pause the audio if needed, and Elgato offers a pop filter (sold separately) to further minimize audio interference.
Jabra Speak 810
The conference loudspeaker Jabra Speak 810 ensures a superior sound even with large telephone conferences. This loudspeaker offers a special focus on the voice and suppresses ambient noise. The connection is easy via USB, Bluetooth, and a 3.5 mm jack. This loudspeaker is suitable for telephone conferences with up to 15 participants.
The eMeet M2 is a conference speaker that sets new standards in the meeting room. It recognizes voices from afar and automatically adjusts its volume depending on the range, so you can always be heard, even at the back of the room. The eMeet M2 also has an adjustable microphone that filters out background noise during the meeting, improving intelligibility for all participants. With this innovative speaker, you’ll never again have problems with your interlocutor not hearing you at your next important business meeting!
Jabra Speak 750
Thanks to full duplex audio, the Jabra Speak 750 conference speaker ensures a natural sound. The 360° microphone allows use from all sides. This loudspeaker is suitable for up to six participants, but can also be connected to a second model. Connection is easy via USB or Bluetooth.
This MEETUP additional microphone from Logitech is the ideal complement to the MEETUP video conference webcam. With this conference speaker, the recording range is extended to five meters. This makes this speaker from Logitech ideal for increasing the range. This microphone is an ideal solution when there are more participants in a conference call.
Best microphone for conference calls – buyer’s guide
As you have probably seen, there is a huge selection of microphones for all kinds of different purposes available on the market. Different purposes naturally have different needs and wants in a microphone, but what should you look in a microphone for conference calls? What should you consider.
When you meet with colleagues digitally in the video conference room, various factors play a role. You need a decent network bandwidth to transmit image and sound cleanly in both directions; you need a camera that can record you with some clarity, and you need a microphone that picks up your voice cleanly and transmits it to your conversation partner.
Lets take a look at the most important considerations to make when choosing a microphone for conference calls.
Participants: Before purchasing, you should consider how many participants the conference speaker should be designed for. Smaller models are also suitable for smaller conferences with a maximum of five people. The Jabra Speak 810 is suitable for large conferences with more than ten people.
Speech quality: It is not only the microphones in a conference loudspeaker that are decisive for excellent speech quality in a conference. It is also important that the loudspeaker filters out disturbing background noise and thus ensures crystal-clear sound in the conference.
Connections: Depending on the model, a conference loudspeaker has different connections. Before buying, you should check which connections are used to connect the speaker to a smartphone or computer, for example.
Compatibility: Most conference speakers are compatible with every device and also every platform. In order to avoid a bad buy, the compatibility with your own devices and also the platforms used such as Zoom or Google Meet should be checked in advance.
Flexibility: Conference speakers are available both with rechargeable batteries and with a power connection. If the loudspeaker is only used in one room, a fixed power connection is recommended. A device with a rechargeable battery can also be selected for use in several rooms.
Battery life: If a wireless conference speaker is chosen, the battery life of the device should also be considered. Especially with frequent conferences, a model with a long battery life should be chosen so that there are no interruptions in the conference.
Price: Depending on the equipment and quality, conference loudspeakers are available in different price segments. High-quality speakers are available for just under 100 dollars. Models starting at 200 dollars are also available for large conferences with many participants. If several people are taking part in a telephone or video conference, the voice quality can quickly suffer. A conference loudspeaker ensures that all participants can take part in the meetings with high and clear voice quality.
Video conference: It depends on the transmission of the voice
You will probably agree that clarity of language is the critical criterion. While the image is only of secondary importance and is now also recorded in sufficient quality by every integrated webcam, it is the sound that is the decisive factor for and against the success of a video conference. If all participants were working with reasonably high-quality microphones, the general situation of understanding would be better.
It turns out that integrated microphones in headsets, especially in in-ears or other plug-sized devices, are not really well suited.
The microphones built into over-ears also deliver maximum usable quality. In both cases, this is due to two things: On the one hand, the microphones are in an unfavorable place next to the head, and on the other hand, they are very small. Microphones that are bracket-mounted on headsets often turn out to be placed too close to the speaking tool. Some fiddling is required to find a good position. However, the problem with all types of headsets is that they make you look like a pilot on a landing approach. Not everyone likes that – on both sides of the screen.
Table microphones are the better alternative
You can avoid all these problems by choosing a microphone that can be placed on the table. These representatives of their kind can be installed either standing or lying or using a bracket, for example on the screen. They are available with a USB cable connection or as a Bluetooth device.
In terms of shape, they are either devices designed to focus on one speaker or devices designed to serve an entire circle of speakers around a conference table. For the home office, we can focus on the devices that are designed for one participant.
Headset or microphone?
A headset with a microphone may be sufficient for infrequent, shorter conversations. Please keep in mind, however, that you often communicate for a very long time in the home office. Face-to-face meetings hardly ever take place any more.
Communication with work colleagues, customers or suppliers is almost exclusively in writing or by telephone. It can be annoying to constantly have to put the headset on and take it off. Those who wear headphones plus microphone for hours are often bothered by “hot ears” or feel annoying itching.
Communicate comfortably and clearly with a standing microphone
If you take off the headset, you can communicate much more relaxed and usually with better acoustic quality. You will be understood much better; the voice comes across as authentic and clear. Participating in virtual meetings is not only more fun, but you are also more likely to achieve your goals. If you also record podcasts or video tutorials, excellent acoustics are also important.
Everyday use is often even more convenient than making calls with headphones
Unlike headsets, you don’t have to constantly adjust the position with stand microphones and USB microphones for the home office. It no longer says “Can you raise (or lower) the mic on your headset a bit?”. You don’t need to “bend” the headset microphone and just speak freely like in a real meeting.
This is not only much more relaxed, but also leaves more room to think in important meetings.
You can concentrate fully on communication instead of technology. Listening through a speaker on a PC or microphone/conference system is also more comfortable than with a headset. The risk of misunderstandings or irritations, especially in lively telephone meetings, virtual training sessions, or intensive presentations, decreases significantly.
Good sound – often even more important than good video quality
In many meetings via Google Hangout, Skype for Business/Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex, or other conference tools, a presentation provides the visual guideline and conveys content.
The transmission of the meeting participants via webcam also plays a role. However, more important than being able to see each participant permanently is being able to hear the conversation partner well – and to be understood well. If you want to convince colleagues or business partners in a virtual meeting, good voice quality is essential. This applies to conversations at work level with well-known colleagues as well as to complex, international telcos or video conferences.
The investment in a microphone for the home office is worthwhile
Modern USB stand microphones with the professional recording quality and high sound quality are also affordable for the home office. They are an effective addition to your equipment – even if you want to continue using a headset for short phone calls, for example. With a stand microphone or a microphone spider on your desk at home, you will be even more effective in the home office. Self-noise and other background noise, for example from the background of one or more of the participants, are reduced. Professional microphones can usually do more here than headset microphones.
Simply connect and operate
You probably don’t want to convert your home office into a professional recording studio. You don’t need to do so either – because the usual office microphones are usually very easy to install. Most models have a USB port, making it easy to connect to any laptop or PC. It is usually not necessary to download a device driver separately. That means “Plug and Play” or “Plug and Speak”, without loss of time and with excellent acoustics!
Nylon coverings and external mounting reduce disruptive vibrations
A standing microphone and similar types of microphones, which are connected separately, convince with studio quality. The modern membranes of the condenser microphones, which are usual for top acoustics, ensure that background noise or self-noise are hardly audible. Foam attachments offer further protection against hissing, squeaking, or other noises. They also make it easier to use at a reasonable distance and can be easily cleaned if necessary.
Thanks to the setup, you also avoid vibrations interfering with the conversation with your USB microphone in the home office. This can occur with microphones that are permanently connected to the PC or laptop. With headset microphones, the sound quality can suffer if the microphone slips while speaking or is touched while readjusting. Eliminate these sources of interference with a free-standing microphone.
Perfectly aligned – to the speaker
The devices that are particularly suitable for use in telephone and video conferences are so-called directional microphones. Its central membrane element, which converts sound waves into electrical signals, is aimed at the speaker. The sound body is usually cardioid for speech and vocal microphones (in turn spherical for recordings by symphony orchestras). Thanks to the cardioid capsule and directional microphone technology, noises coming from the side or from the background are picked up less strongly.
Many professional devices also allow the directional characteristics to be changed electronically
This can be useful if you often make calls alone, but sometimes two or three colleagues are sitting at the table live. Then you can adjust the directional characteristics so that the callers sitting next to you or across from you can also be heard well.
Simply set up or attach the microphone?
You can either place separate professional microphones freely on the table – for example with a microphone spider. If you want to get up or walk around the room during a long call, you will still be understood. If necessary, the free-standing microphone can also be moved during the telco without disturbing the other participants. If you also occasionally have conferences with live visitors and virtual participants in your home office, the microphone is ideally placed in the middle of the table.
Alternatively, you can permanently mount microphones
Many models also offer a microphone arm. It is simply connected to the table or, with smaller microphones, to the computer. The holding devices are adjustable, so you can easily adjust them to the optimal position. Microphones with such support arms are particularly suitable if you are alone in telephone conferences and are sitting at the computer – and if you are looking for a high-quality and convenient alternative to headphone microphones.
Pay attention to the scope of delivery
See the product descriptions for details of what comes with the microphone. This usually includes the USB microphone cable for connecting the microphone to your computer. The cable usually not only trahttps://www.ephatech.com/best-microphone-headset-for-streaming/https://www.ephatech.com/best-microphone-headset-for-streaming/nsmits the data of the voice signals but also supplies the microphone with power. Also pay attention to the specified cable length for the microphone cable. This is usually sufficient for small offices and home offices – if not, you can order longer cables for most models in the accessories shop.
Important accessories are also stable attachment arms and interchangeable foam attachments.
Ideally, these covers for the microphone are replaceable and washable. In addition, some microphone manufacturers offer extra attachments, for example, to suppress wind noise. With a “poppy microphone” like the one you know from TV broadcasts, you can move the home office to your garden if necessary and still ensure good audio quality.
Why a dedicated microphone for the home office instead of a headset?
The quality of recording and playback is significantly better with special microphones than with headsets. Side and background noises are reduced even more effectively. Telephone calls, home office conferences, and video calls are becoming more relaxed, more professional, and more successful for everyone involved. In addition, headsets can be annoying if worn for a long time, while stand-alone and free-arm microphones are comfortable even during long conversations.
What to look out for when buying a microphone for conference calls
Modern directional microphones are recommended for excellent audio quality during conversations, which enable targeted voice recordings with the cardioid capsule membrane and minimize background noise. Round capsules, on the other hand, are suitable for audio recordings with many participants or in large rooms. If you make a lot of phone calls alone in the room and are sitting at the PC or laptop, pay attention to the possibility of attaching the microphone. If you want more freedom of movement during the telco or sometimes colleagues are there “live”, a stand microphone or a microphone spider is recommended.
Why are conference loudspeakers useful in meetings?
If several people are taking part in a telephone or video conference, the voice quality can quickly suffer. A conference loudspeaker ensures that all participants can take part in the meetings with high and clear voice quality.
How many people can use a conference speaker?
How many people can use a conference loudspeaker at the same time varies with each model. Therefore, models for large conferences with more than ten people are available, but also models for small conferences with up to five people.
Do conference speakers have good audio quality?
A conference speaker has good audio quality, making the meeting comfortable for everyone involved. Audio output is designed to enable crystal-clear communication over various connections.
Do conference speakers have good microphones?
Conference speakers are designed to provide excellent voice pickup. Several microphones are often installed for this purpose so that a natural and clear conversation is possible for all participants.