What is soundfield, or classroom sound enhancement, or classroom audio technology?
It’s an industry term to describe voice capture technology (using microphones) so that teacher voices and student voices are heard equally by all learners in a space.
Soundfield is different to traditional microphone tech because it is designed for teachers and schools; it needs to be one touch, small, not requiring the IT guy, and be designed for the needs of young brains. It makes sure children get delivered crucial consonant sounds that fade over distance and get compromised by things like aircon, furniture noise and the like. Also, it needs to work in schools where Wi-Fi and the like create crowded airways.
How is soundfield helpful? Why change from tradition when voices were rarely captured by microphones?
Remember, us adults don’t cannot ever know what information is actually being processed by the brains of learners. While adults may be able to process what is being said even if we are in the back of a room, we have auditory experience; we have heard the words and the story before. We have context and can make up the difference between things we have heard and understood, and what we haven’t. Learners cannot; if they miss a crucial part of a word, they can’t fill in the gaps.
Rooms are bigger and busier now too, and it’s not a chalk and talk environments. Even over small distances, the intelligibility of the human voice fades over distance. Good noise – voices and AV audio – can be overtaken by bad noise including furniture / shuffling noise, heating and cooling systems etc – so that the required signal-to-noise ratio that children’s brains need is not enough.
Learner populations are different too. More kids who don’t speak English at home, and we now know of more challenges learners face including auditory processing and behavioural issues. Also, learners are used to great listening conditions in the car, at home, and in their ear buds. We should do our best to do that in schools.
And why ask a teacher to speak above a conversational voice? It creates something other than a calm learning environment and gone are the days where it was a badge of honour to have a somewhat damaged “teacher voice”.
How much do our Redcat, 975 and Topcat soundfield systems cost?
Given we have a wide family of solutions – for standard rooms up to labs and libraries and agile/collaborative learning areas – and other add-ons such as additional teacher Flexmikes, learner Sharemikes, and small group instruction pods, it’s important not to cast an impression that there is a set price. And we offer discounts for bulk purchases and extended payment terms. It’s a case by case thing. Best thing to do is contact us directly on 0393709355 or use our contact form.
My microphone is not working as well as it did. Why is this?
Chances are the battery in your Flexmike, Sharemike or Redmike has worn out. They are warranted for a year. These batteries are unique and you need to get the correct ones to not compromise warrantees.
Learn how to change batteries, and other tips, below.
How should I wear my Flexmike or Redmike?
Any microphone works like an ear; the closer it is to a sound source, the more it ‘hears’. Lanyards on our teacher Flexmikes open wide enough to slip over your head BUT they can be adjusted to suit the Flexmike sitting on your sternum and you can use the magnetic clip to take the mike on and off.
The short answer is to have the Flexmike sit on your sternum and not lower. This means the Flexmike ‘hears’ your voice most efficiently, and this means volume settings can be moderate because a faint collection of your voice by the Flexmike is avoided.
Why am I sometimes hearing a crackling sound from my white coloured Redcat?
Older Redcats have an equalizer on the back of the unit covered by a black plate. Dust can get into that equalizer. Clean out these equalizer sliders by blowing them out, or brushing them out, and then slide these sliders up and down to dislodge dust and you will be good to go!
How is our Access system of transmission from Flexmike to receiver better or worse than Infra-Red?
We used to use infra-red light as a transmission system years ago. We switched to Access because that means there is absolutely no chance of drop out caused by a mike being covered by scarves etc, or blocked by a teacher reading from a book or standing close to a whiteboard.
What is Access? It’s a form of radio frequency (called DECT) which hops from one frequency to another so the one Flexmike cannot jam with another Flexmike.
Sometimes we conduct small group learning in agile learning spaces. Can our technology help with this?
YES! Our Flexmikes can be used to lift a teacher’s voice to everywhere in a learning space AND can be sent only to a group of children working in a group learning environment. And teachers can listen in to that group to discover how well they are working without disrupting them. It’s called Activate technology. It can be added to our Redcat Access or 955 systems.