As a globally recognized center for advanced research and the free distribution of scientific knowledge, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics attracts top scientists from around the world. One critical task for the audio-visual team is the capture of all lectures and presentations for preservation in PIRSA, the Institute’s acclaimed online archive, which is free for public use.
The institute had been dissatisfied with the audio performance and quality of its previous system of ceiling microphones, which provided poor pickup of audience questions and an intrusive visual presence in videos. To upgrade the quality of these recordings, Perimeter Institute recently invested in Shure Microflex Advance array microphones. Both the MXA910 Ceiling Array microphone and MXA310 Table Array microphone offer steerable pickup-up patterns that enable to clearly capture audience questions and minimize unwanted room noise, while smoothly integrating with existing room control systems. In addition, both incorporate Shure’s IntelliMix® DSP suite for precise coverage, automixing, EQ and echo reduction (ceiling array only).
Perimeter Institute’s AV team worked with Sherwood Systems and Canadian Shure distributor SFM to find the optimal products. “We looked at several possible solutions, but kept coming back to the Shure array products, which offer better flexibility and control,” AV team member Joshua Daws reports. “Shure MXA products really streamline our workflow while significantly improving the audio quality, covering the entire room evenly, without hot spots or dead zones.”
Once the team determined how to interface the Dante output with Perimeter Institute’s existing digital protocols, the decision to go with Microflex Advanced was easy.
The Shure MXA910 Ceiling Array microphone is installed in four lecture rooms, taking the shape of a single two-foot square ceiling tile, the MXA910 integrated easily into the existing ceiling. Setup was extremely easy, with intuitive control software and an automatic positioning tool for pickup lobes, and presets available to handle changing room configurations. The MXA910 picks up audience questions, while the main presenter wears a Shure ULX Wireless lavalier microphone.
In addition, two boardrooms at Perimeter Institute have been outfitted with the MXA310 Table Array microphone, which offers four Steerable Coverage™ lobes, easily set up via browser based control software to capture all participants. Daws was particularly impressed with the device’s innovative toroidal pickup pattern option, which rejects overhead HVAC noise while focusing on teleconference meeting participants in the rooms.
For the AV team at Perimeter Institute, Shure Microflex Advance Array microphones solved the issue of poor pickup of audience questions during open-format lectures and conferences. As a result, newly added lectures to the PIRSA video library offer a notable improvement upon sound quality, and the task of room setup and recording has been greatly streamlined.