What is a Boundary Microphone?

Tom Colman, Senior Applications Engineer at Shure UK joins HowToAV.tv to explain Boundary Layer Microphones which are used for conferencing and in boardrooms.

Boundary Microphones Explained

Conference room with boundary microphones on the deskBoundary Microphones are designed for spoken word applications in AV and conferencing based environments. They are designed to be placed onto a table around 2ft in front of the person who is speaking. A wide variety of shapes and sizes of Boundary Microphones are available, some are big and some are small, some fit flat on a surface and others can be mounted within a desk.

Polar Patterns

They are available with different Polar Patterns; this means they vary in the direction they are able to pick up sound from. Types of Polar Pattern include:

  • Cardioid Polar Pattern – This is the most common Polar Pattern. Each speaker should have one of these microphones in front of them.
  • Supercardioid Polar Pattern – These have a slightly narrower range of picking up sound than a Cardioid Polar Pattern.
  • Omnidirectional Polar Pattern – These are much wider and pick up sound from all over the room. One of these can be used in the middle of a small table to pick up the voices of several people who cardioid polar pattern boundary microphoneare sat around the microphone.

Wired or Wireless

Boundary Microphones are available in wired or wireless options, both have advantages:

  • Wired microphones ensure audio travels straight back to the mixer so it can be processed quicker.
  • A wireless Boundary Microphone system allows much more flexibility of use in multipurpose rooms.

There are a wide range of professional products available on the market to enable telephone paging and PA system integration.


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