Not long ago, I was asked to attend a meeting at the government building in Cyberjaya. The meeting room looks very technical with all matching lights, comfy seats, equipped with good sound system, the room looks new and smells fresh.
The chairman was sitting at front with two other officers facing toward us. More than twenty people attend the meeting and waiting patiently to hear what the chairman have to say. I found my self a good sitting place and make my self comfortable before the meeting start. I’m ready and my ear is wide open and so as the others.
The chairman taps the microphone with his fingers to ascertain that it is functioning. Judging from the sound came out of the loudspeakers; the microphone level seems to be just the right level. The chairman begins to speak to address the opening of the meeting and few of the officer were being introduce to keep the other inform of their involvement to the subject being discuss.
Moment later during the discussion, the microphones suddenly starts to howl and a loud ear piercing feedback begins to oscillate. Yes, it is the the most common problem of all, the famous feedback, howling kind of sound continuously coming out of the speakers. The annoying sound was so intense and loud that everyone covers their ears with their hands.
A person who was sitting at the front was so disturbed that he moves to the back seat. There's no point really. Every way you sit is the same. There is no different in sound level because the room is of round shape and sound is distributed evenly to all direction.
The microphones keep giving feedback intermittently. Despite the technician made adjustment on the sound system, the problems are still audible and very persistence.
Some of us have no choice but to endure the irritating howling of the audio system. What is actually the problem here? Is it because the equipment it self or the human operator? In normal practice (provided the audio equipment is well maintain), there’s actually nothing wrong with the audio equipment. My guess is both of the above reason is at fault.
To be able to solve or rectify audio problem especially when in a situation such as this, one must have a through understanding of the subjects matter. One must know basic fundamental of sound especially when dealing with microphone used for speech.
It may look and sound simple but it not. Any sound system issue should be handled carefully. The situation should have been easily handled by a competent technician if he/she knows how to deal with it. Rather than have to guess or wonder why? The technician can actually be able to control or minimize the problem on the spot if they know what is going on, know how the problem occurs, where the problem start, and so on.
I guess most of us take it for granted in dealing matters pertaining to simple usage of microphone for speech. It only a simple audio system, what can go wrong one may says with confident. You can actually make a different and isolate yourself out of the pack if you understand sound engineering better.