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Choosing a Sound Solution: 6 Things to Consider Before Adding Audio

By Louroe Electronics on November 02, 2017

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Funding for the security project has been approved. The integrator, A&E consultant and security director have been assembled. The CCTV cameras and access control hardware have been selected. Now, your attention turns to sound and how to incorporate it into your security solution to expand your monitoring and real-time response capabilities. 

Fortunately, here is a guide to help you and your staff along during the consideration phase. While adding audio isn't nearly as complex as installing a 50+ camera rig to your control room, there are a few things to consider before buying the latest audio equipment for your security solution. 

 

 1. Environment

Before you add audio, the first element to analyze is the area's acoustic environment. Sound waves can bounce and reflect off floors, walls, ceilings and furniture. Additionally, background noise and wind in outdoor applications can affect sound capture.

For this reason, it is important to choose a microphone with the right pick-up pattern (either directional, bi-directional or omnidirectional) capabilities.

 

2. Microphone

Once you've evaluated the acoustic setting, the next step is to select the microphone. Although many cameras have embedded microphones, these are often not up to par when it comes to high quality or clear audio. Additionally, the embedded microphones lack installation flexibility.

By implementing an external microphone, you can place it at the optimal distance from the sound source. These microphones have a wider frequency response, allowing you to capture greater clarity. This is ideal for audio analytics software and sound detectors.

 

3. Connection Type

Integrating an external microphone with your security system requires the right connection. Consider what device you’ll be connecting the microphone to and check its audio input requirements. Most devices specify whether mic or line level is compatible. This will determine whether you need to deploy a mic level microphone, a line level microphone or a digital microphone with a built-in USB port for direct connection to a NVR or computer.

 

4. Placement

The ideal placement of external microphones is away from sound sources like air vents. An example of this is a microphone mounted above an environment to deliver the best signal-to-noise ratio.

This positioning reduces the effect of other noise sources and minimizes reflections from the ground. When installing a microphone, remember to avoid areas that would produce vibration or other ambient noise such as air vents

 

5. Settings

Once the microphone is in place, test the device and evaluate the sound. Use the sensitivity settings to adjust the audio capture to ensure you are hearing exactly what is desired.

 

6. Privacy Management

The law supports and protects audio monitoring along and video surveillance for security purposes. The catch? There must be no expectation of privacy.

One method to ensure the expectation of privacy is removed is to post clear signage that states, “audio monitoring is taking place on the premises.”

 

A Final Word 

While these recommendations are intended to help guide you through the consideration and planning phases, we intentionally omitted the technical aspects of adding audio. If you're considering adding audio to your security solution, please contact us using the on-page form to schedule a free consultation with one of our Technology Specialists.

 

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