Question of the Month: Automatic Microphone Mixer

Q. I have been told that installing an automatic microphone mixer in my sound system will eliminate feedback. Is this true?

A. No! The complete elimination of feedback is a myth about automatic microphone mixers. Installing an automatic mixer will help control feedback by increasing the volume of the sound in the Public Address before it starts to ring. But how much louder the sound system can be turned up will be determined by the number of open microphones connected to the sound system. Every time a microphone is activated or turned on, the sound from the audio system in that room will also increase. Ideally, we only want to turn on the microphones that are needed for the communication between the individuals talking.

The room’s acoustics and properties and the physical placement of microphones and loudspeakers determine how loud the sound system can be turned up before feedback begins. However, feedback can be minimized through careful planning, selection of equipment, coordination in the design and installation of the system.