Category Archives: Insights

AC-404 Feature

When Clarity Matters, The AC-404 is a Reliable Part of Indico Systems Evidence Recording Systems

Indico Systems is globally changing the way industries record and mobilize digital evidence recordings in a secure, efficient and productive manner.

Through innovative software development, Indico has digitalized processes and procedures to improve the performance of recording suspect, witness and victim interviews, as well as interrogations and court sessions. Hundreds of customers around the world, including police forces, children’s safe houses, courts, military, hospitals, audit firms and the United Nations rely on the company’s solutions to provide accurate records of their operations. To capture pristine audio recordings, the company turns to MXL Microphones’ AC-404 USB-Powered Microphone.

To deliver Indico’s solution to users around the world, the company installs their ‘Recorder’ software onto a laptop, which gets packed into a portable case along with USB cameras and MXL’s AC-404 USB-Powered Microphone, for a truly plug-and-play solution. “When looking for camera and microphone solutions to integrate with our software, we knew USB-powered devices were the way to go, this way there are no additional power sources needed,” says Stig Knutsen, CEO of Indio Systems. “You simply plug your camera and microphone into the laptop, which has the ‘Recorder’ software previously installed, and you’re ready to go.”

When searching for a USB-powered microphone, choosing MXL’s AC-404 was a no-brainer for Knutsen due to its high voice intelligibility.

“When recording audio files such as interrogations and interviews to be used as evidence in court rooms, it is extremely important to capture crystal-clear, unfiltered sound. We tested out several USB microphones, but other manufacturer’s solutions could not compare to the high-quality audio of the MXL AC-404. Other mics’ recordings were much lower, and a lot more muffled. Once we heard the MXL mic, we immediately knew that was the mic for us.”

Indico Systems Portable Recorder System

Another benefit of MXL’s AC-404 USB-Powered mic for Indico Systems is its range of audio pickup. “Our customers are often surprised that they only need one microphone to capture the interview recording,” says Knutsen. “The AC-404 does an amazing job of capturing multiple sources of audio without an issue. Even if the interviewee gets up and starts walking around while talking, we can rely on the AC-404 to pick up an even and clear sound throughout the process. Whether the person is speaking right next to the microphone or on the other side of the room, the recordings always sound great.”

For Indico Systems, it is crucial that they provide their customers with an extremely reliable and durable microphone solution. “We have over 2,000 MXL AC-404 mics, and we are constantly packing, unpacking, and shipping them around the globe, so rigidity was also super important to us when choosing a microphone,” adds Knutsen. “The durable all-metal construction of the AC-404 has helped to ensure that when our customers unpack their kit, they are receiving a microphone in perfect condition. The MXL AC-404 is a solid microphone, and it always works. We are looking forward to trying out other solutions that MXL has to offer!”

The AC-404 captures crystal clear speech intelligibility for a variety of applications with easy plug-and-play USB connectivity and a low-profile design. Three microphone capsules in a surface-mount boundary form deliver a 180-degree pickup pattern with a 25′ range, making it ideal for conference rooms, courtrooms, connected classrooms and more. Designed to simply rest on any flat surface, the AC-404 is now available in white and black and its discrete and convenient design makes it the perfect solution for everyday use.

Learn more about Indico Systems here

Learn more about MXL’s AC-404 and other solutions here

WFH – How to improve your audio when working from home

In these bizarre times in our world, many of us find ourselves relying on our computers for communication. Like anything in technology, there are hurdles and difficulties. The camera is too dark, too bright, choppy connection, audio is fuzzy.

Here at MXL, we want to share information to help you improve your audio when working from home or just catching up with friends and family over a video conference.

Common issue/question:

Why does the microphone on my laptop or computer sound so bad and echoey?

At MXL, we often get customers looking for an upgrade in their web conferencing experience. We constantly hear things like “the sound is always so echoey” or “everyone sounds so far away.” We even had a customer ask, “Do computer manufacturers just not care about good audio?”

There are many reasons why users have these kinds of experiences, and we’ll try not to bore you with too many details. Typically the microphone in a computer is there to pick up audio; that is it. It’s a function and less about the quality of that function. This is similar to a steak from a sketchy roadside diner vs. the best cut of meat you have ever had from your favorite steak house.

In addition to microphone quality and steaks, the main issue with built-in microphones has to do with physics and something called Critical Distance. In a simplified form, Critical Distance is the distance at which the reflections and reverberations of a direct sound, equal or exceed the volume of the direct sound from the sound source.

Example: When you start to hear more of your voice bouncing off the walls in your office than direct sound, this is what can make it sound like someone is in a bathroom when they are on a web chat.

In a 10×10 room (bedroom or office), the critical distance of a sound to a source can be as short as 9.6″.

Unless you are sitting with your face pressed against your computer screen, you are likely more than 9.6″ from the microphone. Your computer microphone is going to be picking up as much if not more indirect sound (the echoey bathroom sound) than the direct sound.

How do we solve this? Get the microphone closer to you by using an external USB microphone.

MXL AC-404The AC404 is a USB boundary microphone. A boundary microphone uses a flat surface to avoid acoustic issues and enhance the audio (this is an oversimplified explanation). Using an external microphone also allows you to place a microphone right in front of you instead of far away at the top of your laptop screen.

In addition to those benefits in a mic like the AC404, we are using high-quality capsules, components, and circuitry, all tuned for the human voice to enhance clear communication.

For all of these reasons, many people already use external microphones or headsets for web conferencing for work or just catching up.

The MXL AC404 is plug and play with pretty much any computer capable of running a video conference. Adding an external USB microphone to your workspace should be hassle-free, and you’ll impress everyone with your improved audio quality.

MXL offers a few versions of the AC404; the differences are primarily cosmetic. Here is some info about them below:

 MXL AC404 – The base model AC404 mic

MXL AC404 White – The base model AC404 mic in white

MXL AC404 LED – LED version of the AC404. You can change the LED color with a dial under the base. Very cool for gaming.

MXL AC404Z – AC404 for Zoom applications, and it comes with a few accessories that integrators and installers prefer.

If you arent using one already, an external microphone can significantly improve the audio quality of your voice on web conferences, recordings, and presentations. Be sure to check out the AC404 and some of our other products.

MXL AC-360-Z Zoom Microphones installed on ceiling

South African AV Installer Mounts MXL AC-360-Z On Ceiling for Complete Sound Coverage

The integrator was able to treat two, 36-seat board rooms and one classroom hall with ceiling-mounted AC-360-Zs for Zoom Room integrated meetings. Here’s a closer look at the install:

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Three Types of Mics You Need To Know

Microphones, whether you know it or not, are essentially transducers, meaning they convert one form of energy into another. Microphones take acoustical energy and convert it into electrical, but the way this process happens changes depending on which type of microphone you’re using. Here’s a closer look at the three main kinds of microphones, and how they convert live sound into electrical signals:

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Benjamin Wright's Storied History with MXL

Benjamin Wright’s Storied History With MXL

The multiple Grammy-winning producer and composer has been a big fan of MXL Mics for more than a decade. Wright first gained notoriety for arranging strings for smash hits like Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough” and “Rock with You,” and he continues to work with top pop artists today, recording strings for Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience album and Ty Dolla $ign’s Free TC. Here’s more on how MXL plays a big part in this music legend’s career.

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Secure Your Legacy With Great Production

Here’s a TV trivia contest. What TV show has been on TV everyday since it’s first episode ran? I think we can all guess the answer…”I Love Lucy”, which premiered on October 15, 1951, and is still running right now, somewhere in the world. There are two reasons the show has been so popular for over 60 years. The first is indisputably great content. The scripts, and acting on the show are timeless. Even in black and white, set in America in the 1950s, the comedy routines are timeless, with Lucy pulling off some of the greatest gags ever written. The second reason we all take for granted. Great production. We watch the show, and don’t even give thought to the magnificent picture and sound quality that remains today.

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Connecting the Classroom

I was recently invited to present at a conference for tech managers in higher education by Infocomm. It was a very interesting and enlightening day. In the room was a collection of tech managers from universities small and large. In some cases, the person in attendance was the lone member of the tech staff at their university. Generally, those were small campuses. In the case of USC itself, they had a full staff, as the campus is quite large.

I presented on the Connected Classroom, since that is a hot topic for today. Campuses are starting to share their lectures and classes in order to:

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