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I have a theater style meeting room with the audience on three elevations. I'm considering using two drop mics to pick up audience questions during the meeting Q&A so online viewers can hear the questions as well as the answers.

Management does NOT want to use handheld microphones as the audience is elderly and passing it back and forth would be problematic.

Is there a better option? The audience space is 25ft wide x 15ft deep, with an elevation of 3ft. Audience members are sitting when speaking. I need to ensure they can be heard. They will not be any monitors for sound feedback in the room.

All advice is welcomed.

EDIT: What about conference mics on the back of the rows and a single wide angle mic for the front row? Would that work better?

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  • I don't really understand your edit. How much experience do you have at this? What do you mean "on the back of the rows"? If you mean at the rear of the room, then no. Not only would you have exactly the same issue as above the front row, but everybody would be facing away from the mics. Also, what do you mean by a "wide angle mic"? Any single mic on the front row would just be worse than 2 mics on the front row, as your distances would be greater. You can't mix these mics, as they're going to be at least 15ms away from each other.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 23, 2023 at 15:15
  • All the hands of all the elderly people I know still work and they can hold and pass microphones just fine. Maybe if the audience is all 90+ or if they are there because they have a specific condition it’s a concern? I know a lot of people in their 80s and they are mostly spry. Jun 25, 2023 at 15:34

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I think you'll struggle.

With only two fixed mics your best speaker will be 8ft from either side of the room, on the front row. Mic maybe 6ft above them so no-one accidentally catches one on the way to their seat.
You'd have to put it above the front row, as otherwise half your potential speakers will be facing away from the mic & your high end will just vanish, so anyone speaking from the rear corner is going to be perhaps 20ft away.

There's nothing better than two boom ops for this task. They can take speakers in turn for smoother transition. All anyone else has to do then is try to ensure two consecutive speakers aren't positioned in such a way that one op has to run, or whip-pan the mic.

Drop mics are really only any use for general audience reaction, applause, walla etc.

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