A tour guide without a microphone will have to strain their voice or possibly shout to be able to communicate with a tour group. In a manufacturing setting, this challenge is usually much greater due to background noise and distance between participants of the tour. Due to the size of facilities, there are many tours that are given by car, golf cart or mini bus where the guide will be driving or seated in a front seat and the group will be seated in the back of the automobile. This is more common with smaller group tours of executives, investors and other VIP groups. The challenge with this setting is to pick a wireless microphone for the tour guide that will promote safety and crystal clear sound quality for the tour participants. We will review the best products and their pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision on what works best for your application.
Pros & Cons?
Tour Guide Systems
While you may be thinking that a golf cart or car may be more suited to playing FM radio, a podcast or even some carpool karaoke with friends, there are viable reasons to use a vehicle to give a small group tour of a large facility. In order to cover large distances and keep participants comfortable this is an ideal setting to view a sprawling factory. There are many options available to help with communication on the market but not all are ideal for a manufacturing setting. Basic solutions include a guide shouting over background noise but this method is not effective since it leads to strained voices and a tour group that won’t be able to hear all the information. Other tours are led by a megaphone or a loudspeaker hooked up by an aux connection. Similar setups include a WinBridge PA System integrated with an LCD screen in order to have backup in case the words aren’t understandable in the noisy facility. These setups are difficult to integrate into a car, requiring space for the amplifier and screen as well as using a connector to the car charger for battery power. Using a voice amplifier (amp) works well in environments with little to no noise but not in areas full of background noise where you will be traveling to different points in a facility. Wireless and Bluetooth options such as ExMax transmitters that you can find on Amazon for a low price are convenient for environments without noise or physical barriers like machines and walls that are common in facilities. The same goes for communication apps you can download onto your cell phone. A mobile phone is not always allowed in a factory due to privacy concerns. Lots of important company manufacturing information is on display and most don’t want tour participants taking pictures with their iPhones or android phones. The most effective and reliable way to get crystal clear audio for your tour group participants is to use tour guide systems that are specifically made for the manufacturing industry. Plant-Tours.com is the only company that offers patented one way and two way systems specifically designed for the manufacturing, whether taking a walking tour or tour by vehicle.
So you have the right tour guide headsets for the group but what about all the different microphone options? What would work best during a golf cart tour of a facility? Usually paired with a windscreen, a condenser microphone is better for studio vocals due to its very low mass, the diaphragm of a condenser microphone can follow sound waves more accurately. Companies like Shure create these for primarily office and studio use, however it is not suited for rough and rugged environments like manufacturing since it is sensitive to noise. Gooseneck microphones are designed for AV and conferencing environments, not rugged outdoor/facility spaces. An XLR to USB cable converter connects to a computer for recording with headphone monitoring. This is ideal for office settings but not a tour by car event. A wireless microphone system can be effective but may face the same challenges as Bluetooth enabled headsets. Even the best wireless microphone will lose connection and have static issues in areas of high noise and physical obstacles. For example a wireless lavalier microphone would attach to your lapel with a bodypack transmitter and be a convenient way to communicate in most circumstances. However in a manufacturing environment it would pick up background noise since it is a considerable distance from ones mouth therefore not a good choice as a wireless mic for this application. Another wireless microphone headset option would include a 2.4g wireless microphone. This advanced wireless system automatically connects when powered on and provides quality sound with minimal delay. It is an easy plug and play system that plugs into speakers, home stereo systems or other speaker systems via the 3.5mm jack. This system provides up to 6 hours of battery life using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Despite its convenience it needs an obstacle free area to work in, therefore making it difficult to use in manufacturing facilities. Cardioid microphones are most sensitive to sound coming from the front while omnidirectional mics capture sound equally from all directions. The best choice for a tour guide event in a car would be a wired microphone with push to talk feature and a frequency response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz.
Best Tour Guide System for Tour Given By Car
For tours where the guide will be the only speaker, a one-way tour guide system is the best choice. These systems operate in the 72-76 mhz, uhf range with an integrated wired microphone for guaranteed performance. The systems come in a travel case that also charges the rechargeable battery of each device making sure the battery life of your equipment lasts the full tour. WIth one-way systems the group must be small enough to stay within range, especially if multiple cars/carts are involved in the tour, preferably within 100-150 feet of the speaker. The following headset choices are recommended:
PT-165 Low Noise Earspeaker
This single side earspeaker is ideal for tours with little to no background noise. It features high-quality sound through a light, comfortable earphone that goes over the ear.
PT-350 Moderate Noise Headphone
This ergonomic, behind the head style headband is perfect for moderate noise backgrounds. It is also fully compatible with PPE, including hard hats. The headphone goes over the ear and is designed for ultimate comfort since it is shaped to the natural contour of the ear.
PT-200 High Noise Headphone
This 14 NRR rated headset is perfectly designed for high noise environments. Smartly styled for professional appearance, comfort and durability, this headset is a popular choice for noisy factory floors.
If more collaboration and range is needed to conduct the tour, two way communication systems would be the preferred choice. Two way systems operate in the 462 MHZ range, uhf and have 15 channels. These systems have an integrated headset mic so no need for a handheld microphone. Please see the top headset choices below.
MT-425 In-Line Earspeaker
Lightweight and very comfortable, this in-line earspeaker is perfect for private conversations. With a flexible earclip that can easily attach to a lapel and push-to-talk button, it is a convenient way to communicate hands-free in low noise environments.
MT-350 Low-Moderate Noise Headset
This ergonomic, behind the head headset is compatible with PPE including hard hats. The on the ear full coverage styled headphone provides ultimate comfort and performance in moderate noise environments. A finger push-to-talk feature allows the guide to have full arm and hand freedom to conduct the tour.
MT-200 High Noise Headset
This patented, 14 NRR headphone is designed for rugged, high noise environments. Comfortable and lightweight with trim styling for sleek appearance. A push-to-talk feature allows orderly and clear two way communication in the most challenging areas.
While most manufacturing facility tours are conducted by foot there are times when tours are more efficiently given by car, golf cart or bus. When smaller groups need to cover large distances this would be the preferred choice. Small groups tours like executive visits, investor and shareholder meetings, and important customer visits are just a few of the types of manufacturing tours that this application would apply to. Even though the group is smaller, the need for improved communication remains due to background noise and distance, especially if multiple golf carts or other vehicles are involved. The best choice for this situation would be Plant-Tours.com one way and two way tour guide headsets. The only proprietary system built specifically for the manufacturing industry. Contact us today for a Free Demo Kit!