Advancements in audio equipment add life to auctions

Wireless microphones, built-in music players and top-of-the-line speakers are among the new must-have features in audio equipment for Auctioneers.

Recent advances in the field have helped Auctioneers achieve mobility, along with a crisp, clear voice reproduction that makes it easier for bidders to understand and follow them.

“Today’s equipment is portable, easy to use and captures the full voice range,” says Rich Basinger, who owns Basinger Audio Systems, Canfield, Ohio. “It’s about making the Auctioneer comfortable and the auction more enjoyable for those attending.”

Audio systems include microphones and speakers and can range from a few hundred dollars for a basic model to several thousand for a versatile, high-end package.

Dual, wireless microphones for the bid spotter and Auctioneer are becoming increasingly popular, says Bruce Jones, vice president of marketing for Lectrosonics Inc., Rio Rancho, N.M.

“The ability to move around at an auction is important,” Jones says. “This eliminates the cord, so you don’t have to worry about getting tangled up.”

Dual technology also allows auctions to run smoothly with few interruptions, Basinger says, as the bid spotter and Auctioneer do not have to hand off microphones before speaking. Hands-free options, such as a headset, also are available.

Auctioneers must decide between microphones that operate in the newer UHF television band or older VHF electromagnetic spectrum. UHF bands operate on multiple frequencies, while VHF bands use a single frequency.

With proper use, Jones says, both types should work well.

Improvements in speakers have provided Auctioneers with a much more natural voice reproduction than equipment a decade ago, Basinger says.

With older, horn-style speakers, voices often came across with a high, tin-like pitch when used indoors, Basinger says. Newer, cone-style speakers are better able to capture different voice tones, resulting in a natural, easy-to-understand sound.

In recent years, Basinger says, manufacturers have designed portable, cone-style speakers, a benefit to Auctioneers on the go.

“More and more Auctioneers are seeing the benefits to natural sound reproduction,” Basinger says. “Horn speakers are no longer adequate in most cases.”

Many also have found benefits in pre-auction music, as more systems have built-in MP3 players with talk-over features, which allow music to fade automatically when the Auctioneer makes an announcement.

“Without pre-auction music, people were coming into a dead environment,” Basinger says. “Music livens things up quite a bit and makes the buyer’s experience more enjoyable.”

Recording auctions is an important step for many Auctioneers who need to review who purchased items and for how much.

In the past, auctions relied on audio cassettes placed near the Auctioneer and flipped every hour or two.

Now, most Auctioneers are opting for digital recorders, says Basinger, whose company sells a recorder for $130 to $200 that uses an SD card, much like a digital camera, and can provide up to 30 hours of coverage.

“Wireless and digital technologies have had big benefits for Auctioneers,” he says. “There have been a lot of improvements in sound quality over the years.”

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Filed under Auction Industry, Auction marketing, Auctioneer magazine, NAA Members, Technology

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