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FAQ's Audio Guide System for groups
It is a wireless, portable communication system that facilitates communication between a person and a group of people when noise or distance pose a challenge. It consists of a transmitter and a microphone for the tour guide, and receivers with headphones for participants. Most tour or audio guide systems use FM technology to broadcast the message, enabling the participants to freely move around the area while never missing any part of the guide’s speech.
These systems are frequently used in museums, zoos, theme parks, and other tourist attractions, in churches for outdoors spiritual retreats, at schools during tours of the premises to prospective families, in factories for plant tours, for assistive listening so that people with hearing impairments can fully participate in cultural, sports and many other events such as exhibitions, theatre shows, and film showings.
It is very important to make sure that the audio guide system that you purchase has a transmitter with an FCC ID or IC ID (for Canada) clearly identified. Most well-known brands will have it, but some overseas vendors sell devices which are illegal to use in the USA and Canada due to the lack of official registration with the proper organizations that control this activity. Another important factor is to make sure that the brand has local US support, preferably live over the phone, and US-based warranty protection.
One-way systems are meant for instance, when participants have a passive role and are only required to listen to the words from the speaker without interaction, for example a walking tour of a museum. Two-way systems use transceivers (a receiver and transmitter all in one device) with a Push-To-Talk speaking button that allow participants to ask questions, such as during interactive tours and in-house staff meetings and trainings.
In an audio guide systems channels are specific frequencies locked into the transmitters and receivers’ configuration. When a system is turned on to be used in a tour, the transmitter needs to be set to the same channel as the receivers so they can communicate with each other. In most situations a single channel system will do. However, on some occasions a fraction of the participants might need a different audio source, for example in a different language or a different level of technical specifications other than the layman terms from the main channel. For these and other uses multichannel systems exist, allowing participants to tune in to their desired channel by simply pressing a button on their receivers. Even though receivers can tune in to different channels this way, it’s worth noting that a single transmitter can only use one channel at a time so multiple transmitters (and probably speakers) are needed for multichannel audio guide systems to work.