Students who struggle academically may also have trouble hearing their teachers. After all, classrooms are noisy! Whenever I address my students, I am competing with a cacophony of sounds: the noise of 34 desktop PC fans, the air-conditioning unit, sidebar conversations and, at times, up to a dozen 3D printers whirring away.
The Redcat Audio System with Flexmike, an all-in-one classroom audio solution by Lightspeed, cuts through the noise. It increases the volume and intelligibility of the teacher’s voice and simultaneously creates a more relaxed learning environment, leaving the teacher less fatigued at the end of the day.
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Easy Setup Makes for Instant Availability
The Flexmike itself is a lightweight, wearable microphone that comes automatically paired to the speaker. Before I tested the system, the only assembly required was to charge the Flexmike overnight in its dedicated docking station, powered by an AC-to-USB Type C connector. Then I slid two plastic supports into place at the bottom of the speaker to position it upright. (It also comes with screws and a template for a more permanent wall-mounted installation option.)
Traditionally, audio speakers tend to be heavy, so I was immediately curious how the all-in-one speaker and amplifier could be so lightweight yet produce such a clear and powerful sound. It’s due to a technology known as audio exciters, which are loudspeaker components that lack the frame and cone of traditional speakers and function in a unique way by vibrating a rigid surface to create sound. This technology is perfect for permanent or portable applications. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when the speaker easily fit inside my backpack with room to spare for a laptop and other small items.
Coming in Loud and Clear
During testing, I set the speaker on a rolling computer cart in the back of my classroom, plugged it into an AC power source and then turned on my Flexmike. I secured the Flexmike around my neck with the included lanyard, which fastened together with magnets. I then pressed the mute/talk button located on the top of the Flexmike, and I could immediately hear myself loud and clear. It was really that easy.
All six periods of my middle school technology classes were delighted with my increased volume and improved clarity. To elicit more student feedback, I said a few sentences with the Flexmike muted, and then I switched back to unmuted. I did this for several minutes, and the results were always the same. Every group preferred the Flexmike unmuted.
As for battery life, the system performed much better than the promised eight hours. In fact, after my normal eight-hour workday, I stayed for another three-plus hours for an after-school program. The Flexmike was still going strong after more than 11 hours.
PRODUCT TYPE: All-in-one audio system with integrated receiver, amplifier and speaker
DIMENSIONS: 16x1.75x9.5 inches
WEIGHT: 2.9 pounds
POWER OUTPUT: 20W
AUDIO IN: 3.5mm port
AUDIO OUT: 3.5mm port
INSTALLATION: Tabletop or wall-mounted