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What is an audio ducker? And why do we need one?

Are you getting what you need from your audio sources? Are you able to mix live tour guided commentary with pre-recorded audio? Or struggling to find a solution that simplifies the delivery of two sources of sightseeing narration?

A common question we get from sightseeing operators is “How do we give priority to one audio source over another, over our Public Address Systems?”

At AudioConexus, our go-to solution is an audio ducker. A ducker is a sound system component that allows our customers to use microphone systems, giving tour guide announcements priority over GPS commentary systems.

What is an Audio Ducker?

An “Audio Ducker” is an external component of audio mixing technology that allows an audio input from one source to lower or mute the sound coming from a second audio source. As a result, tour guides, drivers and captains using a head-worn microphone, can deliver emergency announcements and live guided narration without competing with the audio coming from a bus GPS audio system.

You may have heard a similar system used at your local grocery store. One minute you’re listening to music, and then someone says “Clean up in aisle nine,” followed by the music picking up after the staff announcement.

The Utility of an Audio Ducker

Using a ducker has its’ advantages, especially on buses, boats and trains. The ducker itself can take an input power from 9 to 18 volts. The footprint of the unit is also small. The ducker measures in at 4 inches x 4 inches x 1.5 inches.

Audio Ducker Inputs and Outputs

The audio ducker has one regular input (2 x RCA) one switchable input (2 x RCA or XLR Jack) and one output (2 x RCA). It also includes a Phantom Power switch, so if you are using a +12v XLR jack, you don’t need to connect a power source to the unit. The ducker offers flexibility in a small package!

The Ducker’s Adjustable Features

Most noteworthy, this ducking unit includes five options:

  • MIC/LINE – This setting allows the ability to switch between a primary MIC input or an AUX RCA input.
  • Mic Level – Use this to control the microphone volume directly.
  • Duck Sensitivity – Above all, fine tune the exact amount of sound you want from your audio source or microphone.
  • Release Time – The amount of time after an announcement before sound levels return to normal.
  • Duck Depth – Adjustable “Ducking” strength between -6db to -70 dB. Phantom Power – You can take power from +12V microphone plugs to power the Ducker.

With these features in one compact box, we’ve had great success using audio duckers in a variety of sightseeing applications, on buses, boats, and trains. Our customers typically set and forget its settings. Finally, the ducker offers an effective way of overcoming your PA system challenges.

Need more information about audio duckers? We’re happy to help. Call us at +1 (613) 507-1300.

Three separate ListenTALK receivers in a row with different group names on each display screen.
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