As the bassist and backup singer for legendary rock band BON JOVI, Hugh McDonald admits that his performances rely on trusted legacy equipment and he doesn't concern himself too much with following the latest performance gear and technology. But after a year of cancelled tours and countless hours using the integrated webcam and microphone on his laptop, McDonald recently recognized that, in his own words, "There has to be a better way to do this."
After a brief chat with some industry friends, he found the upgraded gear he needed: the ClearOne Aura Versa 50 audio and video solution.
"When I finally had to do a recording, and I was setting up the laptop, positioning it in the room, it really felt cobbled together, like a subpar solution," McDonald said. "The band ended up doing a lot of video from our homes for various organizations, plus solo videos to prepare for a live session in Nashville, and now when I look back, I wish I had upgraded my collaboration gear earlier. No integrated laptop or phone camera can deliver 4K video, HD audio and special functions like the pan, tilt and zoom offered by my new ClearOne Aura Versa 50."
The ClearOne Aura Versa 50 package combines a UNITE 50 ePTZ camera with a CHAT 150 speakerphone and a Versa USB Hub. The camera offers a 4K, 120-degree ultra-wide view lens with a 3x digital zoom, while the speakerphone delivers HDConference audio and plug-and-play simplicity with the Versa USB Hub.
"Everyone is using video calling on a daily basis now, so this new equipment has made all of our communications way better, to the point where I've actually said 'Wow' out loud," he added. "My wife is launching an online store for jewelry she makes that will include videos, and we constantly use it for family chats, and I've already noticed that calls feel better and more confident with the professional quality ClearOne equipment."
With the uncertain timeline for the return of regular live events and musical performances, more and more artists, musicians and other performers are seriously considering how they can work from home to earn an income and stay busy. From McDonald's point of view, part of the equation is making sure that any virtual performance or collaboration must feel as personal and real as possible.
"When I'm in a virtual session performing with bandmates or even for an audience, there has to be a visceral sense of connection and shared excitement, which can be instantly ruined by grainy video or scratchy audio," he explained. "There's no downside to having a better camera, microphone and speaker that offer vastly improved quality with more functions. The small physical size of the gear is great, too, because we can easily move it from my office to my wife's computer, or take it on the road so we always present our best."
As the industry evolves and artists increasingly invest time to connect directly with fans, professional audio and video quality will continue to be a critical component for the success and enjoyment of collaborations or recorded performances. That's why ClearOne developed its Aura series of home office collaboration solutions in 2020 to ensure that every person working from home can continue to present at a professional level and pursue their goals with confidence and clarity.
ClearOne is a global market leader enabling conferencing, collaboration, and network streaming solutions. The performance and simplicity of its advanced, comprehensive solutions offer unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability, and scalability.