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What should Avatour hosts use for audio communication?

Different hosting environments are best served by different audio options. We have several recommendations.

Depending on the specifics of your AVATOUR deployment, you may want to consider a variety of different options for Bluetooth audio. At Imeve we’ve tested a variety of Bluetooth devices, and we’re happy to share our recommendations below.

Basic option: Speakerphone

By default, the Avatour host app will use the speakerphone on your mobile device. This is recommended only for applications in quiet, small areas. Most phones don’t provide significant volume, and the effectiveness of their echo cancellation implementations vary widely. We recommend against using the built-in speakerphone whenever possible.

Standard option: Bluetooth headset

For most Avatour sessions involving a single Host user, a Bluetooth headset will be the best option. After testing over a dozen models at various price points, we prefer and recommend the Jabra Evolve 65 mono for its excellent voice quality, noise rejection, and Bluetooth connection strength. However, any standard Bluetooth headset or earphones may be used.

For outdoor environments, you should consider purchasing a supply of windscreens to place on top of your headset microphone, to cut wind noise.

For industrial environments: Bone-conducting Headset

Industrial environments often require that the Host user’s ears not be covered, for safety reasons. Host users may also be required to wear hard hats or other protective gear. In such environments, standard headsets may not be an option.

shokz bone conducting headset

Our recommendation for most industrial environments is the Shokz bone-conducting headset. The Shokz devices use bone-conduction drivers that sit atop the skull bones just forward of the ear, and use transduction to deliver the audio. While sound quality is certainly not up to the standard of traditional headsets for music playback, it works great for spoken communication. The boom headset also has excellent noise rejection for loud environments. The devices are also IP67 water resistant for additional convenience.

For Multiple Hosts: Bluetooth Speakerphone

If you want multiple Host-side users to join an Avatour session, for example if there is a meeting at the location which you want remote Guests to participate in, your options are unfortunately limited. There is no easy way to connect multiple headsets to the Host device. The only option is to use a speakerphone, and as mentioned above, the phone’s own speakerphone is usually not a great option.

For these situations, a dedicated Bluetooth speakerphone is your best choice. After testing severalbluetooth speaker phone such devices, we recommend the Bose Soundlink Micro as the best combination of portability and sound quality.  Importantly, it has a silicone strap for mounting directly to your tripod, allowing easy single-handed use of Avatour.

Some other good options include the Jabra Speak 710 and Jabra Speak 510; however these don't provide a convenient mounting solution in the way the Bose does.

For Tour Hosts: Professional Wireless Microphone

For certain applications, the highest audio quality is desired, even if the setup is more complicated. For these applications we recommend the use of a professional wireless microphone such as the RODE Wireless Go II. Full instructions on the use of such devices are available in this Knowledge Base article.

Hearing protection options

Some environments have very high ambient noise levels which require hearing protection. There are several devices which combine hearing protection with Bluetooth connectivity.

3M Worktunes

The 3M Worktunes Connect is inexpensive and works reasonably well in this context. It offers 24dB of hearing protection along with decent Bluetooth performance. It's not the most durable device unfortunately, but at about US$50 it's easy to buy more if they break.

Similar products are available from Isotunes and Dewalt, but we have not evaluated these devices.

For more demanding environments, including those requiring intrinsically-safe devices, Sensear offers a line of headsets which achieve as much as 95dB noise reduction, and are built to considerably higher standards than the other options above.