SoundStation VTX 1000

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www.polycom.com

SoundStation VTX 1000

Quick look: Wideband audio conference phone

Without a doubt, this is the best-performing audio conferencing phone we have ever tested. Whether or not you need this type of hardware, and the associated high cost, depends on the frequency and types of conference calls you make on a daily basis.

For example, a typical speakerphone operates with about 3 KHz of bandwidth. Calls sound fine if everyone is fairly close to the phone and speaks loudly. Sometimes phrases can get muffled, as when someone says they are 'keeping the books' and it sounds like they say they are 'cooking the books.' But for the most part, normal calls work fine.

But with the SoundStation VTX 1000 from Polycom Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., calls are crystal clear. When calling between two VTX 1000 units, there are six independent 14-KHz audio processing channels. The output on the speakers and subwoofers sounds more like a theater presentation than a simple conference call. You can even clearly hear people far away from the base unit. In lab tests, people sitting 20 feet away from the unit could clearly participate in the conversations.

When the VTX 1000 calls a normal phone, it is forced to drop to narrow-band mode, but it still sounds a lot better than a traditional phone, thanks to a TriMedia 200-MHz processor that helps clean up audio signals going into the system. Still, if you are going to invest in one device, you might as well get one for each remote location you normally talk with to take full advantage of the system.

If you make conference calls only occasionally, the SoundStation VTX 1000 is probably excessive. But if you make a lot of calls or call from rooms with a lot of people, it could be the lifeline you need to keep the books kept and not cooked.

Price: $1,799

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About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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