Welcome to another edition of Techie Tuesday! Each week we aim to demystify the world of audio visual equipment and event services lingo. Ever wondered how you can hear a talk-back caller speak on the radio from their own phone? Or perhaps how a news correspondent can be heard on television when they’re reporting from a remote location without a camera?  This is all thanks to the Telephone Hybrid Unit.


AV Discipline: Audio

AV Category: AV Equipment

AV JargonHybrid, Phone Interface, THU

What is a Telephone Hybrid Unit?

In its simplest form, a telephone hybrid integrates a telephone call into an audio system, allowing the event to extend outside of the function room.  It is typically positioned at the Technician’s control desk for ease of access and connectivity with other audio equipment.

Hybrid units enable presenters to deliver their speech remotely over the phone, with the live audience listening in the function room, or allow remote participants to listen into a live presentation via the phone. 

How Does it Work?

When you want to present or broadcast a telephone conversation, the telephone hybrid is used to convert the call into a particular format that is compatible with audio systems. For example, when a listener calls a radio station’s talk-back line, the phone is connected to the telephone hybrid unit which gets activated by the on-air announcer ie the DJ. With a simple switch of a button on the hybrid unit, the phone signal is converted into an audio compatible signal which gets fed through the station’s live broadcast and out to the listeners. The AV technician will have individual control over the send and receive signals, ensuring no unwanted feedback (echo or high-pitched robotic noise) is present on the telephone call.

Why do you need a Telephone Hybrid Unit?

Event types such as Conferences, Product Launches and Annual General Meetings commonly use this device to connect delegates into the event, when they are unable to attend in person. Just like a normal phone call, the telephone hybrid allows for two way communication.  The only difference is that instead of using a handset, an audio system with microphones and speakers are required.


While other technologies such as video conferencing and web casting have the distinct advantage of being able to use visual elements to communicate, the telephone hybrid is the simplest and easiest method of connecting a remote presenter or audience.  It also doesn’t rely on internet connection, so for events in remote locations, a telephone hybrid may be the best solution. 


When you’re next at a conference listening to a speaker present remotely, you‘ll be one of the very few who knows how they do it!


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