Neat Bar Pro Audio over USB (Beta)


Given the larger room size that the Neat Bar Pro was designed for, there is an inherent risk for acoustic challenges. In order to position the device in these larger, more challenging spaces, Neat has pledged to provide support for third-party audio devices to augment the Neat experience. The hardware was designed with an auxiliary Ethernet port with the intent to support third-party audio over IP devices. This feature is still on the roadmap, but to ensure we can provide our partners and customers a solution while we develop the IP-based solution, we have developed a means for similar devices to interface with a Neat Bar Pro via the USB-C port.

Note: This support is available today on devices running the Neat software version 20221128 or later.

When using the USB audio on Neat Bar Pro, the Neat Audio is no longer used. This means the onboard microphone array, internal speakers, and the Neat Audio Processing are all bypassed. Careful consideration should be given when selecting the third-party components to ensure proper processing is available and properly implemented. This includes AEC (acoustic echo cancellation) to ensure the far end audio is not sent back through the local microphone(s). Additionally, the onboard processing and beamforming microphone array are still incredibly powerful and there is no need to assume the Bar Pro won’t perform well in a space simply due to the size. If there are concerns with the room size or acoustics, we recommend trying the Bar Pro’s audio in the environment before designing the system with external components.

We have begun testing devices internally, however, we do not plan to “certify” devices at this time. We ask that our partners and customers who wish to try out this beta feature, provide feedback on their experience so that we can ensure we address any issues and be confident the solution is fully reliable.

Known Issues and Limitations

  • BYOD Mode on the Bar Pro is not supported when Audio over USB is in use
  • There is support for tracking the native application’s mute state via Shure Intellimix P300.
  • There is no current support for tracking the native application’s mute state via USB for other USB devices. The following recommendation functions as a potential workaround for Zoom Rooms:
    • When using Zoom Rooms, the native room controls solution may be used to control certain microphones, DSPs, LED indicators, etc.
  • Devices identifying themselves as “USB headsets” may not function properly
    • It is recommended to use devices that identify themselves as “echo cancelling speakerphone devices” or (if AEC is happening at the microphone level) a “speakerphone device”.
  • The Zoom Room UI does not show the device name or classification, only “USB”.
    • If multiple USB devices are connected, there may be no means to identify or select a specific device.
  • There have been noted inconsistencies in Audio Over USB device support and performance when using Zoom’s Direct Guest Join or Microsoft Teams’ Third Party Join features.

How to Enable USB Audio

USB Audio can be enabled from the “Audio & video” page in your Neat system settings.

  • To access your Neat system settings in Zoom, select Settings (gearwheel) at the left corner of the Neat Pad that is paired with your Neat Bar Pro, navigate to General then select System Settings and enter your Zoom Room passcode if prompted.
  • To access your Neat system settings in Microsoft Teams, press More (…) on the Neat Pad that is paired with your Neat Bar Pro, navigate to Settings, then select Device Settings.

Once you have entered your Neat system settings, select the Audio & video option and enable the toggle for Audio over USB (beta). Green = enabled / Gray = disabled

  1. *Zoom Rooms specific: Using the Neat Pad, select the Settings button from the bottom left corner (outside of a call) or top right corner (inside of a call).
    • Once in the settings menu, select “Microphone” and below “Source” select “USB”. Repeat with the “Speaker” option to adjust output speaker.
  2. *Microsoft Teams Room specific: There are no discrete selections for the audio devices within the MTRoA UI and the USB device(s) should be enabled by default.

NOTE: The instructions above include details on the Neat and platform side of the configuration. Any configurations required on the DSP, microphones, Dante Controller, etc. including routing, gain staging, EQ’ing, AEC referencing, aiming lobes, etc. will vary by manufacturer. Their best practices should be followed during setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will the Neat Bar Pro Audio processing work with 3rd party audio?
A: No, so any connected audio needs to support Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC).

Q: Will 3rd party audio work on Bar and Board?
A: No, this will only be supported on Bar Pro.

Q: Why USB audio vs. networked audio (e.g. Dante and AES67)?
A: Neat still plans to fully develop and support networked audio on Bar Pro, but there is still development that needs to be done.