Case Study

Installing user-friendly solutions at the Poetry Cafe

Supporting a refurbished space

Based in Covent Garden, the Poetry Cafe serves a diverse public and range of events. They support all sorts of poetry and literature, community groups, interdisciplinary arts, music, craft, and more. They are a cafe and events space used by all ages and demographics, day and night, and cater to independent and corporate groups alike.

After finishing a modern/cosy refurbishment of the venue, they found that they were without any sound and had never had proper AV equipment. The projector and speakers they had been using were ‘clumsy, difficult, unreliable, and very unattractive’ for their corporate users.

After deciding a new AV system was essential, they did some research online and narrowed it down to a few companies. After receiving quotes from all three companies, The Poetry Club choose to work with Flipside.

“We chose Flipside because we really felt like our needs were being heard and a bespoke package was being created for us,” said the Poetry Cafe team. “We felt like Flipside was sensitive to our budgetary AND aesthetic needs, which is a hard balance to manage. We felt like James was honest and super knowledgeable, and felt secure allowing him and Flipside to work on our newly refurbished space.”

Prioritising usability

The Poetry Club were looking for a manageable AV sound system that didn’t upset the feel or look of the space, and provided a high-quality picture and audio experience for their users. As a community space, it was important that equipment was easy to use, as well as being discreet. They needed sound for the cafe and event space, mic inputs for events, and AV for events and meetings. It was also important for the system to be safe, secure, and easily accessible.

“Being a small arts venue, we understood that there would be budget constraints,” recalls James Cooper, Managing Director at Flipside. “Our task was to provide maximum utility and quality without a huge price tag. Above all, we could see that usability was key. Not only would the system need to be operated by staff throughout the day but also outside organisations and individuals hiring the space would need to be able to use the system effectively, without a ‘crash course.’

“After careful consideration we selected a Yamaha Commercial Audio system comprising of their VXS range of loudspeakers and MA Series amplifiers. We feel these exceeded all requirements for a really reasonable unit cost. The VXS5s in the larger events space downstairs sound great and are compact enough to be unobtrusive while the tiny VXS3Fs with their smooth lines look perfect on the white washed brick walls of the upstairs café.”

Yamaha’s MA amplifiers provide all the inputs needed to deliver a pre-set system configuration that means all events could be hosted without the need for any mixers or additional equipment to be brought in. The user could easily select from various room “modes” like cinema, live, speech etc. and the inputs would be selected automatically. This means the DCP wall panels can be utilised so neither the staff nor clients ever need to access the equipment rack.

The perfect setting

The new AV system makes for a really enjoyable atmosphere in the cafe, and they’ve even been able to host a range of film screenings since the installation, “without any set up or take down fuss.” According to The Poetry Club team, having music in the basement for ambiance even when it’s empty really improves the feel of the space and makes it feel more cohesive with the cafe upstairs.

“Overall, it’s been great. Everything is working well and is easy to manage. The experience has been fantastic. I felt like Flipside was super reliable, punctual, hardworking, and delivered what was promised, within budget. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and end-result. Being not so tech-savvy myself, I’m really pleased with high quality equipment that is easy to use and take care of.

“Flipside was always easy to get in contact with, answered loads of questions and concerns along the way, and worked super hard the whole time to deliver our dynamic needs, including flexibility with our timetable. I’ve really appreciated the follow-up since, checking in on the space and equipment, to make sure all is going well. It means a lot!”

Cooper concludes: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at The Poetry Club. It’s a really great space and we like dropping by from time to time to check how everything is going and enjoy a coffee (or two)!”

Kit List

Upstairs café space

    • 4 x Yamaha VXS3FW white low-profile speakers
    • 1 x Yamaha DCP1V4S control panel
    • 1 x Yamaha MA2030a mixing amplifier (housed downstairs)

Downstairs events space and gallery

    • 4 x Yamaha VXS5W white speaker
    • 1 x Yamaha DCP1V4S control Panel
    • 1 x Yamaha MA2120 mixing amplifier
    • 1 x Full HD projector