Case Study

Restoring sound and light for the October Gallery

Staying in character

The October Gallery in Holborn, London is a striking venue steeped in history. As well as housing permanent exhibitions, the October Gallery host events and a continual programme of temporary exhibitions. The top floor of the venue is a theatre space that hosts events almost every weekend including parties, book launches, workshops, meetings, recitals and theatre performances.

Unfortunately, their old sound and lighting set-up did not match the prestige or character of the venue and so the team approached Flipside to come and give the Grade II listed building a new AV system as the existing equipment was simply not up to the task any more as it comprised only of four domestic speakers and a mixture of old static lighting fixtures controlled via a dimmer pack.

Catering to a multi-purpose space

The brief was both simple and complex in equal measure for this particular job, due to the diverse nature of the audiences that hired out the theatre space. The PA system needed to offer exceptional clarity and musicality that would work well on anything from speech to electronic music performances.

Upgrading old analogue mixer to something more powerful and user-friendly was also a must. October Gallery was also frustrated by having to constantly reposition the existing lighting rig for each event and so a modern setup comprised of LED moving wash fixtures was an obvious need.

James Cooper, Managing Director at Flipside recalls: “What made this job more complex was the fact that there was no constant room orientation – every event could be using the room differently, sometimes with a raised stage at one end and at other times a cabaret-style set up with performances or talks happening at the side of the room. It would be necessary for the new system to be able to be rotated depending on the requirements of each space. This included needing to be able to provide local audio.”

Flexible & capable

“For the main sound system installation, we chose four of TW Audio’s incredible little C5 coaxial speakers,” Cooper adds. “They’re absolutely tiny and capable of outputting exceptional quality full-range sound at surprising levels. To reinforce the low frequencies we added in two B10i subwoofers flown centrally in the room ensuring even coverage and plenty of bass for live performances or film screenings. The whole PA system was powered using Powersoft’s Canali range of amplifiers.”

To provide the flexibility, the space required a Yamaha MTX3 with multiple in room inputs as well as the output from the SQ5 digital mixer which provided us with six outputs, one for each loudspeaker. This meant we were able to programme a four switch wall panel to recall filtered pre-sets that swapped the signal routing around so they could rotate the front/rear/left/right configuration of the PA system depending on how the room was being used.

Another bonus with using the MTX3 was the fact we could take the simple day-to-day inputs required and give another set of wall panels to control these. This meant that the venue wouldn’t need to provide technical staff for even simple room bookings.

No drama

Finally, the lighting – after searching around for a moving fixture that would both surpass expectations and fall within the budget of the venue, Flipside settled upon the AD Vizi Hex Wash 7. With a massive variable zoom range of 5-55 degrees and a stunning colour pallet, they did everything the venue needed of them and more.

In total, Flipside installed six throughout the theatre space to create a grid layout that allowed tonnes of lighting design possibilities wherever performances were happening. Cooper concludes: “We’re really proud of the system we put together at October Gallery and the sound quality is truly exceptional. Go along to one of their many events and check it out!”

Kit List

Sound

  • 4 x TW Audio C5 – compact coaxial loudspeaker
  • 2 x TW Audio B10i – compact sub-bass loudspeaker
  • 2 x Powersoft Quattrocanali amplifiers
  • 1 x Yamaha MTX3 – digital matrix processor
  • 2 x Yamaha DCP4V4S – wall panel for simple user control
  • 1 x Yamaha DCP4S – wall panel to switch the orientation of the rooms audio layout
  • 1 x Allen & Heath SQ5 – digital mixer
  • 1 x Allen & Heath DX168 – digital stage box
  • 1 x Wyrestorm SW0401 H2 Pro – HDBaseT presentation switcher

Lighting

  • 6 x ADJ Vizi Hex Wash 7 – Variable zoom moving headlight
  • 1 x ZERO88 FLX S24 – lighting desk