Case Study

Restoring sound at Battersea Arts Centre

A reopened arts hub

Battersea Arts Centre is a friendly and welcoming space for people to experience exciting theatre, visit the imaginative kids play area or relax in the Scratch Bar. Having been sympathetically restored due to a fire destroying half of the building in a fire in 2015, the building recently reopened and the team wanted a new speaker system for the new bar and entrance space.

From Flipside’s first visit, they were drawn to the gorgeous grade two listed building. James Cooper, Managing Director of Flipside recalls: “We were brought in by Orbital Sound to consult on this install at Battersea Arts Centre after quite a few people had done a lot of head scratching trying to come up with the best sound install possible. It’s a gorgeous grade two listed building and so the installation practices employed had to cause no permanent damage.”

Georgina Parker, Capital Project Manager at Battersea Arts Centre explained the building posed a number of issues for installing: “When James from Flipside came to the site he was very helpful in explaining exactly what he was planning to do. Flipside were sympathetic to the history of the building and understanding of the problems associated.”

Subtlety & sensitivity

Battersea Arts Centre wanted two-lined music systems: one for the bar and one for the entrance atrium area. The same music source needed to be played out of both but with separate volume control. This is all very simple, however, it was out of the question to leave visible cabling or to drill through the structure of the building.

Cooper adds: “Having worked on a lot of unusual structures and being conscious of listed building installation practices, we came up with the idea of linking the two rooms with a single cable run that exited the wooden window frame of the bar and entered via a small breathing gap into the atrium glass roof. Nobody can see the cable run and it meant we didn’t need to do anything too complicated or invasive.

“In the bar, we installed a Yamaha system comprising of a 10″ subwoofer and four 3″ full-range speakers from the VXS range. In the atrium, we went with an extremely compact 3″ subwoofer and four 1.5″ full-range speakers also from the VXS range. The ledge around the atrium stained glass roof enabled us to tuck the tiny speakers away, so it’s almost impossible to see them from below. Instead, the sound just rolls down from the window in a rather ethereal manner.”

All-round improvement

Georgina was very pleased with the install: “A subtle installation that complemented the building, is easy to use and provides good sound quality. It has provided us with an easy to use system and resolved an outstanding problem for which we have had to find temporary measures for months. Operationally, events have improved. And when we go back to a theatre season, it will be great for the atmosphere in the space. It sounds great in both rooms and has really added value to the venue’s offering. In the bar especially, there’s a nice amount of low bass for noisier nights and the odd party.”

Kit List

  • Yamaha MA2120 integrated amplifier
  • Yamaha PA2030 amplifier
  • Yamaha VXS10S subwoofer (bar)
  • Yamaha VXS3FW compact design speakers x 4 (bar)
  • Yamaha VXS3SW compact subwoofer (atrium)
  • Yamaha VXS1MLW 1.5” speakers (atrium)