Intelligibility & accessibility
The Culture Trip is a global hyper-growth tech start-up working within travel, media and entertainment. Their offices are a hub of creativity, collaboration and activity. Almost every week the whole office gathers together for one of their regular ‘Town Halls’ an all-hands stand-up meeting. Employees are invited to report back on their progress on projects, sometimes there are video linkups with other sites across the globe or senior staff deliver their vision of things to come.
The Culture Trip was looking to improve on their existing AV system for clearer audio and easier use and turned to Flipside for assistance. James Cooper, Managing Director at Flipside recalls: “With an office of some 500m2 the old AV system they had in place just wasn’t up to the task. It’s a fairly large area to fill with sound and an especially hard task when the most important thing is intelligibility. The Culture Trips needed a better AV to make the audio clearer, more professional, easier to use for everyone and look the part!”
An automated solution
Flipside met with Perry Spanyol their IT Director to view the space and discuss their requirements. Perry comments: “I chose Flipside as they came highly recommended, were professional, knew their stuff, presented different cost options and the pros and cons of each and were very understanding of our needs. We wanted a sound system that reflected the investment we were making in our infrastructure and IT.”
As soon as Flipside viewed the space, they could see that in this case less would definitely be more. Besides dealing with the physical space, it became obvious that they would need to deliver a system that was as close to automatic as possible. A presentation could be delivered by one person or a group of people and having to deal with multiple wireless microphones was just a pain.
In terms of sound reinforcement, we went straight for Yamaha’s new VXL column speakers. Their vocal reproduction is impeccable and they can really throw sound, with pretty much 180-degree horizontal coverage but very narrow vertical dispersion they are crystal clear over a very long range. So that part was easy.
Overcoming vigorous requirements
“What was slightly harder was trying to work out the best way to deal with the dynamic nature of the microphone requirements,” Cooper adds. “Given the fact this office had the usual, relatively low, false ceiling we pretty quickly arrived upon the idea of installing three of Audio Technica’s Engineered Sound microphones in an array across the presentation area. This would mean we could create a section of floorspace from which any individual or group could be picked up and amplified out through the system… but this would require some pretty nifty audio processing to make it user friendly.
“Enter Yamaha’s MTX3. This thing is a tiny little beast! Plenty of inputs to deal with the microphone array, a couple of channels of handheld microphones, computer and Skype inputs plus a few spare inputs on wall panels. Besides the physical inputs the MTX also houses a ton of processing power including four channels of Dan Dougan Auto-Mixing which is exactly what we needed for the array. The Auto-Mixer constantly watches and adjusts levels of the three microphones to share the system gain and avoid feedback issues. It also meant we could program up one of the 1V4S wall panels and lock the system down so that everything was controlled of an extremely friendly-looking wall panel. All the user has to do is switch the input groups they want to use on and adjust the master volume… works every time!”
When Perry was asked for some feedback on the service and solution that Flipside provided, he commented: “10/10. Professional, on time, responsive to questions and clean. The system is still new but already getting great feedback from the offices that sound is 100% clearer and it looks great.”
- 2 x Yamaha VXL1W16
- 1 x Yamaha MTX3
- 1 x Yamaha XMV4140
- 2 x Audio Technica System 3000 Handheld
Ceiling microphone array:
- 2 x ES933 miniature cardioid hanging microphones
- 1 x ES933 miniature directional hanging microphone