Taking A Culture Trip To Better Meetings With Yamaha

Based in London’s Mayfair, but with offices and freelance contributors based around the world, the award-winning Culture Trip is a fast-growing travel, media and entertainment business which creates stories to highlight what is unique and special about a place, its people and culture. Yamaha VXL1 line array loudspeakers and an MTX3 matrix processor form a key part of a new audio system which has radically improved the company’s meetings.

“We want to inspire people to plan their trips, go beyond their cultural boundaries and connect with the world around them. We aim to bring the world to everyone and bring everyone closer together,” says Culture Trip CEO and founder Dr Kris Naudts.

At its busy head office in Davies Street, all staff regularly gather for a ‘town hall’ meeting in a large, 500m2 space, where senior staff speak, employees are invited to report back on project progress and video linkups are made with other sites.

With such a fast-growing business, it was obvious that the existing audio system had become inadequate for these meetings, so company IT Director Perry Spanyol looked to find a replacement that would stand the test of time. He spoke to James Cooper, managing director of Flipside, a company with an excellent reputation for high quality small and medium-sized audio installations.

“The goal was to make our AV more in line with the investments that we have made elsewhere, to make the audio clearer, more professional, easier to use for all and look the part,” says Perry. “Flipside came highly recommended and it was immediately obvious that they were professional, knew their stuff and were very understanding of our needs.”

Having previously done a number of successful installations using Yamaha audio solutions, on James’s first visit to Culture Trip he knew that the new VXL series line array loudspeakers would be the ideal solution.

“The meeting space is a fairly large area to fill with sound and an especially hard task when the most important thing is intelligibility,” he says. “As soon as we saw it, we could see that less would definitely be more and we went straight for the Yamaha VXL series.”

He adds, “It also became obvious that we’d need to deliver a system that was as close to automatic as possible. Any presentation could be delivered by one or a group of people and having to deal with multiple wireless microphones was just a pain.”

James and his team specified a Yamaha system comprising a pair of VXL1W-16 loudspeakers, powered by a XMV4140 multi-channel amplifier, with system management by an MTX3 matrix processor. Two handheld wireless microphones are complemented by an array of three hanging mics. Simple it might seem, but the system delivers remarkable flexibility and audio quality.

“The vocal reproduction of the VXL series is impeccable. They can really throw sound, with very wide horizontal coverage, but narrow vertical dispersion, making them crystal clear over a very long range,” says James. “Installing three microphones in an array across the presentation area meant we could create a section of floorspace from which any individual or group could be picked up and amplified through the system, something made possible by the MTX3.”

As well as the inputs from the microphone array and handhelds, the MTX3 takes feeds from computer and Skype. Several further input points are provided on wall panels around the room.

“Besides the physical inputs, the MTX3 has a ton of processing power,” James continues. “It includes four channels of Dan Dugan automixing, which is exactly what we needed for the microphone array. It constantly monitors and adjusts the levels of the three microphones to share the system gain and avoid any feedback issues.”

Control for the system is via a user-friendly DCP1V4S surface-mount panel. All a member of staff has to do is switch the input groups they want to use on and adjust the master volume.

“There are a hundred different types of companies out there who can all make recommendations on AV installs, so it can be quite daunting,” says Perry. “Flipside were genuinely 10/10 and we absolutely love the system. It has only been installed for a short time, but we’ve already had great comments from the offices that the sound is 100% clearer. And the system looks great.”

“My advice to anyone is don't skimp. Just get these guys in who know what they are doing!”

London, UK