Founded in 1989, Killik & Co is a private client stockbroker and wealth manager based in London. Its head office is housed on Grosvenor Street, Mayfair in a beautiful, Grade II listed building that was formerly the Japanese Embassy. From the heart of one of London’s finest and most aspirational office locations, Killik & Co runs a network of branches throughout the capital as well as an overseas branch in Dubai. A consistent winner of wealth management awards, including five Financial Times and Investors Chronicle awards in 2014 alone, the company enjoys an enviable reputation for high quality services.
The main meeting room at Killik & Co’s Mayfair office, known in a nod to a bygone age as The Music Room, is a sumptuous, wood-panelled space which hosts a variety of events from seminars and presentations to regular lunchtime briefings and meetings. Over recent times the company’s technical support department had been upgrading certain software elements of its IT infrastructure such as going from Microsoft Lync 2010 to 2013 and concluded that in a world of unified communications, its existing AV provision was not adequate. Killik & Co’s Senior Support Analyst, Henry Selzer, followed up an earlier speculative contact with Audiologic with a firm interest in upgrading the audio provision in The Music Room to better service its video-conferencing and close consultation began.
The first part of the brief required provision for a wireless conferencing microphone system. Historically, Killik & Co had committed time and resources to bringing staff from its branches into Mayfair for meetings and was now determined to reduce the need for this by using high quality hardware to enable broadcasting (and recording) of events via the Microsoft Lync infrastructure. Clearly intelligible audio via such a system was essential, security was vital since the content of exchanges in meetings would be, for the most part, highly confidential and given the stunning aesthetic of the room, the need for discreet and stylish equipment was also an important consideration. The second requirement was for local sound reinforcement for occasions when The Music Room hosted events or presentations when larger groups of staff were present. As with the microphone system, the hardware needed to be of the highest quality and have a pleasing appearance. Since nothing could be fixed to the heritage panelling or Georgian walls, a portable system was identified as being most suitable. This also offered the potential for use elsewhere in the building for occasional hospitality events.
Audiologic recommended a Shure Microflex Wireless system and with Killik & Co’s approval set up a demonstration of the equipment. With the direct involvement of experts from Shure and Audiologic the event took the form of an actual meeting, which was recorded and enabled the client to see the system in full operation and also conduct a post-demo appraisal of the experience. A conclusion was swiftly drawn that the Shure system was exactly what was required. The go-ahead was given and the system was installed. This comprised 4 x Shure MX410LP/C Cardioid Gooseneck microphones (with base transceivers) 2 x Shure MXW6/0-Z11 Boundary transceivers and 1 x Shure MX150B/ C-TQG Cardioid Lavalier Microphone. All were chargeable from an MXWNCS8 Networked Charging Station. A Digital Automixer with Dante (SCM820-UK-DAN) completed the picture. Dante networking transports digital audio from the wireless microphones via standard network infrastructure to other Dante-equipped devices. Crucially the Digital Automixer could combine all the audio streams and output them to a single audio jack, this could then be fed into a PC running Microsoft Lync and be ‘broadcast’ to internal and external staff. Monitoring and control of the system could be done remotely via a web interface accessible from any part of the Killik & Co network. Features such as charge status indicators and remote charge status monitoring all contribute to smooth operation. User-friendliness is further enhanced by the fact that the microphone units automatically un-mute when removed from a charger and are muted when returned. The action of un-muting a microphone automatically assigns it to the correct virtual mixer channel on the system, all of which dispenses with the need for technical support. Rapid charging (with overcharge protection) means that units are 50% charged within an hour and fully charged in two. The system is protected by AES-256 encryption, the same secure standard used in top government applications.
A Sennheiser LSP 500PRO self-powered, wireless portable speaker was chosen as the solution for the local sound reinforcement. As an aesthetically pleasing, hassle-free PA system it offers excellent sound quality and was complemented in this case by a Sennheiser ew335 G3-GB wireless handheld microphone system which integrates neatly into one of three dedicated slots in the rear of the speaker’s housing. This highly flexible product can be managed using the controls on the rear of the device, as well as via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and also offers a built-in USB recorder. At Killik & Co the flexibility offered by the LSP 500 could be employed in a number of ways. As a stand-alone system for a presenter addressing a large gathering in The Music Room, the LSP 500 offers clear intelligible audio with an excellent ‘throw’. Connecting the Shure system via one of the LSP 500’s inputs, audio from the Shure microphones could also be reinforced in the room and by the same token, connecting an output from the speaker to an auxiliary input on the Shure system, presenter-audio could be routed out through the network. Fully portable and easily set up, The LSP 500 could also be used for events, inside and outside, elsewhere in the company.
Henry Selzer, Senior Support Analyst at Killik & Co reflects on the impact of the solution:
“We have come a long way when it comes to broadcasting meetings throughout the firm. The addition of the Shure and Sennheiser systems has been the final piece in a complex project to improve unified communications across all Killik & Co locations. As you would expect, the two most important considerations for us were audio quality and security. The new system produces significantly better audio, even in meetings with more than a dozen participants and the encryption of the audio traffic allows us to use a wireless system where previously we had been limited to wired microphones. Of course in somewhere like The Music Room it is very important that any visible equipment is neat and unobtrusive, the solution can be easily stored in a cupboard or another room and just the microphones brought out at the beginning of the meeting. Audiologic’s ability to organize a full demo of the solution was brilliant, it allowed us and the major stakeholders in the firm to see and experience the system up close before making any decision. The technical education we received from both Audiologic and Shure as they commissioned the system meant that everything was set up to suit our precise needs and enables our staff to use it with confidence.
Andy Lewis, Sales and Marketing Manager at Audiologic was pleased:
“The reaction of the staff at Killik & Co tells us everything we need to know about installing the right technology for the demands of the job. The Shure brand is to microphone technology what Killik & Co is to wealth planning – award-winning and synonymous with very high quality provision. The Microflex System is an extremely well developed high-end product which is ultra-reliable and sounds and looks great. By the same token the Sennheiser LSP 500 PRO is an exceptional, multi- functional piece of equipment that combines quality and looks. In spite of the ingenuity of the technology contained within the solution, it is perhaps the simplicity of its operation that strikes a chord. Whereas before, IT technicians would be asked to set up before every meeting, now, at Killik & Co, with minimal training, the staff are readily able to ‘set up and go’. Combine that fact with the quality and facility on offer and it’s easy to see why the client rates the system so highly.”