The Egyptian Theatre in Park City is one of the Sundance Festival’s oldest and most recognisable venues
USA - Having upgraded the MARC Theatre in Salt Lake City with a Martin Audio Wavefront Precision system in time for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, cinema specialists DBPC again turned to the Martin Audio catalogue this year to find a solution for another of the event’s theatres.
Due to the pandemic, 2023 marked the event’s first staging in front of a live audience since 2020, the year that DBPC was formed by Dan Beedy, a long-term member of the event’s technical crew (and latterly project manager), and another Sundance veteran, Ben VanDonkelaar. They have been tasked with systematically upgrading sound systems used in the event’s theatres to keep pace with the fast-moving advances of digital screen technology.
While the Boston, MA-based specialists were tasked with fitting out all Sundance cinema spaces this year (working with Sundance Institute technical director, Holden Payne), Beedy’s attention turned, in particular, to the ornate and historic Egyptian Theatre in Park City, one of the Sundance Festival’s oldest and most recognisable venues - focusing on upgrading the surround sound. His search led him to Martin Audio’s Torus constant curvature system as the final piece in the jigsaw.
Explaining the background, he said: “In 2018 we added permanent surrounds to the theatre. Since the Egyptian is a year-round theatre not operated by Sundance, we had a lot of restrictions on what we could do. The theatre is historic, so we had even more limitations on placement. It was agreed with the theatre that we would install them at the bottom of the soffit around the ceiling. The soffit was plaster only, so a light and small speaker had to be chosen.”
Ultimately the speakers - four on each wall - were hung from the ceiling to prevent them from being an eyesore, all year round. But the placement was less than ideal for cinema. “The height and the size of these speakers made them under-powered and underwhelming for the audience. For this year’s festival, getting the speakers lower was one of my main goals.”
Enter Martin Audio Northeast regional sales manager, Martha Callaghan, complete with the Torus platform. Dan Beedy comments: “Although I hadn’t heard them before, Ben was aware of them and felt they would be an excellent choice. And I’m glad I trusted his instincts! Having a wide pattern would represent a real upgrade, and would help realise the filmmaker’s intention in their sound mixes.
“In addition to that, we wanted to add the [Martin Audio] WPM line array as the behind-the-screen workhorses for the L/C/R part of the system.” These were reinforced by SXH218 subwoofers with the whole rig powered by Martin Audio multi-channel iKon processor amps, and run over Dante.
As to deployment of Torus, The Egyptian is a bijou 200-seat theatre and thus three T1230 enclosures on each wing provided the necessary side surrounds. Due to the protective nature of the house, some lighting instruments were moved to make way for the speakers, which were set in lighting alcoves at optimal height for surround speakers and distributed as single boxes.
“We were aiming for complete horizontal coverage in the space while limiting the amount of vertical spread that would be reflecting off the opposite theatre wall. The effect of the T1230 was amazing. We had limited reflection off the walls and were able to direct the sound mainly at the audience,” says Beedy.

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