Salt Lake City theatre installs Martin WPC
Tuesday, 14 July 2020
martin-audioThe MARC in Salt Lake City hosts many prominent festival premieres
USA - When the MARC Theatre in Salt Lake City underwent a major renovation in 2012, converting it from an indoor sports facility at the Park City Municipal Athletic and Recreation Centre to a 564-seat high class movie theatre, it quickly established itself on the circuit of the world-famous annual Sundance Film Festival.
Co-founded by Robert Redford in 1981, in an attempt to draw more independent film makers to Utah, the Sundance Institute had formally renamed the original US Film Festival the Sundance Film Festival 10 years later, (reflecting Redford’s character in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid).
A long-term member of the technical crew at Sundance, Dan Beedy took over as technical project manager in 2013, and in the last three years has focused on upgrading the event’s audio reproduction capabilities, noting how far audio was lagging behind the technological visual leap made by digital projection. This has resulted in the installation of a Martin Audio WPC scalable resolution line array, as the centrepiece of a 7.1 system.
“We realised that the sound systems hadn’t seen an upgrade since the 90’s,” he said. Although some had received Dolby Atmos fit-outs, the MARC, which hosts many prominent festival premieres, had been neglected.
“Sundance has always had a focus on presenting their films to a high standard so we needed to find partners to help bring the audio up to spec,” he reports. Enter production project manager, Ben VanDonkelaar, senior audio engineer at BlueWater Technologies, and Martin Audio’s North-eastern regional sales manager Martha Callaghan, who set about designing and specifying a system.
Beedy and VanDonkelaar had long worked closely together (notably on the Traverse City Film Festival). “When Sundance was looking for a new partner I suggested they look at Bluewater, and specifically Ben,” Dan Beedy continued. “We have a great short hand together about how venues are set up and what the goals are. While Ben’s team were in charge of flying the rig my team were in charge of tuning it.”
The 7.1 system comprises left/centre/right/left surround/right surround/left rear/right rear plus the subs. “We used hangs of six WPC for the left/centre/right channels and each of those arrays also had an SXH218 for low frequency extension,” he explained. A separate SXH218 provided the dedicated subwoofer and a further 12 CDD-Live 12’s were used for left/right and left rear/right rear surrounds.
The WPC hangs were optimised in two-box resolution and powered from two touring racks of three iKON iK42 multichannel amplifiers. According to Martin Audio product support engineer, Joe Lima, “This required eight continuous hours of pink noise and individual multi-band PEQ tuning on every pair of elements to meet the Dolby standard curve and SPL coverage. Quite an adventure I must say.”
In addition to Ben VanDonkelaar, support was available from Joe Lima, who provided tuning support, while Simon Purse from the UK office assisted in the design. “We actually pushed what the speakers were capable of and needed help to unlock some of the software to accomplish that,” Beedy reveals. “Overall, the Martin Audio system exceeded the expectations of the festival.”
(Jim Evans)

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