Colossal Sound at CinemaCon 2013

Colossal Sound at CinemaCon 2013

As the loudspeaker and amplifier supplier to CinemaCon 2013, QSC Audio products were used to create what might have been the largest cinema sound system ever assembled, for special studio screenings and product reels at CinemaCon 2013. CinemaCon, which convened April 15 through 18 in Las Vegas, is the official convention of NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners), and is the world’s largest cinema trade event. 

Each year at CinemaCon, the major motion picture distributors and studios preview their upcoming releases for this gathering of the world’s theatre owners and operators.  The venue for this year’s screenings was Caesar’s Palace Colosseum, a massive 4,298-seat performance space, which opened ten years ago as the “home” for world-class artists such as Celine Dion, Elton John, and Rod Stewart.

Turning the Colosseum into a giant movie theatre was no small feat.  A team of QSC engineers, including Jon Graves, Christian Cook, and David Cepeda, designed and built the system.  Since the room was larger than any conventional cinema, QSC designed the system with a combination of professional installation, tour sound, and cinema loudspeakers.  Main Left, Center, and Right behind-screen channel systems each included ten WL2102 WideLine line array loudspeakers and three WL218-sw WideLine subwoofers.   Below the screen, spread across the stage floor, twelve QSC SB 7218 Cinema Subwoofers were positioned, providing a total of twenty-four 18” drivers. 

Perhaps the most unique – and challenging – aspect of the system was that the event was used to showcase Dolby Atmos, the company’s new immersive sound surround format.  Beyond the requirements of 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, which typically includes a perimeter array of loudspeakers, Dolby Atmos requires the use of high power surround loudspeakers to be suspended over the audience.  For a room the size of the Colosseum, the system specification called for thirty-two QSC AP 5152 high-output 15” 2-way loudspeakers, rigged onto four overhead trusses.  In addition, six ground stacks of QSC WideLine-8 line arrays, each comprised of three WL3082 line array elements and one WL212-sw subwoofer, provided rear surround channel coverage to the main floor seating area.  Additional rear and side coverage in the mezzanine and balcony seating areas was handled by several dozen QSC SR 1030 Surround loudspeakers.  Over sixty QSC PowerLight 3 Series and eight CX Series amplifiers were used to drive all of the loudspeakers, including all screen channel systems, subwoofers, and the surround arrays.  That’s nearly a half-million watts of power.

Dolby engineers worked alongside QSC engineers and staff to optimize sound in the Colosseum.  During events, the sound system was monitored and operated by QSC’s Jon Graves and Brian English.  Overall responsibility for the Colosseum’s projection and sound systems was handled by long-time QSC dealer, Boston Light and Sound, headed by BL&S principal Chapin Cutler.