As the highest professional theater in the world, the Everest Grand Theater is located in the central area of Shigatse, Tibet at an altitude of 12,700 feet. The difficult task of providing a clear, reliable sound reinforcement system to this landmark building also known as the “artistic pearl of the world’s third pole” was given to Chinese AV distributor and solution provider EZPro and Senior Technical Manager, Liuwei Zhu. Zhu found the solution he was looking for with the RSX and MK Series from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW).
As the person in charge of designing and commissioning the audio system, Zhu faced some unique challenges. “As an extra-large A-class theatre, the Everest Grand Theater has a total construction area of about 30,000-square meters,” says Zhu. “The auditorium has three floors of seating, which can accommodate about 1600 spectators. Even sound coverage has become a major challenge for the design and commissioning of the system because of the large space. At the same time, high-altitude areas have higher requirements for equipment stability and system safety, so the construction difficulties are much higher than those at lower altitudes.”
The EAW PA system the EZPro team designed and installed uses a combination of three groups of RSX line array loudspeakers on the left, middle and right. Among them, 14 RSX208L loudspeakers are installed on the surface of the left and right channels to meet the requirements of coverage. The middle group of 10 RSX212L line array loudspeakers are installed invisibly on the speaker bridge. Six RSX218 subwoofers are also installed to extend lower cut-off and enhance the dynamics.
“To ensure that the audience under the terrace is provided with consistent sound, we installed EAW MK8196i loudspeakers along the terrace under the first and second floors for sound fill,” adds Zhu. “We also installed EAW MK5396i 2-way full-range loudspeakers on both sides of the proscenium.”
RSX Series loudspeakers feature OptiLogic technology, providing array self-detection via onboard infrared sensors and accelerometers for near-instant optimization that cuts down on setup and tuning time. EAW acoustical design and DSP including Focusing and DynO provide a pristine impulse response at all output levels.
“Before the official installation, we carefully analyzed and simulated the PA system installation points, angles and sound coverage through EAW’s Resolution software, which provided a more specific basis and more time for on-site installation and commissioning,” says Zhu. “During the actual installation, the loudspeakers were positioned in 3D modelling, achieving accurate coverage and good line array coupling. The final commissioning results WERE completely consistent with the previous analysis and simulation. The single group of EAW loudspeakers achieves even coverage of the entire auditorium and provides good consistency of high, medium and low-frequency bands. The entire sound reinforcement system ensures a good sense of hearing allowing for the clear and dynamic Tibetan music style to be interpreted perfectly.”
Since the Shigatse Everest Grand Theater sits at the highest altitude of any theater in the world, the special plateau climate conditions brought some challenges to the construction and commissioning. According to Zhu, “in order to overcome the physical discomfort caused by altitude sickness, everyone worked while inhaling oxygen. The first performance task undertaken by the Everest Grand Theater after its completion was the cultural gala to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China and the 70th Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. The performance of the gala, especially the sound quality, was unanimously recognized and praised by cast members and the audience and was highly praised by the leaders of the Tibet Autonomous Region Government.”
The architectural style of the Everest Grand Theater fully highlights its Tibetan regional cultural attributes. The exterior of the theater is applied with the bright traditional Tibetan five colours of red, white, blue, green and yellow, creating strong contrast. The pillars and beams are also covered with brightly coloured paintings and ornate carvings, making the theatre stand out from its relatively monotonous background. The completion of the Everest Grand Theatre meets the spiritual and cultural needs of the Tibetan people and is a bright urban cultural card of Shigatse.