Case Study: Qingdao World Expo City, China

Qingdao Main Image
Exterior view of Qingdao World Expo City, China

Hurrairah bin Sohail explores an audio installation at Qingdao World Expo City where multifunctionality and quality topped the list of requirements and integrator EZ Pro adopted a flexible approach to deliver.

It is no secret that China's AV industry has been growing year on year, at an impressive rate. One of the reasons for this growth is government investment. An expanding middle class that has greater buying power means that the Chinese government has been investing in projects and spaces that cater to new realities. China Railway Qingdao World Expo City serves as a perfect example.

Funded by the state-owned railroad, Qingdao World Expo City is a conference venue catering to Qingdao, an ancient coastal city of nine million people. EZ Pro was selected to help provide the facility with the audio systems it required to function.

Alan Ho, senior VP of business development at EZ Pro, gives further details regarding the venue: “Qingdao World Expo City is an international conference centre and it is a permanent platform for East Asia maritime cooperation. Its building area is about 32,000 square metres, and this area comprises 33 conference halls of various sizes, among which the grand conference room is about 3,000 square meters. The grand conference room can accommodate more than 1,500 people for meetings and banquets.”

He continues: “The banquet hall can be flexibly divided into two parts, and also be combined according to different-scale requirements. At the same time, there are 32 small and medium- sized conference rooms with floor spaces ranging from 100 square metres to 500 square metres.”

Regarding the requirements from the end user, Ho says: “The end user expected the Qingdao World Expo City international conference centre to be able to accommodate the needs and requirements for multiple applications, be it big conferences, forums, high-end banquets, celebrations and private parties. For the multi- function hall of Qingdao World Expo City, the end user wanted to adopt a full-scale network to transmit all signals and also featured digital redundancy.”

With flexibility and multi- functionality topping the list of requirements, EZ Pro decided to employ transmission over the network. Ho says: “Signals from a mixer flow into the PA system, using Dante network for connection and transmission.”

EAW Anna and Anya loudspeakers along with Otto subwoofers, part of the manufacturer’s Adaptive System series, have been selected as the audio output. These speakers are complemented with EAW CXT and VFR series loudspeakers.

Regarding the selection of the speakers, Ho says: “The EAW Anya is a complete, self- contained, high-powered sound reinforcement system that adapts to all performance parameters electronically, allowing it to be used in virtually any application. Columns of Anya modules hang straight, without any vertical splay.”

He continues: “For the PA system inside the hall, EAW Anna adaptive system was chosen because of its flexibility allowing people to make instant adjustment according to the needs of the application. In addition, it provided the possibility to employ modelling before installation so that engineers, within a short time, could complete tuning and adjustment by its software to achieve ideal dispersion.”

For the grand conference room of Qingdao World Expo City’s conference centre, EZ Pro has deployed Pan Acoustics PB steerable column loudspeakers as a movable system, while EAW cabinets are installed to provide background music distribution and broadcast.

Ho says: “Pan Acoustics PB series powered column loudspeakers are designed especially for complex acoustic environments to provide the best solution and audio. PB loudspeakers feature self- designed multi-beam electronic regulation that provides both accurate dispersion and stable volume and these fit the application very well.”

The front of house configuration for spaces at the Qingdao World Expo City in general are based around an Allen & Heath dLive digital mixer and CDM stage box, with an Allen & Heath GLD digital mixer also provided to serve as a backup.

Ho says: “The Allen & Heath dLive has a small-footprint and yet it is a very powerful control surface. It features 20 faders over six layers, built-in audio input and output, an audio networking port, a 12-in capacitive touchscreen and the innovative Harmony UI for the fastest workflow in the industry.”

The loudspeakers inside the venue are driven by Powersoft Quattrocanali series amplifiers and the Symetrix Prism series is responsible for audio processing.

Ho comments: “Powersoft products offer a traditionally amazing sound quality and reliability. The patented SRM (Smart Rails Management) technology allows us to maximise the efficiency of the system and drastically reduce power consumption at any load and for any usage condition. Its exclusive damping coefficient compensation technology can solve problems like line power loss that is caused by remote transmission.”

Ho talks about the challenges EZ Pro faced during the course of the project: “When working on the Qingdao World Expo City project we had a short time period to complete a heavy task. While the end user had a clear idea with regards to the requirements for the audio system the design of this audio system was not simple or easy. We really had to spend time designing an audio system that fitted the spaces.”

However, EZ Pro was able to overcome the challenges. Ho details: “We have worked on conference centres before and drew on our experience. Past designs we have done for international conference centres guided our exploration of the functional requirements from the construction side of the project. We implemented multiple measures, such as hidden pipeline installation and also employed mobile equipment. This was to ensure that our work did not clash with the upgrade work that was being implemented in general at Qingdao World Expo City. In the end, I believe that EZ Pro was able to deliver fully on the investment and the budget that we had been provided with.”