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qualified electronic technicians, carried on the rolls of the
Architect of the Capitol.
Placement of Microphones and Speakers
10 microphones, for speaking, would be installed as follows:
2 on the Rostrum (one for the Speaker; one for the Reading Clerk);:
2 in the Democratic and Republican Wells, 6 at the Democratic and
Republican Tables - the same as at present.
Loudspeakers, serving the positions of the Speaker, the Reading Clerk, the House Clerks, the Parliamentarian, the Sergeant
at Arms, and the Official Reporters would be installed in their re
Each seat on the floor would be served by an individual loud
speaker installed in an enclosure mounted under the back of the chair,
except in the front row where the loudspeakers would be installed
inside the arrests.
The audience in the Galleries would be served by 358 loudspeakers distributed at appropriate locations in the galleries. The Press Gallery would also be provided with loudspeakers.
The microphones for the Speaker and the Reading Clerk would be provided with cut-off switches which would permit muting of the microphone by the user.
All microphones used in the proposed system would have unidirectional pickup patterns. This characteristic maximizes pickup from the direction in which the microphone is oriented,
that is, from the direction of the person speaking, while
minimizing pickup of ambient noises.
All microphone positions will be provided with signal lights
indicating the "live" condition of the microphone.
Microphone cables, loudspeaker cables and signal wiring
will be run concealed under the floor of the Chamber.
Loudspeaker wiring for the loudspeakers in the Galleries will be
run in surface-mounted conduit.
The control position for the new system will remain unchanged
from the existing position at the railing of the Public Gallery North.
The control position will include a control panel with illuminated
switches operating each of the microphone channels individually. Each microphone channel would be provided with an individual microphone pre
amplifier and mixing control.
The system would include equalization to provide best intelligibility
and best overall quality and naturalness of sound.
The system would also include an automatic level control
amplifier intended to assist the system's operator in maintaining
a constant level of reinforcement.
A break down of the estimated cost of the sound system follows:
Breakdown of Estimated cost of Sound System
Professional services of acoustical consultants:
For development and completion of design of the
system, preparation of specifications for com
For services during the installation of the system
by government personnel, testing and adjusting
Total - acoustical consultants....
Service of component manufacturers' technicians to
assist government employees during installation...........
Cost of system components, wiring materials, supplies,
and miscellaneous devices, delivered to site.............
Premium pay for overtime services by government per
sonnel in making installation during other than regular working hours, in order not to disturb operations in the House Chamber...................
Miscellaneous and contingencies.......
Total Estimated Cost.......
Funding of Sound System
Based on the above estimate submitted to the Committees
on Appropriations in 1970, $105,000 was provided by the Congress
in the Legislative Branch Appropriation Act, 1971 (Public Law 91-382,
approved August 18, 1970), under the appropriation "Capitol Buildings, Architect of the Capitol."
De ferment of Project
In deference to the authority vested in your Commission
in the Legislative Reorganization Act, approved October 26, 1970, relating to changes in the galleries, we deferred action on the previously approved sound reinforcing system until the project
could be coordinated with any changes your Commission might approve
for the galleries generally - as indicated in my letter to you of April 13, 1971.
We have not used the $105,000 for other purposes but, at our request, the full amount has been continued available each year, the last legislation continuing the funds available until June 30, 1973.
Recommendation Relating to Sound System
If there is to be any prolonged delay in deciding upon other
changes in the galleries, I recommend that your Commission concur in our
proceeding with installation of the new sound system during the current
fiscal year. We have been advised by the sound consultants that the
sound system proposed would be adequate whether or not the glass barrier
is installed and that modifications to sound system would not be sub
stantial in the event it is decided later to install the glass enclosure. OTHER IMPROVED FACILITIES IN THE GALLERIES FOR VISITORS :
We have not engaged in study of the other items mentioned in
the Legislative Reorganization Act, but in accordance with your request,
we have concentrated our efforts on the proposal to enclose the galleries
and to improve the sound reinforcement system.
I am enclosing sufficient copies of this report and the
sketches so that a copy of each may be sent to each Member of your
I appreciate yout deep interest in these matters. Please
be assured that I am ready to cooperate with you and your Commission
and to assist you in any way you deem appropriate.
George M. White, FAIA