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4. Restriction upon television coverage of Joint Sessions, which

we will attempt to resolve in a satisfactory manner if the
enclosure is approved.

There might well be other advantages and disadvantages relating to

enclosing the galleries, but we believe these are the primary ones.

An alternate to any such construction, of course, would be the pro

vision of extremely strict security precautions in the use of the galleries, especially when the House is in session.

Estimate of Cost

Based on a similar study of the Senate Chamber over a year ago,

where the problems and work involved with the enclosure would be comparable,

the overall cost of the enclosure is estimated at $405,000. This does not

include the sound reinforcement system for which funds have already been ap

propriated and which will be described in the following section of this report.


With the approval of the Speaker in 1968, outside acoustical engineers

were retained to develop information, analysis, cost and other data required for

future design of an up-dated, improved sound reinforcement system for the House

Chamber, including the galleries.

The studies of the acoustical engineers were carried on in consultation

with the Architect of the Capitol and his staff, the Parliamentarian and other

House officials. Their completed report was submitted to the Architect and the

Speaker in September, 1969.

The studies were conducted by Richard H. Bolt and Robert B. Newman and

their assistants, who are internationally known and respected in the field of acoustics. They also made similar studies for the Senate Chamber and designed

the sound reinforcement system which has been in use in the Senate Chamber

for the past few years, with excellent results.

Description of the Proposed System
For the House Chamber and Galleries

The new system, proposed for the House Chamber, is intended to ·

replace the obsolete system now in use.

The present system represents

an evolution of the system originally installed in the House Chamber in 1930, a number of elements of which have been replaced gradually following the failure of original components, or have been added to the system in ensuing years in an effort to overcome shortcomings in the performance

of the old installation.

The consultants, in their report, have concluded that:


The basic acoustical characteristics of the House Chamber are favorable for high quality sound amplification; that adequate speech reinforcement techniques can be applied to attain speech intelligibility on the floor and in the Galleries without making architectural modifications, or changes in the decor.

Although the background noises generated by the intermittent entry and departure of gallery audiences do substantially reduce speech intelligibility, the unavoidable noises associated with the activities on the Floor during roll calls and debates indicate the need for a reinforcement system capable of producing higher than normal sound pressure levels without creating feedback. The existing system does not have this capability.


The existing system does not provide adequate coverage
on the Floor, in the Press Gallery, and in the Public
Galleries. Any attempt to improve its performance,
through modifications, would be an unwise and wasteful


The speech reception in all areas of the Chamber Floor and in all the Galleries can be made properly audible, natural, and effective if a properly designed speech reinforcement system, utilizing the most sophisticated components presently available. Is installed. .

The new installation would distribute the amplified speech

through a relatively large number of small loudspeakers placed in proximity to all listening positions. The purpose of a dense network of low volume loudspeakers is to provide a high uniformity of audience coverage with intelligible speech at appropriate sound levels. Similar installations have proven successful in the United States Senate, The Parliament Building in Ottawa, Canada, the House of Representatives of the State of Missouri, and in other import

ant locations.

This objective can be accomplished by placing obscured loudspeakers in the Rostrum area; within all Members' chairs, in the Press Gallery, and throughout the seating areas of all Public

Galleries. The microphone installations will duplicate in number

those presently utilized on the Rostrum, in the Wells, and at the

Democratic and Republican tables. A new console will be installed

in the location of the existing console, at which the sound system

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To avoid conflicts with the activities of the House, the

physical work associated with the new installation will have to be accomplished after adjournments of daily sessions by

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 respective locations.

Each seat on the floor would be served by an individual loudspeaker installed in an enclosure mounted under the back of the chair, except in the front row where the loudspeakers would be installed inside the armrests.

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 breakdown of the estimated cost of the sound system follows:

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