Harold Washington Library Auditorium, Chicago, IL

Harold Washington Library Auditorium

This project was designed, put out to bid, and awarded without the services of a sound system consultant, and with inadequate acoustic consulting. No provisions had been made for a sound system. There was a little conduit, but no clean power system, no provisions for an isolated ground system, no provisions for concealing loudspeakers, no sound equipment room to house the system's electronics. Our involvement began after the building was under construction, and for all practical purposes was a renovation.

We did manage to find space for three loudspeaker clusters above the proscenium, which comprise the first Left, Center, Right 3-channel stereo reinforcement system in Illinois (the building opened in 1992). The clusters utilize Electro-Voice and Intersonics components, and each covers the entire audience, providing a full 3-channel stereo listening experience to each listener. There are an extensive tie line system, recording splits, a clean technical power and ground system, and a custom Soundcraft 3-channel mix console built to our specifications. Although the loudspeaker clusters could not be concealed (because the architectural design, completed before the sound system was designed, did not allow for it), they are not at all intrusive -- in this photo, taken during a performance, they are hardly visible.