The S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall was originally built as a single-purpose auditorium to be used exclusively for acoustic music. After the hall’s opening in 1998, it received a steady increase in programming requiring amplification, ranging from panel discussions to popular music. In 2002, the hall added a center voice lift loudspeaker array, left/right main loudspeaker arrays, and a number of under-balcony delay loudspeakers. Clarity and intelligibility remained a problem because of insufficient pattern control in this very reverberant hall. When components began to fail, Benaroya decided to look for a loudspeaker system that could provide both voice lift and musical reinforcement from one architecturally integrated package.
Jaffe Holden was asked to review a system designed by the hall to address these issues. Although technically appropriate, the system needed additional elements to help integrate it with the overall audio system. Our firm was subsequently hired to expand the design to provide the additional elements, and also to expand the competitive options for the system.
To ensure that a new system could truly improve on the issues of the existing equipment, Jaffe Holden arranged listening tests of appropriate systems in the hall, and then did extensive computer modeling to determine which of the systems could best provide the necessary pattern control. Three systems were included in the final design and these systems were competitively bid. Based on a best-value combination of cost and performance, Benaroya selected a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system. The system was installed in May of 2013. Jaffe Holden’s experience providing intelligently designed, real-world performance systems for acoustic halls resulted in a system that meets the hall’s objectives, is rider-friendly for touring musical artists, and was installed for less than the hall had originally budgeted.